Wait a minute. What’s this? While everyone’s been standing on guard against two-tier health care it turns out we’ve got two-tier education. I want an expensive, restrictive, dysfunctional federal law and I want it now. Now now now.
We cannot delay, for we face a crisis. The Canadian Council on Learning’s 2007 Survey of Canadian Attitudes Toward Learning reports that almost one in three Canadian parents has hired a tutor for their children. And it’s not a matter of helping kids overcome disadvantages. The study says “Families with annual household incomes greater than $100,000 are almost three times more likely (2.9 times more likely) to hire tutors than families making less than $40,000.” Even worse, if anything could be worse than the rich having money, “most parents who hire tutors (73 per cent) estimate that their children’s overall academic performance is in the A or B range.”
How does that cheery Leonard Cohen song go again? “The poor stay poor, the rich get rich/ That’s how it goes/ Everybody knows.” But this is Canada. Here we have universal health care and nobody gets better treatment than anyone else unless they live in a big city, know somebody, are a politician or journalist, can afford to go to the U.S. or buy private catastrophic illness insurance, get to jump the queue thanks to a workers’ compensation board or some such irritating detail. Everybody else gets to wait in the same dingy corridors for the same exhausted ER nurses and doctors, wondering if there’s much C. difficile in this place and when that floor was last mopped.
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