As those who are regular readers know, I'm not a great fan or supporter of the private education provided for and by the Montreal's Hasidic community, but the abrupt withdrawal of funding by the Quebec Education department based on the fact that classes are segregated begs some serious opposition. The Montreal Gazette questioned quite rightly whether the move was just strictly political and undertaken to quell the voices of anti-religionists and anti-accommodationists.
There are many legitimate reasons to restrict or remove funding from these religious fundamentalist schools, who by and large ignore provincial rules concerning curriculum, but removing their funding with little notice based on the notion that separate classes for boys and girls runs contrary to Quebec values is strictly not kosher. That Quebec education minister Michelle Courchesne chose to act against the Hasidic school and no other school that are gender based smacks of discrimination.
There is legitimate academic debate concerning separate boys and girls classes. Many moons ago, I myself was streamed into an all boys class in grade seven at the Protestant School Board's Van Horne School in Snowdon, while the girls were sent off to their own class.
Was it good or bad? Dunno...
We were told by authorities that boys and girls had different educational requirements and separate classes would help focus on the different developmental needs of each group.
I guess that rationale doesn't run counter to Quebec values, but separating the sexes basesd on religious values obviously does. That being said, banning and tolerating the exact same practice based on different motives is hard to defend.
If this prohibition is applied by the education department equally across the board, it will have an effect on countless private schools across the province who also practice single-sex education, the majority which are Christian faith-based.
Does this ruling mean that all-girl schools like Miss Edgar and Miss Cramps (high school) could lose their government subsidy if they refuse to accept male students? There are dozens and dozens of schools in the same boat.
I don't particularly like religious fanatics who practice self-imposed apartheid. I particularly have little use for Hasids and their fundamentalist values.
That being said, it is incumbent on all of us to defend any minority when they are under attack strictly based on their religion. It is called DISCRIMINATION and as a good citizen I will defend the Hasidic school's right to be treated as equally as the Christian faith-based schools or the secular single sex schools.
What makes this blatant religious attack more disturbing is that the French press has roundly applauded the action of the minister. There's a constituency of left-wing nationalist stateists that have been waiting a long time to punish the Hasidic community. It's too bad that they can't see the attack on the Hasidic school for what it is- payback for all those pesky accommodations.