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    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 Role In Education “urgent”

    August 16, 2014 by Tunya


    [submitted to Society for Quality Education 16 August 2014 ]

    Parent Role In Education URGENT — In Child’s Lifetime !

    Parents’ first interest is the well-being of their child — not the outer world.  This is a biological imperative of all parents, be they mammal or human.  In the ideal progression of Nature’s Rules the young will become self-sufficient and independent with the guidance of their parents.

    The initiative by the government of BC to payout $40 a day to parents when their chosen public school is unavailable due to a teacher strike is a FIRST in Canada.  The public policy principle supported here is that it is the parents — ultimately — who are responsible for the child’s education. 

    I have found 7 good reasons why this is sound public policy — Diversity, Devolution, Self-determination, etc.  During controversy on this issue in BC I have posted widely on these points , which are expanded on my blog

    What I want to emphasize is the “here-and-now” aspect of this issue.

    Of course, media is being swarmed by those in opposition, with negative comments as “It’s a bribe”,  “The money belongs in the system”, etc.

    But, it is the parents who must act to keep their child advancing developmentally and educationally. They cannot wait for the system to get its act in order.

     The post above references an AIMS commentary, which in turn references a very troubling article from SLATE

     It is the following viewpoint that further supports my views that parents must act in the lifetimes of their child, not for some future utopian dream:

     “ . . . if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.”

    I disapprove of the above mindset.  That is another reason I support the $40 day idea.








  3. Discourse Alone will not solve parents’ problems

    August 9, 2014 by Tunya

    [submitted to SQE on A Civil Discourse, Aug 08, ]


    The public generally, and parents in particular, have been deliberately excluded from decision-making in education for a long time.  Books have been written about the damage done to the education mission.

     While tons of books try to “engage” parents — to “empower” parents — these have been rather futile as the established order remains immune and dismissive.

    Two books however do inform us more closely about the “whys” — why a threatened and defensive system builds up the barricades.  One just has to be reminded of the Jeffry Moore case, 15 years in the courts, which was heralded as a great and profound breakthrough for parent and student rights — but two years later — continuing disappointment for most families with special needs children. 

    * Parental Involvement and the Political Principle: why the existing governance structure of schools should be abolished (1995). Abolished why?  Because without genuine parent involvement, without customer input, the system languishes and parents are deskilled from their normal biological impulses.  Seymour Sarason was a renowned psychologist and he was frustrated with the absurdity of school organizations.

    * Parents and Schools: the 150-year struggle for control in American education (2000), William Cutler describes play-by-play the factors leading to parental marginalization  — rise of teacher unions, political agendas, weak “lay” control, growth of bureaucracy, etc. In his closing chapter he sees the recurring themes of dissension and failed reforms continuing.

    What Has Happened Since 2000?

    Thanks to technology there has been an explosion of communications between parents, parent groups and their supporters because of the INTERNET.  The mindset of the establishment is still largely insular — still believing in one-size-fits-all, that elitist central command knows what’s best, etc., etc.

    At least some parents are feeling a lot better that they are not alone.  Notable blogs and groups have arisen to disseminate information and encouragement.  Parents and supporters now know much more about the self-serving strategies that displace their voices.  We now know why parental choice is such a threat to entrenched interests.  We now know that manipulation through sophisticated Public Relations is also being used to thwart pushback.

    This is important.  We also are now able to warn parents —as systems are being streamlined — that defensive and threatened people can attack their critics with questionable tactics — to beware.  

    Society for Quality Education has been a godsend in these troubled times.  The debates have been enlightening.  What continues to frustrate is not being able to see development in the cause.  Topics are introduced that help people ventilate, but not really contribute to solutions. However, sites like SQE have helped the Math Pushback in Canada.

    I think the mechanics of this blog might be adjusted so that people can be notified when new comments come in, as done on other blogs.

    Meanwhile, we in BC are having “challenging” times.  But, again thanks for the blessings of the INTERTNET, I think the dysfunction of the current rigid and outdated system is being hugely challenged.

