School Accountability: What’s Next on the Reform Agenda?

Fifteen years ago Ontario public education began to embrace what had been an alien concept – school accountability for student learning and performance results. Returning to Toronto for the Society for Quality Education’s Measuring Up Seminar, April 26, 2011, prompted me to address a perplexing question – “Are Ontario schools any more accountable today?”

Everyone talks accountability but it’s difficult to find examples of it in practice, even in Ontario. Yet when it comes to school accountability, Ontario is light years ahead of Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and a few other Canadian provinces. And the Ontario system is a whole lot closer to that goal than it was in June of 1997 when I left Ontario for my eventful eight-year Quebec sojourn.

Twenty years ago the Ontario educational world was far different that it is today. Writing in 1993, Jennifer Lewington and Graham Orpwood published Overdue Assignment and virtually lifted the veil on the K-12 public system. Education, they wrote, was a virtual “Fortress” – an incredibly closed system –and it was “under stress” – from parents, local taxpayers and even students – who expected more from their schools.

On the educational continuum from “closed and secretive” to “transparent and accountable,” the Ontario public school system was stuck in first gear. Complacency and “happy talk” were the currency of educational discussion. We were literally “flying blind” – and expected to take everything on faith, to blindly support public education, or to be viewed as “trouble-makers.”

Since then, Ontario’s core educational interests have been thrust into a new, uneasy ‘dance’ with school accountability. With the coming of Mike Harris and the “Common Sense Revolution,” romantic progressivism was in full retreat. We witnessed the introduction of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), the revival of a sound core academic curriculum, and the return of provincial testing. Little by little, public education became far more transparent, if not more accountable.

Since 2003, Ontario education has experienced an “orgy” of educational spending. Education cuts have been replaced with lavish new programs aimed at “closing the gap” and promoting social equity through universal program initiatives. In Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario, education costs have skyrocketed by 57% to some $22 billion in 2010.

It’s high time to ask – What are Ontarians getting for all that investment? And—if we are completely honest – what has all that testing achieved? And finally where do we go from here?

The centrepiece of reform – the EQAO – would benefit from some critical analysis. So would the Grade 10 Secondary School Literacy Test and plans to embrace the “21st Century Skills” agenda. And if we are looking for a comparator, I would suggest considering Nova Scotia – a provincial system much like Ontario’s fifteen years ago.

Ontario’s provincial testing regime should be fair game when it comes to public scrutiny. When spending ballooned to $50 million a year, taxpayers had a right to be concerned. Today, the EQAO costs $34 million or $17 per student and its performing just as well. All that proves is that educational watchdog agencies need to be carefully watched themselves.

The Grade 10 Literacy Test has been a fiasco. The EQAO Office’s own May 2010 report concedes that hundreds of students who failed the 2006 test simply got “lost” and escaped without passing that standard. Consistently, a quarter of all students fall short of acceptable literacy, yet graduation rates have risen from 68% to 79% province-wide.

Ontario’s EQAO is also flirting with “21st Century Skills” and attempting to incorporate them into the testing regime. Many of those skills are “soft” and difficult to assess. American education critic Jay P. Greene describes them as “21st Century nonsense” and warns that they could be used to subvert standardized testing.

The Ontario system of school accountability may have weaknesses, but Nova Scotia’s is virtually non-existent. Since 2006, Nova Scotia has been experimenting with PLANS (Program of Learning Assessment for Nova Scotia). One look at the NS Education website and you can see what it really means. The test results of every assessment are dutifully posted, with little or no comment. It’s clearly “transparency only” and makes a mockery of true accountability. Nothing is aggregated, not is anything ranked, except the eight school boards.

All is not doom and gloom there are glimmers of hope and potential. Three “lighthouse projects” provide cause for optimism in the years ahead:
The Alberta Education model provides a viable option for school choice and system-wide reform. SQE’s Sunshine on Schools is a fine step toward fuller disclosure for Ontario school boards and is a potentially powerful tool promoting more accountability. The Students First movement has now popped up in Nova Scotia on March 28, 2011 with a five-point blueprint for 21st century reform: 1) put students first; 2) elevate teaching; 3) empower parents; 4) raise standards; and 5) spend wisely.

It’s time to rethink and revitalize Canadian education reform for the 21st century. Where can find the building blocks? Let’s embrace school choice – pushing for more choice for parents within the “one-size-fits all” public system. Build upon initiatives like SQE’s Sunshine on Schools – pushing harder for accountability for shortfalls in school board performance and demanding consequences for chronic underperformance. And, above all, “put students first” in all of our reform initiatives and projects.

“Transparency,” Doretta Wilson said recently, “is just the first step on the road to accountability.” Putting students first will allow us to refocus our priorities. Do not lead with accountability, end with accountability. We may have had it wrong in presenting a hard line on accountability. Let’s soften our public image and seek to establish the winning conditions for reform. The 21st century reform agenda should focus on significantly improving student learning, tackling teacher quality, and supporting the most vulnerable in our system.

Finding fault with the system is easier than trying to map out an agenda for 21st century Canadian school reform. What’s next on the reform agenda? Does it bear any resemblance to my modest proposals to revitaize the system?


553 Responses

  1. School reformers need to learn to be honest with themselves just as progrssives need to learn more honesty. I consider Paul to be an honest reformer and as we see increasingly in the USA, many leading reform figures, first Diane Ravitch, then Checker Finn, Rick Hess, and others have begun to reconsider SOME, not all, aspects of reform. You know where I stand however;

    There is an absolute refusal by many reformers to consider poverty to be a profound and complete barrier to school success with a “no excuses” position. Progressives also believe poor kids can learn but research and experience shows them that it does little good to teach phonemic awareness to a student that is hungry, needs glasses, dental work, has moved 4 times in 2 years, has one brother in jail and no place to study. Programs like “Pathways” are a major boost there and draw support from reformers and proressives.

    There seems to be a belief by some reformers that testing, in and of itself, has some effect. It does not. Naming and shaming only further depresses those schools, teachers, and parents. You actually have to do something about it. Chicago has proven that closing these schools has no effect whatsoever. The problem is “in the student” and their environment, not in the teachers.

    Teacher bashing does little good when the problem is in “inner city” or poor schools. It is already difficult to get teachers to work there so they are sometimes less qualified, teaching outside their subject area or in the USA often don’t have qualifications at all.

    So called Mayor’s control solves nothing and makes the reform movement look anti-democratic. NYC is a mess under Bloomberg.

    Wisconsin style attacks will sriously damage the education system causing early retirement and a flight of qualified teachers. Even Michele Rhee is highly critical of Wisconsin solutions.

    Everybody has simplified “silver bullet” solutions that they are very strongly wedded to.When these are criticized, they refuse to listen. There is an absolute refusal to look at the solutions of the far more successful jurisdictions such as Finland and Korea.

    There is an absolute refusal to look at the real position of Ontario and Canada as world leaders in education because it does not fit the thesis of reform that we are “going to hell in a hand cart”. The Americans are looking to Canada and Ontario as a model.

    Real progressives have long abandoned their “Summerhill” anarcho-education models and favour Linda Darling-Hammond-Finland, serious solutions.

    It is time reformers took a realistic look at the failure of vouchers in Wisconsin, the lackluster performance of most charters, the anti-democratic nature of the attacks on school boards (this includes amalgamation another failure), the dead end of teacher bashing, the uselessness of testing unconnected to action, and the absolute refusal to even look at poverty notwithstanding the massive evidence to the contrary.

  2. on May 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Schools are not intended to be platforms for social engineering. We need to get back to the original purpose of public education – to educate all citizens as well as possible within an affordable framework.

  3. You will get a lot of argument from a lot of people on this.

    The poor, women, Aboriginal Canadians, racialized minorities, and many others see the school system as the primary vehicle to advance equity or at an absolute minimum, equality of opportunity.

    “An affordable framework” seems to mean something to you that it does not mean to me. Investigate the creation of “human capital” Silicon Valley and RIM locate themselves close to universities on purpose.

    Canada must not only pump out more university and college graduates in raw numbers but they must be an ever increasing percentage of our population. If we fail in this, we condemn ourselves to becoming an economic backwater in the world.

    The people who want to control expenditure on education might just as well say ” I am out to destroy the economy” because that is the effect of placing controls (cutbacks and barriers) to the economic advancement of the nation.

    Every year there will be fewer and fewer jobs for those with limited education.

    Yes there are a few people around that refuse to relate educational expenditure to educational success. All I can say to you is China, world’s highest expenditure in terms of % of GDP, Korea massive spending increases, India, Singapore…..

    If you want to wreck the country, cutback on education. As the old saying goes “Education is expensive…ignorance is a lot more expensive.”

    If the “reform movement” chooses to place itself in the cutbacks camp, they are placing themselves outside mainstream thinking. No matter what else you say, you will be called the “Cutbacks movement” and as a result marginalized.

    • Well Doug, I do hope you read Levin’s report that I cited in my post below. He does oppose some of your viewpoints.

      “To put this another way, whatever the level of resourcing, it is usually possible to increase effectiveness (or what economists would call productivity) by improving the way that resources are used. That perspective shapes this report.”

      In this case Doug, it is how money is put to use, and how the resources are used. From what I have ever read, you don’t care about resources, how the resources are put to use unless they do not follow the ideological and dogma of equality and the platforms of social engineering. At least here, Levin acknowledges that ideological and dogma leads to lower expectations of students, especially the students who are struggling in school. It is the first step to acknowledge the role of the education system and how the system prevent children of poor, women, Aboriginal Canadians, radicalized minorities and the children who struggle in learning from realizing their full potential.


      I sure wish their was more accountability by the public education system, to the quality of education being received by the groups that I have mentioned. I am so tired of having LD children being treated as though they came from Mars, ignoring their learning weaknesses, and the use of one-sized-fits-all approaches – namely the wide use of dumbing down the curriculum two grades below and than still expect them to succeed at the high school. Pretty hard to do, when students especially the LD students, have weaker skills and fluency in reading, writing and numeracy.

  4. “The 21st century reform agenda should focus on significantly improving student learning, tackling teacher quality, and supporting the most vulnerable in our system.

    Finding fault with the system is easier than trying to map out an agenda for 21st century Canadian school reform. What’s next on the reform agenda? Does it bear any resemblance to my modest proposals to revitalize the system? ”

    In my e-mail box today, a news item from Nova Scotia popped up under learning disabilities.

    “A review of Nova Scotia’s public education system is calling for school closures and a reduction in the number of teaching assistants for students with learning disabilities or behavioural problems. The review and resulting recommendations, compiled by education expert Ben Levin, will now be the subject of public consultation, Education Minister Ramona Jennex told a news conference Thursday.”


    Not to predict the future for Nova Scotia, but the report does indicate this will be next on the reform agenda of the educrats in Nova Scotia.


    The Student’s First Movement, will have their first battle on the fault lines of the public education system crossing across the span of education services, pedagogy, and administration. But before reading the report, I want to speak about the language of the report. It is designed to draw in the reader, to captured their attention, to gain the reader’s trust that Levin is on the side of the reader. As a veteran parent, I have read many reports much like this report, that gives hope for parents, teachers giving out messages that the solutions offered will finally fixed the problems. But within the report in between the hope, the solutions, the reasons, the valid points are the bits and pieces of the cost savings measures, that will make the classroom teacher work a whole lot harder than what they are presently doing, by ensuring children with learning difficulties and behavioural problems remained in the regular class, without having access to special education services such as effective reading, writing and numeracy remediation that have been proven by the science and research. The classroom teacher can do this, according to the report.

    One such example in the report: “However in the last couple of decades this picture has changed. First, more and
    more children are being referred into special education and there seems no end to this increase. In Nova Scotia, while overall enrolment has declined by 2–3 percent a year, special education enrolments have grown by 3–4 percent a year. Since 2001, the proportion of students with IPPs has doubled. At one time, experts thought that 3–4 percent of all children might require special education services. Now many systems are around 15 percent with continuing pressure to increase these numbers. This growth is due almost entirely to increases in what might be called the ‘soft’ areas of identification, especially students thought to have learning disabilities or behaviour problems. The number of children with actual physical disabilities has remained constant or possibly even declined. Nobody really knows whether the increases in these other categories are a result of real change in student performance or increased sensitivity to
    differences that at one time would have been regarded as part of the normal range of student behaviour; these are issues on which there is considerable disagreement.”

    Considerable disagreement? Not in the world of the researchers, the learning science , the cognitive science nor in the world of neuro-science. There is no disagreement on the approaches that are needed to addressed the reading, writing and numeracy issues. But in the world of public education, educrats like to talk about learning and behavioural problems in the abstract, to the point of describing them as soft areas of identification, and very much like the medical term, soft tissue injury. Soft tissue injury is invisible to the naked eye, much like the learning disability is not visible to the eye. This is what educrats would like us to believe, that learning problems are hard to determined, much like the insurance adjustors would like the public to believe that soft tissue injury is hard to determined.

    It is what I was thinking at the time, as the thoughts came rushing in, telling me that LD kids are not worth the time and expense to correct their learning weaknesses, and the new direction that Levin would like the Nova Scotia education system to go to, is to expand the normal range to include the children with the mild to moderate reading, writing, numeracy, and other learning problems plus the children with mild to moderate behavioural problems as part of the normal range of student behaviour and development.

    Even though, I wanted to smash my fist through the computer screen, I went back to determined if my above conclusions were correct, because earlier in the report he speaks of targeted remediation. While, I found my answer shortly after, stating “Meanwhile, the goal should
    be to reduce gradually the number of education assistants and to have schools and districts consider whether some of these resources could be better used to help classroom teachers support a range of students, or to provide intensive but short-term interventions for struggling students with the goal of getting them back to regular
    programs and expectations in a short period of time (weeks, not years). This is what is done with much success in Finland and Singapore, two very high performing systems. Another option is to redeploy resources from classroom assistants to school-community work that supports connections with and the greater engagement of parents.”

    Short-term interventions is the educrat’s solution, completely ignoring the science and the incredible amount of new knowledge in cognitive and learning science – that the short-term interventions of 6 to 8 weeks, although intensive the gains that the students will make, will be lost within a one to two week period because of the teaching methods, the curriculum, causing them to fall behind once again. Using Finland and Singapore as examples, would be appropriate if the Canadian provinces was using the the same systematic, phonetic reading, writing and numeracy instruction. The insistence of using whole language and fuzzy math curriculum, along with questionable pedagogy, is the cause of many of the learning and behaviour problems. The third suggestion, of connecting community supports to parents, is very telling of passing the learning problems down to the parents and community supports. What happens to a community that does not have supports such as private tutors, a literacy centre close by, or simply does not have the means to pay for the services or for transportation? In my mind, not at all accountable except in reducing costs on the back of students who are the most vulnerable. I force myself to read more, trying to keep an open mind, trying to see Levin’s point of view.

    I still stand by my first thoughts, that first emerge after reading what should not be included in reforming Nova Scotia education system according to Levin.

    “governance arrangements such as the number of school boards, their duties, or their boundaries
    • professional certification, unionization, teacher evaluation, or the status of principals as part of the bargaining unit
    • pre-service education of teachers
    • choice and competition among schools
    • accountability systems, testing, or inspection
    • school size or the organization of grades or timetables
    • focusing on new curriculum documents instead of on teaching and learning practices

    So much for accountability on student learning, teacher quality, and supporting the most vulnerable in our system. The report directly opposes Paul’s modest reforms, and as I have stated the Student’s First movement will have their work cut out for them especially in school closures in the urban areas, and special education if the Nova Scotia government decides to accept the recommendations of the report. Bad news for the students who are struggling in reading, writing and numeracy, because they still will not be receiving a quality education, nor will they have their weaknesses corrected to the degree, that the weaknesses are no longer interfering with the learning processes.

    Levin is opting for the status-quo, by keeping intact the teaching training, pedagogy, union contracts, and curriculum. The reform changes that Levin recommends will lead to less accountability, transparency, and more of the soft skills of the 21st century that Paul speaks of. ” Ontario’s EQAO is also flirting with “21st Century Skills” and attempting to incorporate them into the testing regime. Many of those skills are “soft” and difficult to assess. American education critic Jay P. Greene describes them as “21st Century nonsense” and warns that they could be used to subvert standardized testing.” As for parents, having no grades averages for their children, it will be very difficult to determined if their children have a firm foundation in reading, writing and numeracy. The essentials that are required, even in the 21st century, the world of information and knowledge at the push of a button, and the ability to understand the information and knowledge.

  5. You have to actually HAVE the money and the resources BEFORE you can put them to good use.

    1) Get the money

    2) Put it to good use.

    You like Levin do you? He says Ontario is one of the world’s best systems alongside Finland and Korea and says we need to learn from these 3. I have never heard you say that Nancy.

    Of course money has to be put to good use. Who is going to stand up and say “I think the money should be put to bad uses.” Of course you don’t think that salaries and class size are good use and I do.

    Funny debate in Toronto this week. Our conservative Mayor, with a critical deficit just gave the police an 11% raise over 4 years because we need to attract and retain the best cops. Of course that applies to cops, CEOs, doctors, politicians, but it does not apply to teachers for some reason. Now why would that be?

  6. What a lame reason to defend the current practices of the public education system, where resources are taking away from the students, so the board has the ability to pay for the salaries and small class sizes to produced the same achievement results. As for Levin, his way is stealing the resources of the children who have reading, writing and numeracy problems, put them back into the regular classroom to produce the same results and increase the work load of the teachers, to the point that the only solution will be to dumb down the outcomes a grade level or two.

    Levin is all over the place on expectations, but one thing is clear to me, he was low expectations for students who struggle in the fundamentals of reading, writing and numeracy.

    The solution have been staring the educrats in their faces for years, but none of represent the agendas of the educrats and unions. Take your comments Doug in your first post, “Progressives also believe poor kids can learn but research and experience shows them that it does little good to teach phonemic awareness to a student that is hungry, needs glasses, dental work, has moved 4 times in 2 years, has one brother in jail and no place to study.”

    The latest research has shown that phonemic awareness is fundamental and essential to learn to read. Yet, the public education system has chosen to ignore and opt for the balance-literacy reading instruction, that will do nothing for their phonemic awareness, in the same way as being hungry, sick, or being stress out because the student was bullied before class started. Levin himself leads the charge and have stated several times over the years, that phonemic awareness is not necessary to learn to read. Levin talks a good line, but I know he walks on the side of the unions and teachers’ colleges, and not for the students. His actions speaks louder than words, because he and Fullan are leading the charge to prevent effective reading, writing and numeracy instruction from entering the schools. Just like you, the agenda is to create a steady 60 % of the student population where the solutions are hiring more staff, to handled the behaviour and learning problems of students as they advance to each grade level.

    Levin’s report to Nova Scotia has a different take, but it still represent the status-quo and keeping the public education system and its structure as it is. Dropping TAs and removing the bulk of the SE children back into the regular classrooms for language arts and math, will increase the workload of teachers. Or do you expect teachers to become mind-readers on the learning problems of the individual students, without having objective testing to determine where the students are on the fundamentals. I can well imagine a class, where the teacher is truly teaching a grade 5 class, where over half of them will be two grade levels below grade 5, or more. Do you actually expect the teacher to teach a grade 5 student at the level of a student in grade 3. How is a teacher going to do that, without the student wearing the label of slow learner or in the eyes of the student’s classmates, SPED written across the forehead where only the students see it. Somehow it is invisible to the educrats, by design because the educrats are doing a favour for the unionists.

    Dropped the TAs, will increase the work load of teachers to the point where teachers’ unions will be demanding two teachers per classroom, and other contract conditions because of the learning and behaviour difficulties of the students. Student aids were the first ones to be cut, and now the educrats are determined to cut TAs. I wonder why Doug? Could it be that unions need to set up the conditions to be able to bargain on the backs of the students? I would say a resounding yes, basing it on Levin’s report to Nova Scotia and my own observations.

  7. This is always the conservative idea, there is enough money it is being wasted on X or Y or Z. The fact is there simply is not enough money if every nickel was spent perfectly.

  8. Seems like their is a VAST conspiracy to stop children from reading by people who know better. Where is my tin foil hat.

  9. It is the educrats because they do not care how well a child reads and write. . It is designed that way, where the educrats and unionists can designed and peddled their products and bargained on the backs of students who developed the learning and behaviour difficulties.

    How many parents send their children to private tutors? How many parents home school? How many parents seek private independent schools for their children? How many parents seek the alternative schools within the education system? How many parents buy the software to address the weaknesses in the foundations of reading, writing and numeracy? How many teachers take the parents to the side, telling them to do one of the above things?

    The stats are revealing for the first 5 questions. Revealing how many parents seek alternatives to address the fundamentals in reading, writing and numeracy. It is a 2 billion dollar industry in private tutoring alone. As for the last question, it takes a brave teacher to speak the truth that run counters to the educrats and unionist positions. The educrats do not care about the students receiving a quality education, where the students have the skills and abilities after 12 years of schooling, to navigate the world of post-secondary and work with relative ease. But the teachers do, especially the teachers at the high school level who have no choice but to take action, and work to improve the reading, writing and numeracy levels of the students.

    As for waste, I seen enough being wasted on my own child. Two years spent in a SE math class, that represent no challenge to her. She was nickname the whiz kid. Not only a waste in time, funding and resources, but it did indeed set the conditions for my child to experience the same math difficulties as in the primary grades, when she returned to the regular grade 6 math class. It has always been the math curriculum and teaching methods, and not her LD problems getting in the way. Funny thing Doug, the one thing educrats and unionists play their role here to, they will never give up their control over curriculum and pedagogy. Progressive methods along with the ideology and dogma is mainly responsible for the increase in the identification of children, where the main bulk of them have reading, writing and numeracy problems. Reduced class sizes, dumb down the curriculum, watching movies, self-esteem lessons, alternative courses to replace core subject courses to increase interest, and the many other changes that have done little to increase the overall achievement of children and to provide a firm foundation that is the basis of a quality education.

