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  1. FREEDOM

    March 17, 2013 by Tunya

    Today freedom has different enemies.

    It must be fought for in different ways.

    It will take very different qualities of mind and heart to save it.

                                                   - John Holt (1923-1985 home education pioneer)

     


  2. Parent Rights & Their Children’s Education

    July 21, 2014 by Tunya

    PARENT RIGHTS AND THEIR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION

    The Right to

    1. Choice

    2. Information

    3. Be Heard & Consulted

    4. Special Assistance 

    5. Involvement

    6. Safeguards

    7. Appeal

    The rights compiled here are those that generally apply in most democratic countries. They have been gathered from sources in Canada, United States, England, and Australia. Some of these rights are self-evident, some are inscribed in law. Others are simply standards which parents have grown to expect when good educational practice is followed.

    1. THE RIGHT TO CHOICE
    "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their

    children." (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948)

    This means, that while parents have a duty to see that their children are educated to a reasonable level of self- sufficiency and citizenship, they can choose how this is to be accomplished: public, private or church schools, tutoring, correspondence courses, home study, or other styles. If a style other than a public school is chosen and the parents are challenged, the onus is generally on the state to demonstrate that the child is not being educated at a level equal to his peers in a public school. The mandate of the public schools is to make available to all children in the community an education which is free, appropriate and equal. Parents have a right to choose and expect at least that minimum for their child.

    2. THE RIGHT TO INFORMATION

    In order for parents to make a proper choice, they need adequate information. They need to know enough details about schools so that when they do register their child into a particular school, they are in effect, giving "informed consent" for the child to be there. Equally important, they need ongoing information as the child progresses through the school programs so that they can maintain confidence and support for the school, or withdraw the child if things prove unsatisfactory. If theirs is a public school, parents need information for one other reason–to help them provide informed opinions to the school and to participate in school decision-making. Specifically, parents have the right:

    a) to obtain sufficient details about schools to enable them to make informed choices about schools
    b) to receive specific, understandable information about their child’s progress; strengths and weaknesses
    c) to see all student records and files on their child, to expect that the information therein is confidential and respects the privacy of parents and student, and to request that inaccuracies and damaging information be removed d) to obtain information about any program in which their child is engaged, the rationale for the program, the evaluation methods used, and the credentials and job description of those implementing the program
    e) to visit and observe any programs involving their child
    f) to easy access to those working with their child (teachers, principal, specialists)
    g) to receive information about school services–including alternatives in the system, procedures, rules, and to be informed about changes
    h) to see that the public school board is operated as an open public business, that is, that the public has a right to see all policies, budgets, minutes, and official reports, and to see that decisions are made at public meetings. 

    3. THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD & CONSULTED

    As advocates for their children, parents have a responsibility to inform public schools about their expectations concerning their children’s education. And this means that if the public system is to be responsive, parents must be accorded the right and the opportunity to be heard. They have a right to be heard by the teacher, by the total school staff (for example, on such items as philosophy, goals and programs), by the local school board and the higher educational authorities. Parents, as individuals and in parent groups, have a right to be heard when policies are being formulated, when planning is undertaken, when budgets are being prepared, and when evaluation is being conducted. They have a right to present briefs, make statements, and try to influence decision-making about schools their children attend.

    4. THE RIGHT TO SPECIAL ASSISTANCE

    Parents have the right to expect special services for children with handicaps, limitations, disabilities or exceptional talents. Parents also have the right in these instances to expect special assistance for themselves so that they can understand the situation and be enabled to continue helping their child. Parents whose children have been taken into care by the state (e.g., foster care, correctional institution) also have a right to expect special services to help their children continue their education, and for themselves so that they can maintain a helping contact as much as possible or desirable.

