BC Budget continues faith school giveaway

Humanists are disappointed that today's provincial budget continues the multimillion dollar giveaway to independent faith schools across the province.

Budget 2018 estimates that independent schools across BC will receive over $425 million in public funding for 2018/19.

Independent schools across BC can qualify for up to 50% of the per-student funding as neighbouring public schools. The majority of independent schools that receive this funding are religious. 

These include schools that "teach creation in science class", prioritize students on the basis of whether they can speak in tongues and ones that discriminate against LGBTQ2+ families.

Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association:

The past 16 years has seen a systematic attempt to undermine BC's public school system in favour of private, independent schools. The result of this has been an explosion of sectarian faith schools that undermine science and LGBTQ2+ equality, paid for in part by unwitting taxpayers.

We just scratched the surface and easily found three examples of schools that seem to run contrary to the government's stated commitment to equality, human rights and science-based policy. What else is happening under the Ministry of Education's nose?

As we build our Secular Schools campaign in 2018, our goal is to investigate every independent faith school in BC so we can bring some public accountability to what this money is being spent on.

In the BCHA's 2016 Religious and Secular Attitudes Survey with Insights West, 63% of British Columbians said they oppose providing government funds to private secular schools and 70% oppose providing funds to private religious schools. A poll by CUPE BC around the same time found that 77% of British Columbians opposed private schools being funded by taxpayers.

The Ministry of Education required BC school districts to keep Biblical Creationism out of science classrooms in 1996.

Join the Secular Schools campaign to help end funding of faith schools in BC.

Pacific Academy

Surrey's Pacific Academy is a Pentecostal school for about 1450 students from junior kindergarten to grade 12. As part of its registration priority categories, the school priotizes "students, or whose parent(s)...have experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by the sign of speaking in tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance (Acts 2:4)."

Langley Christian School

Langley Christian School has over 940 students from kindergarten to grade 12. All parents are required to sign a "Community Standards Policy" before their children can attend. That policy states that parents and students shall "understand marriage to be a covenant between a man and a woman; respect the sanctity of life from the moment of conception; [and] refrain from sexual misconduct such as adultery, sexual relationships outside of marriage".

Valley Christian School

Mission's Valley Christian School (VCS) has about 250 students from kindergarten to grade 12, as well as a international and distributed learning program. On its Frequently Asked Questions page, VCS says the difference between "the teaching at VCS and public school" includes that "Creation is taught in science class and in Bible class."

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