    The money spent on my child, could be put to better use by giving me a fraction of the total spent by the school board, and I could have put it to better use. My only choice was to used the materials I had at hand, my abilities and skills to bring my child up to grade level and beyond. There is tremendous waste in SE alone, including the the lost of so much potential of the SE children. Most educrats write them off early on, because in their minds they are not academic material and not worth the time and effort that is needed to work on the foundations, including phonemic awareness. I have not met a educrat who are incline to use the excuses of being slow, too poor, bad parents and the many other variables of the SEC factors, to explain the stats that only 4 % of the LD student population makes it to a post-secondary institution. Ninety-six percent of the LD population are left hanging by the public education system, where the very same public education system, states that LD children are of average to above-average intelligence. Hell some of them are truly at the genius level. And yet, the public education system and its educrats can only see fit to provide instruction at two grade levels below. And very little is done to addressed their learning weaknesses that impacts the LD student’s ability to learn. And now they want to get rid of the TAs, and provide short targeted interventions for the LD children. Once again, going against the learning and cognitive science in favour of methods of the educrats. Probably designed, to force the school to buy the products of the educrats at the highest price the market can bare. Only to get the same dismal results in achievment for LD students.

    It is neither a conservative idea or a liberal idea or a socialist idea. People across the political spectrum are demanding accountability on where and how the money is spent. When people see the cuts to the school libaries, school closures, cuts to special education, cuts to resources, cuts to arts, music and PE to make more room for language arts and math, cuts to maintenance, support staff, and at the same time increases in salaries, pensions and benefits – one starts to wonder where is the accountability to the students, parents and the taxpayers. An independent audit should be done in every provincial education system, and no doubt the waste alone could total to the point of funding two average size school boards for each province. When one throws in salaries and pension benefits that are unheard of for the average citizen working in the private sector, there is more funding that can be directed to the benefit of the students. The list can go on in areas of deals made with the big publishing companies, to deals made with the big guys in the computer systems of the public education system, to deals made to big guys in bus transportation for the students. Just a few that I have listed, but many more areas where there is a lot of waste and not making efficient use of the resources.

  10. All about boosting the salaries of teachers eh Doug, and has little to do with the quality of training when it comes to United States and Canada. Just like the little piece of Korea describing Korea teachers salaries, that starting teachers salaries are 1.2 times the GDP per capita and 3.4 times the GDP for the maximum salaries. What is not told, the relative high costs of shelter, and other high costs related to everyday living, compared to the lower costs of real estate and rentals in Canada and United States. As well as the affordability of North American residents, to live in roomy spacious shelters, compared to Korea’s citizens who have learned to live with well designed 800 square feet shelters. Than the author uses the GDP figures to boost the average salary of a teacher from $55,000 to $155,000 for the American teachers. A teacher in North America can really lived the style of living in the best neighbourhoods, send their children to the best schools including the private schools, and become that much further aloof and remote on the learning needs of children. Very much like the top salaries of the high ranking educrats that make far beyond the $155,000 salaries, and the best that can come up with is to make cuts and changes on the backs of the children, and their education. What the article does not state, or have omitted to avoid the discussion of pedagogy training of the teachers. In countries like Finland, or Korea it is a requirement that all teachers have a firm foundation in reading, writing and numeracy instruction. No changes eh Doug, just add a few more years of training, without the requirement of teachers being well-versed on all aspects of language, numeracy based on the science research. Educrats at the teachers’ colleges would have to change their attitude, their ideology, their dogma in order to prepare the teachers to help all children to reach their potential and to received a quality education.

  11. This post addresses Doug`s “poverty excuse”.I have done this several times with him and his view is impenetrable.However,I see what Nancy goes through,you can`t let him get away with his narcissistic all knowing views,he is so teacher centric it is appalling,the kid is nowhere on the chart for his breed of thinking.

    Because kids are poor ,they have fewer opportunities when little ones 0-5 to have a literate adult reading stories to them,conversing with them, and building oral vocabulary,does not mean it never happens,it happens less.
    Children from these environments develop weak phonemic awareness,that is not low intelligence,it is a brain that does not learn to read,spell and write with ease and needs explicit instruction in the phonemes of the English language to learn because they have zero natural ability-similar to a person who can`t draw or is clumsy and not athletic.These people having no natural talent,need explicit direct instruction in phonological awareness and phonemic awareness.This is not the same as phonics,phonics alone may not work on them.

    We are looking at the poor and children with a genetic predisposition to L.D./Reading problem,seeing as it is 95% curable with the knowledge we have today,I REFUSE to call it a disability,that`s how they win,they worm the kids into an assessment which excuses relevant intervention.
    Moral compass in education,missing in action.

    I could not help but notice the appalling trend in Ontario that reading intervention teachers are getting dismissed.The Rainbow School Board,with such a high population of First Nations children,here comes white man again,has dismissed 8 of it`s 11.5 reading intervention teachers to save $940,000,would it not have been better to let go several coordinators and a Superintendent?
    I leave you with this…


  12. It is the educrats because they do not care how well a child reads and write. . It is designed that way, where the educrats and unionists can designed and peddled their products and bargained on the backs of students who developed the learning and behaviour difficulties

    This of course, is a slander to the huge number of educators who have dedicated their lives to kids. If this becomes known as the reform position, welcome to the margins.

  13. Jo Anne can join Nancy among the “conspiracy theorists” who believe that they have the secret knowledge that can solve all of our reading problems but nobody will listen because they all have a vested interest in keeping the kids ignorant and undereducated.

    Listen to yourselves. You sound like the Flat Earth Society.

    I am accused of being “teacher centric” meanwhile ‘reform’ thinking south of the border has come to the conclusion, “it is ALL about the teacher.” Which is it?

    I have advocated for many years that teachers must have an A average to be allowed to attend training and at least one Master’s degree to start, 2 Masters to reach the top pay catagory.

    I am the one demanding top teachers. I also believe that quality and remuneration are inextricably linked. Capitalism tells us that this is the fact. Apparently it is true for cops, CEOs, doctors, lawyers, professors, administrators but it is not true for teachers. Ya right.

    If you continue to pay teachers far below the level of university grads with identical levels of education, you simply will not attract the talent level you are looking for.

  14. http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/about_mi_30.htm

    The Manhatten Institute, a far right wing outfit, believes we can close the education gap without fixing poverty.

    Stop the presses!!!!

  15. Does the results of a half billion dollar study at the NICHD reflect the basis for the Flat Earth Society?

    You have weak reading comprehension-No Matter how many billions you give the Universities to train teachers-you end up with the same thing-unless it`s Jean Chall at Harvard or Catherine Snow-
    They don`t learn how to teach children to read,spell and write-they are clueless!!!!!

    Egos in the University and opinion based theory rule,versus the results of gold standard research.
    Thesis at University to attain a Masters is a joke,why does it have any relevance whatsoever-these things float around out there-this isn`t research and yet these opinions get to the market,people write a book and millions of kids are affected.Eg,modern day illiteracy.

    The 42% adult literacy problem as calculated by Statscan is reflective of poor results K-12 and a complete lack of accountability.

    Why are our PISA scores quite decent,the Federally funded schools,First Nations,are exempt from writing the exam-our “poor”.Wonder what the results would be were they included,like the poor of the U.S.

  16. http://www.etfo.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/Issues%20in%20Education%20Documents/Class%20Size/Class_size.pdf

    Finland believes Masters is critical, they are #1. Keep arguing.

    Canada has the world’s best 15 year old readers, (OECD), kep arguing.

    That is a nice deep hole you are digging for yourself.

    • on May 7, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      Irrelevent… again. Neither are Nova Scotia. Once again, the topic is public education in Nova Scotia, where schools are the pits. But hey, keep right on babbling. It’s good comedic relief, if nothing else.

  17. http://www.projectpro.com/ICR/Research/Phonics/Summary.htm

    To those parents reading this blog,insist on it.Why SHOULD educrats be allowed to decide-let the empirical research decide.

    Doug on another thread suggested these matters should be left to the professionals-that will not work because they do whatever they want and think rather than honour research and make sure it`s delivery occurs in the classroom.

    • on May 7, 2011 at 11:40 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      I’d say the majority of classroom teachers are dedicated to their students. It is those few who go into teaching as a step on a career path to more lucrative positions at board offices, DOEs or in politics who mess up the public education system.
      Does that remind us of a certain poster on this blog?

  18. From my postings with Ben Levin”How should children learn to read?”many educators agree with me.Many teachers wish they weren`t forced to do what the educrats tell them to do.

  19. Doug, as Joanne has pointed out, “Moral compass in education,missing in action”, and has been missing in action for the pass 40 years. There is no concern for children when the educrats depend on the achievement gap to peddled their products, based on repeating the myths that learning is natural, and therefore does not need to be taught.


    In the first link of Joanne’s post, “The saddest thing about the blithe neglect of Engelmann’s findings is that they are the answer to the problems people at forums like these find so challenging. It’s as if you’re listening to people discuss the merits of moving a two-ton load of grain into a barn by spreading the ground between the load and the barn with cooking grease and heaving-ho. The solution’s “creative,” alright—but hasn’t Engelmann already invented the wheel?

    Arne Duncan, Barack Obama’s appointed Secretary of Education, happens to be a signatory to Klein and Sharpton’s Education Equality Project to bring “equity to an educational system that, 54 years since Brown v. Board of Education, continues to fail its highest-needs students.” In Washington, Duncan might consider taking the blinders off and forcing America’s urban school districts to teach poor kids to read with tools that we have known to work since the Nixon Administration.

    Otherwise, all we will have is the likes of the audience at the Klein-Sharpton event coming away thinking the event was “great” because Sharpton is a jolly presence and everyone got to clap upon hearing terms like Low Expectations and Resources. I submit that this is a distinctly thin basis upon which to translate our President-Elect’s call for hope into action.”

    Educrats have to create the market conditions to have their questionable products being sold to the lower rungs of the public education system. If they were force to complete with the real market, their education products would go unsold. The only way to do it, is to keep repeating the myths, and convince the public that the educrats have the high moral ground on all things in education. The favourite method employed by educrats claiming the high moral ground, and are serving their own best interest, is to ensure that their products and research is a close shop, to prevent independent researchers outside the education system, to confirm or not the claims being made. It also ensure that parents and other interested parties to focus on their products, rather than to questioned the products in question.

    At this point, the irony is that educrats are doing everything in their to prevent choice, changes to the education struction that takes power and autonomy down to lower levels of the education system, and limit competition, while within their close shop, practice a form of marketing that is quite commonly found in the free markets. What is practiced and encouraged by the educrats, is to prevent people from questioning their policies, much like some private companies prevent their customers from questioning their policies and products, because their is always repercussions and regrets of the person who is questioning the policies. The options of the public are limited, because there is not enough competition and choices for either consumers or for parents in the education system.

    I learned the hard way, rather an expensive way not to trust the goods and services industries, where there is limited choice and competition in some sectors. I phoned the phone company, to canceled my long distance plan immediately, and was informed that I needed to give them 30 days notice. After 15 minutes being on the phone, I accepted the condition of 30 days, and I trusted that the company was correct. I continued to used the long distant plan of the phone company, since I was paying for it, and did not use my new long distance provider until after the 30 days. When I receive the phone bill, a $380 phone bill was the result, for taking the word of the phone company. I hit the roof, but for consumers there is very little recourse, and it is very much like the parents taking the word of a representative of the public education system, only to see their word cannot be trusted, and there is very little recourse and actions a parent can take.

    In the business world it is called negative retention, and where the goal is to keep all customers, no matter how dissatisfied the customers are, because the customer has no other place to go to. In the public sector, especially in education and health, negative retention is practiced with gusto, to maintain the authority, the status, the high moral ground, the gatekeeper of the knowledge based on their qualifications and maintaining the close shop from prying eyes of the public. There is very little on the negative outcomes of practices in education, unlike in the health sector. Negative outcomes in health, leads to expensive law suits, and so unlike the Canadian public education system. The educrats and the major arms of the education system, has very little worries about negative outcomes of their practices, because the public education system have successfully marketed themselves as being the experts in all things in the education of children. A major portion of public monies is spent on activities to protect their position in the education field, and to protect their self-serving interests and profits made on the results of their close shop research and product development. The practice of negative retention, is used quite often to keep unhappy parents and taxpayers in line, plus other negative strategies to force the parent/student to adapt to the goals and values of the system.

    One example, is a very small part of the overall picture of keeping the educrats status high, but important because it involves the use of little white lies, where most people would not go to the trouble to see if it was correct, or just take the words as fact.

    ” Lifetime Achievement – Léa Lacerenza, St. Jerome Separate School
    (Toronto Catholic District School Board)

    Léa Lacerenza has dedicated her career to teaching students with severe learning and reading difficulties. Her contribution to the field of learning disabilities has re-energized hundreds of teachers and empowered thousands of struggling learners. Through a research partnership between the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Learning Disabilities Research Program at the Hospital for Sick Children, Léa was able to develop the Empower Reading programs. These evidence-based remedial programs, used across Canada and the United States, ensure successful readers, improved health and brighter futures.”

    Sounds wonderful, especially the language in the last sentence. Evidence-based remedial programs used across Canada and the United States, successful readers, improve health and brighter futures. But the key word to me, was the word ‘these’, which I question. To most readers, it would implied that the Empower Reading program is one of those programs that is used across Canada and United States.

    I spent a frustrating hour to confirm the truth, that it is only in the province of Ontario, and not across North America. Nor could I find any other independent sources besides the Learning Disabilities – Sick Kids site, and the Ontario education web sites. I check to see if there has been independent confirmation from independent researchers as to the validity and effectiveness of Empower Reading.

    I only found one reference at the BEE site. “The Best Evidence Encyclopedia is a free web site created by the Johns Hopkins University School of Education’s Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education (CDDRE) under funding from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. It is intended to give educators and researchers fair and useful information about the strength of the evidence supporting a variety of programs available for students in grades K-12.”

    “Empower Reading

    Struggling Readers

    Empower Reading has limited evidence of effectiveness for struggling readers. The two qualifying studies included in this review showed effect sizes of +0.71 and +0.25.

    About Empower Reading

    Empower Reading is designed to teach children word identification skills and decoding strategies and to promote their effective use of these strategies. Empower Reading instruction starts with the teaching of five decoding strategies: sounding out, rhyming, peeling off, vowel alert, and SPY. Struggling readers apply these strategies whenever they confront unknown words when reading.”

    Limited evidence of effectiveness for struggling readers eh? Meanwhile, the Ontario’s education web sites, have gone into overdrive, to provide anecdotal evidence where parents, students and teachers are claiming how wonderful the program, without providing the effect sizes, and other related data, to support the claims being made.
    I leave it to Joanne and other readers who are the experts to confirmed my own conclusions, that Empower Reading is just one of the many remedial programs created and developed by the educrats to generate profits and to protect their own self-interests.

    As for Doug’s comment on, “This of course, is a slander to the huge number of educators who have dedicated their lives to kids.” One would have to be dedicated, because the solutions and products being developed by the educrats does little to help the children learned and achieved. I do not believe for a second, that a teacher would continued to used the products of the educrats, if the educators had access to the superior products such as Direct Instruction, Remediation Plus, Singapore Math, based on the science and confirmed by the independent studies as to their effectiveness. No wonder the educrats are hiding their own research from the public, the Ontario public would indeed question the costs and the profits being made on the backs of struggling readers. Again Doug, I will repeat the words, “It is the educrats because they do not care how well a child reads and write. . It is designed that way, where the educrats and unionists can designed and peddled their products and bargained on the backs of students who developed the learning and behaviour difficulties.”

    I really do know not to trust the word of the educrats. I really have observed and experience in so many ways, that the educrats really do not care about the quality of an education being received by students. If I had left the education of my child to the public education system and the educrats, my child would be accepting her fate as foretold by the educrats years earlier, to be receiving a certificate or at the very best a diploma in applied courses. All she ever needed, was good reading, writing and numeracy instruction based on the science, but what did she received – the opposite, so the educrats could profit from the learning weaknesses of my child throughout the K to 12 school years. The educrats have never been accountable to the parents, the children and the taxpayer because they only see dollar signs to generate profits and to protect the public education system status and image as being the only institution that are qualified to speak on the behalf of the children. If they was ever an audit, it would be interesting how much funding is dedicated to protect the image, and the self-serving interests of the public education system. Money that could be better spent addressing and funding a reading instruction program based on the science and research of the pass 60 years.

    Perhaps this is why Doug is here, alone in his struggle to repeat the myths created by the educrats, to protect their interests and profits. Even Doug has benefited by the myths, he has made an excellent income over the years by profited on the fault lines of the public education system.

  20. Arne Duncan is also a signatory to the opposite document which calls poverty the problem.

  21. When you blame teachers, “educrats” or professors you marginalize yourself and the reform movement and make yourself look very foolish but be my guest.

    You will simply have no place in the ongoing education debate when you support extreme positions that are not on the radar of the real education debate in Canada or the western world.

  22. To your own admission,reforms haven`t worked-

    Why?No one discusses the details to achievement improvement that could greatly improve student outcomes.Reading methodology and lack of specific teacher training are HUGE impediments.Sorry Doug,we are going nowhere,and,we`re doing just fine thank you very much.

    We know you guys are a closed shop,wonder if a film might help the education consumer,the parents,we reformers have been wondering about it.

    It`s an idea-we need to get a balance of power,one way or another.

  23. The leader of the Liberal Party here in NS actually wrote a letter to teachers asking for their thoughts on the whole matter of the cuts to educarion. I was told that it was sent to all the school boards and it was requested that they send it to all the teachers and staff. That was 2 weeks ago at the most. I sent a message to him tonight asking if he got any responses and if he would quote some of their thoughts. Hope I hear something. I’ll post if I do.
    We need to hear from the teachers themselves. not their bosses or their unions.

    • on May 8, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Reply John Webster

      Peggy, I find it appalling that politicians would actually use the public education system for their own political gains. If the Minister or anyone else in government had sent a request to teachers and staff to promote their ideas, it would be the next “gate” media scandal. I think it’s wrong, wrong, wrong. What’s next? The Liberals are going to ask kids to bring home some literature for their parents to read?

      • Yes, it is quite appalling. It’s political ping pong. I don’t know if the Liberal leader went against any kind of written policy in doing this, or not. This is the level we are operating on now, sadly. I have been asking if they got any responses back yet, because I truely want to know if the teachers are becoming engaged in this conversation. I haven’y heard anything yet. Probably won’t.
        You can check out Stephan McNeil’s FB page to see the letter he wrote to the teachers.

      • There was an update today from him saying that they are gathering the letters now and will be putting something out soon!

  24. The unions and the teachers feel pretty much exactly the same about everything. They are totally democratic top to bottom. If the unions do not represent the teachers then Harper is not the Prime Minister.

  25. Go for a film Jo anne, it will be seen as as much a Joseph Goebbles propoganda effort as Superman and that other one.

  26. on May 8, 2011 at 10:57 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    The educratic approach is typified by the approach to bullying in schools.
    Wearing a pink T-shirt on Anti-bullying Day takes care of the problem.

  27. Here is a paper that will give parents an inside look on the admission process at the OISE.

    This is what the educrats are looking for in future teachers.

    “What teachers does Ontario need? Knowledgeable, caring,
    creative, effective communicators … anyone who has spent
    time in a classroom (and most of us spent many years there
    as students) has a ready list that describes the teachers
    we most admire.
    In this report we will not retrace those already well-­trodden
    paths. Instead, we have chosen to focus on two increasingly important considerations: Ontario needs teachers who are representative of its diversity and teachers who are culturally responsive and equity minded.”

    Culturally responsive and equity minded are moving to the top, as important qualities that a teacher should process.
    The reason according to the paper, “Why is it important for
    Ontario to have teachers who represent the diversity of the
    students and who are culturally responsive and equity
    minded? Because all of our students need them. Recent
    studies exploring why Ontario students do not succeed
    academically, do not finish school, or act violently tell us
    we are failing many of our students.”

    How novel, I had no idea that my child struggled in learning for reasons of teachers not being culturally responsive and equity minded??? I have always thought it was the crazy progressive methods, that made my child’s learning very difficult in areas of reading, writing and numeracy. I wonder how many students especially students who have IEPs, have their education needs met through the lens of culturally responsive and equity minded.

    I wonder when the bullies will start using this excuse for their bad behaviour. Perhaps it has already arrive, since much of the bullying behaviour that occurs in school, there is no immediate consequences for their behaviour. Andrew is correct, the Pink Shirt day, fills the requirement and after that business as usual.

    “Having teachers who represent the diversity of Ontario’s
    students is important, but not sufficient. Ontario needs all
    of its teachers, whatever their background, to be culturally
    responsive and equity minded. By cultural responsivity, we
    mean teaching in a way that is “grounded in an understanding of the role of culture and language in learning” (Villegas & Lucas, 2007, p. 29). By equity minded, we mean taking responsibility as educators for working
    toward equal success for all students. This includes
    questioning our assumptions about students, how they
    learn, and how we should teach (Bensimon, 2005).”

    Where does the science in learning, reading, come in? This could be the reason why parents have to fight so hard over the smallest things, such as study guides and outlines. It could be very well the reason why the students with the invisible disabilities, do not received effective remediation on their reading, writing and numeracy. Equity speaking, it would represent unfairness according to the educrats since other students who do not have a learning difference are not receiving accommodations. How many parents have heard this as the reason why their identified child cannot used a Franklin electronic dictionary in the classroom?

    First time, I have seen an education arm admit that there is systemic discrimination taking place in the public education system.

    “OISE is strongly committed to social justice in everything
    it does. This means that we are committed to the just
    treatment of each individual member of our community and
    the communities we serve. It also means that we are
    especially vigilant to ensure that differences are not treated
    in ways that produce direct or indirect forms of discrimination. Our commitment to social justice also means
    that those with whom we work and live who experience
    individual or systemic discrimination, for whatever reason, are provided with the means to overcome social and physical disadvantages, to the best of our ability. Profile
    responses that are contrary to OISE’s equity policy will be
    judged insufficient.”

