Ever wonder why Canadians are universally considered “nice”… and tolerant, considerate, and terminally apologetic?
Some of these things have been bred into us by family and are reflected in our social structures.
And there are historical, and anthro/sociological forces that have contributed to our Canadian persona.
But the architects, the purveyors of our Canadianism are our public schools.
Traits of Canadian character are mortared deep within our children during their thirteen years of attending Canadian public schools.
Each day during their most developmentally crucial years, our children spend six hours learning Canadian niceness and tolerance, practicing it, and seeing it modelled and encouraged by peers and adult mentors.
Our public schools have provided Canada a level educational playing field.They provide equity of educational opportunity, and in so doing, are the main vehicle of social mobility.
Public schools are what keeps Canada from having an identifiable class system, unlike other countries with private schools that inevitably separate people and promote inequality of opportunity.
Our public schools have taught us Canadian culture. They are why Canadians solemnly “observe” remembrance of military sacrifice and its horror rather than rhapsodizing about military heroism.
A Canadian observance of religious holidays, festivals, and important occasions of other cultures is learned in our public schools.
And the above are only the cultural contributions made by public schools. The service they provide in the personal development of children is equally, if not more, profound.
Public schooling has been the most successful initiative of western democracies, and those who provide it serve our country as fundamentally as does any uniformed Canadian.
I want a ribbon to go on my car’s bumper that says “ I Support Canada’s Public Schools and Educators”.
I want to see a group of public school teachers march onto the field during half time of the Grey Cup Game so we can publicly thank them for their service to our country; for helping to pass on Canadian values, beliefs, and culture to us all.
So, to all public educators, whose profound contributions are too often lost to the hand wringing of fiscal austerity;
Thank you for your service to our country.