Public Education Fairness Network welcomes support from Catholic Church

    TORONTO, Sept. 9 /CNW/ - The Public Education Fairness Network today
welcomed the unequivocal support of Ontario's Catholic Church leadership for
fairness in education.
    "The public funding of Catholic schools recognizes that parents have the
right to make educational choices for their children, and that the state
should assist them," said a news release from the Ontario Conference of
Catholic Bishops.
    The Bishops reiterated their commitment that "the best education for all
students impels us to respect and support the wishes of parents in other faith
communities for religious education in the public school system or for
alternative schools which will reflect their values and beliefs."
    David Koschitzky, Vice Chair, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto,
representing both UJA Federation and Canadian Jewish Congress said that "This
clear Catholic endorsement of government support for faith-based schools opens
a new chapter in our quest for fairness in a more inclusive public education
system in Ontario. This is a giant stride toward the civil discussion needed
on this issue."
    "All Ontarians have a stake in a fair and strong public education system.
The support of the Catholic Church is especially welcome, because publicly
supported Catholic schools are shining examples of how faith-based education
contributes to a vibrant and pluralistic society," added Sivan Karshafian, a
member of the ARS Armenian School Board.
    "This show of solidarity is especially important to demonstrate that
public education fairness is an issue around which we, as proud Ontarians,
should unite. It's not something to be feared," said Mustafa Khalil Rawji of
the As-Sadiq Islamic School.
    Approximately 650,000 Catholic students are enrolled in Ontario's
publicly funded, faith-based Catholic school system, whereas 53,000 children
from other faith-based schools are shut out of public education.

    The Public Education Fairness Network is comprised of members of the
Armenian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities who have come together to
advocate for the inclusion of all Ontario faith-based schools that meet
provincial standards in public education. Ontario is the only province to
support one faith-based school system to the exclusion of others.

For further information:

For further information: Howard English, VP, Corporate Communications,
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, 4600 Bathurst St., Toronto, M2R 3V2, Phone:
(416) 631-5735, Cell: (416) 274-8461,

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