Montreal (Mar. 26)
The question which now agitates all Montreal Jewry, the adherents as well as the opponents of separate Jewish schools, is: Who will be the five Jewish school commissioners to be appointed by the government and how will they act after the government bill, which gives the Jews a separate school status but allows them to either have their own schools or come to an understanding with the Protestants, will have been passed?
Those who are in favor of separate Jewish schools fear that the Jewish commissioners that are to be appointed may again bargain with the Protestants. Meanwhile, say the “separatists,” it cannot be said that Jews are soon to have their own schools, though the idea is much nearer to realization now than it was formerly. The Jewish commissioners are to be appointed by the government on the recommendation of the two Jewish members of the legislature, who are not very enthusiastic, who have at times been even antagonistic, to the idea of separate Jewish schools.
The Quebec government is to bring in its own bill within the coming few days, creating a Jewish school commission of five members on Montreal Island, with powers of administrating and determining the curriculum for Jewish schools. School curricula and text-books are now under the jurisdiction of the provincial Council of Public Instruction, which is composed of two separate sections of Catholics and Protestants, each responsible for the educational programme of their own school system. The Catholic clergy for the province have been strongly opposed to the creation of a Jewish section of this Council of Public Instruction. After a conference, the government yielded to the demands of the clergy with regard to Jewish representation on the provincial council, but it is claimed nevertheless that the bill gives the Montreal Jewish school commission full rights as to curriculum, text books, etc.
This concession to the Catholic clergy, it is claimed by those who are in favor of separate Jewish schools, is not detrimental to the interests of Jews and is acceptable to the “separatists,” since the Jewish school commission of Montreal will be given the same rights as a Jewish section of the Provincial Council of Public Instruction would have. The unsatisfactory point about the bill, they claim, is that it does not provide for the immediate creation of a separate Jewish school system, but only establishes the principle of a separate Jewish school status.