    I sure wish that the educrats saw fit to see the daily systemic discrimination that takes place daily, concerning children who have been identified as having learning problems or are in need of special education services.

    “In 2006, almost half of parents reported having experienced difficulty in obtaining special education for their child regardless of the type of disability or level of severity. The activity limitations that posed the greatest challenge for accommodation included emotional, behavioural, and psychological conditions such as autism.

    The majority of children with disabilities had their educational needs met to some degree. Over half of children were receiving the needed special education and among children in special classes, nearly 90% were using one or more educational aids. Still, some children had unmet needs (17.3%), either for educational aids or, more basically, for special education (24.3%). Over 40% of children whose parents felt that they required special education were not receiving any. Students with this unmet need used educational aids to nearly the same extent as children in special education. Additionally, the majority of these students experienced more severe disabilities and had undergone professional learning assessments.”


    In another report: “A dismal picture emerged, revealing that Canadians with LD were: twice as likely to drop out of school; significantly underachieving in even functional literacy; less likely to experience stable employment; more likely to report dramatically higher levels of stress, depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, and poorer mental/physical health than the general population. Moreover, the report outlined that nearly one third of families with children who have LD cannot afford the supports needed to help their children succeed. Like the individuals themselves, their families reported high levels of stress and mental health issues and a greater tendency towards single parent, low income lifestyles. The report concludes that:

    PACFOLD demonstrates how the issues Canadians with LD face are both linear and cyclical. They are linear, in that there is a direct correlation between the problems not identified in school, and/or not accommodated in school, with the end result of low literacy levels. This, in turn, impacts the employment opportunities and the financial situations of people with LD. The issues are cyclical, because these challenges feed into one another. Low literacy levels, higher rates of unemployment, lack of independence, and lower incomes contribute to higher rates of poor to fair mental and physical health, and impact the relationships of people with LD (LDAC, 2007, p.7). ”

    LD children in my opinion and experience, face the greatest systemic discrimination in the public education system. And now the educrats desire to have teachers being culturally responsive and equity minded? How will this fix the systemic discrimination of the LD students when the public education systems does not provide the systematic explicit phonic instruction, explicit writing and in some cases, explicit numeracy instruction for the LD students? The public system is not too responsive when it comes to the educational needs of the LD students. I will assume that equity minded policies are not to be used to addressed the educational and learning needs of students when it comes to the 3 Rs.

  28. Easy for outsiders to talk about problems that they themselves could not solve in a million years. You actually have to BE a teacher or an administrator to see that many problems simply cannot be solved by anyone under any conditions. Mitigated somewhat sure, solved, no.

    People (outsiders) are good at nominating problems. Not so good at solutions.

    We “throw” billions at the health system and yet patients still die. We “throw” biilions at criminal justice and yet there is still crime. Planes still crash, trains still derail, cars still have accidents, children still fall and skin their knees.

    The is no government, left right or centre who is going to solve all of your education problems.

    Can we do better? Yes. How do we do better? It is certainly not by following the total losing propositions of the reform agenda. We need to look to the winner solutions of the only countries higher than us Finland and Korea.

    We have nothing to learn from the USA #19 in the world where the reform idea are all failing one after another.

    Vouchers, charters, testing, merit pay, are all total losers and this is not speculation, the evidence is right in front of our faces should we actually choose to use it. Ask Chester Finn and Rick Hess how much faith they have in the reform agenda today.

    When California brought in Prop 13 to control “runaway” education costs it was leading the nation. It is now an educational basket case that is causing people to flee the state.

    Those who say money is not the answer should be the only ones to have their schools and boards get cutbacks. We will see how long they think “money is not the answer.”

    Those who don’t like having their schools closed due to declining enrolement need to smell the coffee, it is a money question.

  29. A good place to start, is the systemic discrimination of the public education system, that prevents a quality education for all students, and the prevention of effective instruction based on the science, and not on the goals and aims of educrats political, social justice values and self-serving interests.

    Doug is typical of educrats responses – Thou shall not respond to the issues raised such as systemic discrimination that is entrench in the public education system, and the negative impact it plays on students’ achievement and quality of education. Why should educrats respond, when they are not held accountable at the same level as health professionals, and where mistakes of the health professionals are met with heavy consequences, when standards are breech. So unlike the public education system, and the poor quality of education being received.

    Increase the funding of the education, will not change the systemic discrimination that is directed at students daily concerning their education needs. Nor will social justice or equity policies of the educrats address the education needs of students. Choice, vouchers emerge as a solution in response to the public education system was no longer meeting the educational needs of children. School closures arose from the poor planning, and policies of the public education system. Decisions are made on the basis of a highly politicized environment, protecting the self-serving interests of the educrats and unionists, and not on the best interests of students’ education and their needs.

    Money is not the answer, when unionists and educrats refuse to move off the fault lines of the public education system, but why should they Doug? It would be the end to the gravy train and ……………………………..

  30. Nancy, If the school reform movement in general spoke in the terms that you use they would be laughed out of any serious education discussion.

    Say, I can’t read anywhere about the SQE meeting in Toronto. Did they have to turn away thousands? Not even the very conservative Sun, Nationl Post or Globe had even a mention.

    Could it be that nobody takes the Canadian education reform movement seriously because they are too far off the mainstream? That is my guess.

    Talking about the system, (one of the world’s best BTW) as a vast conspiracy just causes people to laugh right out loud.

  31. on May 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Let’s see. Our kiddies don’t add and subtract. They join and separate and woe betide the teacher who uses the wrong add/subtract or the + and – signs.
    The educrat police will be on his/her case in an instant. The AVRSB even sent a memo out to that effect.
    That’s some very, very important stuff being handled by our six-figure bureaucratic dummies.

  32. You say this but the OECD says one of the world’s best systems. Hmmmm let me see, I’m going with the experts.

  33. I’ve hesitated in jumping in here because the simple answer to Paul’s questions in his post about moving education reform forward is to work around “the blob”, keep parents educated as to their choices AND empower them to use whatever means possible to exercise those choices.

    Too often parents who enrol their kids in public schools are never told the truth about what to expect and what not to expect from a system that is more about doing what’s right to keep adults employed than insuring excellence in teaching.

    That’s not bashing those individual and excellent educators I’ve met who hold their noses, close their classroom doors and do what works. They exist but quietly so.

    These are also the teachers, who in Ontario went against their unions and voted for two consecutive conservative governments. Don’t let Doug fool you. He’s doing a good job here broken record syndrome but it doesn’t take much catching up to learn that folks here aren’t buying it.

    Parents need to know the truth about the crushing tenticles and reach of the teacher unions and how THAT affects classrooms and teachers…..because it certainly does so.

    Looking the other way isn’t an option.

  34. Easily done to maintained the image as one of the best, since the educrats and unionists are in charge of making the rules/regulations designed to limit and silence the criticisms of opposition and valid complaints made by parents. Easily done, when processes are designed to intimidate parents on valid complaints, to delay, and other dubious tactics, so parents will just give up. All help by unionists demands for teachers’ colleges to have courses on Education law, so they can better deal with parents that are not ‘yes people’, and do not buy into the simplistic reasons why their children are not receiving education services. Easily done, when the educrats ensure all negative reports, research, and studies are buried a mile deep, or not made public, to maintain the image that the educrats are the only experts, and have the best interests of the students and the general public.

    As noted on Betrayed – Why Public Education Is Failing, and one of the numerous web sites that exposes the public education system and the educrats for what their true intentions are:

    “The entire education establishment is adept at dismissing parent and teacher concerns. FrederickEducationReform.com (in Maryland) posted an article called “Tactics Used to Maintain the Status Quo.” They generously allowed me to excerpt:

    Tactic #1: Tell parents that “You are the only one who complained.”
    Tactic #2: Claim that “The research shows that what we are doing is best.”
    Tactic #3: “We are the experts. You should trust us to know better than you.”
    Tactic #4: Claim that children will suffer if the budget is not significantly increased.
    Tactic #5: Accuse critics and parents who ask too many questions of being “against public education.”
    Tactic #6: Claim that (the district) is prevented from making changes by the No Child Left Behind Act.
    Tactic #7: Avoid taking actions to change the system by ignoring good ideas.”

    Or this tactic of the educrats:

    “The keepers of the status quo often speak with great confidence, and make parents feel like questioning them would be disrespectful or show parents’ ignorance. ”

    or this one: “The keepers of the status quo often manage to make individuals feel like they are the only ones concerned—and that they are something of a complainer—no matter how legitimate the concern or how constructively it is expressed. ”


    Or one of the many stories written by parents.

    “From home, it can be hard for parents to understand the damage that’s being done to our kids until it’s too late and our children suddenly require remediation, tutoring, or have their hopes for their future crushed when they discover they’re woefully unprepared for college. When I initially began volunteering at my kids’ school, I admit, it was to monitor the education my own kids were receiving. In these last years, however, the education all our kids are receiving has revealed itself as the train wreck from which I can’t look away. Moral duty compels me to share what I have seen that every parent should know.”


    Accountability – not the top priority for the public education system.

    “Public education is a bureaucracy, however, and on the whole, bureaucracies tend to be impermeable and self-serving. In public education, the “public” has been purposefully blocked from the process. The establishment spends billions of dollars each year studying students, teachers, schools and families – dutifully reporting its picked-over version of reality and probably cutting down an entire rain forest of trees to publish the results. All the while, it fails to tell the public it’s in a dark place where high-school students drop out or require extensive remedial help before moving forward with their lives.”

    The last tactic that is used by the educrats, is to questioned the parent’s abilities and skills, if all else fails. Lots of stories by parents, citing this reason as being common, especially in Canada. In the United States, the educrats have to be a little more careful, because of the laws that surround education. Doug, uses it quite often, and as in his last post he belittles and than repeats his tiresome lines, completely ignoring the valid points of criticism, the stats that state otherwise, parents and other interested parties might bring up. Doug is not here to debate, but to shut us up. He uses the same tactics in the same way as it is done at the local school, when a parent is questioning a policy or asking for an education service for their child.

    Or in court hearings, and in this case unions trying to end on-line schools in their state.

    “They meet the state standard,” conceded the state’s lawyer 92% of the students score advanced or proficient in reading. That’s beside the point, he told the court. Because parents help when children are stuck or act as an on-hand coach, they’re the teachers. Such parents are “unlicensed, untrained, unqualified and, um, adults who are not required to prove competence,”

    Or this “teachable moment” during hearings at the state capital

    Perhaps most interesting was a Freudian slip by the DPI lawyer when she said, referring to all students they aren’t your children they are the state children. Then she quickly backed up, said she made a mistake and that wasn’t what she really meant to say.”

    Heaven forbid, if a parent teaches a child other than the methods and curriculum of the public education system. Been attack for it many times, by the educrats, although teachers were grateful to me stepping in. What a surprise to the educrats at the board level, when they were attempting to deny my child an IEP, based on her grades. What could the educrats do when the teachers confirmed it, and insisted on the IEP to deal with her LD weaknesses.

    Here is a Canadian blog, called The London Fog. Aptly names to describe the public education system as a fog.
    Teaching Math In 2009

    “A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is totally selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands.

    He does this so he can make a profit of $200. What do you think of this way of making a living?

    Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers. If you are upset about the plight of the animals in question counselling will be available)

    Teaching Math 2018

    أ المسجل تبيع حموله شاحنة من الخشب من دولار . صاحب تكلفة الانتاج من > ! الثمن . ما هو الربح له

    I laugh out loud, because it is so very true in the math curriculum.

    In the comment section, a teacher posts:
    “I’d laugh if the truth behind this wasn’t so blessed sad. Goes right along with ‘We don’t correct spelling and grammar in their story/essay/journal writing. We want them to freely express their thoughts without feeling curtailed by the constraints of correct English grammar and spelling.’ I actually remember getting called on the carpet by my administrator for teaching grammar in my high school English classes. He was shocked and dismayed that I would expect my students to know the difference between a subject and a predicate in their writing, and how to correctly use adjectives. Oy!”


    The London Fog is filled with interested concerns of the public dealing with the public education system.

    “The chain of accountability from parents to the education their children receive in a centralized, universal and public system is attenuated by so many teachers’ unions, ministry bureaucrats and politicians that parents can bring little of their children’s time in school to actual account. Having effectively nothing at all to do with the preferences of parents, the “things” of education — ie., what do we do with these little buggers for thirteen years? — becomes subject instead to a kind of political triage where practices, the curricula, are decided by the political advertising requirements of its practitioners. Schools become message campaign centres for politically fashionable crusades and “appropriate behaviour” according to elitist prejudices: revisionist culturalism, anti-bullying, public health, environmentalism, and so on. But it is a trial of sanctimony, platitudes and prejudices that ultimately deadens enquiry and occupies so much time that students graduate either utterly disinterested in their education or able only to parrot the preconceived messages without the literacy to defend or to expound on them. Like anything else, the results of a system decided by the competency of unions, bureaucrats and politicians should come as no surprise to anyone. What is suprising is that we should be expected to listen to their products.”


    Here is the comment posted by a parent: “After reading this post I sat and wept.
    You are sadly all too correct in your take on our public indoctrination system.
    I toil valiantly against the drivel which my children describe they have been exposed to every day.
    Crikey, my boy in grade four was marked wrong because he answered 14+17=31 instead of “estimating” around 30.
    Just a small point but the thin edge of the “social science” wedge.
    Keep up the fight!”

    To the educrats, 2 + 2 = 5, or an infinite number of creative answers, but never the number 4. It is how the educrats like Doug think, to keep the status-quo, their status-quo and their self-serving agenda.

    The difference between the SQE meeting on Accountability and meetings in the public education system, anyone could attend the SQE meeting, but parents have to be invited or risk the ire of the educrats and be tossed out. So easy for educrats like Doug to make fun, and dismissed our concerns, but their day is coming in Canada. Doug the educrat won’t be smiling anymore. Perhaps the educrats will learn a hard lesson on what real social justice is, and not their version, thinly disguise to mimic social justice values.

  35. Because Harris won two election before he was soundly thumped but he left that for Ernie Eves, does not mean teachers voted for him.

    Teachers hate the Tories because they are bad for education.

  36. Oh really Doug? I would say quite the opposite, the teachers’ union kick in high gear politically, using third party organizations, by funding them to repeat the messages of the unions. Using such messages it is for the good of the children and other such other messages, aim squarely at the parents, who believe that teachers’ unions work on the behalf of children’s interests. and the Harris government did not.

    Well things have change a lot since the economic crisis. Ford got himself elected in a land slide, despite public and private unions using their political clout. Today I read, it will be a hard sell for the teachers’ union and other public/private unions to used their political clout, to keep the conservatives out in the fall election. Ordinary people have a lot on their minds, and one of the issues is the gold-plated pensions of public sector unions, and the unfunded liability that is attached to the pensions. Meanwhile, the taxpayer is on the hook for all, and the same taxpayers were 75 % or around that do not have pensions except what money have been saved through investments and RRSPs. All the taxpayers can look forward to with another Liberal government is more cut services, to pay for the rising demands and benefits of the public sector unions.

    Don’t be surprise that voters will vote anything but Liberal. Hopefully, the leader of whatever party gets in, will have the guts to stand up and trim the sails of the public sector unions, and others who think the public owes them a living with the high salaries, benefits and less work.

  37. The governments, conservative governments, negotiated the pension deals. Teachers contribute 15% of their wages to their wages to the pensions. The police and firfighter pensions are far richer so I’m sure you will go after them first, sure. The Supreme Court would have a lot to say about attacks on pensions. I would not bet on a government there. They have lost the last 3 fights with Labour at the Supremes.

    Hudak knows that picking fights with teachers only contributes to the “Ontario is in chaos” image as the strikes, demonstrations, green ribbons campaigns begin again. If he wants that movie again he will get it.

  38. Perhaps so, but for the new hired public sector union employee, a whole new ballgame in areas of benefits, pensions etc……

    There is other ideas out there as well, to cut the pension from 70 % to 50 % of the average of the last few years work. Interesting ideas, that are positive and drawbacks.

    I am afraid the taxpayers who do not have the gold plated pensions and benefits are worried about strikes, and unrest for public sector unions that are allow to strike. Not all can Doug, so unlike the teachers’ unions and actually expect parents to supply them with coffee while they are on the picket line. Keeping in mind of the secret deals of the Liberal government, and the public sector unions that has been in the news in the pass few days. Also keep in mind 200 billion dollars in debt for the province of Ontario, the HST, the increases in taxes of all kinds, green fees (actually a tax) and the rising costs of day to day living. What is the average hydro bill in Ontario? The grocery bill? And all the extra fees that schools demand, and if the parents cannot afford, the students do without. No going on field trips, no team clothing, no library books, because the board has to pay for all the salaries and pensions and the increases in staff, to support the favourite causes of unionists and educrats – equity and culture being their favourite.

    Perhaps a strike, can put an end to fuzzy math and other badly conceived curriculum and instruction of the educrats.

    “Poverty is the key,” a district employee said at our Feb. 7 forum. “If you could fix poverty, you would fix the math problem.” He thinks he’s absolved from responsibility. Pass rates on standardized math tests do tend to be lower for disadvantaged students, but that isn’t because poverty is the problem with math. Jaime Escalante, Ben Chavis and Geoffrey Canada all have capably taught math to disadvantaged children.

    I could give every poor family in Spokane millions of dollars, fancy suits, and a Lamborghini. If their children went through the district math program, and without outside intervention, they would eventually park the family Lamborghini in the community college parking lot and walk inside to take multiple remedial math classes – which about half would fail.”

    In Canada, we have Jump Math which was developed by a non-teacher. His record is far superior to the dismal record of the public education system. So very true, at least 40 % of post-secondary students in Canada, take remedial courses in English and math. While the educrats keep pushing the myth that good writing and numeracy skills are not necessary nor do you have to have them. The only reason why it is not higher than the 40 %, the other 60 % of parents end up paying for the private tutor lessons, or home tutor their kids at home. And some just leave to home-school or send their kids to private school.

    Unionists just love sitting on this fault line, to increase their members, the dues so can they can buy some more political influence and maintain the status-quo.

  39. Pensions can simply not be cut. You need to educate yourself on this.Other do not have this because they did not pay in like teachers. There are obligations here and contracts. If you want to discourage good teachers from going into teaching just keep up the “politics of envy” rhetoric.

    Nobody could duplicate Escaleantes formula including him later on, Geoffrrey Canada has also done a great deal that the anti-reform people support including lots of outside the class supports.

    The poverty evidence across the world is overwhelming nancy, you really need to look into it. Finland is well aware that they lead to world primarily due to their very low child poverty rate.

  40. on May 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Reply John Webster

    This is an interesting post but I can’t help but regardless on which side of the fence you sit, most commentators here suffer from the same “know-it-best” syndrome.

    I’m also shocked by how some of you dismissed Dr. Levin as if he did not know what he’s talking about. You may disagree with his positions. But to say: “His actions speaks louder than words, because he and Fullan are leading the charge to prevent effective reading, writing and numeracy instruction from entering the schools”, is non-sense. It’s actually pure rhetoric.

    One point that everyone here forgot when you trashed Dr. Levin’s report is the simple fact that he admitted that more work and discussions needed to be done on each of his recommendations.

    The government’s reaction, I thought, was the right one. Let’s get some feedback before we make a decision on how to move forward. There’s an opportunity for all of you to provide the minister with your evidence-based opinion.

    The fundamental problem in Nova Scotia’s education system is shown right here. Each one of you so-called expert think you-know-it-all.

  41. I’m sad for you that you believe all of that nonsense Nancy, it seems that it has become some kind of obsession for you and I can only tell you you that it will end in frustration and disillusionment.

    Teacher hatred and teacher bashing will lead the reform movement to a bad end. Yes that is what it is. If I showed 90% of what you write to teachers they would be furious.

    Tht rhetoric will kepp you and the reform movement out where the busses don’t run.

  42. No one talking about cutting out pensions, just reduce pensions to bring them down to the private sector level.

    There is talk all over the place in the financial newspapers, and other places by the experts and the experts on pensions. Better get reading Doug, there is serious worries on government debt, the ability of the public to pay increase taxes and the widening gap between public sector unions and the private union on salaries and pensions. The experts are spilling the beans on the gold plated benefits and pensions, describing them much like the top bureaucrats leaving the public sector, to work in the private sector, grabbing severance pay, pay outs in millions of taxpayers dollars. The political blackmail being carried out by the public sector unions, to exert even more money out of the taxpayers, and at the same time services are cut to the public. Never fails, increases or large retirements always comes with cuts to services.

    By the way, Doug, that is another tactic of educrats – no one can duplicate the results of the non-teachers. Another myth that is repeated, especially in the disabilities. Sixty years of research by the outsiders have proven with thousands of studies confirming the conclusions what are effective instruction methods for reading, writing and numeracy. Ditto for other areas in education and learning. Take a look at bullying research. What is the most effective method – immediate consequences. Oh no, the educrats researchers state otherwise, and blame the victims or make the victim apologized to the bully. The last time that was shove down my child’s throat, she said no, why should I say sorry. It doesn’t mean anything, besides we don’t like each other, and I am going back to class. The bully was suspended for the day. Much more effective, since the bully has stopped his verbal abuse that he hurls at the students. In fact the same bully, wrote on his English test, don’t want to do this, in each question. A zero for his efforts, and he will not have a chance to retake the test. So much for equity and culture policies of the educrats.

    As for the poverty excuse, educrats used it as their top excuse for the LD students. For some reason in the world of the educrats, only low-income students are identified as having LD, at a higher rate than the accepted 5 % who will developed a LD due to genetics. It has already been proven that the majority of low-income LD students, having learning problems as a result from instruction methods and the lousy progressive methods. Joanne has taken you to task over the issue of poverty, and why do you not spend time researching the advances and increase knowledge in learning, cognitive science that is link to education. In the middle-income schools and up, LD identified within the 5 % number. I wonder why, and yet at the end of grade 12 in schools, the low-literacy of the grade 12 graduates are maintained right across in income, with the lower-income producing slightly more than the 33 % of low-literacy graduates. Check out the literacy sites while you are at it. Interesting patterns are being seen, after all the years of collecting data.

