I found it interesting and unfortunate that Will Richardson, last week's speaker, is putting his children into a private school. I have a fundamental problem with the notion of the privatization of education. I view it as elitist and an instrument of social and economic segregation.
In Canada, we like to claim to live in a tolerant, multicultural society. In a diverse nation that is composed of hundreds of linguistic, ethnic, and religious groups, we do not share many common experiences. As such, the commonality provided by our public education system affords one of very few common experiences and is, therefore, an important instrument of national cohesion.
We must examine what exactly it is that makes us Canadian. I believe one of our fundamental national tenets is tolerance. To endorse any educational system other than public is to turn our backs on tolerance and encourage economic and social elitism. It is important that all of our young people, rich and poor alike, are exposed to our tremendous national diversity in order to foster understanding and tolerance. A private system works directly against that goal by creating tangible and intangible barriers between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'.
I truly believe in what I am doing in the public education system and I will prove my belief by enrolling my own children. I always find it interesting that teachers and proponents of emancipatory pedagogy and social improvement occasionally endorse educational segregation.