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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. TIME magazine helps expose education issues

    October 26, 2014 by Tunya

    TIME Article May Be The Trigger To Break The EDUCATION LOGJAM !

    We are just getting a little sniff of the STORM coming up.  The Nov 3 issue of TIME has not hit the stands yet. But, already the massive and powerful teacher unions in the US are starting petitions and boycotts against the magazine because of its upcoming cover story — Rotten Apples – It’s Nearly Impossible to Fire A Bad Teacher.

    Teacher unions in Canada are also getting nervous — and social media is abuzz on the topic. 

    I would suggest that long suffering parents and others frustrated by the public education establishment and its many abuses start cluing in to some of the controversies.  This may just be the best gift the public will ever have to shatter the myths and defenses of a system grown sour and harmful to the life chances of so many young students.

    Here are some of the SYSTEM’s excuses and countermeasures:

    – Due process is necessary to protect teachers.

    – Poverty, race, non-English speaking minorities are the reason for poor results.

    – Underfunding is the problem.

    – Weak-kneed principals are the problem:  a bad teacher can be fired easily.

    – Drop your subscription to TIME; refuse TIME in your library; sign the petition. [Kill the messenger!]

    Here is the opportunity for parents and others to ASK QUESTIONS:

    – How have teacher unions grown to be so powerful and obstreperous?

    – How have governments failed and allowed wholesale abuses to proliferate?

    – Why are parents reduced to fund-raising for schools instead of insisting on accountability?

    – How come curriculum is dumbed-down with social promotions and retreat from the basics with no commitment to even ensure learning to read is a priority?

    – How come “social justice” and collaborative competency and other social-emotional efforts are replacing the 3Rs?  Are the public schools really radicalizing students to feel so oppressed that they need to go out and “change the world”?

    – Why is the school system incapable of change?

    http://time.com/3533556/the-war-on-teacher-tenure/?pcd=hp-magmod    Is one in four a rotten apple?

    http://action.aft.org/c/44/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=9270   Apology demanded by teacher union because teachers are blamed for problems in schools.

    Here is a challenge:  Use these three terms in a meaningful sentence relating to this school issue: Vergara, Berliner, Scott Walker. 


  3. Can a teacher “UNTEACH” ?

    October 23, 2014 by Tunya

    [The blog — Barking Up the Wrong Tree — published 10 points parents can follow to help make kids "smarter"  — http://time.com/12086/how-to-make-your-kids-smarter-10-steps-backed-by-science/  This was my comment ot our Canadian blog, Society for Quality Education.]

    Can A Teacher Really UNTEACH Reading?   Part I

    Here we have someone whose niche in life seems to be digesting research papers and distilling the conclusions for application to daily living.  This is his introduction:

    “Hi, I'm Eric Barker, the guy behind the blog. Barking Up The Wrong Tree has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired Magazine and Time Magazine. You can email me here — ebarker@ucla.edu

    Yes, Eric, I’ll email you when I finish my essay and let me tell you at the start:  You sent me on a merry chase — full of anguish and angst. 

    A favorite blog, Society for Quality Education, just featured your “10 things that would make your kids smarter” and I immediately glommed on to #3 — Don’t Read To Your Kids, Read WITH Them.  I read the 7 pg article by the Canadian professors where you concluded that if parents were shown how to read intentionally to stimulate literacy, there would be lasting benefits.  The experiment was with parents of low income and low education and the remarkable benefits did hold for three years after this program ended.

    Simply put, the parents of 3-year olds were given 90 hrs of preparation in reading WITH, not TO their children and included 8 units over 3 mo and included such concepts as importance of play, counting, colors, and making letter-sound matches (decoding & phonological awareness).   Very impressive results, but I did wonder if this knowledge got any further than this 2008 article?  Haven’t heard of any follow-through.  Perhaps, I cynically speculated, that such research is swallowed up by an education system, which self-interestedly withholds information such as this, which would intrude on their turf.

