Opinion: I don’t understand Quebec’s disregard for public schools

By Anne Chudobiak | Published Octobre 9 2012 by the Montreal Gazette

After 19 years in this province, there are still moments when I am reminded that I am not from here, and therefore, I might not share the dominant beliefs. This is true right now as I search for a high school for my daughter to attend next year. I don’t know yet whether she will continue in French or switch to English. But one thing is for sure: whatever school we choose will be public.

“Public for primary, private for secondary.” I first encountered this refrain when my children were benefiting from some of the best care they have ever received, under our province’s generous and inspired $7-a-day daycare program. Call me a dreamer, but I believe that if Quebec can be a world leader in accessible early childhood education, it can be the same for public education at the high school level.

Instead of developing its public system to its fullest, though, Quebec props up its private schools with subsidies to the tune of up to 60 per cent of the cost of a private education.

As Martin Lauzon, chair of the Syndicat de l’enseignement secondaire des Basses-Laurentides, explained to Le Devoir last week, people who can’t afford a private school education for their own children are conscripted into subsidizing it for those who can.

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