    By the way Doug, Finland’s rate of poverty is climbing since the economic crisis, as well as other countries in Europe. The governments are having great difficulties to fund the social programs, and cuts have taken place to services, as well as increase fees. European countries are dealing with the same economic problems as in North America. Debt, and dealing with public sector wages and pensions, and at the same time rising unemployment. Another area to research is economic policies, and the connection of protests of ordinary people protesting on the streets. The taxpayer Doug, who are no longer willing to support the pet causes of unions, governments, and the corporate welfare, that leads to widening the income gap and the erosion of the middle-class.

    People are tired of the excuses from educrats, and unions. People are waking up that poverty, and other SEC factors are being used to extract more money from the taxpayers, in much the same way as environmental issues. Since the beginning of 2011, global warming one day and the following day the ice age? Another way to extract more money out of the taxpayer.

    And to end, Escaleantes did a fantastic job, considering the students he had – the same students that were written off by the educrats a long time ago. And the educrats are still writing off students, especially the SE children. Not worth the effort, time and money according to the actions of the educrats. It is a good thing that teachers stand in the way of educrats and their crazy policies.

    “To say that Escalante’s primary contribution to education was a belief that all students can learn and succeed would be a gross understatement. He was a gifted educator in all facets, creating real-world analogies to make abstract concepts seem concrete, using humor and pageantry to make difficult or mundane topics seem interesting, and relying on his sheer will and determination to offer each student as much after-school attention as he needed to be successful. Ultimately, however, it was, indeed, Escalante’s belief in his students – manifested in his effort and energy to create truly teachable moments at each opportunity – that won their belief in themselves and their corresponding desire – or “ganas”, as Escalante said repeatedly in Spanish – to affirm their teacher’s confidence in them. “If he wants to teach us that bad,” one student famously said of him, “we can learn.”

    Escalante’s students did more than simply justify their teacher’s lofty expectations. They set the ultimate standard for academic excellence, turning a written-off school (officials at the Advanced Placement board initially questioned the passing scores of Escalante’s first wave of AP Calculus students) into a leader in higher learning – at its peak, Garfield High had a whopping 73 students pass the AP Calculus AB exam, up, well, 73 students from just a few years prior. The school philosophy, once “don’t cause trouble” became “calculus does not need to be made easy – it’s easy already.”

    High expectations, belief in his students, and a master making math look easy, because it’s easy already. It is easy, when students have a firm foundation in basic math, and not so easy in many of today’s math classes teaching calculus where few have a firm foundation in basic math. And why, the educrats threw out basic math in favour of fuzzy math and real world problems.

  43. Canadian universities are not adequately preparing teachers to teach reading.

    That is one of the concerns raised repeatedly during cross-country
    hearings organized by the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network
    as it gathers suggestions for a national strategy to improve literacy,
    director Don Jamieson said Monday in an interview.

    “It’s a common theme,” said Jamieson, who was in Vancouver for the last
    public consultation of the National Strategy for Early Literacy. “It can’t
    be swept under the rug … it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

    The issue was raised again Monday by Elizabeth Bredberg, research director
    for the Kelowna-based Society for the Advancement of Excellence in
    Education and one of a dozen presenters at the all-day meeting.

    “We all should recognize the catastrophic effects on learners and on
    society of our failure to teach reading,” she stated in her presentation
    to an audience of about two dozen people.

    Her position was immediately challenged by Myer Horowitz, one of the
    Vancouver panellists and the University of Victoria’s research associate
    in the Centre for Youth and Society. “That isn’t my experience,” he said,
    adding that he’s been involved with teacher education in four provinces.

    Jamieson later acknowledged that some universities offer a course in
    reading instruction, but said a single course of 24 to 40 hours is not
    enough. As noted by an earlier presenter, mechanics get more training
    before they’re allowed to tinker with a car, he added.

    “If you look at the curricula of faculties of education . . . it’s very
    rare that more than a single course is required.”

    The network, which until last year was a Canadian Centre of Excellence for
    Literacy, recently surveyed teachers and principals on the issue and found
    a common sentiment that teachers are ill-prepared to teach reading, he

    Now that the public hearings have concluded, the organization plans to
    draft a national strategy with specific recommendations for action by
    parents, educators and the community. The research network says Canada has
    a literacy problem, with almost half of adults lacking the skills they
    need to function in a modern economy and one in five Canadian children
    showing delays in vocabulary development before starting school.

    Both non profits mentioned are no longer receiving funding,too bad,we needed their voice.

  44. Some commentators have taken aim at Dr. Ben Levin’s Nova Scotia Education Review report. After attending the media briefing and discussing the report on Maritime Morning and Mainstreet, I’ve been through the document with a fine toothed comb.

    My initial reaction: Will the real Ben Levin please stand up? Instead of proposing dramatic system-wided change for Nova Scotia schools, he’s singing a more pragmatic, incrementalist tune, In fact, he sounds much like Darrell Dexter’s NDP — almost visionless and more practical than strategic in thinking.

    The Levin report is a modest effort, compared with the 2010 Alberta Education initiative, Inspiring Action in Education. Alberta is the nation’s top provincial system and the province is striving to stay one step ahead in the Canadian education sector!

    The Nova Scotia Special Interests ( NSSBA and NSTU) were quick off the mark crying foul and defending the status quo – the threat to reaching assistants. The Opposition Critics just fell into line, regretably even Karen Casey.

    Today’s Halifax Chronicle Herald calls for a Sober Education Debate. The Lead Editorial gives Dr. Ben Levin’s report a fair shake, unlike the paid puppets.

    The Nova Scotia “education cuts” refrain sounds like a broken record. Defenders of the status quo are only in favour of writing a blank cheque for education. It’s time to sing another tune, putting students first in education.

    For the full editorial, see http://www.thechronicleherald.ca/Editorials/1242384.html

  45. Nancy,

    Reducing pensions is the same as cutting. These were deals long established between teachers and government. Pensions have been found to be deferred wages by the courts. If the contributions of government had not been made, the wages would have been higher. Teachers also contribute a higher % of wages to pension than anyone else.

    People assume the privae level is the “correct” level. I always work on the assumption that the public level is the “correct” level for wages benefits and pensions and the private sector owners are underpaying their workers. The purpose of high benefits in the public service is to force private employers to give the same or lose the compatition for workers.

    Finland’s poverty rate is peanuts compared to the USA. Poverty is not something natural. It is the result of poverty decisions. Governments basicically “set” the level of poverty.

    The crisis in the economy was caused by greedy capitalists and not even the ones who “make something” but the ones who manipulate money for a living. They are back in “bonus land” already and are trying to shift their dirtywork onto the poor and the workers. If you buy it, you are really stupid.

    Telling other teachers to teach like Jamie Escalante is like telling hockey players to “play like Crosby”.

    The owners and coaches in the NHL are quite aware that that does not work.

    Have you actually ever been a professional teacher Nancy, I mean one who taught 3-4 whole classes per day? You would know if you did that it is not easy.

    It is always interesting to me that if our methods of teaching reading are so bad, how everyone except the very poor learns how to read. OECD says best 15 year old readers on the Earth.

    Kelowna based society for Excellence…. be serious.

  46. You need to realize that we have a society where 50% at least, of the parents absolutely demand that their child get into university.

    The people of your stripe seem to say that university MUST be what it was in 1948 when only a small group of smart but also well healed people could attend. No party has the guts to stand in front of this group and say no, we will not allow your child to go.

    As a reasult, we have a huge increase in university capacity, grade inflation etc as a result. You will have remedial classes for some students, usually ESL types but not always. The universities could easily administer an admission test but do not do it.

    Any politician who told the public, “we are keeping university for a small, elite group of smart dedicated students” could not be elected to anything.

    You need to get used to this.

  47. Dr.Linda Siegel-UBC-Would you prefer her,recently tried to influence her B.C.government on reading instruction-published 2,000 times at least in her illustrious career.

    There is a total disrespect for research that is empirical.
    PISA scores would look different if the 15 year olds on reserve schools were included like the Black/Latino communities.Because they attend Federally funded schools,they are not included on the test.

    Mr.Webster,Nnacy simply gets frustrated;she tries to apply logic to an illogical situation-it`s akin to trying to make sense of the OJ trial after the verdict.
    We manufacture dyslexia with reading instruction of our day.
    I recommend 2 books-Why our children can`t read and what we can do about it-Dr.Diane McGuiness-and Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr.Sally Shaywitz.

    Over and Out-

  48. It is routine now in high school to give a mark for say an essay or a seminar,

    good = 90

    avg = 80

    weak = 70 so as to not hurt the average too much.

    Also “most recent most consistent” gives free hand to raie it higher.

    Giving marks too low just means angry calls from parents, requests from principals to “justify” the mark. Saying the kid is bone lazy is not accepted even if it is clearly the case and all of that student’s teachers agree.

    As a result 70 is the new 60, 80 is the new 70 and 90 is the new 80.

    If the university demands 82% the kids will get 82%. If they demand 85% they will get 85%. The day they demand 90% they will get 90%

    • on May 9, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      But, according to you, we have “one of the best in the world”. That Nova Scotia ranks somewhere in the mid-60s out of some 130+ jurisdictions in the developed nations still hasn’t dawned on you? That NS is near the bottom in Canada hasn’t dawned on you?
      You seem to posit that because Canada is “among the best” it’s ok for NS to stay near the bottom because, hey, the rest of the country makes it all look good anyway.
      Doug, you make no sense in your arguments.

  49. Paul “My initial reaction: Will the real Ben Levin please stand up? Instead of proposing dramatic system-wided change for Nova Scotia schools, he’s singing a more pragmatic, incrementalist tune,..z’

    Yes, pretty much the same sentiments he left here in Ontario Paul.

    To John Webster – seriously Ontario has had plenty of experience with Levin. Sadly what we’ve been left with is a system still tripping over itself awash in well-paid bureaucrats that’s costing us more every year to educate fewer and fewer children.

    No “know-it-all” going on here that I can tell just an expressing of opinion based on experiences.

    In Ontario parents and yes, even educators have learned to work around those “know-it-alls”. That’s why school choice is coming on stronger each and every year.

  50. on May 9, 2011 at 10:02 am | Reply John Webster

    Paul, you seem to talk about Levin’s report as if it was the NDP government’s ultimate vision document for public education. Minister Jennex was pretty clear on 95.7 this morning that this is a springboard for more public discussions. I’m actually of the view that for too long we’ve had many attempts at strategic thinking but nothing practical.

    I’m not sure I really understand your position though. Are you saying that Levin doesn’t go far enough or are you saying that he’s not focusing on the right issues?

    I don’t mind the practical approach as it allows us to focus on what has the greatest chance of success (stop the be all and end all approach of previous governments).

    Catherine, whatever your thoughts on Ben Levin, all I’m saying is that he’s as credible as any other experts. Just like economists often don’t agree on taxation policies.

    This province needs a public forum where we put all of you in a room for a weekend and try to come out with consensus. I know, it won’t lead to the promised land but it will allow to get going on issues that we can all agree on.

  51. Actually,he is not as credible-he`s alike Allan Greenspan-his theories have had catastrophic results on our human capital,no matter how they spin it.

  52. I hear you John. I just remember when Levin came to us in Ontario he was touted as the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    If up until now Nova Scotia has been muzzled and hasn’t had that public forum of debate and discussion then by all means it might be a start but Levin’s a career bureaucrat (or so I understood it). Often those career bureaucrats exist in a world of their own making and sometimes not the reality on the ground.

    It’s actually those bureaucrats who have the most to lose if parents became better organized and more powerful in using their voices & exercising their choices.

    Consensus is a wonderful ideal in and of itself but hard to achieve when factions don’t realize that in reaching agreeable consensus no one gets everything they want.

    However one thing that I learned through my experience with the public system is that “consensus” when dealing with school boards/unions/government is not to be trusted.

    Why? Because usually the desired outcome is planned in advance and the outreach to “concensus” with the community at large and most especially parents is for optics only.

    It doesn’t take parents long to figure out that when it comes to board/union/gov’t related “consensus” is not really about considering new ideas or actions.

    It’s buy-in to their own ideas that they’re after. Ususally the leader/facilitator of a board/union/gov’t struck committee isn’t by accident or election….all planned out very carefully – designed to steer the trusting public to the already decided direction/goal.

    You know who hates the idea of consensus? Those career bureaucrats who so richly deserve the “know-it-all” label you attached to some folks here.

    Free and open public forums is one thing but “consensus” in education…….extinct.

  53. My 15 year old daughter thought that the Levin Report recommendation of giving students credits for activities outside of school was a good one! She thought that getting a sports credit for her cheerleading would give her extra time to do more serious subjects in school instead of trying to pick a phys.ed. credit!! Not bad for 15 years old, if you ask me.
    Some of our kids are doing some amazing things outside of school in sports and in the arts. We should really be opening our minds to giving them a credit for this in their overall education. Not to mention , this will bring a much needed dose of efficiency to the system.

    • on May 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Reply John Webster

      Peggy, young people should have a voice (despite what pundits say about young NDP MPs, but that’s a different story). So Levin did put forward some good initiatives to look into. I think I also heard Minister say that she wanted to hear back from parents and students. Tell your daughter to provide feedback.

      • I do tell her now,actually, as well as my other two. When they come home complaining I say, “write a letter!” My son did once.He wrote to one of his teachers after he felt then teacher was truing to use humiliation with his class. I read it before it was sent to make sure it was appropriate and fair.

  54. In my view, we should take away free periods for high school students. Maybe have them only for grade 12’s, and that’s a big maybe. As far as I can tell, the kids are using them for smoke breaks in the school parking lot. Why get up in the morning, shower, ride the bus, get to school, go out and have your smoke, go to one class,then have a free period to go out and have another smoke? Not to mention, when the 11’s and 12’s are o frees, it makes it very easy for the other students to skip classes. They just blend in with the kids who are actually on a free and the teachers can’t really tell who is who. Levin pointed out that it is very inefficient to allow the kids to fail ,drop classes, come back after grade 12 to redo courses and I agree. Let’s cut out the free period for starters!!

  55. Peggy – when you say “credit for activities outside of school” are you talking about extra-curriculars done before or after school?

    Are you saying that presently students in secondary school don’t get credit of any kind for these?

  56. Yes, that’s right. I don’t just mean with the high school basketball team or the high school drama club. I’m talking for things like being on a hockey team outside of school or taking private music lessons, thing like that. The only one I know of is The Duke of Edinburg program that gives high school credits. Do you know of any more? Do you live somewhere that students can get these credits? I know that in Kingston , ON, students were required to get a Community Service credit, and they did volunteer hours outside of the school environment.

  57. Yes, Ontario students get credit for community service hours, but not if they take private lessons or are on a sports team outside of the school proper.

    If students rec’d credits for private music or sports training you’d be using the expertise outside of certified public school teachers – how would that go over with teachers? If we start doing that then let’s start inviting the private music, drama and sports coaches/trainers in to the public schools to get the job done.

    However there is recognition of some school-related after school activities in some boards in Ontario i.e. – being in the band gets the student a half-credit.

    I’m not sure how nixing phys. ed classes will fly what with the motivation to get kids moving and fit. Ontario I believe has been toying with making phys. ed mandatory in secondary school for years.

  58. p.s. – Peggy I should add that in Ontario with 40+ school boards that it could be different in different boards…and usually is.

  59. Yes, lots to think about and teacher’s union inputs,etc. We could at least start with credits for teamsports within school. that one would be easy. We have yoga as credit here now, so why not basketball?

  60. But, according to you, we have “one of the best in the world”. That Nova Scotia ranks somewhere in the mid-60s out of some 130+ jurisdictions in the developed nations still hasn’t dawned on you? That NS is near the bottom in Canada hasn’t dawned on you?
    You seem to posit that because Canada is “among the best” it’s ok for NS to stay near the bottom because, hey, the rest of the country makes it all look good anyway.
    Doug, you make no sense in your arguments.

    Andrew, of course Nova Scotia does worse than many provinces because it is in Atlantic Canada, traditionally one of the poorer parts of Canada.

    Generally speaking, the poorer the province, the worse it will do and the richer the province, the better it will do. There is no rocket science here. Alberta does well because it has the fewest poor people.

    Think of it like a family with 10 kids. The whole family might do very well 80-90% but within the familt someone needs to come first, in this case the child named Alberta. Somebody needs to come last. NL used to come last when they were the poorest but they are moving up as they do better financially.

    • on May 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      Another big whoosh as usual.

      • I’ve heard it described many ways Andrew but “big whoosh” works.

        Let it be said that Ontario’s doing it’s bit to recycle – even so-called education bureaucrats.

        Peggy – credit for team sports. I think there’s merit in students getting credit for making school teams, bands, etc. I recall when I was in high school you could work on collecting points so as to attain the school’s athletic letters. Some still do this.

    • on May 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      StatsCan says otherwise but don’t let statitistics get in the way of your ideology.


  61. Doug, all I have stated that Escalante did not write off his students, as being incapable of academic learning. He was expected to babysit them, not actually teach them. It was his strong believe that all children can learn and succeed.

    Jaime Escalante On Being A Teacher – The gist of the short clip – Never give up on your students. A common refrain among parents who have children with learning disorders and other disorders that affect learning. All too often, these children are being written off early by the system for various reasons, preventing this group of children from reaching their full potential. Only 4 % of the LD students, enters post-secondary in Canada, and it is a stunning indictment of the public education system, not to addressed the reading, writing and numeracy problems of the LD children, as well as the teaching methods, instruction, pedagogy, and the structure of special education services.

    The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network and the Kelowna-based Society for the Advancement of Excellence are research-based centres that lie outside of the education system, to encourage excellence in public education, and to passed down the findings of the research to the public, as well as the education ministries and education departments of the provinces. I believe the funding was cut, by the intensive lobbying of the national education associations at the federal level.

    A paper, by the Canadian Parliamentary Review, on pressure groups at the federal level, deals with the politics.

    “Organized interest groups represent concentration of power. One of the major criticisms directed against them is that their ability to mobilize large individual units of power and thus exert a greater impact, gives them tremendous advantage over unorganized groups. Charges have also been made that interest groups are often not democratically organized, with the rank and file having little to do with the selection of officers and leaders and even less with policymaking. Furthermore, critics point to the alleged fact that such groups too often put their own interest above that of the public. A further charge is directed at the techniques used by groups, which in the past have included such questionable practices as bribing, deceiving, cheating and falsifying of information in order to obtain their objectives. It is understandable then why it is sometimes held that they tend to do more harm than good and divide and confuse people with slanted propaganda. In the eyes of their detractors such criticisms amount to a powerful indictment of pressure groups and their value to society.”

    Most of the research being conducted outside the public education system, refutes the research, policies, teaching practice, instruction methods of the public education system. In one area in particular, is in reading instruction. The lobbying effort of the various interest groups within the public education system, did not like the approach the outside research groups were using. The approach of open access to the public on research past and current research being conducted on the education field. It has been the standard practice of the Canadian public education system, to keep the research under wraps, and hidden from the public, to served their own self-serving interests.

    On the Children of the Code site, “While we are grateful for all who have contributed to the emerging science of reading and to increasing social awareness of the importance of literacy, the Children of the Code project approaches the social-educational challenge differently. First of all, we don’t blame anyone. The blame game and the ‘reading wars’ have retarded our progress. For over a hundred years we’ve argued over ‘progressive vs. conservative’ ideologies; ‘phonics vs. whole (x)’ methodologies, and ‘spelling vs. alphabet’ code reform. Effectively marginalized by such simplifications, tens of thousands of research studies, hundreds of products, and decades of national and state government legislation have barely moved the needle. New methodologies are embraced by those who share their implicit ideologies and superficially rejected by those who don’t. Part of the reason for this is that the proponents of literacy and particular systems of instruction tend to come with ‘baggage’. Partisan politics, ideologies, methodologies, institutional funding needs, profit motives, and marketing hyperbole all contribute to obscuring the issues. They also tend to advocate “solutions” to a problem that, for the most part, educators and parents don’t sufficiently understand. Thus, despite decades of literacy campaigns and advances in the science of reading, there is little evidence of any significant improvement. The lives of tens of millions of children and adults are still being seriously-adversely affected by reading improficiency and its insidious collateral consequences.”

    One of first group that emerge shortly after 2000 in United States, gather the top researchers of the world to put an end to the reading wars, and put the science back into public education. The Children of the Code was another turning point in my quest to advocate for my child, and I was blown away by the research as many teachers were and still are today. Canada has the same problem, but one will never be informed by the educrats since they have different priorities and thus the reason why research, knowledge in education is a close shop. When Children of The Code, came in existence, the parents who had children struggling in reading, writing, and numeracy used the knowledge, much of it new found knowledge that has been hidden from the public, to advocate for their children in the public education system. I did as well, in my quest to acquire the correct education services for my child. The educrats did not like it at all, because it seriously impacted the direction of public education, and their policies.

    A tactic that educrats share is to dismiss the research, often citing that the researchers are not certified teachers or do not work in the public education system. Much like Doug’s dismissive sneer regarding the Society for Education Excellence. Or John’s sneering comment that is typical when people question the policies and reports of the educrats, at all levels of the education system. “Each one of you so-called expert think you-know-it-all.”, is a common response when people questions the educrats. Or the other common response, where the educrats turns the table, to question the skills, abilities and knowledge of the person who questioned the decisions of the educrats. John, there is thousands, upon thousands of examples on the web, where professional parents such as doctors or lawyers, have told their stories about the difficulties advocating for their children in a school setting, or questioning policies of the education system. Court cases and due-process hearings in the United States, have been won due to the dismissive tactics of the educrats, rather than the merits of the case.