    Here is my latest contribution to the raging debates we are having here:  Education Debit Account Idea Explained



  4. Education Debit Account Idea — Explained

    August 8, 2014 by Tunya

    [2014 08 08 — Hunkered down today in BC are the two opposing sides in collective bargaining — the government and the teacher union.  It’s been a nasty strike.  The promise of $40 day to parents of pre-teens to shop for education or daycare if the strike is not settled by school start in Sept has ignited much controversy, opposition and bitterness. My contribution and analysis is below to try to provide my views and bring into perspective some policy and governance principles into the matter.

    Mainly I want to counter the negative labels — a bribe for parents, paying parents from teacher money, removing money from public schools, a move to privatize, etc.  I am trying to show that it is actually parents who are rightfully responsible for their children's education. Since tax money is collected for public education I maintain that it is a valid move for the tax collector to draw from the education fund and provide it to parents when government schools are not available if they are already clients of the public system. T Audain]



    Practically all Western Democracies follow the principle that it is the parents who are responsible for their child’s education.  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. Government schools are there as back-up for parents — part of the safety net of a welfare state.

    Let’s not confuse the term “public school “with “public education”.  A public school is one run by government workers or under contract, as are charter schools.  Public education is the cumulative result of all that happens under the generic term of education — private or public schools, online learning, home education, correspondence courses, etc. 

    It is this construct that the Conference Board of Canada uses when it says that BC spends $500 more on a per-student basis above the national average.  That is why — with this assertion — that BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s initiative to pay parents of pre-teen public school students $40 a day when public schools are not in session is a fitting and valid response to our current teacher strike.  They are to use those funds to acquire tutoring for their children . . . to explore other educational opportunities as they see fit . . . and for some parents, it’ll be basic daycare.”

    Here are the good governance principles applying:

    1  Financial – This is a Finance Matter, not an Education Matter.  Taxpayers provide dollars for education to happen.  Who better than Finance to distribute the money to qualified clients and provide accountability for the money?

    2  Money Follows The Child – It is actually parental responsibility to see that their child is educated and the parent will be held responsible for proper use of that money.

    3  Devolution In Practice – Why should a central government operate a near-monopoly service when those closest to the action can best administer and manage?

    4  Citizens As Self-Determining –The aggregate effect of assorted independent efforts are just as likely, economically, to produce as good results as something organized from afar — leading to self-reliance rather than dependency on the state.

    5  Diversity, Not One-Size-Fits-All – Parents can choose from choices already available  or help in developing new schools, free schools, or other learning networks — customizing as necessary or shopping for specific services for special needs and talents of the student.

    6  Innovation – There is a great stimulus for innovation and entrepreneurship once money is freed up from bureaucratic and predetermined constraints. Flexibility, modernization and experimentation are thus encouraged at the grassroots level.

    7  Political Principle: People Should Have A Voice In Decisions That Affect Them – Parents genuinely included in decision-making about their child makes them ideal candidates for broader policy decisions, locally and provincially. The book by Seymour Sarason — Parental Involvement and the Political Principle — goes so far as to propose abolishing the existing governance system that deters and deskills  parents. Pasi Salhberg, a leading international speaker on behalf of the Finnish Model of Education says that in a group of 10 discussing education policies only one should be a teacher, and that parents should be involved.

  5. Breakout opportunity — $40 day for parents

    August 6, 2014 by Tunya



    Parents cannot stand idly by while their children’s education development languishes. In their wisdom parents probably had already made plans for their children’s registration in a public school come Sept.  All that remained was to get supplies and legally sign them in.


    Mike de Jong, Minister of Finance, announced, that if the teacher strike prevents regular public school attendance come this Fall, the government would fund parents at the rate of $40 a day to “utilize that money to acquire tutoring for their children, they can use the money to explore other educational opportunities as they see fit and for some parents, it’ll be basic daycare.”

