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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. Time to talk “alternatives” — vouchers, charters, etc., etc.

    August 30, 2014 by Tunya

    [posted to The Tyee on story "Three Reasons Teachers Must Keep Picketing to Keep Pressure on BC Gov't" by Bill Tieleman.]


    $40 Oils The Slippery Slope To Vouchers

    Maybe that’s why John Fryer, long time public sector union organizer and now professor of Public Administration, U Vic, counseled BCTF to go back to work but keep bargaining.  Parents are to be paid $40 for every strike day come the new school year. That first payout would be the beginning of the end — a “post public universe” as Tom Fleming, historian, predicted 3 years ago in his book “Worlds Apart: BC Schools, Politics & Labour Relations Before & After 1972 (Bendall Bks).

    Imagine abolishing the Ministry of Education — vouchers paid out by Finance and a Department of Standards and Regulations to monitor accountability.  Massive reduction of bureaucrats!

    Imagine no more public school teacher strikes, as the monopoly would no longer exist. 

    However, Fryer might actually be experiencing a “conflicted” mind as a report for the federal government that he headed actually discussed the proper role of government as being to “steer, not row the boat.”  So vouchers (or any of the other choice mechanisms working in other jurisdictions) would be in that direction.  So, his counsel to return to work may have been just a way for BCTF to gain favor with parents, not to forestall per diem payouts from the education fund.  Not sure how Fryer actually sees the $40 idea.

    But in the history of BC, vouchers have been an item.  In 1973, NDP Premier Barrett and MLA Bob Williams “privately looked with favour on the voucher system, whereby each parent would receive a voucher for the year’s cost of a public school education and would have the choice of whether to apply this in public or non-public schools.” (The 1200 Days, 1978, Kavic, Nixon)

    A Vancouver Sun story (School voucher system mulled: plan aimed at choice over schools, Oct 27’87) had then Social Credit Minister of Finance, Mel Couvelier, forming a committee to examine “the total education budget to determine if there are ways to spend money more efficiently.”

    The moment I heard about the $40 idea (July 31, 2014), I immediately could see good policy implications and provided 7 reasons to support the initiative.  I sent my comments to a number of media outlets in early August.  See my blog for “Education Debit Account Idea Explained”

    Apparently there is some pretty frantic bargaining going on right now.  Wonder if the looming $40 payout to parents is front and center or just in the back of the bargainers’ minds. 

    Whatever, the emergence of parents as a third force in BC during these hectic and troubled times is such a welcome sign,. I do hope, for the sake of parents and their desire for long term stability and choice in seeking the best education for their children that the voucher idea sticks around for serious discussion,  promotion and implementation.

  3. What is legal may still be “wrong”

    August 28, 2014 by Tunya

    [comment to various news stories re Teacher Strike negotiations — Vancouver Sun, The Province, Huffington Post (BC).  What I'm  trying to establish is that it is wrongheaded to retain a structure that does harm to its mission (EDUCATION) and to society (DEMOCRACY) as a whole.  What ever differences the two contending sides have, they will not give up their "playpen" the monopoly public education system.  It may be time for serious work on exits via vouchers, charter schools, etc., which give the consumer — the parents — more flixibility to acquire the education that best fits their child.  This conflict in BC raises serious questions of validity, credibility and accountability of the present rigid system.

    Also questions about proper governance:  Should government ROW  or  STEER the boat?  Lots of literature, pro and con, on this topic. How about DIVERSITY of boats?]



    What have you when two competing usurpers clash over stolen booty? It’s a squatters’ dilemma of sorts, isn’t it? Both squatting on someone else’s property, yet because they’ve been there for so long — each in his own way thinks he is the rightful owner by virtue of long occupancy and entrenched footholds. 

    This is the way I characterize this current clash between the BC government and the teacher union. This squatters’ war has been going on for over 40 years. The government-of-the-day, REGARDLESS of its political stripe — socialist, liberal or conservative believes it must govern a monopoly education system — believing they know what’s best for the individual students and parents in the system. The teachers’ union, BECAUSE of its political compass set in the 70s, believes in worker control of the workplace and has through its actions and structuring of reality in effect become a parallel government. 

    The history of the BC public education system has been well documented in the book, Worlds Apart: BC schools, politics & labour relations before and after 1972, (Fleming, 2011, Bendall Bks). Jim MacFarlan, BCTF president in the 70s was described as a “radical Marxist” who “believed schools should be used as instruments of social change”.