    As a parent, and my journey through the public education system, I had no choice but to look at all facets to advocate for my child. The top level educrats like Fullan and Levin are typical within the public education sphere, because their interests lies with the structural, organization and management models of the education system. As Paul has pointed out, in his post called, ‘The School Change Wizards: “While governments come and go, and public education lurches radically in one direction, then another, Fullan continues to hold sway in Ontario, across Canada, and increasingly in the United States. Public education, it seems, is perpetually in crisis, but the architect of many previous change initiatives remains unsinkable. Thousands of superintendents, principals, and leadership consultants now spout his theoretical principles, ranging from “pressure and support” to “ready-fire-aim” to my personal favourite “simplexity.” Vocal critics on the education left now accuse him of the “global privatization” of educational policy-making. http://dailycensored.com/2009/11/06/the-global-privatization-of-education-policy-lorna-earl-conflict-of-interest-is-the-tip-of-the-iceberg/

    My concern, and has always been the impact of the high level educrats on the lower rungs of the public education system. When Levin makes the suggestion of cutting TAs from the Nova Scotia, the reasons behind it is quite evident. The little white fib. “in a newly-emerging field such as special education that has a weak knowledge base along with strongly conflicting opinions among parents and advocates about the best models.” page 12

    Newly emerging field? Two hundred and forty-eight million hits on the Goggle search engine within 2.5 seconds. A weak knowledge field? In the eyes of a educrat perhaps so, when the researchers outside the public education system refute the direction, policies, and have proven many times over, many of the teaching methods of the public education system are not effective for SE students, in empirical studies as well as the longitude studies that have been conducted in the past 60 years. The majority of the research is in the areas of reading, writing and numeracy, where numeracy has been studied for the shortest amount of time within the 60 years. Conflicting opinions among parents and advocates about the best models? True, but this part of his statement, it is implied and as well in the first half, that their has been little research in the field of special education, for the public education to draw from. The real truth, is that there has been little research within the public education system on the teaching practices, pedagogy and training regarding special education. There is a wealth of information and research in SE, but the trouble is it does not fit in with the agendas and special interests of the educrats.

    But that still leaves questions in my mind, why the cuts to TAs using the reason of little research in the effectiveness of TAs. In a paper by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, the topic is TAs.

    “…when teachers requested the help of specialists to provide help for students needing highly skilled assistance with special learning difficulties, some boards responded by assigning teachers’ assistants. This did not resolve the problem: the child did not receive the needed services and, because the teacher cannot allow an unqualified person to perform professional tasks, the teacher experienced no reduction in workload. In some circumstances, teachers have experienced an increase in work responsibilities because the teacher coordinates the work of assistants with students in the teacher’s care.”

    Why didn’t Levin state this in the first place. It makes much more sense, than his reason of research. And can be confirmed by many parents of not having access to special education services, other than the TA. In this context, TAs are used as a replacement for special education services. The board saves money and there is less stress of supplying the SE services. In Levin’s recommendation, the board saves the money, but now the burden falls to the teacher to sort out the learning needs of SE students. But it does not solve the problem of access to SE services for students, nor does it fundamentally change the learning environment of an inclusive classroom for the better. The board wins out, by saving even more money, without fundamentally changing the current SE structure, and still control the access doors to who or who does not receive special education services.

  62. on May 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    A bit off topic but have any of you read Alexis Allen’s (President of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union) open letter to the Minister iof Education? It was in last Saturday’s Chronicle-Herald.
    Once again, Ms. Allen reveals her pettiness.
    I tried to get a link to the item but wasn’t successful.

  63. I would say your data CONFIRMS my POV. NS below avg income below avg results. NL lowest income lowest results, Alberta highest income highest results. Territorial income highly scewed by isolation pay in male only resource communities.

    I think everybody knows by now that income and mothers level of education are prime indicators of likely educational success. You need to read a bit more Andrew and not fall so easily for the sucker propoganda of the far right.

    • How convenient Doug, to omit the two territories and the high income levels.

      Yukon – 85,070
      Northwest Territories – 98,530

      And than make a statement, filled with misconceptions, false facts to support your stance on low income. And let us not forget NL, where the income level, is $2050 just below Ontario. Between NL and Ontario, the smaller percentage of of people receiving salaries well past the $150,000 +, bonuses and payouts skew the overall income figures. The larger majority are making far less than the reported figures in Ontario and NL. The average income reported on individual tax returns, for 2009 is $50,000 for 75 % of the people who file income tax returns. Much more reliable because it represents a truer picture, but on the other hand the Median total income, by family type, by province and territory gives a breakdown by family type. Take and look Doug, your poverty reason, the numbers do not support it, especially when looking at the different categories of family type. Too many variables at play, but it does indicate a big problem in the widening gap of income. Better start reading the economists, and dropped in on the Sunshine list, to see how well the public servants have it compared to the rest of us.

    • on May 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      Better take a course in statistics, Doug.

  64. Yes, lots to think about and teacher’s union inputs,etc. We could at least start with credits for teamsports within school. that one would be easy. We have yoga as credit here now, so why not basketball

    You have got to be kidding.

    • We probably actually agree on this, but tell me what you thought of yoga as a high school credit. Elaborate as much as you like.

  65. Doug Little Compulsory subjects in 30 credit HS program

    English = 5
    Math = 2
    Science = 3
    Hist = 3
    Geog = 3
    PE = 3
    French = 2
    Civics = 1

    Electives = 8

    (Tech, Business, VA, Music + extra credits
    in core subjects. Other languages can be substituted for French)

  66. Canada by Pisa results


    Canada by income


    I am hardly the only person in education that has picked up a bit of a pattern. Sometimes the provinces are very close eith on results or income to the point that it makes little difference but I think you will see the pattern. NL is starting to really move up only recently as they got richer. The OECD has a whole section explaining the effects of SES (poverty) on results.

  67. Doug, what is the point? Trying to link poverty to achievement in Canada and declare it is the only factor that causes reading failure, is akin to state that it only snow on sunny days throughout the year. Than proceed to used the data that fits the hypothesis, ignoring all other data that does not fit the statement, it snows only on sunny days. The last step is to base policy decisions since it only snows on sunny days, then there is no need to have 24 hour snow plow service. Just like some of the education policy decisions relating to reading remediation.

  68. This is the prefect example of the lack of responsibility display by both levels of governments, and how it shows the utter contempt of the educrats to address the needs of students.

    “Seven native teens dead or missing while away at school”


    The most perfect response, on the actions and non-actions, their ability to justified their actions, and at the same time denied accountability and responsibility for children under the public education system.

    “Native educator Cindy Blackstock says it will take a “million man march”— reminiscent of U.S. civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. — to raise awareness of education inequities.

    Governments, provincial and federal, build two bridges for children, she says.

    “One for non-aboriginal children that goes from one side of a rapid river to another side,” she says. “Most children are able to safely cross to a possibility of opportunity and life.

    “And then governments build a bridge for First Nations children but it only goes halfway over the rapids. And when the children fall into the rapids and First Nations children and their families are screaming, the province of Ontario and the federal government say to First Nations, ‘Aren’t you thankful for the half of a bridge we built?’ ”

    The federal department of Indian and Northern Affairs would not comment on this story. Instead, they referred calls back to the aboriginal authority in charge of DFC.”

    Unknown to Cindy Blackstock, there is non-native children falling into the rapids, getting the same response from the educrats, “Aren’t you thankful for the half of a bridge we built?” She won’t be alone in the million man march.

  69. Since I obviously don’t wish the so called reform movement well, I suggest you put Nancy’s positions and attitude in the front window. Talk about way out there.

    Utter contempt of educrats to the needs of children. You want to stick with that Nancy?

    • on May 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      Incomplete information = incorrect conclusions

      Factor in the cost of living and the picture changes completely.

  70. What does OECD say about SES and education? Nobody has a wider view or more data.


    Experts have been saying that SES is the MAIN factor in education results since Coleman who said it accounts for 80% of results.

    Those who argue against this just keep digging themselves a deeper and deeper hole of foolishness.

  71. “It has been almost a week since Jordan Wabasse, 15 has gone missing. And yet Thunder Bay Police has not bothered to send an email to Lake Superior News about this being missing 15 year old. One has to hope it is not because he is a First Nation Youth.

    One hopes that Thunder Bay Council, and especially their representative Joe Virdiramo
    will report to council on why it took so long for Thunder Bay Police to do everything in their power to find this youth.

    The power of the Internet, social networking, friends and family all are working together to find Jordan Wabasse a missing 15-year-old. The teenager, who is 6’1″ tall, and has dark hair was last seen on Monday, February 7th. The effort to find Jordan has continued to grow over the week, as friends and family working with the Thunder Bay Police Service are searching for the teenager.”

    Still looking for the actions of the school board, since I am wondering why the school board did not take the responsibility of finding families for the native students to reside, than having minors decide which boarding house? I have a much better view on my own local school board, who would never allow any minor to live in a boarding house. No one wants to take responsibility and be held accountable for the end results of actions or non-actions.

    I be back with the educrat’s response or lack of one.

  72. Doug, what did you think of the credit for basketball idea? or the Yoga credit?

  73. I think it would be entirely fair game for the public education system to stop promising that it can educate all children….because given both the experiences of many and the excuses by “the blob” (to which I nominate Doug) the truth is that the public education system can’t guarantee all children the education they need.

    So let’s stop kidding ourselves and prepare individual teachers (those who I know every day who buck the strong arm of their unions, admin. and get a good job done), parents and communities to move past the myth but educating all to the choice options out there.

    “The blob” then becomes a bit player and eventually invisible when excuses are replaced with alternative possibilities.

    There is a taste in this country for change and those old notions of education reform being jurisdiction of the right only will crumble – it’s not a matter of if…..it’s when.

    In Ontario for instance and specifically in southwestern Ontario the union and bureaucratic cash cow is poised to lose the upcoming provincial election in a big way – and education is one of the big reasons why.


    The historical hysterics of the unions it’s pet “Working Families Coalition” will fall on deaf ears. (for those outside of Ontario here’s a bit about what Working Families Coalition is: (as posted to School For Thought by Doug).

    ” The federations give hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to the Liberals and the NDP. This does not count even more to the “Working Families Coalition” and other progressive organizations. They also mobilize thousands of volunteers across Ontario for provincial and municipal elections. They heavily triage the seats putting their maximum efforts into the 30 or so seats that are likely to change hands between the parties.
    They consider the Tories to be the Anti-Christ in Ontario politics and so everything is geared to keeping them out. That does not mean they are happy this the other 2 parties. They continue to work on those parties issue by issue.
    Posted by Doug on 04/06 at 07:32 AM”

  74. I would say no to credit for basketball teams and yoga.

    There are 2 kinds of governments possible in Ontario:

    1) Various combinations of Liberals and NDP. These governments are generally peaceful on the education front.

    2) Modern (Harris not Davis) style Conservative style governments. These governments are full of insane ideas like ta credits for private schools, funding for religious schools, teacher bashing, …. These governments lead to years of chaos in Ontario schools with strikes, lockouts, court cases, demonstrations, green ribbons…..

    Ontarians will have to choose, peace or chaos….

  75. “Modern (Harris not Davis) style Conservative style governments. These governments are full of insane ideas like ta credits for private schools, funding for religious schools, teacher bashing, …. ”

    It’s very easy for you to slam credits for private schools isn’t it Doug.

    If tax credits were offered to the parents of students who chose to send their kids to YOUR private school I bet you’d be all for it as long as they picked VIP Academy – where you are listed as being the Dean of that elite private school.


    It’s always great that through forums like this one parents and education communities learn more about the people who call the public education shots.

    The Ontario Liberals and NDP will never get together – the NDP no longer need the Liberals federally. I predict that that will morph to provincial too. The unions will then scramble to kiss up to them and not the Liberals.

    The smart money and vote by independent thinking educators and their communities is not looking good for Dalton McGuinty.

    Looks like municipalities, then the country and next the province will move incrementally right.

    Keep on spinning though because Ontarians get it.

  76. All this talk about Ontario governments is irrelevant. Nova Scotians don’t care.

    They care about improving education for their children and a responsive accountable education system.

  77. As for Dr. Levin’s report on education in Nova Scotia, Nova Scotians should take a look at various similar reports done in Ontario. They are all the same. For example:


    or pick one of these:


    NS take heed. Listen to what Paul Bennett and Jo-Anne are both saying!

  78. Read the thread starter at the top Doretta. Half the story is about Ontario. The last line calls for “Canadian” input. The thread is not about Nova Scotia, it is about Canada.

    We could not care less about tax credits at VIP.

    Tax credits for private school or religious schools sent this message to citizens/tax payers, “I want something better than public schools for my child but I don’t want to pay for it myself, I want the rest of you to pay so that my kids get special treatment.”

    Believe me, I have knocked on thousands of doors in elections and looked at many years of polling. Dumping these policies on the Tories, since the other parties would never touch them, just makes the Tories totally unelectable. Ask John Tory, they were a career ender for him.

    Every time the BC government cuts funding to school boards, the school boards mount a campaign to “end funding to private schools before you cut public schools.”

    I love how conservatives like to go on about “we can’t afford ELP, we can’t afford small classes, we can’t afford teaachers wages, pensions, benefits and then turn on their heel and ask for a massive subsidy for private schools. It takes a lot of nerve….

  79. Whenever people vote for the right, they think that the things that will get cut are the things other people like. After the election they soon find out that the stuff that gets cut is the stuff that they like. Ooops.

    I did not want you to close my school, hospital, library, community centre….. I only wanted you to cut that guy’s welfare. Look at UK right now, slash and burn, tuition fees through the roof, Liberal coalition partner losing his shirt.

  80. Another “Reformer” with feet of clay.


    Change the name from Student’s First before she ruins it.

  81. “All this talk about Ontario governments is irrelevant. Nova Scotians don’t care.”

    With all due respect Doretta it’s very much relevant to Paul’s question on education reform and where do we go from here.

    Paul uses examples in his original post that aren’t exclusive to Nova Scotia and posters to this forum are offering those here from N.S. their own perspective based on their experiences.

    Parents and school communities need to know the truth about what’s being promised them and by who.

    Improving education in the responsible manner which you describes starts with the truth.

    I agree with Doug @ 3:41pm Doretta also in addition that while Paul and Joanne’s cautions should be heeded, so too should the input of others be respected.

  82. Speaking of B.C. Doug and how boards spend their money. I’m sure you’ll be the first one to give this your gold star



    Education dollars well spent?

    What’s relevant is that it’s apparent that from coast to coast to coast education communities are experiencing the same darn frustrations to varying degrees.

  83. There is an endless and tedious argument from conservative that programs they like would have lots of money if it were not for programs they don’t like or “wasted money”. The fact is that we need to learn to start loving taxes. It should not be this or this or this, it ought to be this and this and this.

    Taes are the price we pay to live in a civilized society. If there are tax dollars being wasted in this society it is on cutting corporate taxes, new jet fighters, new prisons, tasers, military adventures in Afganistan (is there anyone that still believes that the Taliban won’t be back in power 10 minutes after the Americans leave) did anyone else live through Vietnamization?

    Stop the gas companies from gouging, stop the outragious bonus’ on Wall/Bay/Howe St, end the “family trusts”, institute a ‘wealth tax’ and you will have the world’s best school system, the world’s best school system, the cleanest environment and the fairest society.

  84. If the Levin report did anything, it revealed how the established “fortress school board” syndrom has derailed student learning standards.

    By ensuring certain topics are taboo, Levin was handcuffed to start with. We do not need to know what cannot be done. We indeed need to know what can be done!

    Ultimatly decisions are made at the school board level and it was to them Levin directed his inclusionary perspective.

    For the first time I can remember, my school board rep asked me, a parent, for advice. So I asked him for some information first. Criteria, data, etc.

    Still waiting… passed the buck… deference.

    Welcome to Doug’s new world order. Parents are outsiders in reform. The consumer is to blame if the product does not meet expectations.

    What is remarkable about the “student’s first” movement is it is gaining traction. And that “is” relevant – even to school boards -even to Doug.

    • Steven wrote: “For the first time I can remember, my school board rep asked me, a parent, for advice. So I asked him for some information first. Criteria, data, etc.

      Still waiting… passed the buck… deference.”

      Steven identifies yet another truth learned from experience that is often a better indicator of reality than any thing else.

      Yet another truth raised by you Steven

      “Welcome to Doug’s new world order. Parents are outsiders in reform. The consumer is to blame if the product does not meet expectations.”

      The oldest “new world order” in history I’d say. There’s actually some truth to the notion that even among and within some education reform organizations parents are on the outside of the action.

    • on May 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour


  85. I find the Reform movement endlessly facinating in this sense, “how can so many otherwise intelligent people get thing so wrong?”

    A few observations:

    Trying to make an art into a science is doomed. Measurement is the death of creativity. If measurement actually worked, USA would be #1 and Finland, who hardly does any might be #19. Interestingly it is the reverse.

    On the right, paying people more gives them the incentive to do better and is always good, even if their job is MMA fighting, CEO’s doctors and so on. Paying teachers more is a waste of money and has nothing to do with quality. Try paying them less and cutting the pensions and benefits. When Harris was premier thre was a massive run for the gate as record numbers of teachers retired and few wanted to get teacher training. He created a shortage just as he did with nurses (hullahoops) Ooops.

    It is the fault of the system if my child is not successful in school. Then how do you eplain all of the successful ones? Did they go to school on Mars. If your child was not successful in school they were lazy, unmotivated or had limited ability. Their classmates did just fine. If it makes you feel better blame the teacher. Clssic projection.

    Canada has one of the best school systems in the world and attempts to deny it make the people look very foolish.

    Poverty is the primary barrier to school success and this has been proven ad nausium. Attemps to deny that make reformers look like people with their fingers in their ears shouting “we can’t hear you.”

    You need to understand the world as it actually is, not try to get the sqare reform peg in the round school system.

  86. Jo-Anne Gross
    We are NOT interested in your politics!

    I am passionate about teachers,children and education,your views on world politics-sheer narcissism!

    Funny, you don’t recognize the Manhatten Institute or the Kelowna based Excellence what ever as political groups? Everybody else does. Interesting is Catherine talks about Ontario, national and municipal politics that is OK but not me.

    Education is the most POLITICAL issue in the nation. We elect school boards because the subject is so political. It is not unusual for someone to say right wing politics is not politics but just common sense, left wing politics however is politics. Try as you might, you cannot get the politics out of politics.

  87. Doug, where did you get these words, under a rock?

    “Ontarians will have to choose, peace or chaos….”

    Thirty years of Conservative rule, from the 1950s to 1985, brought massive changes to Ontario’s education system. Ontario led , and the other provinces followed. The Frost and Robarts governments, put learning disabilities on the map. Important longitude studies in the 50s and 60s, across Ontario that build the foundation tracking the various initiatives of the school boards, and tracking LD students to the age of 17. I know, I was one of the people that was being followed, and every year I had to take their tests. Speech therapy became part of the services being offered in the 1960s. In my school board, the children in grade 1, were split into two classes – based on reading instruction. One class had whole language, and the other class was based on phonemic/phonics reading instruction. I was in the latter, along with the immigrants who spoke very little English. Guess who was the top performers in the class, the grade 1 class who was taught the phonemic/phonics reading approach. Back in grade 8, the kids notice this, that majority of kids who were A or B average were the A and B students, who attended the grade 1 class who was instructed differently than the other class. Back in grade 8, we did not know words like whole language, but we certainly seen the differences in the type of work, and homework. During the Conservative years, the provincial governments also collected the data, on innovation that was occurring in school boards and individual schools.

    I spent the day, looking at the history of education in Ontario as well as accountability and transparency. I came to the conclusion as parents and taxpayers, before 1985, parents and taxpayers were far better off in the 1950s, 1960s, and the 1970s, because the teachers’ unions, the educrats, were not firmly entrench within the political and education systems. Where policy was formulated where parents and taxpayers were considered first, over ideology and dogma or aims/goals of the overall strategy of the education ministry. Since, 1985, no matter what policies have come in, accountability and transparency is not one of the goals. I came across surveys on the major players where they were asked what should one be accountable to. Only the teachers listed students first, and parents second, than the principal, the school board and the ministry of education was dead last. For the other major players, no surprise – parents were dead last, and students were first or second depending on the player. No wonder today, the public education system has trouble getting parents engaged, the educrats and unionists already have parents the low boy on the totem pole for accountability and transparency.

    Throw in the newer policies of forcing the transfer of millions of tax dollars from cash-strapped schools, hospitals and other public institutions, by requiring them to buy carbon offsets, and the educrats are busy reconfiguring and adjusting their goals and plans to advance their goals. In this case, it will be more money, and probably come up with plans pertaining to the schools, by asking schools to turn off the lights, unless the electronic device turns red, indicating lights should be on. Accountability and transparency to the parents and taxpayers, not on their watch. That is not the educrats’ objective.

    Doug’s comments indicate a leaning to classism, anti-intellectualism, and eugenics. About a month ago, I bumped into it quite by accident, wondering why eugenics would be connected to my search engine question. Apparently, educrats’ classicism of the highest levels, and so far all at the extreme left of the political spectrum, are heavily discussing it. But it is not mainstream, but the philosophers have a great deal to say about it, and how modern day eugenics is being used in the modern day education system, by the educrats to keep reform such as direct instruction, cognitive and learning science and other reforms because it does not advance the educrats’ goals and dogma.

    “The history of eugenics in American education needs to be examined in more depth and brought to bear on arguments supporting the use of high stakes tests to raise academic standards in public schools. This history raises some challenging and disturbing questions for all of us today. What is the economic and political context in which the contemporary version of educational reform is
    being touted? What are the assumptions about student learning that fuel the current wave of testing? What are the effects of this testing on the lives of students and the educational climate of schools? How do these tests affect the equitable distribution of educational resources and opportunities between different school districts?”

