The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents


An Opinion on Education Vouchers and Tax Credits

Dear Home Rules,

I really enjoyed the March issue of Home Rules, especially the articles detailing contacts with the government, and what their view of deschoolers, homeschoolers, and independent schools are.

I would like to comment on the now-fashionable notion of education vouchers and tax credits for homeschoolers, referred to in the March issue (page 10).

I used to support these ideas, but have come to change my mind. If homeschoolers were to take tax credits, that would open the door to our being subject to the standards and curricula set by the Ministry of Education, and the intrusive monitoring that that entails.

(He that pays the piper, calls the tune). The same for the charter schools and tax voucher systems.

People are not going to accept tax-funded programmes without some form of accountability to the taxpayers, and that will involve some form of government intervention. Frankly, as a taxpayer myself, I would find that kind of intrusion justifiable.

Where does that leave us? I think that the less government has to do with education, the better. Getting government out of our pockets and reducing funding to the schools as much as possible is the route to go. If some people are unable to look after their children’s education, then perhaps subsidies could be made available, just as rental assistance is or welfare payments. We don’t have government-run grocery stores because some people can’t afford food; we ought not to have state-run and regulated schools just because some people can’t afford schools.

I think the notion of liberty takes a real beating in our society. The private schools will become much more accountable to the general public and to government, if they are funded with tax dollars in the form of vouchers. Their liberty to be what the schools and the parents want will be diminished. Our apparent choices won’t be as wide as we may think.

Homeschoolers are in a wonderful position to tell the government to get out of our lives in this one little area. We are self-financing, and most of us receive little or no assistance from the schools by way of books or equipment. Let us please not give up our liberty to teach how, what, when and where we want to for the sake of some monetary benefits. We shouldn’t be selling out our freedom of choice. If people want government funded education, they should send their kids to school, not try to get benefits for the rest of us that will prove to be a curse.

It is not the government nor society who bore our children; nor is it their responsibility to educate them. If we find that the cost for us is too high, we need to press for reductions in expenditures by reducing education funding, not by increasing it.

Yours very truly,

Betty Cerar