    5. THE RIGHT TO INVOLVEMENT

    Parents, as co-educators and guides of their child’s total education, have a right to be involved in that part of the child’s day spent in school. Particularly, it is important to know that parents have the right:
    a) to understand the principles, aims and programs of formal education so that they can support, enrich and provide home follow-through to school programs. At times, parents have also found it necessary to have this basic understanding in order to provide external remediation or tutoring.
    b) to have their child excused from programs or prescribed reading which offends the values of the home, when specifically requested
    c) to consultation before fundamental changes are made which affect the parents, the child, or the total school climate
    d) to participate in evaluation procedures affecting their child’s programs, and in formulation of policy, goals and shape of education
    e) to be involved in the event their child is to be suspended from school. The student has the right to "due process" and parents and student are part of the affected parties to be heard before judgment or action is taken and before the student is suspended for just cause.

    6. THE RIGHT TO SAFEGUARDS

    Parents have the right to expect that a school system has certain standards that govern good practice. Specifically, parents have the right:
    a) to expect safeguards which protect their children from physical, intellectual and emotional negligence or abuse; b) to receive assurance that their school does not allow unauthorized invasions of their child’s privacy or property (e.g., questionnaires which pry into family life, searches of lockers)

    c) to expect that parental permission is required before psychological, psychiatric, or medical assessment and/or treatment of the child are undertaken;
    d) to expect strict supervision over new programs, innovations and experiments, and that parents have special rights in these instances:

    i) to receive a written description of the program, rationale, goals and supporting references; ii) to grant or refuse permission for their child’s attendance
    iii) to receive satisfaction that the program is run by qualified, well-prepared personnel
    iv) to be involved in the ongoing evaluation. 

    7. THE RIGHT TO APPEAL

    Parents have the right to appeal decisions which they consider unsatisfactory and to report behavior which they consider might be incompatible with good educational practice. Parents should be informed of their lines of appeal, which generally start with the teacher, then proceed up through to the principal, the school board, to the government ministry in charge. Parents have a right to receive, on request, a written explanation which responds to their appeal, and which they might require in pursuing their grievance further up the ladder. Matters of law can be referred to a court for judgment, and the normal civil remedies exist when it is considered damages should be claimed.

    Parent Role, Rights and Responsibilities in the Education of Their Children

    With respect to educational rights, parents have a two-fold duty: to know and exercise their own rights, and to know and enforce their children’s rights. As users of the educational system, and as advocates for their children, parents are duty-bound to act well and wisely to see that the system works to the advantage of their children and the community’s children. If the rights here described are challenged by school officials, they have a right to ask why rights parents enjoy in other jurisdictions are denied them, And they have a right to receive an explanation.

    Interwoven with rights are responsibilities and some of these have been mentioned earlier. Besides all that parents have to do to provide the kind of home life and support for good education to happen, they also have to do their part in building a co-operative relationship with educational authorities. Parents need that relationship to ensure that policies and programs are developed as close "to home" as possible – close to the important parent-child- teacher relationship. The rights enumerated here should provide the confidence and background to help build that co-operative framework.

    REMEMBER: It has always been, except in totalitarian states, the duty of parents to educate their children.

    England: It shall be the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age to cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability, and aptitude, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise. (Education Act, 1944)
    United States: The first School Laws in America (1642) underlie the system to this day: “Universal education of youth is essential to the well-being of the State. The obligation to furnish this education rests primarily upon the parents.”

    Canada: “The responsibility is placed by law upon the parents or guardian to educate their children.” (You and the Law, 1973)
    The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) supports this parental duty.

    The public schools do have a statutory duty to provide a free education to all students whose parents choose to register them. However, it is made clear in all school law that parents are to be kept informed of the progress of the child. This information must be accurate and understandable to the parents so that they in turn can exercise their duty by supporting, augmenting, intervening or withdrawing from that school. Public schools serve a two-fold purpose: to assist parents in meeting their parental obligation in the education of their children and to serve the broader public interest in seeing that citizens are educated to a certain standard.

    - Compiled in 1977 by Education Advisory, an independent research and advisory service about effective parent participation in education. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  3. Rise & Fall of Public School System

    July 20, 2014 by Tunya

    Rise & Fall Of The Public Education System

    There are dozens of reasons given for the fall of the Roman Empire — decay, decadence, despotism, centralization, incompetence . . . Add rhetoric, presumptuousness . . . One article describes 210 reasons!

    Mainly, upon close reading, one finds that it becomes self-evident that disintegration would happen.  No external reform imperatives would have ensured such warranted collapse.