    Then I was reminded of my own experience with my children. I remember so vividly being told NOT TO TEACH my children reading at home because teachers would simply have to UNTEACH and start over from scratch. 

    I think this research, which BTW is appropriately subtitled “Unlocking the Door” should get urgent attention and parents of all socio economic status should be encouraged to gain these literacy preparedness skills to help their children.  I am very concerned about the figures relating to illiteracy and the pipeline to prison correlation. The schools can be doing much more to ensure all students by the end of Grade 3 acquire this fundamental skill. However, there is still to this day this resistance by the teaching profession against using phonics as one method to teach reading, especially to that number of students who do not thrive under the whole language approach. 

    This weekend in British Columbia we are having a two day conference of Primary School Teachers featuring a Whole Language specialist, Regie Routman, as keynote and workshop leader.  775 teachers are attending, yet I see nothing in their program that encourages me that they care about that percentage of students who need the decoding phonological approach to learn to read.  People should really read what Alfie Kohn says about Whole Language and why he favors the “old-fashioned phonics.” http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/reading.htm

    I’ve just read new reports from the US that show that phonics is definitely one strategy to be used.  Here is some information about Oklahoma  http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/03/47/10347.pdf

    From pg 13 we see there is a dedicated READ program (Reading Enhancement and Acceleration Development) which includes “skill development in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension”.

    Perhaps this brilliant Mr. Barker could dig up some research which illuminates why the teaching profession is so politically bound to withhold a teaching strategy that would help a good number of students with their reading acquisition ? 

    Can A Teacher Really UNTEACH Reading?   Part II

    While I’m still in my anguish and angst mode while unearthing disturbing contradictions in our Canadian school system, I note that there is acknowledgement in the US that Literacy is important.  Here is an article from the Core Knowledge organization — New Leaders in Literacy  http://blog.coreknowledge.org/2014/10/22/new-leaders-in-literacy/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheCoreKnowledgeBlog+%28The+Core+Knowledge+Blog%29

    From the Early Learning Primer, October 2014 we read about the importance of Grade 3.

    *** Why third-grade reading proficiency matters

    The period between preschool and third grade is a tipping point in a child’s journey toward lifelong learning. During this time, children have to make a critical transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.”

    If children do not have proficient reading skills by third grade, their ability to progress through school and meet grade-level expectations diminishes significantly. While all areas of children’s learning and development are critical for school success, the predictive power of a child’s third-grade reading proficiency on high school graduation and dropout rates is startling: 

    –  Children who are not reading proficiently by third grade are four times less likely to graduate high school on time.

    –  Children who are not reading proficiently by third grade and also live in poverty are 13 times less likely to graduate high school on time.

    Society pays a high price for the nearly 1 million teenagers who drop out of high school every year through higher rates of unemployment, lower tax revenues and increased costs to the criminal justice, welfare and healthcare systems.

    MY POINT AGAIN:  Yes, parents should read WITH their children to help acquire literacy awareness.  Don’t listen to teachers who say they will have to UNTEACH.  And, if they’re not being taught reading in school, then, it is highly recommended that tutoring be privately bought otherwise life chances are seriously compromised without proper reading ability. 

    When we had our teacher strike in BC this September and parents were paid $40 a day to seek education elsewhere, many did send their kids to tutoring agencies.  I think that parents who have to buy tutoring for the fundamental skill of reading for their child should be able to charge their school district for a rebate!


  4. Radicalization in western schools?

    October 6, 2014 by Tunya

    ["White privilege" is to be a workshop and subject of curriculum development in Ontario — spurred by the Elementary Teachers' Association of Ontario. That's 6-13 year olds!  Lots of backlash on the Internet.  SQE (Society for Quality Education blog) featured a post, worth reading as a teacher unionist provides a POV. http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog/read/professional-undevelopment  Below is my second comment.]

    Should “Radicalization” Be A School Task?

