Are publicly-funded Catholic school boards discriminating against students with learning needs?
Ponoka school divisions show imbalance in students with learning needs enrolment
School divisions in the area appear to have an imbalance in how students with special needs get enrolled. Alberta Education requires that all schools provide flexible and inclusive learning environments for all students, which includes those with severe disabilities. That means if a student has special needs, the school cannot necessarily disallow them from education within the school.
How a student gets enrolled, however, may depend on the religion they follow. (Full Article)
We know that Catholic school districts are discriminating in employment against non-Catholic teachers, and almost every public school teacher could share a story about students with learning challenges being steered away from the local Catholic school.
Put simply, they will pick and choose the students they want, and send the ones that they don't to the public system. This is not the "Parent Choice" that they claim to support. They are not playing by the same rules as public school districts, selecting and rejecting children, and claiming academic or pedagogical superiority.
If separate Catholic schools wish to continue discrimination against students with learning disabilities, they should refuse public funding and operate as private schools.
Separate schools are civil institutions. They are created by the law of the land, not the Roman Catholic Church. Their governance is determined by provincial legislation, nor the Roman Catholic Church. These schools are funded entirely by Albertans, all Albertans: they are not funded by the Roman Catholic Church and they are not funded by Roman Catholic Albertans alone. Every separate school building and every separate school bus is owned by all Albertans.
Yet we hear it said that Canon Law applies to separate schools. It does not. We hear it said that the separate school system has some constitutional right to ‘permeate’ Roman Catholicism. That is certainly not in the law and I don’t know of a single judicial decision applicable in Alberta that supports such a proposition. The only meaning one should attach to the phrase “Roman Catholic separate school education” is that all the electors are Roman Catholics and people who are not Roman Catholics cannot vote for separate school trustees, even if their children attend a separate school.” - David King (www.ouridea.ca/objections)
Please donate to our campaign to help us afford the FOIP funding. Our next step will be a freedom of information request to the Alberta Education Minister to request a breakdown of the number of learning disability students per each school district.
We suspect the aggragate data will prove what we have long suspected and is reinforced by the Ponoka news article: that Catholic school districts are discriminating on even more than religion.
Can you help us with the data analysis or next steps? Email [email protected] and tell us what strengths you may contribute to the campaign.