    The same dynamic is happening to the industry called “public education” — an experiment of nationalizing education services in many nations of the world — an operation under central command of the government and delivered by government workers.  It is so wrong of people to label reform efforts as “privatizing” when it’s simply a return to a default before government intervened. 

    John Holt, an education reformer in the 60s who reversed gears to help found the home education movement, sensed a lurking fascism within the public education system.  He said:  “Today freedom has different enemies. It must be fought for in different ways. It will take very different qualities of mind and heart to save it.”

    Above is my lead-in to comment on the large number of catch-up news that the blog, Society for Quality Education, has provided.  As a welcome clearinghouse of information for citizens come to grips with “the system” of education we endure it is important to pay tribute to the gift of technology and services like SQE in this crucial cause.

    My half-century of struggle in navigating the ropes — both for my own children and now my grandkids — has not been clear sailing.  It is disturbing to still experience, and see current parents still struggling with, unresponsive systems and officious scolding educrats.  Some educrats still dream of being “education czars” to coerce people into their mold.  Some educrats passionately support a “progressive ideology” which is more self-serving than beneficial to the students. 

    I am so thankful that people who seek and yearn for alternatives to the coercive government system can at least talk about and envision options such as charter schools, education savings accounts, vouchers and low cost private schools.  At least people are informed about the option of home education with its loads of resources and supports available.  We need also to talk about tax deductible scholarships for private education.

    Now adding to the list of readings for more perspective on the “public education system”, here is a straightforward article by Bruce Deitrick Price shining more light on the Reading and Math Wars and the ideology behind them:  Education : None Dare Call Them Commies  http://www.educationviews.org/education-call-commies/

    (See more from BDP on American Thinker.)

    to SQE 19 July 2014, http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog/read/accentuate-the-positive

     


  4. who governs public education?

    July 16, 2014 by Tunya

    Posted in Society for Quality Education, July 16, 2014, http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog/read/whos-on-first2

    Who Governs Public Education?

    That is the burning question. Globally, teacher unions seem to belong to one mindset — that it is teacher unions who should govern public education.

    They have three objectives: 1) providing for their members the usual union services relating to pay, benefits, job safety & security; 2) influence over policies and management of their industry; 3) retaining their ideal venue (public schools) in support of social change for an egalitarian world. 

    It is the second goal — governance — that is now in the process of legal clarification.  [This applies to BC at the moment, but will apply to ROC.]  This will take years to settle.  Meanwhile student education and development will be stunted.  Where is Teach for Canada with their six week training for new teachers?

    Teacher union erosion of governmental role in education has been chipped away for decades. When governments start to push back, turmoil erupts.

    Even today, glee and rejoicing has erupted with the news that the tough Education Secretary, Michael Gove in the UK, has been moved out of the portfolio.  Strikes by the NUT (National Union of Teachers) had been imminent.

    Next door, the Education Minister, Jeff Johnson, has just been effectively muzzled in pursuing his probe into the extent of incompetency in Alberta public schools.  The teacher union made a formal complaint.http://www.edmontonjournal.com/opinion/Thomson+Here+Education+Minister+Jeff+Johnson+save+face/10022799/story.html

    In Saskatchewan, the teacher union seems to be lining up with BC to stage a strike. 

    Many point to Finland as a leader in student achievement, a leader in teacher training, a leader in most things educational.  Yet, how many know the true nature of governance in Finland?  This is what their main spokesperson, Pasi Sahlberg, has to relay: 

    Pasi was asked the question, “Why aren’t the teachers at the decision-making table?”  Answer:  “There is a saying … that ‘war is too important to be decided by the military people’ and it’s the same with education. I think education is too important to be decided by teachers – and this has nothing to do with undervaluing teachers’ expertise . . . But the broad issues, the big issues, the principles of education should be based on a more balanced view and that’s why I would only have one practitioner in the room and divide this voice more equally to those who are the key stakeholders, (including) parents and the community members.” [The question was out of 10, how many should be teachers?]


    http://eltorofulbright.blogspot.com/2013/05/my-interview-with-pasi-sahlberg.html

    Here in BC, with our teacher strike, already projected to October, and with the Finance Minister de Jong also now involved and asking:  “Why is it so difficult in this area?”  In answer to de Jong’s question, please go back to the three goals of teacher unions, bearing in mind that it’s the leaders who generally speak.  And be reminded that in the international brotherhood of teacher unions BCTF is not its own boss — global loyalties apply.  (See goals 2 & 3 above


  5. One Worst School System

    July 14, 2014 by Tunya

    One Worst Education System

    Funny, how every nation thinks they have the best system — and it must be public education by government teachers, centralized curriculum planning, compulsory, graded, age-related groupings, etc.

