By MorinvilleNews.com Staff
Morinville – The Catholic Women’s League will be opening their doors to the public Thursday evening for a presentation on how former Minister of Education Dave King’s petition to disestablish the province’s Roman Catholic and Protestant Separate Schools could affect Catholic education in Morinville and the province. The meeting will be held at the Morinville Parish Hall at 7 p.m.
King, who was Alberta’s Minister of Education from 1979 to 1986, launched a petition in December of 2010 citing multiculturalism, inclusion and tolerance as reasons for disestablishing the province’s Catholic and Protestant separate schools. King’s website argues public schools bring the Canadian values of tolerance, inclusion and multiculturalism into the classroom while separate schools do not. As of Jan. 5 678 people had signed the online petition.
Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools (GSACRD) Trustee Noreen Radford has been invited by the Catholic Women’s League to speak on King’s petition and how it could affect the catholic School System. However, Radford will not be speaking on the issues raised by Morinville resident Donna Hunter, spokesperson for a group of residents seeking a secular education for their children in Morinville schools. That matter is set for discussion at the Jan. 17 meeting of the GSACRD board of trustees.
“It’s to inform people about what is happening with Dave king and his petition to have just public schools within the province,” Radford said, adding King is bringing the issue up at an opportune time when the province is working on shifting from the current School Act to a new Education Act.
Radford defended the separate school system against King’s belief that separate school students are not participating in a classroom that reflects the society they will experience as adults.
“In any school in our school division you are going to see that it is racially diverse, faith diverse,” she said. “I don’t think that’s an issue.”
Radford said her presentation is largely focused on making people aware of what is happening. “A lot of times people are very complacent and then afterwards say, ‘Oh, I should have known,’” she said, adding there are things people can do to participate in the discussion including posting comments on King’s website and contacting their MLA.
Although she does not see King’s petition as a threat to separate school education in the province, she does believe people should be informed. “Whether he is right or whether he is not, that’s not the issue here,” she said. “What I’m talking about with the people that are coming Thursday evening is to be informed. Make sure that you understand. Make sure that your concerns are being addressed.”