    It is on a site, that I never been on or come across called Rethinking Schools.

    Just a small sample, of using the past, to advance the goals and agendas of the educrats.

    Back to Doug, this comment is typical, and designed to insult to get an emotional reaction. What it really does, it shows his true colours of being anti-democratic, anti-intellectualism and his leanings to class division and ethical eugenics.

    “It is the fault of the system if my child is not successful in school. Then how do you explain all of the successful ones? Did they go to school on Mars. If your child was not successful in school they were lazy, unmotivated or had limited ability. Their classmates did just fine. If it makes you feel better blame the teacher. Classic projection.”

    Classic educrat – first devalue and dimiss valid points and than present the solution. Poverty is subjective criteria that cannot be easily measured, unlike accountability which is objective criteria. I believe the present day policies, the difficulties in receiving special education services, are the result of educrats pushing for policies that can only be measured using subjective critieria, to prevent objective measures based on the science.

    Tomorrow, I found some stats on the Ontario education site, that will show how the educrats applies subjective criteria to data that is purely objective. I found the same thing in my province a few years ago, and I used it to advance my own goals for my child. Not a single educratdismiss dismiss when they had responded to me, denied it nor was it discussed in the letters. They wanted to help me. I did attempt over the years to confirm it, but I have discovered it is one department that do not talk to parents.

    It is really about having parents and taxpayers marching to the educrats’ criteria parade of accountability measures to prevent transparency and open dialogue.

  88. “No wonder today, the public education system has trouble getting parents engaged, the educrats and unionists already have parents the low boy on the totem pole for accountability and transparency.”

    Nancy – the “system” never wanted parents “engaged” as in “engaged partnership”. The “system” wanted parents to use and cheerlead for them. To take their message and move it for them. Whether we agreed or not, and whether it mirrored reality or not. Some did it and are still doing it. Others either left the system or continue to fight for that elusive partnership.

    The promise of “partnership” was driven by politicians who never did deliver. Not then and not now.

    Even the whole notion of “engagement” or “partnership” was developed from inside the system – and not by parents themselves.

    If parents because too effective that too is something that would subplant the bureaucrats – so better to keep parents busy and on that old hamster wheel.

    Another truth that parents and communities should know about.

  89. I think Paul has hit on what needs to happen to make accountability a reality:

    ” push harder for accountability for shortfalls in school board performance and demanding consequences for chronic underperformance. And, above all, “put students first” in all of our reform initiatives and projects.”

    Agree Jo-Anne. It’s about putting children’s educational needs first–as Paul said above in his opening remarks. The question he asks is, “What’s next on the reform agenda?”

    Paul’s opening post, is taken from his speech to SQE’s Measuring Up Conference on Accountability held in Toronto late in April–which is why he refers to Ontario. Jo-Anne & I both were present at that event in Toronto.
    If readers want to hear Paul’s full speech, stay tuned to SQE’s website where video of the event will be streamed soon.

    Children First Nova Scotia can certainly learn from some of Ontario’s well-intentioned but misguided policies, as Nova Scotia seems to be headed in the same direction considering Levin’s involvement.

    Accountability implies consequence. Having the ability to move children to schools of choice is the ultimate consequence.

  90. Doretta makes a great point-we feel our own endeavours in Ontario are shallow,even though we count the wounded-some school boards only accomplishing a 57% success with their students in Grade 3,year after year after year after year after year,etc…there is no consequence.That is 43% failure and many kids are exempt so the picture is even worse.
    The parents are held hostage,it`s not Students First,It`s I get my pay cheque whether or not your child learns-and you`re poor,so what do you expect”Doug”.

    I actually had a school board Superintendent say that to me about his deplorably tenacious bad EQAO scores.
    What they get away with is UNBELIEVABLE-

    Health is much more accountable than Education,in Health,you die if they do something wrong,in Education,you sit on the couch and collect welfare or go to jail-emotional death doesn`t count.

    I find the effects so blatantly disconcerting and the Educrat language unbearable.

    Yes,how do we get accountability?
    It is truly upsetting to see what goes on in the U.S.,but at the core,you know it`s a war-Education does not want to be accountable,they want to be like artists,anything goes.

  91. Doctors get paid even if you are not cured.

    Lawyers get paid even if they lose.

    Dentists get paid even if you need return visits.

    Police get paid even if the murder is not solved.

    Firefighters get paid even if the building is not saved.

    I think you see the pattern. Teachers are paid for “attempting” to teach your child. If your child is not successful, they are probably in a class where most other students were successful so they were either lazy or limited in ability. You can shift the blame from yourself to the teachers if it makes you feel better but it does not change your child’s lack of success.

    It is amazing to watch the reform movement campaign AGAINST all of the proven ways to improve education from ELP to smaller classes to demands for higher levels of education.

    Why not actually look at those very few places on the entire planet that do better than we do.

    Could it be that your approach is totally ideological and therefore you reject out of hand any reforms that involve a larger state or increased taxes and embrace uncritically any reform that involves a smaller state, privatization, public sector bashing, and so on. It sure seems like it.

    You appear to the public to simply be a far right wing ideological movement when you choose to embrace Fraser Institute, Frontier, CD Howe, Manhatten Institute, Ontario PCs. and so on.

    Your approach is clearly politics first, education a rather distant second.

    • Don`t forget,as a reading specialist-with a 5 year stint in a reading clinic-I saw the lovely messes-we saw kids in all grades with no LD who had not learned how to deal with their language of origin,that guessed at words,read slowly and labouriously and couldn`t spell or write-

      And,we should keep letting you get away with it?

      We have all tried everything,Malkin Dare has been at it for 20 years,sorry,public has to get involved and for that to happen,they need to be informed.

      Most parents notice the absence of spelling ability,they always ask about that,the answer-it`s the computer,texting and internet etc…

      Not so,I assure you!It`s instruction and lack of specific skill development.

  92. Joanne “Yes,how do we get accountability?”

    I don’t believe we “get” accountability. Accountability is earned. Too often parents and school communities (and yes I mean teachers here too) are bullied into compliance and support of a system that has NOT earned respect through being accountable.

    Too much hierarchy and bureaucracy is one of the reasons, but individual teachers, parents and communities have been told for so long what to expect from the system from the inside out not the other way around.

    Too many have become victims of the system’s self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The bad habits and barriers need to come down via a two-pronged push for reform to be successful

    1) from the bottom-up – where you have critical mass and can develop momentum at grass root level.


    2) from the top-down – more education reform support types need to run for office and not be afraid to campaign on those issues.

    A balance of the two is necessary and in tandem.

    We’re still trying to make an outdated public school model work when the need and outcry is for something much different.

  93. Doctors get paid even if you are not cured.

    Lawyers get paid even if they lose.

    Dentists get paid even if you need return visits.

    Police get paid even if the murder is not solved.

    Firefighters get paid even if the building is not saved.

    At least they tried-we have a system where kids are warehoused for tax dollars-the consumer is ripped off.

  94. Systemic change from within and from outside the public system is what’s necessary for it to sustain itself, because at the moment, and in Ontario, it simply can not.

    What’s frustrating beyond belief is that the ideological divisions are deeply embedded and even among so-called education experts there is little agreement.

    So maybe, just maybe it’s time to stop depending on those
    “experts” in redefining education?

    The system’s not about students, and it’s guided by rigid and territorial contracts that prevent individual educators and some administrations from either trying new things or educate themselves on those old proven methods that work.

    The public system bureaucracy is the primary barrier to effective education change in this country. The bureaucracy controls too much….the school community too little.

    Even elected trustees in Ontario have watched as their roles and authority has eroded so badly that the McGuinty gov’t put in the most archaic rules for trustees in place that nicely straightjacket them from their roles as advocates for their schools that we entrust them with.

    Trustees either didn’t see this coming or sat around and let it happen. Whatever the case it has hurt local schools in Ontario immensely to the point where I believe we’re ready to offer individual schools the option of NOT dealing with their school boards….because we wouldn’t miss the trustee.

    Rumour has it that if Dalton McGuinty gets re-elected he’s going to do to school boards what he did to hospitals and create LHINS type vehicles that suck even more of our money into the bureaucratic bottomless pit.

  95. It took me 5 years to get here,the ONLY THING that will help is vouchers,they need to lose the money they get for the student-if they do,they WILL become accountable.And, the parent will have the grace of being treated as a consumer.

  96. With all due respect Jo-Anne we can’t get to that point without pressure from those two-prongs I wrote about earlier.

    All we seem to get treated to is people trying to monopolize the system or sell us things we don’t want or believe will help our kids.

    Until we start changing the language of education delivery from the ground-up AND from the top-down, you’ll spend the next 5 years pushing the river.

    Something else to consider is that with fewer and fewer families having children in school education is just not getting the widespread coverage with respect to education reform that it enjoyed 10 years ago.

    With a shift in demographics coupled with a society in Canada incrementally shifting to the centre-right there’s opportunity now to develop that culture of choice discussion that we all know needs to happen but is happening in bits and pieces.

    There’s also a thirst in the country these days for moving away from the status-quo….that goes for education too.

  97. It will never change,not an inch!

    Voucher just means you can move to a school of your choice OR buy time with a home school tutor-or whatever.

    I was like Snobelen,naively thinking we could improve the system-not a chance.We have both changed.I believe Malkin at SQE is right.

    You know what`s funny,the Catholics care more about their children ,it seems a moral thing,I talk to school boards all the time.I think that`s why their scores are better???

    • firstly, there’s no need to shout.

      I know what vouchers are. I was also very close to the action when Snobelen was ed. minister so saw what he and the Harris gov’t faced – first hand.

      With the type of two-pronged approach I wrote about it’s possible…..a mass of demand and political leadership that pays more attention to educating kids than pacifying union bullies and growing mega-bureaucracies.

  98. From the Ontario education site, presented at two conferences in 2008.

    “This paper describes the evolution of support for Ontario’s students with special education needs, outlines some key milestones and the current shift in focus from ensuring supports for these students to also ensuring “student achievement”, “closing the achievement gap” and building “public confidence” in the Ontario publicly funded school system.”

    My focus is on numbers stated for the EQAO on SE children.

    “Provincial assessment results through the Ontario Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) for Grades 3 and 6 in Reading and Writing (see charts below) clearly illustrate the gap between the achievement of all students and the achievement of students with special education needs. These charts illustrate that the achievement levels of our students is improving; however, despite large investments of over $450M, we are not closing the gap. Junior Reading went up for all students by 9 percentage points, as well as for students with special education needs. When looking at Junior Writing, the gap actually widened between 2001-02 and 2006-07 (from a difference of 41 to 44 points) as the general student population went up 8 percentage points and students with special education needs increased by only 5 points.

    The above is on page 15. The only thing that is improving in SE, is the identification of children having reading, writing and numeracy problems. In reality, there has been no increases in achievement for SE children. To obtain the increases, the educrats have engineer to include the category gifted, and are used to boost the overall achievement of SE children. There is only a small percentage of gifted children, with dual categories, such as LD plus gifted. For administration purposes, children with two or more exceptions, are put in one category when it comes to standardized testing and marking. On page 11, there is the breakdown of the 12 exceptions, with learning disabilities leading the pack at 43.3 %, and gifted comes in second at 13 %. The rest of the categories come in with single digit percentages, except for the Mild Intellectual exception at 12.9 %. The SE children who are required to take the EQAO testing in Ontario, with few exceptions come largely from the LD, gifted, behaviour, language impairment, deaf/hard of hearing, blind/low vision and speech impairment categories. With the exception of the gifted group, the majority if not all six groups, have reading, writing and numeracy deficiencies in various degrees from mild to moderate to severe. The gap in writing achievement is widening because the learning weaknesses have not been adequately addressed in the foundational areas of reading, writing and numeracy.

    The solutions offered by the educrats in the government paper, their real intentions is to cut funding and services, transferring the costs and remediation to the inclusive classroom, and not at all addressing the fundamental weaknesses in reading, writing and numeracy. My child spent two years in a SE math class, obtaining an average of 97 % or so, and she was returned to the regular math class in grade 6, without having the skills in long division, fractions, etc., that are essential to do grade 6 math. I was told several times by the educrats, expect at the very best a 60 average, but she would have to work very hard to obtain a 60. It was at this time, that I took matters in my own hands, and started the remediation in math that is recommended by the experts for LD children who have numeracy problems.

    My way, her average in and around the low 80s, and the public education way, her average in grade 6 would be sitting in and around the 48 % mark. As for achievement testing, the majority of LD students fail the written portion of LA, because their reading weaknesses are not targeted and the methods employed by most public education systems. are not effective methods to improve the weaknesses to the point, that the weaknesses are no longer impacting achievement on tests. The methods that I used, are the very same methods that do not have the seal of approval by the educrats.

    Accountable no. Accountable to SE children and their achievement? NO! Transparency in reporting achievement to the public? NO! The use of subjective data over objective data to formulate new policy on improving achievement? GUILTY!

  99. Vouchers have failed in no uncertain terms in Milwaukee where they do not produce better results that the public system even though they can be somewhat selective in their enrolement.

    They have been on many referendum ballots in the USA and are always defeated at least 2/1. People who are happy with the PS system always vote against them because they see their backers as elitists who only care about their own children, not the collective.

    Ask John Tory how his very modest proposal to only fund other religions beyond RC was received. It cost him the election for sure, even the seat he wanted in a wealthy area against a strong PS advocate.

    In conclusion, vouchers not only do not work, they are profoundly unpopular.

  100. http://www.neatodayact.org/2010/04/study-finds-vouchers-fail-to-raise-student-achievement/

    As you can read the study was initiated by reformers like the Waltons of Walmart and concluded that vouchers failed to do any better than PSs.

    Unpopular and unimpressive out to be enough to preclude this disasterous option.

    Any politician who supports vouchers is walking straight into the propeller blades.

    • Pathetic Doug, to not to provide the actual link of the study. Worse yet, implying that the Waltons funded the study, under the leadership of the NEA, a well known lobbying group for the teachers, and others who are against vouchers, choice, and any reforms that would threaten the status-quo and power of the teachers’ unions, teachers’ colleges and the other major arms of the public education system.

      Here is a link about the Waltons and what part they play in education reform.

      “When it came to addressing the right of every child in America to receive a quality education regardless of race, or poverty, or any other overwhelming social circumstance, there was no one more just and fair than John Walton. And when it came to responding to their needs to make it possible to choose a better school, no one was more kind and generous than John Walton. And no one approached this critical enterprise of education philanthropy with more humility than John Walton. He has truly set an example for us all to follow.”

      Doug is just another example of what they will not do, in twisting studies and research that fits their agenda to keep the status-quo. Educrats really do not want children to received a quality education, and it shows in the achievement data, the multi-billion dollar tutoring industry, increasing rate of low-literacy and numeracy skills, and the increasing numbers of remedial courses in post-secondary to address the literacy and numeracy deficiencies of students. As a parent, if a voucher came my way, or a charter school, I would have grabbed it because anything would be better than the hell I went through trying to have my child’s educational needs met through a public education system, where achievement = 50 %. I give full credit to the voucher and charter schools, because it is a difficult task to addressed the students’ achievement when so many have low skills in reading, writing and numeracy that need to be corrected first.

  101. OK, here’s some Ontario stats for Nova Scotians–or any other Canadians for that matter.

    In Ontario, education spending went from $15 billion in 02/03 to a projected $22.7 billion for next school year–an approximate 46.5% increase. Student enrollment decreased from 1,999,575 down to a projected 1,877,888 over the same period. (From Ont. Min. of Ed.) Over the same period, teacher union contracts got increases of 25%, [12.5% from 2004-08 + another 12.5% (2008-12) due to expire Aug. 31/12] not to mention the accompanying pension and benefit costs associated with those increases. Student achievement essentially flat-lined over the same period. High school graduation rates (allegedly) increased, but nobody ever fails or kids come back for a fifth year of school, so they are meaningless. Colleges and universities have to provide more and more remedial courses for freshman-year students.

    Value for money? Children First? You decide.

    For specific details see http://www.sunshineonschools.ca

  102. I guess the defence against the total failure of vouchers in Milwaukee is to try to change the channel and talk about something else. I will get the Rick Hess link. Are you trying to imply the study found something else Nancy?

  103. http://www.quickanded.com/2010/04/milwaukee-vouchers-are-only-a-failure-if-by-failure-you-mean-failure.html

    Do your own research and try to find anyone who tries to spin anything except vouchers, after 20 years did not produce better results.

  104. OISE is full of it.

  105. So you are calling the researchers that put this survey together over many years liars? Check the appendix methodology.

    I guess any well researched topic that you don’t agree with is

    “full of it.” Interestic academic rebuttal.

  106. It`s true-it is an unusual rebuttal-

    I have been influenced by the 3d floor Keith Stanovich floor which does “real research-gold standard-control group and longitudinal-versus the 1st floor group and many others that twist and turn and stand by opinions that are not based in research.

    Look at CEA BEN LEVIN-“HOW DO CHILDREN LEARN TO READ”and see how many people agree with me-is their dictatorship based on research-no.

    Those that agree with me are probably teachers-stand in front of 25 kids and watch 14 struggle and you will see how they feel.

    Can they do anything about it-no-the dictatorship dictates.

  107. Yes, Doug vouchers is a structural change that shifts resources from the public school to the parents. As for the other argument that it does not improve curriculum or instruction methods, I don’t buy it. It puts pressure on the public schools in the district to improve to gain back the funding lost by the student vouchers and to maintain the number of students attending the public schools. It is spin by the educrats, like Doug to cherry picked the data that indicates that vouchers or charters are no better than public schools. Much like the cherry picking of the reading research where reading instruction in public schools falls in line with the dogma and ideology of whole language and Dewey-speak. A prefect example is in Alberta, where charter schools improved the instruction and curriculum of the public schools. And where both the charter schools and public schools work together to share and development of new reforms. It is the only place, where LD children have the best odds of becoming good readers and writers.

    As for the surveys by the public education system, it appears that the surveys have replace open consultations with parents. Policy based on surveys leads to poor policy and communication that in turn leads to parent dissatisfaction, where many of the parents don’t have the options or the means to effect change for the betterment of their children.

    Much like the story of the telecommunication giants, where many living in rural areas suffered in silence, tolerating the poor services, paying high telephone rates for less services. It went on for many years, until the cable companies took advantage the rapid changes in technology, regarding telecommunications. There is happier faces in some rural communities, because they are no longer with the giant telephone companies, tolerating the poor services and excuses made that clearly show the contempt for the average telephone user. Today, I am a happy customer, with more money in my pocket, and no longer have to deal with the insolence of the telephone company, and the excuses for poor service. What a treat, no more static on the line. Crystal clear communication, where I no longer have to raise my voice over the static.

    The moral to the story, when an entity does not keep up with the advances being made in science, and technology, they are no longer providing service for their clients. The public education system and its educrats will rue the day, just like the telephone giant who are losing customers daily. In my community, the telephone giant is losing big time, and it really hurts their net profit bottom line.

  108. Joanne, I could not resist I found a study conducted by THE CANADIAN EDUCATION STATISTICS COUNCIL and in partnership with THE COUNCIL OF

    A treasure to read, one of the many that is sent, if not in the thousands to the education ministries and such places like the OISE, to sit on dusty shelfs unread, and are never passed down through the different levels of the public education system. This fact was confirmed by the education ministry, at the top level in my province, as well as another province called Ontario. The educrats slipped there, when I put on my best professional voice, a skill that I picked up in my work days.

    Here is one of my favourites, but there is so many but I chose this one, because Doug is always claiming that Canada is number 3 in the top education systems of the world.
    “Only 52 per cent of the population over 16 years of age reads at or above a level determined to be essential for living and working in modern society (Ministers National Working Group on Education 2002). It might be expected that older people would have lower scores than those in their 20s, but across every jurisdiction one-third of the group of 16- to 25-year-olds reads below that level (Human
    Resources and Skills Development Canada and Statistics Canada, 2005).
    Although there are different levels and forms of literacy, it is reading, the basic ability to get meaning from print, that is fundamental to school success (Canadian Council on Learning 2007). It is unacceptable for Canadian youth to attend school for 10 years or more and emerge unable to
    read and write well enough to live and work in modern society. Although many students perform at acceptable levels of reading, the challenge for Canadians is to raise the bar and close the gaps for all our students.”


    The 1/3 low literacy rates after 10 years of schooling, has increase since than and it is expected to be at the 38 % mark. So much for the public education system in raising the bar and closing the gap.

    On another note, I have observed the only time that the studies that are sitting on dusty shelfs, are dusted off by the educrats is to cherry-picked putting in bits and pieces that fits the ideology, dogma and goals of the educrats, and to be used as window dressing to keep parents silent.

    Most recently, or at least it is new to me for another word to be added to the edubabble. Explicit differentiated instruction for the inclusive classroom. No clear definition by the educrats, and what I have seen does not resemble what is stated in the LD field. I have concluded, parents need to be aware, that it might very well be used in the inclusive classroom, to dumb down the curriculum and outcomes for students who are struggling in reading, writing or numeracy.

    • Nancy,I agree about explicit differentiated instruction-who are they kidding-teacher will go mad!Here is where we can see what must go on.The concept is ridiculous.

      Poor teacher is in that class,in the trenches I call it and all these words,PD Days and orders from the top, because they are trying to cover up the fact that the numbers don`t look great,come down on the worker in front of the children.I have met teachers who tell me a Grade 5 class has so many levels,they don`t know where to start.

      That is easy to understand,we don`t teach pedagogically correctly K-3.If we did,only 5% of children would not be able to process curriculum and do work,work at different levels of engagement but able to read,write sentences and be able to attain concepts through reading.All those word problems in math would also be easier,I know math instruction is no longer skill specific so I am not underplaying the need for that either.

      The Casey Foundation recently did a study that said if the child isn`t reading,and I always add my own bias,spelling and writing,by grade 3 there is a 70% greater chance that they will drop out.I will send this link shortly.

