Monday, February 14, 2005

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STA (The Saskatchewan Teachers' Association)

Publicly-Funded Education
Taking Stock and Moving Forward

". . . the one - if not the only - public structure we have which is capable of reaching out to all citizens in all parts of the country and making them feel part of the extended family of citizenship is the publicly-funded education system." - John Ralston Saul

Keynote Address

Publicly-Funded Education - The Foundation of Our Collective Society

His Excellency John Ralston Saul

"Over 100 years ago, the founders of our province made education their top priority. They believed that education should be equally accessible to all, regardless of gender, socio-economic class, colour, ethnic background, country of origin or culture. They believed each member of the community should financially support this educational system. They were opposed to the British model of education that used a system of private schools for the rich and inferior public who could not afford to attend a private school. The Chiefs of the First Nations insisted upon the same publicly-funded education for their children as a critical part of the treaties."

"The people of Saskatchewan understood the importance of working together for a common goal through collective action. Publicly-funded schools have served as a gathering place in Saskatchewan for all children and their families who might not otherwise meet each other. Saskatchewan also led the movement for the inclusion of children with special needs and their becoming an integral part of publicly-funded education. Such a system of education created a collective world view that planted the seeds for other collective ideas such as Medicare and co-operatives. Demands for more democratic and open forms of government come from places where publicly-funded education exist for all children. Much of the stife we see in the news comes from environments where children either do not have access to education or only an elite few get to attend a school based on their gender or ability to pay."

"Publicly funded schools are becoming one of the last remaining institutes that serve as a unifying force in the community. It is in these schools that children and the next generation of leaders developed their world view and awareness of the collective community we live in."

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:: note :: . . . Saskatoon teachers meet . . . listen and aquire a valuable articulation of history, issues, forces, and critique for publicly-funded education . . . compelling observations on language, culture, class, imagination, citizenship, an open inclusive society, experiences of an egalitarian post modern state, native relationship, and the consultancy industry . . . funding, class size, literacy . . . hoping the transcript will soon be available . . . there was much more . . . they shared . . .