Now this is a topic that is very controversial, and I often find myself struggling to choose a side to land on in the argument (related story: Toronto Star: Province needs to set school fundraising limits, groups say). But regardless, it is an important topic, and I felt it necessary to throw in my 2 cents.
One thing that I feel absolutely passionate about, is that every child should have an equal chance when it comes to getting an education (or at least a publicly funded education). Every child should be allowed the chance to become anything they would ever want in this world, as this is the very definition of freedom and democracy. Meritocracy should be the only judge when determining where a person should end up in their lives, and nothing else.
This is why I have such a hatred for Monarchy and Entitlement. Why the hell should I have respect and love for the Monarchy when they did absolutely nothing to earn that from me? Monarchy (all of them in the history of time), basically invented and nourished slavery, choosing arbitrarily who should be slaves and who should be privileged, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the accomplishments of a person, and moreso to do with their social status, a status of which they had almost no power whatsoever to establish, change or overcome.
This is why democracy and freedom was (and is) so important. It broke down the fake barriers created by the privileged to hold onto their privilege and hold back those "lower" classes from making any progress. This is why we are seeing the overthrowing of regimes and dictatorships in the Arab world right now... It is exactly for this same reason!
Allowing some children to get a better publicly funded education than others simply because their parents are more well-off (especially where in some cases those parents have gained their wealth through inheritance and via no effort of their own), is completely wrong (in my opinion), and it punishes/rewards the children for either the failures/successes or even bad luck/good luck of their parents.
This is why when I hear about public schools in rich areas fundraising and raising millions of dollars for their schools, meanwhile those folks in poorer areas are barely able to raise a few thousand dollars for theirs, and therefore their children either reap the benefits or pay the price, it is just not right in my eyes. (And before you rich parents go nuts and assume that I want you to give your fundraising dollars to the poorer children, just relax and keep reading...)
Now, I don't blame the rich parents for trying to ensure that their kids get the best education possible. That is their right in a free society, not to mention there right as parents. In fact, if they didn't do so, I would question their priorities. And I don't blame the poorer parents for not being able to raise as much money as the richer parents, as poorer parents in many cases actually have both parents working countless hours a day to survive, and don't have the luxury of having one parent available (due to them not working) and being able to dedicate full-time to fundraising for their local schools.
And idiots like NewsTalk1010's Jerry Agar are so ignorant when it comes to things like this, that they just can't wrap their heads around it. Not all poor people don't work and choose to spend all their time on selfish matters, as opposed to fundraising for their children's education. And not all poor folks have the connections and even the know-how of how to get key people to help them out with the fundraising and etc. Regardless of how ignorant you want to be around the subject, this is just simple reality.
I grew up in one of the worst neighbourhoods in Toronto, and I went to school with kids the majority of which were in public housing. It sucked for me to not have all of the latest clothes and toys and etc. (you try going to school in the 80s and 90s with hand-me-downs from the 60s & 70s, with bell-bottom jeans and huge collared shirts), while both my parents worked for a living and provided as best as they could for me, meanwhile, these kids whose parents were on welfare had everything that I didn't, and their parents didn't work and etc. So I understand both the view of people who hate those who don't help themselves, and the view of those who are poor and though their parents do both work hard to make a living, the unfortunate reality is that without a head start like the majority of well-off people got, not everyone is that lucky and they have to start from nothing and progress the hard way.
Now, is it fair that I should suffer because my parents both work and don't have the time to organize events and walk around our neighbourhood trying to solicit money from people who supposedly don't have enough money for food? Not to mention in my neighbourhood, you really didn't want to walk around anywhere for the fear of getting robbed or shot. But Jerry Agar would never understand something like this in his cushy existence... And in someways I don't blame him for it, as I guess he has been sheltered from this reality his whole life, so how would he understand?
The blame for this problem lies not with the parents, but squarely on the McGuinty Liberal Ontario Government. You see, if every school had the money it needed to support all of the programs, services and activities it required, then this need for fundraising at the school level would not exist. And therefore if this need for fundraising didn't exist, then every child would again get the same equal publicly funded education that every child has a right to.
All of this class warfare and rich versus poor and yada yada is all just rhetoric-driven manipulative jargon that the McGuinty government would rather we focus on, as opposed to focusing on their failure when it comes to the education of our children.
I mean, really, we are paying so much in taxes for Education for our children and Healthcare for our population, and yet neither of these areas are getting all of the money that they need.
Meanwhile, we have the McGuinty government experimenting in Green Energy and blowing billions of our tax dollars on failed initiatives and wasteful spending boondoggles, and our parents are fighting with each other over having a proper education for their children?
Somewhere along the lines over the past years, things just went backward. Dalton McGuinty, though he always portrays a fatherly persona who looks out for the best interests of Ontarians, obviously has lost track of where his priorities should lie.
If a change isn't made soon, not only are we adults going to be in trouble, but as we are starting to see, our children are going to be in trouble as well, and that spells nothing but trouble for the future of Ontario (and that has nothing to do with whether I'm poor or you're rich).
http://www.flickr.com/photos/us_mission_canada/5376079686/sizes/o/ by US Mission Canada on flickr