    What’s the difference between this Madrassa school in Pakistan that trains suicide bombers http://www.ted.com/talks/sharmeen_obaid_chinoy_inside_a_school_for_suicide_bombers  and a teacher who provokes outrage in students so they can feel oppressed?

    It’s a matter of degree, isn’t it? 

    Maybe the madrassa devoted to training suicide bombers is much, much worse than our public school which guilts, cajoles, and wheedles children to want to “change the world”.

    In reading scads of material on “white privilege”, which is becoming a sub topic in the social justice field, I came across a range of challenges activist teachers face in advancing their social justice cause. One pointer was to focus on students with “chips on their shoulders”.  One teacher of teachers, Maxine Greene, spoke at an AERA (American Educational Research Association, 2008) meeting saying  “we must teach ‘uneasiness, outrage, anything that will awaken . . . How can I cultivate appropriate outrage?’”

    Well, it’s happening.

    In America right now a new national curriculum in American History is being pushed. Instead of the traditional emphasis on historical heroes and the Constitution, etc., there is increasing emphasis on European exploitation, black bondage, white racial superiority, dropping of atomic bombs, race and segregation — relentlessly negative views of American history.  The seeds of discontent would lead young people to believe the propaganda on the Internet.  How does ISIS recruit but with preying on disenchanted young Americans?

    Is this too far from home, from Canada, for us to pay attention?  No.  The discontent is being sown here, and for the greater good.  For a “strong welfare state.”

    In so much of the writings on 21st C Learning and necessary transformations we see certain gurus appearing regularly with their visions of the new global world.  Two are now advising Ontario Ministry of Education – Michael Fullan and Andrew Hargreaves.

    In the literature, and often in the same reports is a buddy of Fullan’s and Hargreaves’,  Jal Mehta. Well, while so many of these gurus mask their intent in obfuscating narratives, this is what Amazon.com says about Mehta’s latest book:

     “The larger problem, Mehta argues, is that reformers have it backwards . . . Our current pattern is to draw less than our most talented people into teaching, equip them with little relevant knowledge, train them minimally, put them in a weak welfare state, and then hold them accountable when they predictably do not achieve what we seek. What we want, Mehta argues, is the opposite approach which characterizes top-performing educational nations: attract strong candidates into teaching, develop relevant and usable knowledge, train teachers extensively in that knowledge, and support these efforts through a strong welfare state.” 

    A strong welfare state — exactly what does that mean?  It means an enforced, delegated, coerced welfare state with compliant residents. Throw “citizenship” and “democracy” as we know it out the window!

    Much as I see the need for improved teacher training, what I see here is intense inculcation of teachers in “white privilege”, social emotional learning, etc. with the intent of converting both teachers and students to some new world order! 

     


  5. Teacher Unions Aim To Polarize Their communities

    October 5, 2014 by Tunya

    ["White privilege" is to be a workshop and subject of curriculum development in Ontario — spurred by the Elementary Teachers' Association of Ontario. That's 6-13 year olds!  Lots of backlash on the Internet.  SQE (Society for Quality Education blog) featured a post, worth reading as a teacher unionist provides a POV. http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog/read/professional-undevelopment  Below is my first comment.]

    Polarization — A Teacher Union Agenda

    When the “white privilege” topic hit me — the ETFO (Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario) PD (professional development) workshop and curriculum development project — I quickly jotted down some points which I wanted to submit, and then leave the topic for other work on my table.  However, I’ve been at it all day and here are my original points:

     #1            Why is it that out of 76,000 members only ONE chose to blow the whistle?  Did all the others think this was OK and timely?

    #2            How come the press didn’t work harder to get an ETFO member to comment?  As second-best couldn’t they have asked DL who always seems to be ready and able to comment?  SQE didn’t wait long to be told it’s private business.  Parents and public need not worry about 13 and under youngsters being  exposed to lessons and curriculum on “white privilege”.  We know what's best — is the inferred refrain.