    Yet, schooling systems in different countries differ substantially from each other.  What is agreed, universally, is that each nation must have ONE, universal system. 

    Books have been written about the “one best system”, a search for an efficient, progressive structure — producing docile, conforming students.  A book that had considerable influence was even called, “Dare Schools Build A New Social Order? by Counts.  This one did have considerable influence in foreshadowing current social justice and equity agendas.

    A book worth reading is “Progressively Worse” by Peal.  Further explanations why illiteracy, poor math, entitlement mentality are outcomes in progressive schools. 

    Can we agree we’ve now evolved “one worst system”?.  Yet, people, or those in the education establishment, still insist that they must be in charge — they are to call the shots — one system for all with dribs and drabs of a few options here or there. 

    The “One Worst System” is dreadfully scared of a publically funded arrangement where clients, not producers, drive the provision.  Choice is the only way to open up the field so that both clients and producers can build the relationships necessary for the best education possible for each child.  So much is known about what good education for individual needs can achieve.  It’s such a pity that rigid control freaks and ideology run the show!

    It’s such a hopeful (Yes, hopeful!) signal that there is so much more discussion about options in education being tried out in different parts of the world — charters, vouchers, School Savings Accounts, low-cost private schools, etc. etc.  And let’s not forget the sure way, without much debate, that stands the test of time and prepares so assuredly for college or career readiness — Home Education — and the old standby (besides many curriculum choices now on the market) — the old standby — World Books course of studies which will guide you safely and easily to being well-educated without the hassle.  See their durable list of many decades for all 14 levels P-12 http://worldbook.com/typical-course-of-study?wbredirect=1&Itemid=216

    How I love reading the simple expectations.  Would but the public schools match these expectations!

    [My comment to Society for Quality Education, July 14, 2014,  http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog/read/its-not-me-so-it-has-to-be-you

     

     

  6. judgment time for public education

    July 8, 2014 by Tunya

     

    JUDGMENT TIME FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION

    Legal authorized official judges are not the only ones considering the pro’s and con’s of public education.  The courts of public opinion are also sitting — in many jurisdictions — and their findings and conclusions may very well prove to be much more harsh.  I am reminded of James:3:1 — “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

    It’s not just teachers but the whole education industry that’s under examination.  Why are there, in our developed countries, still so many illiterates who are gagged into docility?  Why is Math being dumbed down when the most-in-demand occupation is a mathematician?  Why are university professors pontificating on poverty and oppression yet exploiting the system for their own good life? http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org/2014/06/website-the-college-fix-reports-law-prof-who-specializes-in-poverty-makes-205400-teaching-one-class-per-semester/

    And so it goes.  Contradictions.  Hypocrisy.  Negligence. An industry exploiting its natural resources for its own benefit with little of quality to show its colonized clients.

    In British Columbia right now, yes, even in the Summer, we are in the midst of an ugly teacher strike.  And, there seems to be a serious logjam to negotiations because court actions are taking their tedious, methodical pace.  No legal resolution is anticipated for a couple of years!  However, formal papers have been filed requesting that citizens and community groups be allowed to intervene in the public interest in these cases.  This is a new and very encouraging sign of backlash — fed up citizens speaking against secret deliberations — WOW!

