Monday, April 14, 2014

Public Education Before Health Care

When you replace the fan belt on your 1988 Toyota Corrolla, you can't drive faster than when the car was brand new. Even with the new part, the car, with all of its wear and tear, is likely to be slower than when you first drove it off the lot.

No one expects that a trip to a mechanic for repairs is going to make their car better than new, we all know a mechanic only maintains a vehicle, he doesn't engineer it to be better. When we want a faster, more efficient and more powerful car than the one we have, we don't rely on old gears, we look to the engineering of new ones.

A similar relationship exists when it comes to improving our country, a relationship however that our political parties have perverted. Because instead of trying to improve our society by engineering innovation through public education, the priority has become the maintenance of old gears through public health care. And what Canada is left with is a less than powerful society that gets horrible mileage and has more than a few problems with its steering.

Public education, the only thing that can advance a country, was not always as neglected as it is now by our leaders. When Canada was first founded and for decades after, all the education needed to join the work force was free because our country knew bettering its people was the only way it would better itself.

High school became fully funded by the provinces because for years that diploma was all that was needed to enter trades, business, or even apprentice as a lawyer and engineer. Of Canada's 33 founding fathers only one went to university. But as times have changed and jobs have become more specialized the public provision of education has not kept up. The British Columbian government forecasts that by 2020 77.3% of all jobs will require costly post-secondary education.

Health care on the other hand, though certainly having its flaws, has become the focus of our country. This is a problem because, by itself, public health care does not better our society, it merely maintains it.

This misplacing of social priorities, health care before education, is like believing your car's mechanic is more important than its engineer; that maintaining parts is more important than their design and innovation. If that was true we wouldn't have cars today, we would just have really healthy horses.

Health care does not build a better society, only education does. If the goal of government is to improve our country and not merely maintain it, its first priority should be providing public post-secondary education.

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