    That was not just a ploy to get collective bargaining back on track.  There are some very sound public policy and governance principles supporting this move.  There is every reason, without much restrictions, why we can’t break out and do some creative problem-solving here, knowing that good principles are at work.


    1  Financial – This is a Finance Matter, not an Education Matter.  Taxpayers provide dollars for education to happen.  Who better than Finance to distribute the money to qualified clients and provide accountability for the money?


    2  Money – Follows The Child – It is actually parental responsibility in the first instance to see that their child is educated and the parent will be held responsible for proper use of that money.


    3  Devolution In Practice – Why should a central government operate a near-monopoly service when those closest to the action can best administer and manage?


    4  Citizens As Self-Determining, Self-Sufficient  – Even as public monies are used for the purpose of a well-educated public, the aggregate effect of assorted independent efforts are just as likely, economically, to produce as good results as something organized from afar.  This leads to self-reliance rather than dependency on the state. 


    5  Diversity, Not One-Size-Fits-All – Parents can choose from choices already available (tutoring, independent schools, on-line service, etc.) or help in developing new schools, free schools, or other learning networks.  Customizing as necessary for special needs of the student can be encouraged.


    6  Innovation – There is a great stimulus for innovation and entrepreneurship once money is freed up. The government and public at large should be very pleased when modernization and experimentation is initiated at the grassroots level rather than by bureaucrats top-down.


    7  Political Principle Of People Having A Voice In Decisions That Affect Them Is Put Into Practice – Parents should be genuinely included in decision-making about their children and their prudent use of the $40 day will likely meet the trust placed on them.   The book by Seymour Sarason — Parental Involvement and the Political Principle — goes so far as to propose abolishing the existing governance system that deters parents. Pasi Salhberg, a leading international speaker on behalf of the Finnish Model of Education says that in a group of 10 discussing education policies only one should be a teacher, and that parents should be involved.


    The distribution to parents of pre-teens of the education dollar at the rate of $40 day, in the aggregate, would likely produce exemplary results at least equal to the present centralized program. 


    August 3, 2014 by Tunya

    Correlation Equals Causation In Illiteracy-Prison Equation

    Doesn’t matter how much evidence LD advocacy groups present to governments and school systems about the connections, they are ignored.  They refuse to act on the ONE factor that will drastically reduce prison populations, prison recidivism, homelessness, university remedial courses in the basics for incoming students, etc. — READING ABILITY. 

    There must be SOME reason teachers and ed systems REFUSE TO COMMIT to teaching reading to ALL students.

    Is it because it’s not politically “progressive” to teach reading by direct instruction rather than guessing? Is it because the English language is hard, with many exceptions to easy rules?  What is it?

    I have a dozen books before me on — NOT “Literacy” but ILLITERACY.  There are more out there.  Maybe someone knows why this resistance.

    Here is another take on the school-to prison pipeline.  This is in the US, but applicable here.

    Should State Funding Go to School Books or Orange Jumpsuits?

    Though this does not point to illiteracy but to poor education in the story, a reader does point to more research on the topic.  J E Stone from Education Consumers Clearinghouse says:  “Take a look at our cost of our schooling failure calculator:  It sums the cost of not just prison (included in Public Safety), but welfare, healthcare, and future education costs.”

    This calculator determines the cost of Third Grade Reading Failure by state. Students who can’t read by the end of third grade pay an enormous price but so do taxpayers.

    For every student who fails to master reading, the public is saddled with what amounts to a hidden annual surtax imposed at the local, state, and federal levels – one that cumulates with each succeeding class of students.

    Even with such persuasive accurate instruments:  Why is there no concentrated action on Reading?

    In the Health field if there was this epidemic the correlation-causation equation would urgently trigger action.  What will it take?

  7. Education Debit Accounts – setting the scene

    August 2, 2014 by Tunya


    Brilliant — 1st Step To Deschooling Society

    Ivan Illich (1926-2002) wrote the book “Deschooling Society” in 1971. He was concerned that institutionalized schooling led to institutionalized society. He proposed learning webs instead.