    In Nebraska the state government is embarrassed with very low reading and math scores and the very high scores in poverty and homelessness.  In emergency mode the state has undertaken an education survey of its citizens.  But, with inaction and the usual opposition practically guaranteed, a perceptive reporter says, in effect, “Forget it.  Our children come through these critical developmental stages just once in their lives.  Give us the 90% education dollar in Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and let the parents choose from the private, public and voluntary field what’s in the best interests of their child.”  See Two Visions for Education in Nebraska http://www.examiner.com/article/two-visions-for-education-nebraska

    In Australia concern arose during their recent election about perceived slanted national curriculum and teacher training. Reviews were undertaken by the new government and reports are due this Summer.

    In America the Common Core project is coming under snowballing criticism and opposition.  A noteworthy blog, Jay P Greene’s blog, has just released a reading list of dire early warnings and predictable “ugly” prospects from a rushed and force-fed authoritarian project.   http://jaypgreene.com/2014/07/02/common-core-political-naivete-and-the-enemies-list/#comment-175417

    The backlash and judgment from the public court of opinion will be a fitting — maybe even double or triple — payback for the harms laid on a trusting public by those willfully using the system for private and ideological gain.

    Prepared for ECC, 08 July ’14 response to Deb Andrews….sent to SQE, Sun, Jay P Greene blog. 


  7. Who Manages The Public Education System?

    July 6, 2014 by Tunya

     

    Vancouver SUN, Saturday, July 05, 2014, Freedom of association clashes with the puyblic purse    

    http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Education+trial+Freedom+association+clashes+with+public+purse/10001961/story.html

     
    Who Manages The Public Education System? — That’s The Issue   [comment Tunya Audain]

    As long as we still have the monopoly system — public schooling run by the government and produced by monopoly teacher union workers — we will continue to have turf problems.

    For the longest time now — like 40 years at least — the teacher union has been calling the shots on many issues and the feeling is that the government acquiesces in order to ensure “labour peace”. Governments of different political stripes — conservative, liberal, socialist — have all had tussles with the union.

    Hopefully, when the Appeal does go to the Supreme Court of Canada, 9 judges will determine who has the right and duty to govern and manage the public education system. 

    I found it very troubling indeed, upon reading the latest Griffin Judgment, that the government was seeming to be pleading to regain some management rights from the BCTF ! Was that a joke? Here is the sentence from page 19 referring to March 2011 bargaining: “The government had an additional mandate that it asked BCPSEA to achieve in bargaining, seeking concessions from BCTF in favour of greater management rights.”

    I also bring forward a statement from a BCTF newsletter in 1967 which explains their deep involvement in professional development: “It is claimed that we appear to be accepting naively responsibilities which properly belong to school boards and the Department of Education, and in which they are in default. So long as the BCTF is willing to carry the load, these members argue, the public authorities will continue to evade, or neglect their responsibilities.”

    So, do we blame an opportunistic union for appropriating management rights from those sleeping at the wheel?

    Yes, the case must go as far as it can to clarify who is to manage?

     
    —————
     
    Then my reply to continuing conversation
     

    International Connections Count In The Teacher Union Movement

    Even though the BCTF strongly proclaims that it is “non-partisan” that does not mean it is not political.  Actually, the leadership (successive executives and HQ staff) hold ideological positions off the tame BC spectrum of conservative-socialist range.

    Dr Tom Fleming in his book “Worlds Apart” positions the start of their political instrumentalism to 1972 when the teacher unionists helped bring in the first socialist government in BC and when BCTF President, Jim MacFarlan, “radical Marxist” held sway.

    The BCTF does not belong to the tame Canadian Teachers’ Federation; it belongs to the radical EI (Education International).   “Dare The School Build A New Social Order?” (Counts, 1932) is an enduring project of militant teacher unions (like the NUT, NEA, BCTF, etc.) in the social reconstruction mode. 

    No only is the government of the day their target for influence, so are the public and teachers in the field kept on continuous alert through sophisticated PR and annual manifestations (eg anti FSA campaigns).

    “Hard done by” may be just another affected sophisticated strategy in a “progressive” drive for “worker control of the workplace” and social change societally.  Who manages whom?  Who provokes whom?

    This is not idle, tin-foil-hat rambling.  The game plans of the BCTF have gained adoring acclaim in the labour relations literature.  Please see: Structuring reality so that the law will follow: British Columbia teachers' quest for collective bargaining rights    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Structuring+reality+so+that+the+law+will+follow%3A+British+Columbia…-a0274699540

    Start with the Conclusion first:

    •  overwhelming onslaught of litigation
    •  an influential, media-savvy political force
    •  cultivating teacher support
    •   "restructure the reality" so that "the law would follow."