    The closing paragraph of Fleming’s book (3 yrs ago!) said prophetically: “ . . .will government and the teachers’ federation finally find ways to behave in a civilized manner, or will the discord of recent decades finally weaken support for old organizational relationships to the point that a new ‘post-public’ universe of schooling will emerge? Sooner or later, these are questions that British Columbians and their government will be obliged to answer.”

    While the book informs the bargainers in these critical talks, we can easily get the gist of the history from this article (go straight to “teacher power”)

    What I mean to say is this: Parents are the legitimate “owners” of education of their children. They are ultimately responsible to society and their children to obtain the best they can for them. The industry of “public education” that has arisen is an aberration even if most states of the world also run this way. A self-serving rapacious, predatory and parasitic industry thrives on monopoly and threatens to suffocate democracy and education. But, everywhere in the world, this centralization of education is being challenged. The domination by public sector teacher unions and their obstacling of choices and reforms are being confronted and corrected. 

    No doubt the bargainers and the mediator see the writing on the wall. There is a “post public” configuration awaiting. The monopoly is an invisible bargaining chip on the table. It is actually the government side that is reading the cards perfectly — parents ARE a third force in the picture, and will eventually reclaim their prime responsibility which has been so selfishly usurped. That is why the $40 per diem idea is so refreshing — an acknowledgement that parents have the first claim on the education dollar to help educate their children. See more of my argument here “When will the dam burst for parents?”

    You can bet both sides will try to keep the monopoly intact, but the world picture portends otherwise! See also the literature in public administration, which describes governments as “steering, not rowing the boat”. See also John Fryer’s research on this.

  4. When will the dam burst for parents?

    August 25, 2014 by Tunya

    [my comment to Society for Quality Education on post — "What About The Others?"

    This was a guest column and here is the gist of it:  “I became a teacher in 2002, so that I could help my daughter from within the system. She has a learning disability.”  She ends up by asking what she can do for others: “I am really concerned that all children reach their own potential and that the schools need to aid that path to success.”  This was my reply.]


    When Will The Dam Burst Regarding Parent Rights In Schools?

    Today, we are dealing with the story of a parent who was motivated to become a teacher so as to help her own (special needs) child maximize her potential using the services provided by the subsidized public school system.  It worked.  The child is now a self-supporting taxpayer.  Good going Mom.  Now, the Mom wants to help others:  What’s the best approach?

    Seems to me what is happening in BC right now may give some hope and ideas.  But, surely, we don’t need a nasty teacher strike to get parents into the picture, do we?  Pressure-cooker valves are ready to start popping soon!

    You know, it’s not easy to say what might work for a broader population of parents.  I myself have been involved in the parent cause for over 45 years, and one thing I do lament is the fact of insiders (that is, teachers who are parents, for example) having an unfair advantage in capitalizing on scarce services.

    But, let’s put things on the table, and apply some perspective, and maybe something will arise.  As I said, in BC, I see new ground being broken.  The parent group is getting noisier.  The social media is full of considerable back and forth with a lot of pushback comments against teachers who say they are doing it (the strike) “for the children” — “our working conditions are their learning conditions”!

    It is significant that the BC government is offering a per diem  ($40 day for 12 and under kids) to parents who will be deprived of their chosen public school come September.  For education or daycare. This does show a recognition and verification that ultimately, it is the parents who are responsible for education and that the collected taxpayer dollars will follow the intended client, the student. 

    The history of parent involvement in education is dismal.

    This is my opinion:  This is the case of a natural, birthright, biological right and duty of parents toward their children’s development and education having been usurped by an industry (which, BTW, grows ever larger and bolder every year).

    This is chronicled in “Parents and Schools – the 150-year struggle for control in American education” by William Cutler (2000). 14 years ago he ended his book with an excellent paragraph (too long for this post) summarized here:  “A cycle of failure will repeat if the home and the school continue to follow their historical paths . . . families and schools are farther apart than ever before . . . Communication is the key to reaffirming their interdependence. Without it, there cannot be the reciprocity that once seemed to describe the relationship between the home and the school.”

    On second thought, perhaps this paragraph and this book may be a starting point.  Especially since we DO know that parent rights do exist but that they are relatively invisible (see my link above).  Maybe a heightened awareness that a few parents do appreciate the entitlements provided and most DON’T might trigger some written parent rights for all.  Stark unfairness is a great motivator for reform.

    In the UK there was a move by the government to mandate schools to be more responsive to parents.  The National Association of Head Teachers put on a course — Parents: Partners or Enemies?  I’m not sure how that went.