    #3            Then I wanted to say how teacher unions are “creeping” further and further into policy and management and civics — far beyond trade union “bread and butter” matters.  How social justice and equality of outcomes has become a teacher union issue.  I wanted to mention that the bitter BC teacher strike was not just a polarizing event between government and teacher union — with both parties doing their best PR (public relations, polls, etc.) to whip up sympathy and distaste  for and against. 

    With the strike now ended, leftover unionist activists and lefty camp-followers are whipping up more division in BC. 

    – between parents (you have to be for or against us) and not say conveniently that you are FOR parents and a “pox on both your houses”

    – between those who belong to a business group that is intervening in an upcoming court case between government and union, and those businesses who are being canvassed to put signs in their windows that are in favor of public education

    – between those who believe in choice and independent schools and those who say one-size-fits-all is best, and besides, they maintain (without proof) that private schools rob public schools of funds

    – between those who insist on more public school funding and those who are pleased with BC scores despite the cry for funds

    – between those who think there should be democratic elections for school boards and those who call for union locals to take up-front roles in the elections

    #4            Then I was to point out that while our Independent School Act forbids SEDITION — sowing discontent to undermine government — no such restriction applies to public school workers.  With this I would close with saying there should be equivalency and that both School Acts should forbid SEDITION.

    I have to leave that essay unfinished.  I got further into the topic, with all the mileage of reporting and comments and really started worrying.  I think this “white privilege” thing goes beyond just sowing division and class war and polarization.  There is something very totalitarian, tyrannical and sinister going on.

    Please watch this second video (besides the one linked earlier) and note what Paige MacPherson and J J McCullough are saying. Fiery White Privilege Debate  http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/3819900383001      


  6. 21st Century Gurus — Well-oiled & Organized

    October 2, 2014 by Tunya

    [It's only lately that things are speeding up, but these gurus have been greasing the skids for a long time — embedding their "expertise" and predictions for the future. Two such names, Michael Fullan and Andrew Hargreaves, have just been appointed to a team of 4 to help steer Ontario's education "transformation". This 37 pg Report — Towards a New End: New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (2013) — http://www.newpedagogies.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/New_Pedagogies_for_Deep%20Learning_Whitepaper.pdfmay help see the "shift" from basics to "competencies" explained.  Below is a second post I made to Invisible Serfs Collar, a blog alerting the public to global efforts to change society through schools.]

    The 6 Cs, The 3 Es Of 21st C Learning = Welfare Statism

    From Professor Michael Fullan, Special Advisor to the Premier of Ontario, we see the 6Cs outlined : http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/reports/FullanReport_EN_07.pdf

    1. Character education
    2. Citizenship
    3. Communication
    4. Critical thinking and problem solving
    5. Collaboration
    6. Creativity and imagination

    From the Wales paper with Andrew Hargreaves involved we get 3Cs: http://www.oecd.org/edu/Improving-schools-in-Wales.pdf 

    1. Engaged thinker
    2. Ethical citizen
    3. Entrepreneurial spirit

    But now,  given the name of yet another related Global Change Agent (GCA), Jal Mehta, we are getting closer to the REAL AGENDA, without all the fancy rhetoric and alphabetic mnemonics.  The latest book by Jal Mehta is — The Allure of Order: High Hopes, Dashed Expectations, and the Troubled Quest to Remake American Schooling.

    From the Amazon.com site, we read Mehta’s intent:

    “The larger problem, Mehta argues, is that reformers have it backwards . . . Our current pattern is to draw less than our most talented people into teaching, equip them with little relevant knowledge, train them minimally, put them in a weak welfare state, and then hold them accountable when they predictably do not achieve what we seek. What we want, Mehta argues, is the opposite approach which characterizes top-performing educational nations: attract strong candidates into teaching, develop relevant and usable knowledge, train teachers extensively in that knowledge, and support these efforts through a strong welfare state.” 

    A strong welfare state — exactly what does that mean?  It means an enforced, delegated, coerced welfare state with compliant residents. Throw “citizenship” as we know it out the window!

