VIEWPOINT: Oh! Canada! – Learning left short
by David Kalamen
For seven years I wrote articles in an Internet newspaper addressing faith and culture under the title, Oh! Canada! It expressed my deepest concern about the state of my nation. As citizens of Canada, we have been called to “stand on guard” for our country, and there has never been a greater need for national vigilance than now.
As a pastor (www.kccsociety.ca) I have had deep concerns about the growing lack of a Biblical worldview among our young people. This lack weakens their ability to withstand cultural and ideological challenges to their faith. I have longed to see a spiritual brilliance emerge in them that enables them to give a crystal-clear defence of their God-given rights and freedoms. Steve Rabey, in his book on Authentic Faith, said it best, “this generation is falling through the cracks of Christendom and the modern church is sleep-walking their way through oblivion.” Do we really care?
As an educator and founder of Heritage Christian Schools, I have dedicated myself for the last 38 years to guarding the minds and hearts of the next generation and strengthening their resolve to become leaders in a nation that desperately needs history-makers. At this point, our Schools are honoured to be an educational solution to close to 6,000 students within BC, through our campus, homeschool and Distributed Learning (DL) venues.
A month ago, the BC Deputy Minister of Education informed Independent DL schools that their funding would be cut, amounting in a 21% decrease to our budget (a projected $2.7 million shortfall). This occurred despite earlier comments by Premier John Horgan that “the New Democrats fully support a parent’s right to choose the education stream for their children, whether it be in independent, faith-based or public schools….We do not have any plans to change the existing funding for independent schools nor the legislation that governs this funding.”
As part of the rationale, the Government stated it had “made a decision to provide operating funding to independent DL schools at the same rate as all other funded independent schools,” adding that “Government funding of independent schools is not intended to cover a school’s full operating costs…” I direct you to our detailed response to this at our website: https://onlineschool.ca/funding-cuts-2020/
Our Campus schools receive no Government help for land, buildings or capital improvements, and access 50% of what Public Schools receive. The Government requires additional funds to be raised through tuition, corporate donors, etc., to be able to receive these Government funds and enable the schools to function. Many schools struggle to make up the difference as costs continue to rise.
Our Online School will now receive 50% of what Public Online Schools will receive, and this funding cut will require additional funds coming from parents who already have extra expenses incurred in their child’s education, a primary factor being that most homeschoolers require a stay-at-home parent: i.e. they are one-income-earner families.
This funding cut has literally given IDL administrators just days to cut staffing, slash programs and communicate completely new terms of financial engagement to one of the lowest socio-economic brackets in the province. Even more devastating, is the impact on at-risk students, of which 40% of our school population consists, as a result of bullying, etc.
In the Ministry’s press release, Minister Rob Fleming was quoted as follows: “We’ve heard loud and clear that years of neglect have left far too many of our most vulnerable children not getting the support they need to be engaged and successful in school.” In IDLs there are endless stories of how the public system failed them, and how they found hope and success in being educated through IDL’s. That option is critical.
It is clear to me that our children are taking the brunt of the ideological warfare Canada is engaged in right now. Whether it is SOGI 123, where parental rights and protection as well as adolescent identity are at risk, or whether it is the legalization of marijuana, something we know scientifically will profoundly affect the health and welfare of the next generation, our kids need guarding over.
In a time of a historic health pandemic, where economies and employment are clearly compromised, and online education has been found to be a viable solution, heartless funding cuts have occurred. BC has been renowned for its support of one of the most integrated and diverse educational regions of the world. That is now under significant threat and may not recover.
It is clear that in Canada, when dialogue, facts and good faith reasoning does not influence social and educational policy, Government must be held accountable by the people who placed them in power. If you do not speak up now, when, and if not you, who?
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