Public Funds for Public Education

The bedrock for developing a respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is universal public education.

However, since 1977, successive governments in British Columbia have sought to create a two-tiered education system through a public subsidy to independent schools. A majority of these schools are faith based, while others charge prohibitive tuitions. These barriers segregate society along sectarian and socio-economic lines. Further, the Government has a duty to protect the rights of children, recognized under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in religious independent schools. Humanists have also welcomed innovative and experimental forms of education.

Under our call for an end to public funding of independent schools, the British Columbia Humanist Association:

  • Supports the principle of public funds for public education;
  • Opposes public funding going to faith-based education;
  • Joins calls for the phase out of public funding to all independent schools;
  • Supports greater innovation within the public education system; and
  • Calls on the Government of BC to ensure:
    • the religious neutrality of the Office of the Inspector of Independent
      Schools,
    • all independent schools meet comparable curriculum standards as public
      schools and
    • students in independent schools are free from discrimination and their
      freedoms of religion and expression are protected.

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Latest news


Follow the money: BC's private school giveaway benefits wealthy and religious families

A new analysis from the BC Humanist Association shows that nearly three of every four dollars of the over $400 million that the province gives to private schools goes to religious schools; nearly all which are Christian or Catholic. And of the 19.6% of the funding ($83.6 million) that goes...

BCHA reacts to 2021 provincial and federal budgets

Yesterday the Government of Canada released its 2021 budget and today the Government of BC released its budget. The BC Humanist Association is celebrating investments in childcare, reconciliation and efforts to combat systemic racism.

Secular home and online school options for BC parents

As the Government of British Columbia rolls out its Education Restart Plan, some students and parents are considering their own options for their return to school in September. A popular option is some form of homeschooling. Parents in BC have three main options for homeschooling their children: Enrolling in a...

Pass or Fail? Comparing the performance of private and public school graduates in post-secondary education

Executive Summary Proponents of British Columbia’s (BC) private education funding model have claimed that private schools provide students with an academic advantage over their public school peers. By comparing the performance of graduates of BC private and public schools at the University of British Columbia (UBC), we can test this...

Reduction in funding for online private schools a step in the right direction

The BC Humanist Association is applauding a step by the Ministry of Education to reduce public support for online private schooling. The Government of BC funds in-person private schools up to 50% of the per-student amount of neighbouring public schools; however, online distributed learning (DL) programs run by private schools...

Poll finds majority strongly oppose funding private faith schools

More than half of British Columbians (51%) strongly oppose "providing taxpayer funds to faith-based private schools that include religious teachings in their curriculum" according to a new poll from Insights West. A total of 69% were opposed with 18% somewhat opposed.

Our role in ending Bible readings in BC schools

76 (1) All schools and Provincial schools must be conducted on strictly secular and non-sectarian principles. (2) The highest morality must be inculcated, but no religious dogma or creed is to be taught in a school or Provincial school. Since 1876, BC has required schools "be conducted upon strictly secular and non-sectarian principles."...

Teacher lost job for relationship status: CBC Go Public story

Stephanie Vande Kraats resigned as a teacher at Surrey Christian School after administrators allegedly told her that her contract would not be renewed because she was living with a man she wasn't married to, according to a story from CBC's Go Public. I didn't want to continue in a place...

Homophobia in the hallways: LGBTQ people at risk in Catholic schools

By Tonya D. Callaghan, University of Calgary Recently, a Calgary woman filed two human rights complaints with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The employee, Barb Hamilton, says she was pushed out the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) because of her sexuality and was refused employment on the grounds of marital...

Are LGBTQ2+ families welcome at BC independent schools?

In the past couple days it has come out that anyone in a same-sex relationship is formally barred from working at a Catholic school in Calgary. Further, in a number of human rights complaints, teachers have alleged anti-LGBTQ2+ discrimination by Catholic school boards in Alberta. While Alberta's Catholic schools are...

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