An Albertan woman explains why attacking Christian schools will hurt everybody

By Jonathon Van Maren

On Facebook, Roxanne Van Herk of Alberta posted a powerful rebuke to those who have been cheering the NDP attacks on private Christians schools—and dismantles the arguments being made in favor of shutting down the private schools that still hold to the principles they were created to promote:

News came today that many private schools (including the one that I attended from Grades 4-12) will face loss of funding next year if they do not comply with Bill 24. I have noticed that many people commenting on the various news articles today are in support of de-funding private schools, regardless of whether or not they comply with Bill 24. Many of the comments display outright lack of knowledge on how funding for schools works in Alberta. Here are some facts about private schools for you:

Most private schools (85%) are non-elite independent schools-we’re not talking ‘Gossip Girl’ here, guys. Family incomes of those who send their kids to private schools are comparable or lower than public school families.

As Minister Eggen said today, private schools receive up to 70% of the funding. On average, a student in a public school in Alberta costs taxpayers $10,874 per year. A student in a private school in Alberta costs taxpayers $5,150 per year. If you add the numbers up over a 5 year period, this means that private schools save Albertans $750 million every 5 years.

And while the Alberta government pays 60-70% of student yearly costs (depending on the independent school type), this does not include costs like building and renovations, or transportation and teacher pensions. For example, the renovations completed in Fort Macleod for the Livingstone Range School Division cost taxpayers about $5 million dollars. The school where I attended Grades 4-12 recently completed the addition of a large gym, kitchen, multiple classrooms, library, and do you know what the cost was to taxpayers? Nothing. Nada. Zip. It was covered by the fundraising efforts of parents and completed with many offering their trades and services at discounted rates or for free.

Many of the people I know who send their kids to private schools simply cannot afford to send their kids to the same schools if they are defunded. The private schools that are within 45 minutes of me which are facing defunding have ~1500 students enrolled currently. If even half of these students left the private schools and were enrolled in the public schools in the area, it would completely overwhelm and overtax the public schools’ resources.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that defunding independent schools is going to cost the public purse dearly. And by public purse, I mean YOU, the taxpayer.

And while many are complaining that their tax dollars are going to partially fund private schools, don’t forget that families who send their kids to private schools are taxpayers, as well.

One more fun fact: Did you know that the Calgary school system is ~$35 million in debt? Independent schools do not get away with this.

Think twice before you advocate for removing partial funding for private schools.

Van Herk is precisely right, and cuts through many of the lazy attacks on private schools (as well as responding effectively to the argument that always irritates me the most: The idea that somehow those who decide to bear a much greater financial burden to send their children to a Christian school are not also taxpayers, when in reality these parents are supporting the public system through their tax dollars as well as Christian schools out of their own pockets.)

Unfortunately, it does not appear as if Education Minister David Eggen is particularly interested in what makes economic sense at the moment. Nor, for that matter, does the NDP in general. Rather, he is interested in implementing his sexual worldview in schools built by hardworking, church-going Albertans, so that their children are taught his point of view. Eggen is fully willing to place an increased financial burden on taxpayers (and when has the NDP ever respected taxpayers?) in order to bully Christians into accepting his personal point of view, which he claims is universal truth—although ironically, he has also demanded that Christian schools abandon the idea that universal truth exists, to begin with.

Eggen and his fellow ideologues waited for years to get the opportunities power would afford them, and they are making the most of their four years. I only wish that conservatives were as enthusiastic about conserving things as Eggen and his thugs are about destroying them.


15 thoughts on “An Albertan woman explains why attacking Christian schools will hurt everybody

  1. David Calvani says:

    The problem here, Jonathon, is the Canadian propensity to involve the government in EVERYTHING!

    Unless INDIVIDUAL students are given some sort of stipend to spend at any school they wish (like the voucher idea in the States) then the government had no business funding private schools in the first place. AND one of the important reasons for keeping state funding out of private entities is EXACTLY the desire of the government to put conditions on the money!

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      If the government funds other schools, I see no reason why they should not fund private schools. Although I certainly don’t object to Christian communities deciding to fund everything themselves.