      Nancy,many people agree with us about reading instruction and the results that occur,as you so aptly stated above,the failures in the early grades are counted as the walking wounded in the adult population by Statscan,a body that does not pull punches and doesn`t have to wiggle through University researchers with multiple agendas,interpretations and desires to be published.

      You have uncovered the truth,but like Malkin at SQE said,what we soon understand is the truth doesn`t matter.The MOE would have to give consequences like funding cuts and parent vouchers for school boards that annually have low scores for the testing to be meaningful;would they just create tests where everyone will pass no matter what,perhaps.

  109. CCOL are people trying to justify their existance by looking under every rock for bad news.

    There is no organization on the planet that has more education and more data than OECD and they say Canada is #3.

    All those who claim this is not true have a VERY hard time mustering any data that shows that someone else is ahead of us except Finland and Korea. Those 2 are just barely ahead.

    It is a THEORY among right wingers that if you inject competition into education results will increase. In fact OECD again says “there is NO EVIDENCE for this.” It exists only in the mind of privatizers. Milwaukee has had 20 YEARS to demonstrate improved results and it is not happening. Not only that but American reformers are admitting that this is the case. Ask Rick Hess.

    Vouchers = no improvement
    charters = more often worse that PS rather than better
    merit pay = no evidence for improvement
    testing = non-testing Finland does far better.

    These are losing reforms.

    The entire tool kit of the right wing opponents of public schools has been discredited, Michelle Rhee is exposed as a cheating fraud.

    Insanity is attempting the same failing reforms and expecting a different result.

  110. I actually agree about differentiated instruction. The history of streaming students below grade 10, either within a class or in different classes is that the kids who get the , call it what you want, easier/ less challenging program do not catch up they fall further and further behind until they drop out.

    It WILL drive teachers insane for no good end. The more students get exactly the same program, the further more students will go. They can have elective programs for 20% of their time of course in HS but their academic core should be the same. Give them booster programs, tutorial support, extra time if they need it but not a “lower” program-it is an educational death sentence.

  111. Doug, you really have to become educated on stats, and the type of stats and what purposes they are used.

    OECD collect stats for the expressed purpose to help countries formulate national policies to complete in the global world. The education stats are collected for the expressed purpose to indicate the needs of a country, in the education of the work force and future work force. The collection of the education stats, is dependent on the country and its education ministries to provide correct data, based on their methodology and testing procedures for such things as PISA. OECD stresses it, year after year and the stats are to be used in part for nations to determined the needs of the work force and jobs. What they do not concern themselves with, are the instruction methods, curriculum, pedagogy that vary differently from country to country. It is why OECD makes general statements, that implies and indicates problem areas. The OECD has noted, in countries where the main language is English, low literacy and numeracy skills is a problem, and their stats the figure is at the low 40 percent mark, much higher than the 33 % that is stated in Canada. The educrats in Canada and United States have responded by providing remedial courses after high school, by presenting many opportunities at various venues. Skills that should have been taught in grade school, are now being given with a price tag attached. The praise from the OECD, for Canada there is access for workers to address their literacy and numeracy skills throughout their life. Canada scores a few more points, but that does not change the fact that 33 % of students after 10 years of schooling, have low literacy and numeracy skills.

    As for OECD on vouchers, charters again the comments are restricted and generalized that each country has different systems, where some countries uses vouchers, charters and some heavily relied on the private tutors, to address access to remediation. They have never stated that vouchers or charter schools = failure.

    As for privateers, the educrats in Canada such as Fullan should look in the mirror, including yourself. There is growing connections of products, including software being developed within the faculties of education, for the K to 12 teachers and school board market. I ran into a few yesterday, where the software companies are connected to the educrats and the major publishing companies. I am making no comment on the software, but I do have questions if any taxpayer monies is being used to facilitate the development of the software, and the profits being made.

  112. I remember reading about differentiated instruction when it first emerge. From my understanding, it is about simplifying the language, moving from the essentials to the advance knowledge, and connections/relationships between the basic knowledge and the advance knowledge. It was not about reducing the outcomes, which is what is happening in the classroom today. Back in the early days, since my child had such difficulties in hand writing, taking notes was even a more difficult task for her.

    I took on the job, using the textbooks and whatever my child decided to write. Most of the time back than, her notes were in bits and pieces. The curriculum outcomes that the education ministry provided were heavy in edubabble, and often wonder why they kept pushing parents to read the outcomes. I wrote the notes to the level where she could easily read it, without tripping over words. Terms that must be learn, were broken down into simple short sentences, that still meant the same thing as the definitions of the textbook. The teachers never commented on the notes, but what they commented on was my child was participating in class, her grades jumped to the B’s and steady improvement in her writing, spelling, grammar on tests. It was my hope, that she would eventually start to used the same techniques, and it work beyond my wildest dreams. I am no longer involved with note taking, and she herself is reducing the language in terms that she can understand. Once in a while, when she has difficulties in reducing a term, to a more simplified language, she will asked me.

    Isn’t differentiated instruction all about simplification of language without reducing the outcomes?

  113. It is not the place of OECD to decide on curriculum and pedagogy for every nation. However, they can show with a greater degree of accuracy than anyone else, which countries are highly successful at teaching reading (Finland, Korea, Canda) and which countries are weak (USA, UK)

    They also point out that nations than have a great deal of competition amongst schools for public dollars have no advantage over schools where one uniform public school system is the only recipient of public money.

    Canada is considered a world leader in reading. It is the highest achieving, English speaking nation on Earth. Would I like it to be even higher? Of course, but it will only get there if we focus like a laser on the reading (and math) results of the poor.

  114. Sorry Doug, low literacy is occurring at all income levels. Just a wee bit more for the low-income groups, in all English speaking countries. What is the common trait that all English countries share? Whole language and the many versions since than. World leader in reading eh? Canada ranks 6 now, but than again the educrats will engineer lots of practice on questions that are very much like the PISA exams. As I can contest to, even some reasonable educated adults would have difficulty.

    As noted by a Great Schools article, on PISA, “Critics of standardized testing question the whole endeavor: Such tests, by definition, always entail a reductionist approach to education. School systems like China’s and South Korea’s are always going to perform better than countries that don’t “teach to the test.” But PISA claims to be testing students’ ability to apply their knowledge to real-life problems that require ingenuity and creative problem solving. Sounds good, right? After sampling a few of the math, reading, and science questions, however, I marveled at the creative thinking of PISA’s marketing machine rather than the creative thinking required of test takers. It’s a smartly designed standardized test but no more. How it can claim to test creative problem solving, I have no idea.

    Still, it’s not worth dismissing PISA out of hand. It’s not that we want our students to be test-taking machines. But we do want them to be able to read a short, easy passage about a worldly topic — like global warming or how running shoes are designed (to name two from the reading samples) — and understand it well enough to answer a few questions.”

    In my eyes, becoming a creative problem solver requires a firm foundation in reading and writer. The ability to express one self, hinges on how weak or strong the language skills that a student processes. Chinese or the Finns are better at PISA tests, because the students really do have a firm foundation in reading, writing and numeracy. I was told early on by the educrats, that my child was not a problem solver. I objected based on knowledge of my child, and how she would come up with innovative solutions in the sand-box, solving structural faults of tunnels, road construction, and other things regarding sand and Tonka trucks. Unfortunately, this type of problem solving is the type that schools do not measured or count. It was not until a few years later, that I discovered a truth, that others before me have discovered. It was not the problem of knowledge or creativity that stood in my child’s way, but rather it was a problem of weak language skills, that prevented her to expressed herself on paper.

    I see PISA as a warning, our reading, writing and numeracy skills are weak.

  115. You would be wrong Nancy, our reading skills are the world’s best. Could it be better, sure but it is still the best.

    Churchill on democracy: “It is the worst system except for all the others.”

    We have the worst results, except for all of the others.

    Canada graduates more students from post-secondary education than ANY NATION ON EARTH.

    I keep challenging you and Jo Anne to name a major jurisdiction in the world that teaches your way and does better than Canada other than the barely better Finland and Korea that everyone acknowledges.

    Cat got your tongue?

    • systematic mediocracy.

      • Also Steve as far as PISA,I am curious if the Federally funded schools representing our First Nations children were included if the score would change.
        Nancy brings a very good point,the same one I always wonder about,with the methodology being the same in all English speaking countries and with the U.K.and U.S. doing so badly,why is Canada doing so well?

        With the Statscan reports being so indicative of poor instruction in elementary grades,those numbers so high for adult poor literacy,is this what saves us?

  116. The OECD was very clear on why Canada scores so well. Canada has one of the lowest gaps between rich and poor. The USA would be in the top tier if not for its black and hispanic population which lags miles behind and drags down the entire nation. The poor class in the UK, increasingly but not totally racialized has the same effect.

    I agree, the inclusion of Canada’s Aboriginal children, whose education and general conditions is a national disgrace, would lower Canada slightly but Canada is only 4% Aboriginal and many of these are off REZ so they are included in the data.

    The countries that actually make an effort to focus on their poor kids can mitigate their results and move up the rankings.

  117. Yes all of those nations tend to use the exact same teaching methods which does take it off the table as a factor. What is the common theme across the entire world?

    The poor do badly in school. The poorer they are, the worse they do.

  118. Flawed assumption-one that justifies lack of success.

    By the way,I don`t buy all the success,I am in the schools talking to educators and looking at EQAO scores as are many of my “reading researcher’ friends.
    The teachers will tell you that what they see in the classroom with reading and spelling is truly disconcerting to them.
    Behind closed doors,away from Unions,they spill the beans.
    Your spin is getting tiring,yawn.
    Methodology is huge-whole language is a catastrophe-read the NICHD Research study on ‘how do children learn to read”Dr.Reid Lyon.

    Or Doug,are you smarter than him as well,Mr.former Union executive?

  119. No Doug, all nations do not used the same teaching methods. Finland, uses phonemic explicit systematic reading instruction, lots of direct instruction over all from grades 1 to 6. By grade 7, children have a firm foundation in reading, writing and numeracy, ready to do advance work in the next phase of schooling, preparing for secondary education.

    No Doug, all nations do not used the same exact teaching methods. All nations have a different mixed of economic, political, and social policies, that directs the education policies. Whole language did not developed in a vacuum, but rather it was created to help advance the goals of economic, political and social policies. Whole language represents a philosophy and not a reading instruction as it is constantly being portrayed.

    Canada is doing better than England and United States, because distribution of resources and access to resources is more or less evenly distributed, which does in part, impact the negative outcomes of poor instruction methods such as whole language and influences the outcomes in policies, for more positive results. What Canada does poorly, as in other English speaking countries is to produced good readers, writers and numeracy competency. The English-speaking countries are very good in being consistent in producing year after after, about 25 % of the student graduates are good to excellent readers, writers and numeracy competency. The other 75 % is where the split is consistent 40 percent of the 75 % have low literacy skills. It is here, within the 75 % where the political wars are carried out, over education practices. The educrats especially the ones we have in Canada, as in other English speaking countries, are determined to maintain the split, for political, economic and social reasons. Another constant piece of data, and is considered the causalities of the instruction wars, are the dyslexics, the children of various learning disorders, the blacks, Hispanics, the aboriginals, the low-income, and all the other children who do not fit within the normal range of a population. This group has become the guinea pigs of the educrats, and the war is being wage upon them on the ideology of politics, economics and social norms.

    It prevents effective instruction methods based on science from entering into the picture, that would do quite a bit of damage to the present splits of reading, writing and numeracy proficiency, and in turn impact political, economic and social policies. A population who have good competencies in reading, writing and numeracy are better able to make good decisions in their daily lives, independently and are less inclined to accept mediocrity of others. Plus, people would be better able to make the connections of the outcomes to the policies made within politics, economic and social spheres. The present educrats have a relatively easy time to explain negative outcomes of education policies, because of the splits in reading, writing and numeracy competencies, blaming it on the many different variables except the practices of education policies.

    To repeat Joanne, “The teachers will tell you that what they see in the classroom with reading and spelling is truly disconcerting to them.
    Behind closed doors,away from Unions,they spill the beans.
    Your spin is getting tiring,yawn.
    Methodology is huge-whole language is a catastrophe-read the NICHD Research study on ‘how do children learn to read”Dr.Reid Lyon.”

    “The Fallacy of International Comparisons:

    David Boulton: Yes. People throw around comparisons of how well different countries are doing with reading. I once asked Reid Lyon: How can we value these international comparisons if we don’t have sufficient granularity in the frameworks we’re using to compare them to be able to look at all the different language specific challenges across the spectrum from learning to speak it to becoming masterful with its orthography – if we don’t have a map of those different, distinct, language specific challenge components? How do we cross compare them?

    Dr. Marketa Caravolas: Yeah, I think that’s a very good question. And that’s a very big point. It’s very difficult. In some ways, it is probably easiest to make these cross-language comparisons in the very early stages, the foundation stage, because you can take an alphabetic system and say, okay, at the very beginning, kids probably need to have skills “A” and “B,” and possibly “C.” But beyond that, it’s quite true, there are real big methodological issues that have to do with how can you compare, say,reading comprehension across languages? I’m sure that eventually we will figure out a fairly reliable way to do it, but we really don’t have the tools yet to make specific reliable statements.

    David Boulton: And yet, the comparisons that we do have enormous political force in how we allocate money, how important we see literacy. In America we rank ourselves in such-and-such numbers, say, “Well, we’re not so bad,” you know. This has always just seemed absurd to me.

    Dr. Marketa Caravolas: That’s a very important issue, and it has to be a big part of the agenda of cross-language researchers.

    David Boulton: Which means we must have a framework that differentiates the component learning challenges across the languages and orthographies which we can then overlay and compare the instructional investments. I’m more interested in the overall relationship between the human organism and this ‘code’, you know, the writing system, and the kind of suffering that children are going through, than I am in how one country competes with another country on reading scores.

    But we don’t have a basis to go on. Say, if we’re spending X-percentage of the GDP on literacy related instruction in a country, we can’t cross-compare that expenditure versus performance with another country if we don’t have a framework that details the differences of the challenges involved. It just seems absurd to use these international comparisons the way we do given how shallowly they reflect the learning challenge differences in the languages and orthographies.

    Dr. Marketa Caravolas: Yes, I think that’s right when comparisons are made beyond the early school years. Really, these kinds of comparisons, for the time being, are best used to reveal, you know…

    David Boulton: What we don’t know.

    Dr. Marketa Caravolas: exactly,.”


    I rest my case, Doug.

  120. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/13/60/36165298.pdf

    This is a good paper for those still in denial that poverty is THE critical factor in education and that designing a nations education system to mitigate the educational disadvantages of poverty can play a strong role in national educational advancement.

    Please keep in mind that the OECD is far from a socialist outfit. It is referred to by many as “western capitalism’s primary think tank.”

    Canada and Finland are highly successful becuse we do more of this “compensatory education” than many but clearly not enough yet. You can see the development of the idea that Pascal/McGuinty are up to with their ELP.

  121. Jo Anne, read pg 2 paragraph 2 of Reid Lyon’s paper. He sets the entire context of his thesis properly by first acknowledging that the poor and racialized minorities are the epicentre of weak reading.

    • Not true-20-30% struggle but figure it out on their own-5% learn even if they were brought up in a closet-60% need instruction based on research from the NICHD.IN THAT GROUP ARE WEALTHY WHITE,MIDDLE CLASS ALL DENOMINATIONS AND A GOOD REPRESENTATION OF THE POOR.

      INSTRUCTIONAL METHODOLOGY is crucial to develop highly literate individuals.

      I have seen it all-grade 9-12 kids who don`t have the required information to spell and write-that means you cannot write your work,even typing is tough,you are working with the wrong side of the bran-rather than “process” you are retrieving memory.Discouraging,laborious is what it is for our children.

      If you had a conscience,you would admit wholeheartedly how important proper instruction is,for all subjects,not just learning to read,spell and write.
      However,as Dr.Lyon so aptly states,without that you are doomed.

  122. Mr Lyon covers his backside very well in his paper by admitting off the top that there is a powerful link between poverty, certain minorities who happen, for historical reasons to be poorer in America and lack of success.

    As the academics like to say, notwithstanding the staggering evidence that failure to flourish in school is primarily class based, within that he attemps to make a nuanced argument about methods.

    Jo Anne you are way out on a limb here. The overwhelming consensus in education that looks us straight in the face, is that the poor do badly for a long list of reasons, least of which is methods.

    Google “why do the poor do badly in education” and you will be overwhelmed by the articles.

  123. Please give Dr.Reid Lyon his due justice by giving him his accreditation.
    Oh Doug….

    I will never respond to your views again.

  124. Even where the reform movement has billions to invest in their ideas, the results are dismal. This is because they are bad ideas.


  125. Please give Dr.Reid Lyon his due justice by giving him his accreditation.
    Oh Doug….

    I will never respond to your views again.

    Only elitists insist on accreditations.

  126. Do we go around every day talking about Dr. Paul?

  127. In a systematic mediocracy:

    students are not first, but placed somewhere in the middle

    mediocrity is celebrated

    social promotion is encouraged

    educrats, unions, like yurtle ther turtle, climb to the top for a superior view

    School boards and staff rule with an iron fist because they are worth 35 million a year

    money is spent unwisley with pride

    school choice is distained

    centralization is sacred

    busing is considered a religious pilgrimage

    …. sorry folks, it must be friday.

  128. Boy Doug, taking words out of context again to suit your best interests.

    Here is paragraph 2, and I added paragraph 3 both on page 2, where Lyon states, “These data underscore the fact that reading failure is a serious National problem and cannot simply be attributed to poverty, immigration, or the learning of English as a second language. The psychological, social, and economic consequences of reading failure are legion. ”

    “While failure to learn to read adequately is much more likely among poor children, among nonwhite children, and among nonnative speakers of English, recent data derived from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (l994) reveals an alarming trend. In the State of
    California, 59% of fourth grade children had little or no mastery of the knowledge and skills necessary to perform reading activities at the fourth grade level, compared to a national average of 44% below basic reading levels. Even more alarming, is that this evidence of serious reading
    failure cuts across all ethnic and socioeconomic variables. While 71% of African-Americans, 81% of Hispanics and 23% of Asians were reading below basic levels, 44% of white students in the fourth grade were also below the basic reading level necessary to use reading as a skill.
    Moreover, 49% of the fourth grade children in California who were reading below basic levels were from homes where the parents had graduated from college. In fact, the children of college educated parents in California scored lowest with respect to their national cohort.

    These data underscore the fact that reading failure is a serious National problem and cannot simply be attributed to poverty, immigration, or the learning of English as a second language. The psychological, social, and economic consequences of reading failure are legion. It is for this
    reason that the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) considers reading failure to reflect not only an educational problem, but a significant public health problem as well. Within this context, a large, well coordinated network consisting of 18 research sites across the country has been working extremely hard to understand

    (1) the critical environmental, experiential, cognitive, genetic neurobiological, and instructional
    conditions that foster strong reading development;
    (2) the risk factors that predispose youngsters to reading failure; and
    (3) the instructional procedures that can be applied to ameliorate reading deficits at the earliest
    possible time. In some cases, these NICHD studies have been continuously ongoing since l965.”

    What an educrat won’t do to change the picture to anything to avoid discussion and admitting the systemic discrimination occurring at all levels, sub-levels of the education system exist via through the rules/regulations, structures, organizations models, power divisions to institutionalized systemic discrimination to serve the best interests of the educrats.

    A short video where Frank Klees MPP, speaking on puppet school boards.

    On his site, two more clips at Queen’s Park.

    Of course Klees questions were not answered, and here is his take in a column. Frankly Speaking.


    School board trustees across Canada, are told what to do, what to say by the Directors of School Boards, in areas of education, children and parents. Although not written in any laws, it is implied and strongly suggested that trustees should follow the mandates of the directors of school boards.

    My personal story, throughout the years the few times I contacted the trustee over issues on educational matters, I was given the run-around by the trustee the second last time. It was concerning a rule introduced by the school, that I felt discriminate against my child. The response was that they do not deal with matters like this, and to phone up the school board. It was 1999, in Ontario looking for a transfer from the school assigned to the school down the road, and at this point she was only register and had not begun her JK year. The board, really give me the run around, throwing every obstacle, to prevent me from changing schools. Glancing over to the TV, a news report that the Premier Harris office, was taking phone calls from the public, including parents. It took me a day or so, to pick up the phone, since I had never called the Premier’s office in my life. Sure glad I did, within a day two phone calls from the educrat at the school board and the trustee apologizing, if one calls it an apology with the extra comments, that I did not have to go that far, by phoning the Premier’s office. I had no choice, and they knew it.

    The above is just a very small example of systemic discrimination that prevents parents, children and taxpayers from actively participating in making decisions that serves their best interests, and more importantly in making good decisions for their children. The trustee, was going by the unwritten rules – not my job. The board, creating more unwritten rules, the red tape to stopped most people from acting on decisions that they thought are the best for their needs, and have parents make decisions that are in the bests interests of the board.

    There is systemic discrimination that is embedded concerning reading instruction, and other instruction methods, starting in the teachers’ colleges, and throughout the levels and sub-levels of the system. The written rules as well as the unwritten rules, to prevent effective instruction based on the science that is best for the children and the children’s individual education needs.

    One of the more infamous unwritten rules, is the unwritten rule that children must be failing, before remediation action is taken. It comes in many different forms, that for the most part, imposes a narrowing of criteria under the written rules that must be met, before remediation can take place. When resources are scarce, the unwritten rule that children must be failing is employed, but never stated to parents as the reason why their children are not receiving services. The usual explanation, is that their child does not meet the criteria. Educrats of the board, will denied that this is happening, but in reality it is happening, just like it is happening with the trustees of a school board.

    As for Doug’s link by the OECD, it is typical paper that reinforces the systemic discrimination of the education system. I more or less stopped reading when I viewed the chart on page 12.