    Much as I see the need for improved teacher training, what I see here is intense inculcation of new teachers, not necessarily in the basics but in things like 6Cs and 3Es and other social-emotional learning AND means to police and enforce that transmission both to teachers and to our young people.

     Bye, bye liberty.  Did you read my earlier post about Rip Van Dinkle?


  7. 21st Century Learning — Dangers Ahead !

    October 1, 2014 by Tunya

     

    [I'm trying to use some "shock value" to alert people to the nice-sounding terms coming out of the mouths of change-agents who are trying to radically "reform" education.  Let me know if this is too far-fetched.]

    Here’s A Rip Van Winkle Story – An Epiphany Of Sorts

    Actually, this is about Rip van Dinkle. Here is the extract from Wikipedia — then I’ll come to my point.

    http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Rip_Van_Winkle

    *** A 1988 issue of “Boys’ Life”, with its “Dink & Duff” comic strip has the African-American cub scout Dink pondering the meaning of Americanism, only to lapse into a coma and awaken in 2068 . . . He is greeted by a boy who addresses him as “Rip van Dinkle”, who tells him that in the 80 years that have passed the United States of America has been defunct and is now the “Royal Dominion of America”, or R.D.A., a monarchy under a “King Kongoon”. Dink is appalled by the heavy regulations he is now subject to, such as only being allowed to wear the official R.D.A. uniform instead of his Cub Scout uniform or only being allowed to eat vegetables in order to contribute to a “healthy society”. Dink is shocked awake back to 1988 realizing it was only a nightmare, but with a better understanding of personal liberty. ***

    Now to come to my point: It is a useful exercise to project into the future , in a Rip Van Winkle way, what we might actually find 20 or so years hence. As we examine many FUTURISTIC education plans, some already in stages of implementation, questions arise. Are these evidence-based or wishful thinking? Are these plans generated from real need with real people on the ground or just dicey proposals from itinerant gurus?

    The conversations on this site (Invisible Serfs Collar) lay the groundwork for these questions, concerns and projections. I am so thankful we have a skilled researcher, Robin, leading the probe.

    I was led to some new research about Wales, which I will share. But before that I bring forward the news that the Michael Fullan we hear about — “the Lead Global Change Agent” — has a new assignment here in Ontario and will be joined by three others: Andrew Hargreaves from Boston, Dr Carol Campbell from OISE, and Dr Jean Clinton from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences (child psychiatry) at McMaster University.http://news.ontario.ca/edu/en/2014/09/best-advice-for-best-results-in-education.html They are to help with that province’s 21st C plan called Achieving Excellence: A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario.

    The Wales research was something Hargreaves was involved with, along with OECD Schleicher and others — the usual competencies, etc. What I bring forward from this 143 pg 2014 report http://www.oecd.org/edu/Improving-schools-in-Wales.pdf is the model (to emulate?) of the 21st C plan for Alberta, another province in Canada. There is a story here.

    The Alberta Plan is called “Inspiring Education” and was developed in the usual stealth manner — gurus, Ministry bureaucrats and Minister, and the teacher union. Then, there was a change of leadership in the governing party (due to resignation of the Premier). As new candidates campaigned and spoke with their constituencies they soon became aware of concerns by “customers” (mainly parents) of the new “competency-laden”, skill-short plan. The new Premier, sworn in on 8th Sept, had promised to “halt all major education curriculum overhauls under his premiership”.

    A new Minister of Education is now to steer recovery of Alberta’s famous glory as a high achieving province in Canadian and International Education Assessments. In the last 6 years there was a dismal slide in achievement.

    Here is the model that was boasted in the Wales report and still remains as a desirable model for OECD pursuits. From pg 118:

    *** “The Educated Albertan of 2030” – the education vision of Alberta, Canada

    Albertans have articulated their vision for education through specific outcomes which have been summarized as “the three E’s” of education for the 21st century.

