Separate schools benefit Alberta

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Some concerned parents are rallying to ensure their children will receive a Catholic education.

Parents Advocating for Catholic Education (PACE) has started a petition entitled Maintain policies and laws that protect my rights to a Catholic School Education system, which will ultimately be sent to Education Minister David Eggen and Premier Notley.

Eggen informed the Wheel there are no plans to take away publicly-funded Catholic education – a right which was entrenched when Alberta became a province in 1905.

However, that doesn’t mean PACE is fighting mythical Quixote windmills. There are forces out there wanting to have just public boards and do away with publicly-funded Catholic education.

The thinking is it is a cost saver – why build two schools when you could have one. It will cut down on administration costs and busing could be shared.

The man behind Inclusive Diverse Education for All is David King, former education minister of Alberta from 1979-86. He has written a letter to Notley asking for referendum on the issue. His return address on the letter is Victoria, B.C. – a city which has been weighing in quite a bit in Alberta politics lately.

Saving money, but at what cost. Locally, do Foothills residents want a situation where we may have one school of 2,000 students, rather than 1,150 at the Comp and the roughly 850 at Holy Trinity Academy? A separate system in Okotoks enhances the community, enticing people to live here and it helps the economy.

It must be remembered that Alberta Education runs education in the province, not the Catholic Church. Separate schools must — and Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools do — follow guidelines dealing with gay-straight-alliances and sexual education and other issues.

There’s no need to dissolve separate school systems. They continue on PACE to provide options and education for Albertans.

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