  5. Governance Failure in Public Education — Admitted

    August 22, 2014 by Tunya

    [posted to The Province comments, 20140821 on "The disgraceful truth about school dispute, Mike Smyth]


    Parents As A THIRD FORCE In BC Education


    Because this latest teacher strike befell at some of the most inconvenient times for students and their first responder advocates — their parents — a lot of penetrating questions have been raised. Firstly the graduates were tripped up in June.  Now, it is parents who are without any certainty as School Start looms with little hope of September days.  On top of that, taxpayers are grousing for rebates of school taxes.


    The biggest question, of course, is: Why has this turmoil been allowed to happen so frequently for 40 years?  Is it truly governance failure — by governments of various stripes be they socialist, conservative or liberal — buckling to demands of a public sector union for the sake of “labor peace”?


    The Minister of Education says that the dysfunctional paradigm of legislated “return to work” orders has to be broken — that he wants a negotiated settlement — that parents have told him they too want a negotiated settlement. 


    That parents are being brought into the picture in concrete ways is a real breakthrough — finally, the true “owners” of the educational responsibility are getting some recognition.  The $40 day payout to parents if the strike continues is verification of their obligation to see that education of their children happens.  Even if they have to do it themselves through home education, tutoring or finding other learning opportunities.  The parent info website is also another outreach to help parents find alternatives and keep them abreast of developments.


    This would not have happened if the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils had not been active.  They wanted a collective voice in matters educational in BC and wanted to support the rights of individual parents who want to play instrumental roles in their children’s education.


    It is this promised or inferred sharing in decision-making that is, however, making the education establishment nervous — teacher unions in particular, then some academics, then administrations and bureaucracies who like the status quo.  Assertive consumers are not welcome.  Thus we see that interminable school wars between the union and the government are NOT unwelcome.  In fact, the teacher union may even be seen as a convenient scapegoat by which the monopoly public service is kept relatively stable.


    Whatever happens in the end regarding this strike, this is an opportune time for parents to make sure that overtures for involvement go beyond lip-service.  Parent rights need to be enunciated and written down.  The concerns about special needs need to be wrestled down — audits re current spending, are there sufficient teachers equipped to teach appropriately?; are parents able to access resources in a timely manner?; etc.  


    And let’s face it, teachers and education system. Parents do want their children to read proficiently.  When will there be a sincere commitment to this goal for all students?  The basics are foremost in parent minds if the system would only listen.  Accountability is something parents and taxpayers want assurances about.


    In a democracy those most affected are supposed to be involved.  Time to cut parents into the front lines of decision-making.


    This Third Force in the education picture in BC is a most welcome event.  Let’s build on it! 




    August 21, 2014 by Tunya

    [Posted to Society for Quality Education blog of 2014 08 21]   

    Commitment & Training Come FIRST Before $$$ & ###s

    You know what’s happening in BC?  Teacher strike threatens to last all Fall.  Teacher union wants more funding ($$$) and more teachers (###). 

    Government has a website for parents What To Do —  Have the kids take Food Safe, First Aid courses, get some credentials.  Download free textbooks.  Etc.  In my essay to the parent group, which had an emergency meeting this weekend, I suggested a few points:

    *** With the government making 3 important concrete overtures to parents — $40 day for under 13yr olds, the parent website, and the Minister of Ed on public TV saying he wants to get parents involved — I warned that this could be lip service UNLESS parents presented some conditions — parent rights, real special needs requirements met, and a COMMITMENT TO READING.  

    *** Re:  special needs  —1) audit where current SN $ is going; 2) specifically trained SN teachers (Is there training available?); 3) regular teachers need to have skills/tools to help identify SN and work with parents to get proper services.

    *** Re:  Reading.  I said the education establishment has to stop seeing phonics as an ABOMINATION and use it as part of the tool kit to teach reading to early learners.

    *** Re:  Poor reading and “pipeline to prison” connection, I said that the usual refrain of “correlation does not mean causation” is FALSE in this instance and that this connection does hold — a large percent of prisoners can’t read and were NOT taught to read.

    *** Please see this Letter to Editor relating to the strike, then read comments.  It’s amazing that educators still see Self Esteem must precede Reading.  Amazing, that someone suggests a whole host of gimmicks, including a “reading ring” !  Will all these homeless people and prisoners be given a “reading ring” instead of being taught in the first instance with direct instruction?  Why seek technology instead of avoiding human teaching as evidence proves it works?   How can we still, in 2014, accept the WILLFUL STUBBORNNESS of the trade to refuse to teach reading?

