In a 19th-century classic, the eminent philosopher John Stuart Mill admonished parents not to hand over the education of their children to the state. He warned: “A general state education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy or the majority of the existing generation, in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body.”
Consider, in this respect, the ominous decision of the British Columbia Education Ministry to introduce a radical new course on “social justice” for Grade 12 students in the public schools. Among the legally prescribed “learning outcomes” for the course is the requirement that all students must “describe social injustice based on characteristics including … marital and family status, religion and faith, sex (and) sexual orientation.”
In particular, the ministry’s guidelines suggest that teachers require their students to “analyze specific historical and contemporary examples of injustice in Canada” in relation to such matters as “reproduction rights” for women as well as “marriage, adoption (and) spousal rights” for “people who are LGBT” – that is to say, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. There is even the suggestion that teachers assign their students to “describe limitations on the scope of human rights legislation” in relation to “gender” and “sex-trade workers.”
Imagine that: perhaps some Grade 12 student in British Columbia will get an “A” this year for a homework paper urging the Supreme Court of Canada to write equality rights for prostitutes and cross-dressing homosexuals into Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Parents all across Canada should beware: given the steadily deteriorating moral standards throughout our country, a course of twisted propaganda that begins as an option for Grade 12 students in British Columbia could soon end up as compulsory in all public schools.
Not even the publicly funded Catholic schools of Ontario are immune to the moral degradation prevalent in the secular public schools. How otherwise can one explain the decision of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association to have Michelle Landsberg, the former columnist for The Toronto Starand shameless advocate of abortion on demand and same-sex “marriage,” serve as the keynote speaker at the union’s annual meeting in August?
In every province of Canada, all teachers and principals employed in the public schools, both secular and Catholic, must belong to an authorized teachers’ union. It’s the leaders of these unions, together with like-minded ideologues in the provincial education ministries, who set the moral tone for the public schools.
To an ever-increasing extent, the state is also imposing its prescribed curricula on independent schools. For example, last year, the Quebec Ministry of Education warned independent Christian schools that they must provide their students with a government-approved course in sex education. Meanwhile, during the current election campaign in Ontario, Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory is promising to extend funding to independent faith-based schools, if they agree to “teach the Ontario curriculum.”
The whole point of an independent school is to teach the curriculum preferred by the parents for their children. The state should not interfere in this process, unless there is reason to believe that the school is depriving its students of basic skills in reading, writing and arithmetic or serving as a breeding ground for terrorists.
As it is, we Canadians have ignored Mill’s warning about the perils of a general state education. We have allowed most of our schools to come under the control of government bureaucrats and union bosses who exercise a despotism of the mind over the children in their care.
And, as Mill predicted, that despotism of the mind is naturally leading to a despotism of the body. Sooner or later, some stalwart Christian in Canada who insists that sexual intercourse should be confined within marriage between a man and a woman, will be convicted and fined by a human rights tribunal and, ultimately, jailed by the appellate courts for steadfastly defying the orthodoxy of gay rights as inculcated in our state-run schools.