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Open Letter to Minister of Education

February 19, 2014 by Tunya

Open Letter To Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education, BC — November 08, 2013

Apparently there is consultation going on concerning some “new” curriculum in our public schools in BC. I saw an item about this in the Vancouver Sun, but the story ended: “The Ministry of Education was not available for comment by press time.” (Oct 23)

Then an opinion piece by an educator/author (Zwaagstra) from Manitoba complained about the “edu-babble” in these consultation papers, Sun Nov 05. BTW, this story went international so I was able to read it twice. But I, as a member of the public and as a grandparent with grandkids in the education stream in BC, still am not being consulted or invited to do so. An educator from Manitoba is involved, however.

In contrast, regarding Finance and Government Services, the BC government did buy advertising to invite input — to which I did respond.

Today (Nov 08) a letter to the editor (Sun) from a BC teacher (Moser) was published that defends the new curriculum. 

From what I am gleaning, there is to be a full 180-degree reversal of what we “old-timers” were used to. From an even earlier story decrying “edu-babble” in teacher training (Sun, Oct 12) we learn that a teacher is to become a “facilitator” of learning and will be “a guide on the side rather than a sage on the stage.”

All this worries me very much. Looks like we are going into uncharted waters into something experimental, confusing, and maybe even dangerous.

I am very, very worried because I have been following the common core discussions in the US. It seems the education systems there are also to have this shift, without the consent of large populations of people who are seriously questioning two things — the rather coercive processes and the intended outcomes. Concerns range from teachers being unprepared to indoctrination of students.

Since I closely follow issues about school indoctrination I recently wrote a comment to an American blog:

In the “olden days” parents used to complain about “mystification” and jargon in education and that they felt left out of discussions because they were made to feel foolish and inadequate. I think that the “edu-babble” concerns that have been emerging lately are testimony to the same, probably intended (?), result. Gagging people to refrain from participating in important societal discussions is similar to voter suppression in democratic elections. 

There was but one comment to the Zwaagstra online story so far, asking the simple question: “Why is the ministry watering down the curriculum? Is it the result of the lobbying of a vocal minority?”

Suspicions are indeed aroused when there is so little transparency in this matter. Is it really some plan for constructing one international worldview as voiced by some American critics? And, why is it such an either/or issue? What if teachers and parents and public want more choices than a 100% Zwaagstra or 100% Moser philosophy imposed on them? And why the stealthy imposition anyway? What is there to hide? When and how can we get involved?

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