    Engaged thinker – Alberta must cultivate students with an inquisitive, engaged mind. Students that are prepared to ask “why?” and think critically about the answers they receive.

    Ethical citizen – Knowing the answer is not enough. Our children and grandchildren must be ethical, compassionate and respectful to truly grow and thrive.

    Entrepreneurial spirit – To shape innovative ideas into real-world solutions, our education system should develop motivated, resourceful and resilient citizens. Alberta would do well to encourage our students to be bold, embrace leadership and actively seek new opportunities. ***

    MY CONCLUSION: Here is one jurisdiction, Alberta, having been caught up in the 21st C Learning Craze, now defying the Rip Van Dinkle epiphany of the loss of personal liberties so many other world jurisdictions are now blindly following and headed for !


  8. Will parents be allowed to Volunteer in schools?

    September 24, 2014 by Tunya

    [With the BC teacher strike finally over, 5 weeks of lost school, and 3 months of considerable debate — mid June to Sept 22, '14, parents have become much more informed about the issues.  The feeling is that they will be more eager to be involved and become an actual "Third Force" along side the teacher union and government in decision-making, consultations, etc.  But, the question arises — will "the system" and the union allow this?  Below is a story from my days as a young parent.]

    Parent Volunteers Resent "SCAB" Label

    That was the front page headline that screamed across the page of our local newspaper, the North Shore News, Jan 5, 1983.

    I was a parent of a high school student.  Parents had been active volunteers in the school for years.

    However, since teacher aides were laid off, the volunteer services of parents were to cease as well.  The story by Bill Bell continues:

    *  "Union intimidation" is keeping parents from volunteering their services in West Vancouver's schools, claim representatives of the Hillside Parents Group.  Co-chairpersons Tunya Audain and Suzanne Latta have told the school board that since the teaching aides were laid off last September, parents have not been allowed to volunteer in areas where they were normally welcomed . . . 

    *  Audain later told the News that her group had been sent a letter from the West Vancouver Municipal Employees Association which she said gave her a very quick "political lesson" in how "rough" unions can be. Audain pointed out that the parents did not want to replace the teaching aides but only wanted to continue in the volunteer positions held before the aides were laid off. She told the News she resented the parents being labeled "scabs" for doing volunteer tasks.

    *  "Our first concern is the students, the union is way down the list," Latta said.

    *  Newly elected school board chairman, Norm Alban, refused to comment on the situation, fearing that the confrontation could escalate.

    Furthermore, we as a parents group deplored that school hallways had litter on the floors.  We suggested that students should pick up after themselves, but again we were chastised that this would interfere with the work of janitors.

    The usual excuse by the principal was "My hands are tied.?"  How many times have we heard that?


  9. Education savings accounts (ESA)

    September 23, 2014 by Tunya

     

    BC’s $40 A Day Payout To Parents During The Teacher Strike Is The Start Of The Education Savings Account (ESA) Idea In Canada

    Practically all Western Democracies follow the principle that it is the parents who are ultimately responsible for their child’s education. Government schools are there as back-up for parents — part of the safety net of a welfare state. Check the School Acts. It is parents who are to register their child into a public school unless they have made other plans, for example, independent school or home education.

    Citizens generally support public education through their taxes and expect the government to distribute that dedicated money for the education of a targeted population of young children and youth.  For the government to actually produce that education lays it open to debate as to whether this amounts to indoctrination.  To operate a near monopoly service using government workers (public school teachers) is what has evolved over the years and is rarely challenged. It should be!

    Thus it was with great surprise that the Minister of Finance in BC, Mike de Jong, announced the notion of a $40 day payout to parents whose children in the primary years would be deprived of their government school of choice during a teacher strike.  The strike is now over and thousands of parents will receive $560 per qualified child.  The Finance Minister at that time enjoined parents to acquire “tutoring . . . other educational opportunities . . . [or] basic daycare.”

    It was an article of faith and trust in parents that they would do the right thing in the event the strike would last a long time.