    Yes, the Appeal all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada (9 judges) will have some very interesting issues to sort through.


  8. Crafting the Servile Mind

    July 3, 2014 by Tunya

     

    Posted as comment on Jay P Greene blog, 20140703, Common Core Political Naivete and the Enemies List http://jaypgreene.com/2014/07/02/common-­‐core-­‐political-­‐naivete-­‐and-­‐the-­‐enemies-­‐list/

    Crafting The Servile Mind by Tunya Audain

    Common Core has its parallels in Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. 21st Century “transformation” of education is the common theme. The projected paradigm shifts are similar — from sage on the stage to guide on the side — from content to competency skills of collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and community. Students are to work in groups. Throw in social emotional learning (SEL) and social justice and you have it.

    (Australia is due soon to release the findings of two reviews probing the “transformations” in the national curriculum and teacher training.)

    Concerning the CC the expectations and intentions are declared, even before standards or measurement and accountability criteria have been developed/tested/validated.

    It’s not necessarily the intention that sticks out as “ugly”, it’s the “authoritarian” style that sticks out; and sticks in the craw of many. AND now triggers a sober second look at the intention itself.

    Authoritarianism demands obedience and submission. It’s the stealth and coercion in implementation on top of the imposing curriculum details that are causing the backfire — across the political spectrum.

    If lockstep agreement was really expected, then the designers have misread their audience. Not all constituencies are falling into line. This overconfident bloodless coup may very well prove to be a supreme “teaching moment” that we should be grateful for. I hope researchers can chronicle and analyze how this could have happened practically behind our backs. Just how servile were the adopters to be? Just how servile are the “career and college ready” graduates to be after 12 years of CC schooling?

    Kenneth Minogue in the Preface to the paperback issue of his book (2012), “The Servile Mind” said: “Only profound changes in human nature can make possible many versions of justice. The individualist must, as we have seen, give way to the comrade.”

    And, in the home education movement we had John Holt, fearing fascist leanings within public education, say in the 80s: “Today freedom has different enemies. It must be fought for in different ways. It will take very different qualities of mind and heart to save it.” 


  9. Reporting To Parents Legally Essential

    June 6, 2014 by Tunya

    [My comment to Vancouver Sun, June 6, 2014, to story "Province moves to make exams, report cards essential services —  

    Application to LRB asks for ruling to prevent ‘serious and immediate danger’ to affected students"

     http://www.vancouversun.com/business/moves+make+exams+report+cards+essential+services/9916083/story.html#Comments }

    Of Course, Progress Report Cards To Parents Are An Essential Service !


    After all, it is the parents who are ultimately responsible for the education of their children. If parents have chosen to send their kid to a government school, then said government school has to keep parents informed — parents then can choose to stay, advocate for more services, get supplementary tutoring, or choose an independent school or home educate. That’s how parents make “informed decisions” in the best interests of their child.

     

    What happened in the last teacher strike in 2011-2012 school year was lamentable and illegal. Report cards were withheld or blank ones were sent home by mail. Those that were withheld had the LRB to thank for granting BCTF teachers permission to do so. Those school districts that sent home blank report cards felt they were following the letter of the law, bizarre as it was to do so — and costly.

    There are to be three formal written student progress reports.

    See Student Progress Report Order http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/legislation/schoollaw/e/m191-94.pdf

     
     

     

     


  10. Public Sector Unions As Dictators

    June 3, 2014 by Tunya

    [The Globe & Mail reported that during this Ontario election campaign the Police Union took out ads opposing a political party that promised to decrease public service employees — http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/the-police-get-political/article18952122/comments/#dashboard/follows/  My comment below]

    21st Century Despotism — Public Sector Unions 

    In the 17th Century Montesquieu evolved the principle of “separation of powers” so that governments could be set up “so that no man need be afraid of another”. The principle has become the basis for many governments to this day. 