    People and politicians need to really weigh the preventative costs against the resulting negligence burdens — economic and human that result from crippling the young by our unaccountable education systems.  There is probably 1 to 10 ratio of prevention vs negligence costs.  Any economists help figure? And remember, psychic costs and human suffering cannot be measured in $s.

    That’s why I’m really hoping this BC teacher strike really starts asking these important questions.  These questions are popping up, and there is real NERVOUSNESS that parents, as a THIRD FORCE, may FINALLY bring some common sense to the field of education.   


  7. Parent Role In Education “urgent”

    August 16, 2014 by Tunya


    [published in Society for Quality Education blog,  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.








  8. Don’t Polarize Parents During Labor Strife

    August 15, 2014 by Tunya

    TWO sides bargain in secret during contract negotiations — teacher union and employer (the government). Public opinion seems to be a big part of the "bargaining", thus both sides COURT parents, especially, to take sides.  Increasingly in this turmoil of Teacher Strike/Gov Lockout 2014 parents usually come out 50/50 split, whether for or against the $40 per diem payout to parents if the strike continues into Sept, or for or against either party in the dispute. But Surprise FOLKS ! — We are see more and more parents now saying they are taking sides FOR THEIR KIDS and want a solution, often tossing out an exclamation — "POX ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES!"   Below are two comments I posted on the Parent Group site.]


    To BCCPAC before their Summit (16 Aug) to discuss teacher strike ( in Posts to Page)


    If a doctor withheld medical information from a patient and the patient died the doctor could be sued for wrongful death. 

    What happens when the school system, because of teacher job action, causes Progress Report Cards to be withheld? This happened twice in the last two disputes. The first time the teacher union asked the LRB (Labor Relations Board) — not a court, but a legal entity nonetheless — to be excused from Report Card writing. Most were withheld. But in some dubious wisdom, some were sent home BLANK.

    The School Act says the parents are to receive these Report Cards 3 times in a school year. What purpose do they serve?

    One — By legally sending the RCs to parents, this very act validates the fact that it is the parents who are ultimately responsible, and they are to be kept informed of progress or not.

    Two — Parents are to use that information in their ongoing planning for that child — keep him in that school, find another school, advocate for more services, home educate, get tutoring, etc. — precisely to be on top of the child’s educational development and to step in when intervention is called for.

    The above essay talks about the “disabling” of parent rights through the courts. I’m adding that withholding Progress Report Cards from parents via LRB decisions further disables parent rights and actually serves to “deskill” parents from their duty to their children.

    Here is another issue BCCPAC should examine — the illegal withholding of Progress Report Cards


     DON'T POLARIZE INTO CAMPS                          Aug 15

    I have seen where both the BCCPAC President (Nicole) and VP (John) are trying to establish a strong position for the group, quite outside of the camps of the two bargaining parties. Nicole has said on CKNW that a survey was taken. She said, “People complain that BCCPAC sits on the fence, but our members are so divided, that’s where we are right now . . . but we are trying to get off that fence to create a position of our own, and to be out there loud and proud.” John said on Facebook that he’s not interested in fences, but a separate pasture for parents. 

    The calling of an emergency Summit meeting of provincial representative parents bodes well for the future of a Parent Voice in education in BC. Finally! For too long parents have been taken for granted by the system. And, with the parents speaking out, this means parents are themselves now more assertive.

    The Finance Ministry $40 payout to parents also bodes well for the acknowledgement that it is parents — ultimately — who are responsible for their children’s education — that money from the taxpayer-dedicated Education Account should follow the child. This payout will happen if the teacher strike continues.

    The Summit is a great opportunity for parents to focus on what would help them, as individuals, and as a collective, to promote parent rights and student rights in education. For example, I would hope a strong statement could be made about the withholding of Report Cards during the last two job actions. This is illegal, in my opinion, and should never, ever, be a bargaining chip in negotiations.

    Also, shouldn't BCCPAC want to see some accountability for present special needs money — does it really reach the child with specially trained teachers? Is a forensic audit of that money called for? 

    Furthermore, the discussion of alternatives and choices is long overdue in this province. In this 21st Century so much is known and available that a veritable paradise of diverse and effective approaches can be obtained for each and every student in BC. Go, parents, go!


  9. 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



  10. 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.

  11. 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.