    This, in effect, amounts to the first Education Savings Account idea in Canada.

    1. Parents will receive the money.  No one in any official capacity opposed this idea despite a great deal of grumbling from some quarters who felt this was “education money” and should go either to teachers or to “the system”.
    2. It is the Finance Minister who is to supervise the distribution of this education money to the qualifying parents, not the Minister of Education. This is significant.
    3. This is “devolution” in practice.  Central government is not determining how the money is to be spent and we have yet to see how many educational efforts were mounted in the 14-day period.
    4. Innovation, flexibility and discovery of resources never before tapped came to the fore.  Who is to say that horseback riding is not an educational accomplishment? Tutoring outfits were overwhelmed with demand for basics in math and reading.

    Now, we just need to build on this idea and expand the principle and practice.

    Watch this video about Arizona’s ESAs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPEkK5nfu3Y

     


  10. Some polls can lead to totalitarianism

    September 22, 2014 by Tunya

    [During our recent teacher strike the newspaper, Victoria Times Colonist, staged a demonstration about the shaky credibility of online polling. Their “poll” even warned:”This is not a scientific poll.”  After the results were in the author of the joke concluded that “special-interest groups [can] hijack the poll and claim the results as valid." Please read the whole story and comments.  http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/blogs/digital-access-1.327512/online-polls-about-teachers-how-to-be-taken-seriously-by-the-wrong-people-1.1349043 Below is my comment on another poll, this one "bought" by a special interest group which produced the desired results.]
     
    Polls Can Easily Become A Tool Of Totalitarianism
     
    (by Tunya Audain 100425, comment to blog, The Report Card, by Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun Education Reporter on story: “Most British Columbians want more public- school funding: poll” 100423 )
     
    BC is experiencing a deluge of organized attacks and destabilization maneuvers to force more funding for government schools.
    Even though throughout the rest of the world the same constraints on public spending are being felt, and school spending is seriously being cut back, BC seems to be experiencing more than its share of grief from the lobbies which benefit from the education tax dollar.
     
    Thus, we see the call for more funding for public service workers – teachers — in our schools, rather than more efficient spending of money. That independent schools do “more with less” is a thorn in the side of the public government schools.
     
    On another blog, one in Ontario (School for Thought), we were discussing tools of totalitarianism and how the media was used to ensnare citizens to totalitarian thinking. The article started out with Hitler having said “Your child belongs to us already”’ and then we discussed how a totalitarian state used propaganda techniques to brainwash.
     
    I contributed a classic case of how polls can be used to contribute to totalitarianism and I provided the link to the Vancouver Sun story about the Angus Reid poll: “Most British Columbians want more public-school funding: poll”.
     
    This poll was commissioned by a group whose aim is in the name: BC Society for Public Education. Therefore, you know that they lobby for more public education and, of course, for less competition from independent schools. And that is what the poll delivered.
     
    Briefly, there were three questions: 1) Should the government do more to support public education; 2) to increase funding for public education, and 3) to continue funding private schools? The scores were 81% YES 79% YES and 64% NO. What an outstanding result! It garnered considerable mileage in the press and meetings. The poll achieved what the client wanted.
     
    The newspaper, however, through its blogging ability, received over 100 comments and, unfortunately (for the lobby), some serious questions were raised:
    1. Were the questions loaded? Or leading?
    2. Isn’t Angus Reid polling rather questionable considering they are left-wing and support massive social spending? Don’t they use questionable polling techniques, that is, online polling?
    3. Who is behind this poll and who pays?
     
    The answers:

    1. See the pdf for the questions http://www.scribd.com/full/30311572?access_key=key-u1vfkvolw0eiygqp0qj
     
    Note how the preamble leads to a “correct” answer. How it “primes the pump”, so to speak, for the waterworks to follow. The questions were well “crafted”, manufactured.
    1. The online polling is questionable. The “random selection” was done from the Angus Reid Forum, a self-volunteered array of citizens who get points for surveys taken, and qualify for monthly awards of $1000, $100, or other perks. The left-wing swing of the principal of the company is well noted in his writings.
    2. The group commissioning the poll has been in place since 2005 and with Board members long associated with “progressive” activism, including Patti Bacchus, current chair of the VSB.
     
