Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dwight Duncan - Save Our Schools!

I drove length of Riverside last night and noticed yellow stickers on Dwight Duncan's Liberal signs. I stopped and backed up to read:


I am not sure if conservative partisans tried to make Duncan look ridiculous or was the sticker really approved by our Honourable Member. I have a feeling that the latter is true.

Now, what does he mean by SAVE OUR SCHOOLS - from whom?

Perhaps from Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal government. (Just to make clear, I do not support J. Tory's proposal and his later flip-flops.) Preston Manning writes in yesterday's Globe and Mail:

What is most instructive, however, is the provincial breakdown. With respect to reading, Alberta students had the highest international score of all jurisdictions tested, with Ontario students in fifth place. In science, Alberta students placed third behind Finland and Japan, with Ontario students 15th. And with respect to combined mathematics, Alberta students placed second behind Hong Kong, with Ontario students 11th.
Preston Manning explanation for Alberta advantage makes sense:

Alberta excels in Canadian and international education comparisons because the province provides parents with a greater range of educational choices, more "freedom to choose" the best educational options for their children, and more resources to support those choices.

Alberta ensures equity and choice in kindergarten to Grade 12 by funding independent schools and home schooling, as well as the public system.

Giuseppe Gori, in his interview on The Agenda (posted here earlier), stated that the whole issue of funding for private schools was a desperate attempt on Tory's side to find a difference between two left-of-centre parties (Liberals & Progressive Conservatives). Here is what P. Manning has to say on the issue:

The educational debate in Ontario is narrowly focused on whether to publicly fund one form of alternative education, namely religious schools. The bigger issue is how to expand freedom of choice in education for all Ontario parents, while improving the performance of both public and private schools and ensuring their adherence to provincial educational standards.
Family Coalition Party platform on education is based on parental choice and improving schools through competition by introducing the voucher system. P. Manning seems to agree:

Can mixed educational systems such as Alberta's be improved? Of course. Freedom of choice could be further enhanced by providing parents with educational vouchers that they could cash in at the public or private educational institution of their choosing.
SAVE OUR SCHOOLS? I agree and some experts too:

In the words of Harvard economist Caroline Hoxby: "It appears that public schools are induced to raise achievement when they are faced with competition. ... This is not only good news for students; it should be welcome news to those who think that public schools have much good potential."

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