    • Debra Slomp says:

      I am a tax paying citizen and so the taxes I pay to school taxes should follow the student Why are private schools discriminated against ? We should receive full funding . If you doing the same job as a fellow co worker should they receive more money due to their faith beliefs ? You would cry discrimination !Why is it okay for Eggen to bully private schools but stand cry out against other types of bullying ? Did we not learn from the previous governments interference with the residential schools ? It just shows Eggen is not the sharpest pencil in the pencil case and the whole case needs to be changed

      • Steve says:

        the role of govt is to provide a suite of common public services, including health care, education, roads, etc., not to meet every individual’s request for services that they wish to receive, including private school education. We don’t get to direct our tax dollars for the road that we want,or to cover unapproved health care, or to pay for some private school. if people prefer those options, they are welcome to pay for them themselves

        • Jonathon Van Maren says:

          They already are. It is very expensive to send your kids to a private Christian school. The government funding is simply what they would already pay–and actually much less, if you read the article. So in reality, if those schools shut down, it would be you and the taxpayers paying more.

          • Steve says:

            parents are only paying part of the cost. the notion that these schools would shut down and students would return en masse to the public system if govt funding was partially or fully withdrawn is a quaint one, and without any evidence to support it

            ON, for example, provides zero govt funding for private schools, and has a higher percentage of students attending them

            if you want to make the case for govt funding of private schools, be my guest. but maybe stick with verifiable facts

    • Jan Voorbij says:

      Mr. Calvani, I pay tax too and I don’t like how it is spend in the public school system at all! Beside this, students go to school to learn something, and you know Mr. Calvani, the students from the private schools are in general better equipped when leaving their school then the student from their “state schools”.

    • Daniel Fox says:

      If your argument is to carry any weight, than individuals who choose to send their children to private schools should not be forced to support public schools through their tax dollars, but should be able to support the schools they choose. The public system wants the money but only their view to be taught. That’s sounds a lot less like democracy than I am comfortable with.

      • Steve says:

        all Albertans–even those without children–support public schools with their taxes, just as they support public health services, road building and maintenance, etc. We don’t get to redirect our tax dollars toward alternatives. The notion that we should be able to redirect our taxes toward the schooling of our choice is quaint and totally self-serving.

        Democracy is about casting a vote for the candidate of our choice, and that we are governed by the party that garners the most seats, that makes decisions on our behalf. the govt does not–and should not–cave into demands made by a few people who want something done just for them (e.g. the public funding of private schools, allowing private schools to ignore govt direction)

  2. Barry says:

    The philosophy of our fore fathers is being ignored to the detriment of all people. When you take away choice you take the first slippery steps to a dictatorship that tells you what choices you can make for your family. Democracy is not perfect but it is a million times better than the other choices. We need to start standing up and not follow what the un informed masses are led to believe

  3. Jim Braaksma says:

    This morning the CBC’s Eyeopener dealt with the topic of overcrowded classrooms. The conclusion was primarily a lack of space and teachers. Can you imagine what impact David Eggen’s threat, if carried out, will have on an already burdened public school system? Not only that, he flogs the number of 70% support which is misleading since it is 70% of the “educational portion”; that works out to approximately 47% funding for each student.
    The NDP ‘doctrine’ will add to our already high deficit.

  4. Bob Ferguson says:

    Back when Alberta became a province there were two school systems, the Protestant and the Catholic. The Catholics didn’t operate the same as the Protestant as they only allowed practicing Catholics to send their children to their schools. Protestants on the other hand allowed all students to attend because they wanted to expose children to Christianity. That is why there used to be prayer in schools and Christian holidays were celebrated. Catholics always had their own holidays which are not always the same as the Protestants. As time went on devout Christians became less and the schools have become secular but the original intent was for funding two systems and neither one was secular. Secular schools should have to be private not the Christian schools if you want to make a case of it. The BNA Act says that the schools operating at the time the territory joined the confederation were to be publicly supported, that is why every province has a different school funding system.

  5. Mary Hale says:

    so are those agreeing with the ndpdpee’ers and slamming Christian schools…do they not know that the prayers of Christians is holding back the judgement of God on the godless..psalm chapter 2.. Why do the heathen rage and imagine a vain thing..they plot and they scheme and they rage some more but the they hate died for them to and holds out the hand of mercy to them as well.. they will reap what they sow…and many prayers are going out across Canada against the corruption by government officials against us Christians, 11 Chronicles 7:14..if my people …

  6. Marina Rus says:

    I pray for minister Eggen that the Lord will work in is hard and see what he is doing what makes this so difficult for are kids and parents .
    We will have a judge in court who is a Judge off all Thank You Lord that you are in control.

  7. katie says:

    WELL WE ALL KNOW THE devil hates Christian and also the whole world he hates God and so he hates people God’s creation but God sees these so called lost souls ,He loves them but if they don’t look to Him for guidance and repent of their evil deeds they will go to Hell Period

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