    (Wouldn’t they just love to deflect an accounting probe away from the VSB?) Two current BCSPE Board members, Helesia Luke and Catherine Evans, run a communications, public relations, guerilla marketing company. Their literature includes these statements: “How you ask questions is important – language matters”, and “Asking questions influences groups in some way.” Funding for BCSPE and expensive polls – who know?
     
    What if, what if the poll did have more credibility? That is, what if a disinterested group (one without an agenda or self-interest) commissioned a poll on these issues? Suppose someone, just for an academic exercise, repeated such a survey, but with a different slant to the questions and preamble, could they have achieved a result of 81% NO, 79 % NO to more support or funding for public education, and 64% YES for continued funding for private schools?
     
    The headlines would scream: “8 out of 10 British Columbians want government to stop supporting and funding public education: poll”. “2 out of 3 want more funding for private schools: poll”.
    Wishful thinking? SURPRISE. The Angus Reid Chief Research Officer, Andrew Grenville, shows how you can get an exact opposite result just by the way the question is framed.  
    Enjoy this lovely story. Why The Way You Ask a Question Can Determine The Answer.
     
    So, is this education underfunding crisis in BC a magnificent example of engineering disinformation and propaganda by ideological stakeholders? Isn't that how agent provocateurs work?
     
    [Remember:  This comment was made 4 1/2 years ago.]

     

     

     

     

     

     


  11. supporting a parent group struggling against opposition

    September 16, 2014 by Tunya

     

    Navigating The Swampy River Is Hard To Do

    The current pickle the BCCPAC boat is in reminds me of a treacherous swampy river. It would be so easy to find a safe harbor on either side, retreat, and forget the parent struggle. With two sides in this nasty impasse and the teachers’ strike this means choosing either the teacher union side or the government side. But, please, let’s not forget, BOTH are of one mind when it comes to the question of who should educate children and how — the state.

    Shouldn’t parents be involved in meaningful ways? This is where BCCPAC comes in. They are a third force promoting the parent voice on behalf of their children.

    I am reminded of the Sullivan Commission Report on Education, 1989, which made this profound comment:

    *** ”The home schooling issue clearly contains within it some of the most fundamental tensions between competing ideals and values to be found in educational and social policy today. It involves the question of parental rights in schooling versus those of the state, questions about where the public good should supersede private interest, questions about who should be accountable for children’s education and well-being, and questions about the limits of individual choice and participation in schooling.”

    The School Act was amended to provide for home schooling as a legal choice. What remains to this day, however, is the right of all parents to have a voice and choice in their children’s education. The state schools still gather 88% of students with a mainly one-size-fits-all mentality.

    The stalemate in this dispute is largely about how schools will be managed. Will the status quo prevail with rigid formulas about staffing or will local management decisions be made at the school level? This is where BCCPAC has a third point of view to offer whereby parents would be involved so that individual needs can be met with flexibility and funds available at the local level. This plan is worth close attention, especially since it is acknowledged that competency in working with special needs students is sadly lacking in many cases. There is so much current new information that is simply not being welcomed or embraced by the industry and which needs strong advocacy from parents to see benefits for children in their lifetimes.

    The history of parent involvement in education has a long, sad history. First, there was the PTA model where teachers swayed discussions away from competency and relevancy to student needs. Then various consultative models were tried, which had no clout. Now the BC School Act provides for an advisory role for parents   The BCCPAC steadfastness in steering through the current quagmire of obstacles — and in spite of being swamped by organized teacher detractors — is commendable.

    And certainly the time will come — the sooner the better — when parents will have a voice in changing the status quo which throws up these teacher strikes that harm students so frequently.