MONTREAL (Jan. 31)
Data on school attendance in Montreal, released today in connection with the hearings of a provincial Royal Commission on Education, showed that 25 percent of the pupil enrollment in Protestant schools is Jewish. There are no public schools in Montreal. Catholic children attend Catholic-sponsored schools and some Jewish children attend communal Jewish day schools.
In Protestant high schools, Jewish pupils constitute one-third of enrollment. The percentage of Jewish pupils in Protestant schools would be just as high were it not for the fact that more than 4,000 Jewish children attend Jewish day schools.
Although Jews are a minority of Protestant school enrollments, they contribute in school revenues as much as 75 percent of the funds allocated to Protestant school authorities. This proportion stems from the fact that Jewish property owners are more numerous in proportion to other property owners than the number of Jewish children of school age would normally indicate.
While Protestant school budgets benefit by the high financial contribution from Jewish property owners, it is recalled that not many years ago, Jewish pupil enrollment was higher than now in relation to school taxes paid by Jewish property owners and the Protestants then claimed they were educating Jewish children at a financial loss. The current contractual relationship on such attendance has been in effect during both phases of the attendance proportions.
The largest proportion of the 4,000 Jewish children in Jewish day schools attend schools operated by the United Talmud Torahs, which has a network of 12 branches in various parts of Montreal, most of them housed in synagogue buildings. Other day schools are operated by the Jewish People’s Schools and the Jewish Peretz schools which teach both Yiddish and Hebrew and are Zionist-oriented. Some day schools are operated by the larger Orthodox synagogues.
Some 25 percent of Jewish children of public school age in Montreal attend Jewish day schools. About five percent, or 354, attend Jewish day high schools.
The commission was set up by the Quebec provincial government to examine all phases of education in the province. This includes the anomalous position of the Jews in the Quebec education system, an issue which has long engaged the attention of educators, attorneys and community workers.