    Please see all the sayings of Ivan Illich on twitter —

    People believe in universal education, but that doesn’t have to be delivered by the state or unionized state workers. What is significant in 2014 versus the olden days is that the public is willing to pay taxes for an educated citizenry. That money need not go to institutions called public schools. It can go to the customer (parents & students) to find the best services they can for their particular needs.

    A brilliant opportunity now arises from our Teacher Strike. The government is to pay parents of children 12 and under $40 a day for day care or educational services. Parents could very well use that money for tutoring services in the basics. Or they, and perhaps teachers, can form learning pods where students can be taught, using technology and tested teaching methods.

    Here are some ideas, as far back as 1971, that Illich had for Learning Networks:

    In the long run, this model of learning can very well be translated into full-blown Education Debit Cards where each qualified student and parents could access the best services available. Arizona already has Education Savings Accounts for special needs students. We can start researching how such accounts can be used and regulated in BC during this test period.



    2nd comment

    FREE SCHOOLS — Turning Crisis Into Opportunity

    What’s to stop a burst of innovation and versatility due to the shutdown of government schools? Don’t young people still need an education?

    The old standby for home educators, if they had no other plan or program, was simply to follow the syllabus. This is the carefully prepared Typical Course of Study of the World Book encyclopedia people. Every level, from Preschool to Grade 12, is here.

    The outlines for BC curriculum are also available from Ministry website. Correspondence courses also available.

    $40 a day per student can easily initiate learning pods operated by either parents or teachers or both. Used textbooks are easily available from online used book outfits and delivery is quick. Online learning would also help meet the challenge. The possibilities are limitless.

    The Free Schools movement of the 60s had great passion and created hundreds of small independent schools without all the technology we now have.

    Go for it! Education is a continuous, developmentally urgent activity. It need not stop for a teacher strike and government lockout!

    Is anyone scoping out the possibilities — sites, notices, personnel, accountability & mission statement — yet?


    My  3rd comment expands the opportunity presented for examing the proposed "transformational" curriculum beiung imposed without consent of the public and parents.

    21st Century Learning Under Challenge

    Three provinces in Canada have so far been pressured to embrace 21st Century Learning — a broad term for “transforming” whole systems toward shifting to “competencies” and squeezing out skills and content. Constructivism is the new “teaching” style — basically non-teaching — or discovery or child-centered inquiry.

    Gurus have travelled across the globe bringing in the principles and procedures for whole system change — similar to the Common Core initiatives in the United States where already major objections are raised by parents.

    In Canada we have BC with its Personalized Learning Plan ready to roll out. Ontario has a 21st Century initiative.

    But it is Alberta that’s worth watching. The same gurus travelled back and forth to develop Alberta’s plan — Inspiring Education. Of course, public was typically not involved.

    Why Alberta is important is that there is currently a contest amongst the ruling Conservative Party for a new leader. As the three rivals travel across the province, they are hearing about concerns and discontent from parents about these new plans. It’s gone so far that one candidate, Jim Prentice, has already “pledged to halt all major education curriculum overhauls under his premiership.” None of these concerns would have been exposed so forcefully if these politicians had not been glad-handing with the grassroots in their communities. The first voting is Sept 6.

    It’s too bad there is no similar opportunity in BC for parents to be examining our Personalized Learning Plan as it’s full of the same gobbledygook as Alberta’s plan. See 

    That’s why, at $40 a day, parents should grab the chance to snag alternatives to what’s coming down the pike.

  8. Parent Rights & Their Children’s Education

    July 21, 2014 by Tunya


    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.

    "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.


    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. 


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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. 


    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. 

















  9. 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

    (See more from BDP on American Thinker.)

    to SQE 19 July 2014,


  10. who governs public education?

    July 16, 2014 by Tunya

    Posted in Society for Quality Education, July 16, 2014,

    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.

    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?]

    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

  11. 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

    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,