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Education (Amdt.) (No. 2) Bill

Tuesday, May 02, 2000

I remember when Eric Williams was on the campaign trail: he looked at the Concordat and examined statistics to understand the way in which children were being admitted to schools. He ended his speech by saying that he has found blatant racism by the denominational schools in the way in which they interpret the Common Entrance Examination results to admit children to school. I do not know where he got all the names and addresses, but he got the names and addresses of candidates and how many marks they had and he showed, again and again, how the denominational schools operated in favour of people who came from their religion, even though other people had kids with higher marks, sometimes five, six or 10 marks above them in the Common Entrance Examination.

It looked as if at that point Williams was going to try to unscramble the Concordat, but he could not. He had to back down and learn to live with the denominations. Mr. President, yes, we have to live with the denominations.

The Minister in her presentation said that there is a perception that the assisted schools do better than the government schools and that one reason, perhaps, for this—I have to say that she was very careful, she did not say, “That was the reason,” she said that there was a perception that the assisted schools are more successful. A very philosophical statement. What is a successful school? There is a perception that the assisted schools are more successful and one reason for that perhaps, might be the system of school boards that they had in place.

She also said that one reason she likes the assisted schools is that there is an impression or a tendency for their education to be values-based and that these schools provided religious education. I would follow that up by saying that what that means is that it was responsible for more discipline and a better attitude in the schools. Those are two things she said about the assisted schools. She was not offering these as absolute affirmations, but she was saying, “It looks like that.

Mr. President, I have some sympathy for the argument that there is more discipline in the denominational schools. It certainly is very clear—[Interruption]

Motion made, That the hon. Senator’s speaking time be extended by 15 minutes. [Sen. Prof. J. Spence]

Question put and agreed to.

Sen. Prof. K. Ramchand: Thank you, Mr. President and Senators. I know it could be against the grain, because this is not an easy subject.

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