    The three powers of government — legislative, executive and judicial — were to be clearly defined so that no one branch could usurp power. Checks and balances evolved. 

    However, the 21st Century has seen the emergence of a new absolute power in the form of public sector unions — a parallel fourth branch of government. They usurp power through aggressive collective bargaining and ongoing rent-seeking. Collective bargaining is hardly bargaining in any everyday sense because it is secretive and in the end amounts to appeasement for the sake of labor peace. Rent-seeking is a term rarely used due to its dual meanings, but in economics it means the privileges lobbies enjoy as they gain government favors, and consequently, government worker unions are extra privileged because of working within government itself. 

    I am sure someone else could say this much better and provide more analysis. But, in my view, it’s this fourth branch of government that is usurping power, bankrupting our societies, and distorting what good governance is about. 

    This despotism — actually, a non-violent invasion — should not be something we helplessly endure.The three powers of government — legislative, executive and judicial — were to be clearly defined so that no one branch could usurp power. Checks and balances evolved. 

    However, the 21st Century has seen the emergence of a new absolute power in the form of public sector unions — a parallel fourth branch of government. They usurp power through aggressive collective bargaining and ongoing rent-seeking. Collective bargaining is hardly bargaining in any everyday sense because it is secretive and in the end amounts to appeasement for the sake of labor peace. Rent-seeking is a term rarely used due to its dual meanings, but in economics it means the privileges lobbies enjoy as they gain government favors, and consequently, government worker unions are extra privileged because of working within government itself. 

    I am sure someone else could say this much better and provide more analysis. But, in my view, it’s this fourth branch of government that is usurping power, bankrupting our societies, and distorting what good governance is about. 

    This despotism — actually, a non-violent invasion — should not be something we helplessly endure.

    [3 replies — 1). . .  pretty much sums it up! Thank you! 2) Well said! 3)

    In the Eastern Bloc under Communism this phenomenon was called the Nomenklatura. Loses in the translation but equivalent to our public sector Sunshine List ! Beware of the socialist nanny state - those who claim to look after you will in fact look after themselves first - as exemplified by our public sector unions and the politicians they in effect control .... ]


  11. Social Justice Teacher Unions

    May 24, 2014 by Tunya

    Social Justice Unionism Is The Agenda 

    Teacher unions are allied internationally with various militant groups who cheerlead local efforts. BC and Ontario teacher unions consider themselves campaigners for centrally directed egalitarianism. This is what I wrote yesterday about our BC crew. 

    Global Eyes On Our Teacher Strike?

    Is the whole world watching our teacher strike? Well, probably not.  However, you can be sure a certain sector of international culture is deeply interested.  I have seen our four-decades-long education struggles prominent on global socialist sites.  Our teacher union, the BCTF (BC Teachers’ Federation), is seen as a vanguard in “social justice unionism”. Reports from the battle lines are sent out regularly.

    Feedback is that “Lots of folks all over the world [are] taking notes from BCTF.”

    Fabian socialism is alive and well — into their 130th year — motto:  Educate, Agitate, Organize.  Their method — incrementalism, gradualism.  Their byword mouthed by their mascot, the tortoise — When I Strike, I Strike Hard. 

    A report just received by Rank & File (Canadian left labor website)— motto: Agitate, Educate, Organize — so similar to Fabianism — is here: The ABCs of the BC Teachers’ Fight http://rankandfile.ca/?p=2560

    Even if an arbitrator were to resolve this tumultuous faceoff between union and government there is no guarantee that our toxic “status quo” would ever end — harmful and tiresome for students, parents and taxpayers. No, it would just continue for another 40 years!

    What we do need is legislation to change the ball game.  This experiment in monopoly mass education is the lifeblood for such obsolete behaviors as we witness today.  Activists find fertile ground for their progressive political mission.

    We do need to increase the opportunities for choices and alternatives in education.  Already BC has quasi-charters — independent schools which operate with partial government funding and which must abide by contracts outside the rules of school boards and union agreements and which promise not to foster sedition. 

    We do need to move to a system where fully funded public charters are available, as in Alberta.  And, we should seriously explore the promising new funding model for personalized education via Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) as found in Arizona.