A Solution to Tuition Conflict

Diego Pelaez Gaetz (“Time to Grow Up”, Vol.31, Iss.2, Aug. 24) is full of questions and impatient for answers. He doesn’t agree that raising tuition is the answer to Concordia’s financial problems, but he himself offers no alternative, leaving it to people like Mr. Osei and his successor Ms. Lucas.

Diego Pelaez Gaetz (“Time to Grow Up”, Vol.31, Iss.2, Aug. 24) is full of questions and impatient for answers. He doesn’t agree that raising tuition is the answer to Concordia’s financial problems, but he himself offers no alternative, leaving it to people like Mr. Osei and his successor Ms. Lucas.

But, as he says, the CSU, despite their rhetoric, has not offered such an alternative, and their actions seem to favour increasing costs. Not a year has gone by that the CSU has not sought to raise its own fee, or some other fee, and at the last CSU Council meeting they even passed a motion (authored by the University) that retroactively approved an illegal fee hike and allowed the University to keep the proceeds. However, there have been changes recently, so we will soon see what the CSU has to offer.

But there are others who do have alternatives.

Virtually every government everywhere favours free access to education (on paper). Even the Constitution of President Lucas’ home state of Texas has it right. It states, “A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”

Can’t beat that as a call for free education. Could this be the kind of American model Dr. Woodsworth has in mind? Probably not.

Education seems to be of crucial importance only until you start to learn anything truly useful, stuff that can really help you preserve your liberties and rights. After that, education seems to lose all social value in the eyes of legislatures.

If the Quebec government decided that it would cost parents $5,000 – $6,000 per year to send a child to kindergarten, suburbanites would march on the National Assembly with tiki torches and weed whackers. But that same child apparently has no right to schooling beyond reading and writing, and maybe a little fingerpainting and a trip to a petting zoo.

I won’t condense a big answer into a small space (400 words isn’t much), but instead point out the Free Education Montreal web site. It has plenty of material about education and some of the better alternatives that Mr. Pelaez Gaetz is looking for:
http://freeeducationmontreal.org.

—Robert Sonin,
M.A. Philosophy

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 04, published September 7, 2010.

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