    “Estimated effects of family background of students’ test scores across countries

    Family background effects are based on reported measures of the number of books at home; test scores are average maths and science scores from TIMSS. The family background effects are estimated from statistical regressions explaining standardised test scores based on the number of books at home. As standardised test scores have an international standard deviation of 100, these effects can be interpreted as percentages of an international standard deviation by which test achievement increases if the number of books is raised by one category. The authors validate these estimates by also looking at other measures of family background from the 2001 Progress in International Reading Literacy Survey (PIRLS).”

    Not enough information, to truly determined but it is obvious using the number of books at home, is pushing the envelope, that social disadvantage are the sole reasons for achievement levels. But one gets truly testy, by seeing who are the top countries.

    Kuwait, Indonesia, Tunisia, Morocco, Columbia, France and Canada. The first six countries have all been in the news where people are protesting on the streets, against their government’s policies and decisions that reinforces systemic discrimination, the lost of freedoms and rights, and more importantly the state having the final say over all citizens. People are dying in the first 5 countries, where social disadvantage has been institutionalized by the state. And the state is legally killing their own citizens, in many forms and situations.

    Doug, a nice piece of propaganda by the elites of the OECD to pushed their agenda in the globalized world. Agenda, that is not for the best interests of citizens in their home countries. Social disadvantage at that lofty perch, is much different on the ground, but than again the OECD does not have to deal with reality, do they?

    Doug is all for institutionalizing systemic discrimination within the public education system, because it serves his best interests and has lined his pockets for many years. Doug comments are typical, which the latest are: “Jo Anne you are way out on a limb here. The overwhelming consensus in education that looks us straight in the face, is that the poor do badly for a long list of reasons, least of which is methods.

    Google “why do the poor do badly in education” and you will be overwhelmed by the articles.”

    Google the articles, each and everyone are from the educrats, looking out for their best interests, and pocketbooks. Best interests of children, not on your life, and not when it comes to children with special needs. The largest sub-population have reading, writing and numeracy disorders, and the public education system still cannot manage to bring their reading, writing and numeracy to average or above average levels. Yet private tutors, specialized schools do it every day with resounding success using teaching methods that the world’s reading experts have proven to be the best and most effective, but the public education system cannot or won’t do.

    Most if not all education policies crafted by the educrats ignores or limits the human rights, the constitutional rights, and restricts the ability of citizens to used their rights effectively, since the legal rights have not incorporated in their policies from the start.

    An example: ”
    No one disagrees that schools should be safe and free of violence, and reasonable people can disagree how that can best be achieved, but from a human rights perspective, a number of concerns have been raised about the Safe Schools Act and school board policies, which may be summarized as follows.

    First, the Ministry of Education and school boards are giving two contradictory messages to school administrators and the general public. As a result, while some school administrators may apply the mitigating factors, others may practice zero tolerance. A practice of zero tolerance inevitably conflicts with anti-discrimination legislation, particularly if it targets disability-related behaviour.

    Second, although the Ministry of Education and school boards have acknowledged and addressed to some extent the possibility that the application of discipline may have a disproportionate impact on students with disabilities, there has been strong resistance to acknowledging or addressing the possible disproportionate impact on racial minority students.

    Third, in the GTA and other parts of Ontario, there is a strong perception supported by some empirical evidence that the Act and school board policies are having a disproportionate impact on racial minority students, particularly Black students, and students with disabilities.

    Finally, human rights protections have not been adequately incorporated into the current disciplinary regime. It is possible to have a disciplinary regime that both maintains safe and violence-free schools and protects the human rights of all students in the school system.

    Doug, and the rest of the educrats, would like us to believe that it is social economic variables outside of the school that is the main reason for failure that is constantly being portrayed and directed at the public. But it is not, and they know it as well, it is the teachers’ training, instruction and curriculum that are the main contributors to achievement failures.

    It was very tiresome to hear from educrats why my child was failing based on SEC factors. Apparently, reading and writing struggles was blame on my parenting ability and not providing for my child. This came after, the comments of them stating, that I have no right to make comments on curriculum and instruction methods, since I was not a qualified teacher. This came after, where I presented the documentation of health professionals, plus the nursery school and in part that I failed to provide the right conditions at home, for my child to developed verbal language. All occurred within a 7 week window, where my legal rights under the law, were breech by the educrats. Shortly after, I started to demand an assessment but that took me another 3 years to obtain for my child. Systemic discrimination of the public education system, that prevented me from making the best decisions for my child, and her education needs. It is Doug, that should be ashame to defend the policies of the educrats that discriminate against children, parents and the taxpayers. But he stands proud, because he is profiting from the systemic discrimination of the public education system.

  129. Every single study on so-called “social promotion” concludes that those students retained in their grade do far worse down the line than students that are moved on but lets not be dazzled with the facts when they intrude on our preconceived folksy notions.

    • Sounds more like the department of anti accountability studies to me.

      • The pressure in the U.S.beginning to show signs of logic and accountability.

        This the study-Casey Foundation that is influencing many decisions now in school districts.

        I think Doug is getting some wonderful pressure from all of us in his endless excuses for failure,it`s the child`s fault.

        Poverty is many times a motivator for success-but first we must teach them to read,that`s the way out.

      • House votes to end social promotion at 3rd grade

        Forgot to drop the link!

  130. At least it is nice to know that a Tim Hudak PC government in Ontario has promised NOT to introduce charters, vouchers or merit pay. Maybe they are starting to wise up.

    Of course we have to believe them.


  131. Here is a few actions by a public education system either in Canada or United States, practicing systemic discrimination.

    “Williams-Bolar was arrested and found guilty of tampering with records and falsifying enrollment papers for her two daughters so they could attend a prominently “rich, white” school for two years. The school has closed enrollment policies and it costs $800 per month to enroll students who do not live in the district.

    Williams-Bolar was sentenced to 10 days in jail, two years probation, and 80 hours of community service. There is also a possibility that Williams-Bolar will no longer be able to obtain the teaching degree she was close to obtaining at the University of Akron in Ohio.”

    “Our nation’s general failure to diagnose and treat early reading difficulties is disproportionately
    harmful to poor and minority students. At least 20 percent of the children in Baltimore City public schools and other large urban districts can be called “invisible dyslexics.” Though definitions of dyslexia vary, it is usually understood to mean difficulties in learning to read. “Invisible dyslexics” are children whose academic futures are doomed because their problems in learning to read are either diagnosed
    too late and treated too little, or not diagnosed or treated at all.”

    The system itself, has embedded systemic discrimination within the policies, to limit and prevent reading remediation.
    Lots of this going on in Canada as well.

    “Did You Know:

    That Deaf children/students with cochlear implants are not allowed to learn ASL and begin exposure to an American Sign Language (ASL) environment?
    That no policy has been set for criteria for success and transition planning for Deaf children/ students who are not succeeding in spoken language programs?
    That there is no ASL Proficiency Policy for Teachers of Deaf Students?
    That there is no Access and Accommodation Policy for Deaf students in the classroom (i.e. qualified educational sign language interpreters/educational assistants with ASL skills)?
    There is no anti-audism/anti-ableism policy in Provincial Schools for the Deaf and School Boards?
    There is intimidation and systemic discrimination against Deaf children/students/Deaf staff in educational system in Ontario? ………………………………………..”

    “It is not inconceivable that public schools operate within a framework of systemic discriminatory practice (see Kallen, 1995) if indeed the over representation of marginalized individuals or groups within the school suspension and expulsion records (Morrison and D’Incau, 1997) and statistics on early school leaving (National Adult Literacy Database, 2000; Bains, 1997) are indicative of those persons and/or groups (wittingly or unwittingly) targeted by school discipline policies and administrative practices. Simply put, “who gets expelled from school involves not only issues that are related to the students themselves but also issues that are driven by the educational philosophy and policies of the public school system” (Morrison & DÌIncau, 1997, p. 319). The Canadian criminal justice system, as a system of societal regulation much like that of schools, has itself, either through direct action or merely through silence and complicity, been used to control and disadvantage underrepresented and/or marginalized groups (Cole, 1999). Gabor’s analysis the of social responsibilities and personal liabilities within the youth violence debate does not account for the possibility that similar forms of systemic discrimination operate within the spheres of power, control, conflict, and violence in public education (Watkinson & Epp, 1997). ”

    On the flip side, let’s look at the discussions of the educrats, the same ones that refuse to correct the systemic discrimination that is embedded within the policies of equity, and how a school board sees it.

    “In March 2000, the Peel District School Board approved its Human Rights Policy #51. The policy relies on the Ontario Human Rights Code, which recognizes the dignity and worth of every person and outlines the legal obligation to provide equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. Although neither the Code nor Policy #51 include class as a ground protected from discrimination and harassment, we know that students and staff are treated unfairly because of issues related to class. For this reason, classism has been included as one of the “isms” that the Board will address as it works toward equity for students and staff.

    Policy #51 clarifies the various types of discrimination addressed in the Code:

    direct discrimination – A student or staff member is denied a benefit or treated unfairly because of his or her class (or other ground of discrimination).
    indirect or constructive discrimination – A student or staff member experiences a negative impact because of a rule or policy imposed by an individual or institution.
    systemic discrimination – Student(s) or staff member(s) are affected by subtle and unsubtle barriers imposed through the existing structure, policies and/or practices.”

    Their actions, on their favourite SEC variable, poverty. School boards considered poverty as a right under human rights, but does not considered a right for children to learn to read and write well.

    Here is the take of the EFTO union.

    ” ETFO recognizes that discrimination is a fundamental, defining feature of our society, and takes many forms.

    Discrimination against particular groups of people is one of the central organizing principles by which resources and power are allocated in our society.

    Individuals can and do consciously and unconsciously practice discrimination. Discriminatory practices will not be accepted within ETFO. ETFO’s Constitution sets out a complaint and discipline procedure in Article VII: Disciplinary Procedures.

    Discrimination is also “systemic”, the result of seemingly neutral policies or practices that, because they are grounded in the understandings of the dominant group, exclude or otherwise disadvantage members of other groups.

    ETFO’s members live and work within these discriminatory systems; some benefit from them, some are disadvantaged. As a union committed to social justice and equity, ETFO works actively to change these systems internally, in education, and in society.

    2. Discrimination is experienced differently by different groups, each of which requires support designed to meet its particular needs.

    Groups that experience discrimination in Ontario today include

    racialized people,
    Aboriginal peoples,
    people with disabilities,
    gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people, and
    people living in poverty.
    Members of these groups are in the best position to identify and analyze the differences in issues and needs. ETFO commits to recognize and accommodate these differences between people and groups. ETFO will modify programs, and will develop and provide special programs for particular groups where necessary, since in an unequal world, ignoring differences perpetuates inequality.

    3. Growth means change, and change is difficult……………”

    Priceless, when one considers when was the last time a teachers’ union raise Cain about the systemic discrimination that is rained upon the students with reading, writing and numeracy discrimination? Never, as far as I know, and will never do it, unless one can loosen the grip of the union and their tactics that promote more discrimination, to serve their own self-interests.

  132. It is not the responsibility of someone else’s organization, of which you are not a member, to reorient itself to your priorities. The unions are not the government or the board.

    That said, the unions campaign endlessly for more resources to help the most vulnerable.

    You are simply anti-union as are many others in the reform movement and all of your comments need to be seen against that backcloth.

  133. steven
    Sounds more like the department of anti accountability studies to me.

    You need to be more informed on educational research and not simply react on the basis of “gut instinct” or “anacdotal information.”

    • Doug,

      your “educational research” has been proven by many contributors to this blog to be vapid, suspect and hollow. Nova Scotia’s public education is currently going through a period of cut backs which will seriously affect the students directly.

      Lead, follow or get out of the way.

  134. Your conspiracy theories only become wider and wilder with each entry Nancy. This VAST conspiracy involves the unions, the boards, the governments, the bureaucracy the teacher training institutions, some parents organizations that don’t agree with you, and so on.

    If your conspiracy theories are representitive of the reform movement, the movement has some serious issues to work through.

  135. Doug,

    your “educational research” has been proven by many contributors to this blog to be vapid, suspect and hollow. Nova Scotia’s public education is currently going through a period of cut backs which will seriously affect the students directly.

    Lead, follow or get out of the way.

    You will find when you do some research tht my positions are far more mainstream and well researched than those represented here.

    What is funny is joining a reform movement and complaining about cutbacks. The reform movement says “money is no solution” and supports political groups that oppose more funding.

    • …”you will find that my positions are far more mainstream…”


      more like a mainstream mediocracy. The cuts to our public system are not “funny”, strange choice of words, however they are punitive when it comes to students and teachers, and schools.

      That is a reality which does not need a pile of useless research supporting more funding for educrats and centralization capital projects which are unsustainable.

  136. It sounds like you live in an area and your child(ren) attend a school where it is hard to justify keeping the school open but you want the state to justify keeping your school open.

    You believe that if you attack the spending on administration and teachers elsewhere, there would be money to keep your school open.

    Keep dreaming but the nation is rapidly urbanizing at the same time there is declining enrolement everywhere. Ontario, BC and many other jurisdictions have the same issues. You are not unique. Even cities are closing schools and bussing kids.

    If you had a conservative government, your schools would be closing even faster since they have less belief in the state.

  137. I notice 2 heavy posters from here are heavily involved in the attack on teacher wages, hours, benefits and pensions on “another board”. This attitude cost them the few teachers they previously had as supporters of a reform POV over there.

    People wonder why teachers unions spend very big money in their own defense. They can read. They can see the teacher bashing involved and the politics of envy.

    I tell my friends, “you think summers off and pensions are something new for teachers?” You chose not to become a teacher. That was your choice. Now you wish you had a pension and summers off. You should have thought of that long ago.

    There is broad agreement across the USA that techers are deeply underpaid. They make far less than groups with a similar level of education. Canada, teachers are still underpaid, just not by as much.

    If you think teacher bashing serves the reform movement well, keep it up.

  138. on May 14, 2011 at 10:01 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    I’m outta this forum.
    Nothing is being accomplished.
    Thanks, Doug, for alienating people.

    • and THIS is why we continue to spin our wheels. Instead of ignoring or working around the bumps in the road (Doug and others whose goal it is to provoke and spin), we fall to his bait and engage them.

      We’re very quick to call-out those leaders in our country who tout the benefits off all things “public” in public forums like this one but who in their private lives sing a very different tune.

      That Doug continues here to be the good old union fellow but who is the DEAN of an elite private school is about as hypocritical as it gets.

      Do reconsider Andrew because I, for one value your opinion.

      Doug’s landed at a few education discussion vehicles where he does exactly what he’s doing here – turning people OFF public education and doing a great job of neutering discussion.

      If you ask me it’s a credit to education reform that Paul hasn’t bounced Doug from this forum because every post he contributes just makes the case for MORE choice alternatives than ever before.

  139. The question would be, is it a “forum” for a frank and firm exchange of ‘opposing’ views or does one need to be a conservative “reformer” to participate?

    Is it “irritating” to have some one put forward the oppoing view or would people prefer to talk only to like minded people and not be exposed to the evidence that tests those views.

    SQE kicked off or teacher bashed its way to a very small forum and you will notice that now only Malkin, Nancy and Jo Anne participate with an occasional post from Bev in BC.

    I can see that many people here do not want to have “reform” notions challenged but you better prepare for it.

    In the big world, “reform” notions are minority positions and that is generous. There is a great deal of expertise in the opposing camp and a mountain of evidence that vouchers, charters, testing, merit pay and teacher bashing is a complete dead end.

  140. The winds are change re: education reform are blowing and the opportunities now support not just choice for parents/students but individual teachers as well

    The proof – the almost whiplash speed of the spin suggesting otherwise.

    Resorting to the old stand-by crutches simply aren’t in the cards for those waxing the double-standard philosophies of hypocrites.

  141. Experiments such as vouchers, charters, merit pay, teacher bashing etc are failing everywhere but don’t let that influence your enthusiasm.

  142. Doug:

    You’re shadowboxing.
    Your previous posts reflect a preferred negativty with absolutely nothing positive to contribute regarding educational standards.
    In other forums the common term used for such an approach is “troll”.

  143. I am putting out an alternative, mainstream view of education. You think the reform movement has cornered the market on standards. Please.

    You seem unable to debate the reforms on the merits and therefore stoop to “go away you are not like us”.

    You eventually need to deal with the mainstream education community, get used to it. If you believe that reform views are “common sense” or “most people agree” you will get a rude shock when you take these POVs out into the rel competitive market of ides.

    Canadians overwhelmingly support what is happening in their local school. The most popular reform is ECE through the ELP in Ontario. Most people want more money spent on public schools and less than 15% want public money given to private schools. This is what you are up against.

    The far right PC Party in Ontario has rejected vouchers charters and merit pay. It has said, “there will be no Wisconsins in Ontario.” If they won’t touch these ideas because their polling tells them that they are very unpopular, who do you expect to legislate them?

    I learned a simple truth in education a long time ago.

    “Most things in education are the way they are because that is the way that most people want them to be.”

    The voucher system in the USA has proven to be of no value and the charters are corrupt.

    Google “corrupt charter schools” you will be shocked at the fly-by-night shady operations that this development defends.

    Andrew you yourself can reconsider whether your comment is appropriate or simply vulgar.

    • It is about initiative Doug, not cornering a market. I think if you proposed a serious cut back to the number of school boards (35 million to operate) in NS you would be surprised at how many Nova Scotians would agree to discussing the issue.

      A serious debate will probably take place in the future as to their relevance and what would be a suitable alternative.

      Predictably you will say no party will touch this issue.

      Predictably you will say more not less money be thrown at the system.

      Predictably you will put words in the mouth of parents and educators .

      Predictably you continue to defend a “mediocracy”.

      You could not get a more diverse group of what you call “reformers”. I for one believe education trancends party affiliation.

      Perhaps I’m just an old “dude” as my son says, but whether you can grapple with the concept or not students will be put first.

  144. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2011/06/the-failure-of-american-schools/8497/

    An interesting read,Canada can prosper from the struggles for change there and we can certainly see Public Education is adult centric.
    Malkin and Doretta at SQE have many more informed thoughts than I do because they have studied the entrenchment of the problems like lack of accountability for so long- however,from this article,we can see the need for the money to follow the child.

  145. on May 15, 2011 at 5:30 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    The irony is that universities complain about the hordes of unprepared high school grads, yet they are the ones who are responsible for educating the researchers, politicians, teachers, unionists and administrators who churn out all those unprepared students the universities complain about.

  146. SQE’s blog, School for Thought, is approaching its second anniversary this May. To date, we have had over a million visits. Just because because people don’t leave a comment, doesn’t mean they don’t read us!


    Our latest entry is Sunday at the Movies, about the Quebec judge who ordered a pair of Quebec parents to put their homeschooled kids into public school. Why? because the judge thought teaching phonics was “outdated”.

    Quebec allows homeschooling as long as a child “benefits from an educational experience which, according to an evaluation made by or for the school board, is equivalent to what is provided at school.” So says the Quebec Education Act.

    I guess that means that the superior method of teaching direct instruction of systematic, explicit phonics would have created an unequal playing field!

    • on May 15, 2011 at 10:03 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      Are you suggesting that phonics should be the exclusive method used?

      • Andrew,I responded this way to Doretta`s post.Also,instead of asking Ben Levin for a consultation,they should have asked Dr.Keith Stanovich,a world reknown reading researcher.

        Why,because the MOE would like to save money and to do so they are eliminating Reading Recovery stating they have had mixed results.

        “I must admit that I din`t yet watch the video ,however,phonics teaching is still considered pure heresy in many school boards;they do not want children segmenting sounds and learning them,they feel it is an obstacle to learning to read and spell.

        This is where we see the complete black and white involved in whole language vs phonics,therefore as many Reading research scientists have TRIED to tell the world,the use of the word “Balanced Literacy”,as Moats puts it in”Whole Language High Jinx” describes how masked in PR the term is as it`s akin to saying I am a supporter of the environment but I will still dump my old paint cans in the river.

        This brainwash occurs during teacher licensing preparation at University.

        I think it occurs because-these are musings of course-Professor has not been in front of children for years,doesn`t know how-Professor does not stay current about the overwhelming amount of reading research,lazy-something more corrupt?

        The Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Pathways Canada says it is so bad because it is like doing a conversion,the individual takes years to decide on which faith they will align to.

        The belief system that humans learn to read naturally and do best without any “Direct Instruction”floods the education market!

        The emperor has no clothes.”

  147. What you sy you are for and what the polling says people are for Steven are 2 totally different thinks. When you hang out only with people of a similar view you start to think your views are “common sense” but when you take those views to market you find out that this is not so. Long termers know that I was the polling and strategy guy for OSSTF during my years there and worked for Vector polling after that. We also looked at all of the polls from the other companies once they entered the public domain.

    John Tory went into an election wanting to give public money to private religious schools. We all said “what is he doing? Only 15% of the population supports this. We soon found out it was a disaster for him.

    70% of the population wants more money for schools. 20% was the max in any poll for funding alternatives with public cash. If Hudak in Ontario thought that vouchers, charters and merit pay were popular he would do it. He has said he will NOT do it because he knows it is not popular. The facinating thing is to watch the reform movement act as if their ideas were popular. They are not popular. What IS popular is state childcare and all day kindergarten in the schools. That is why Hudak is promissing not to role it back.

    It is not me saying Canada has one of the world’s best systems, it is the OECD. You simply cannot top that.

    Universities have complained about what they re given since Socrates. Let them establish entrance tests. They won’t do it because they would cut their own throat.

    Canadians demand a higher and higher % of kids go to university every year especially their kid. The appeals process is jammed with lawyers for every kid rejected.

    I strongly suggest the reform movement go visit a reputable pollster and test your ideas with fair questions. You will get a big shock.

    • Doug,

      you don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.

      It is obvious people on this forum have differing opinions; try reading them sometime.

      Nova Scotians are well aware of the disasterous Save Grade 2 campaign and the mushrooming debt/costs associated with more spending and recklessness.

      If Save grade 2 was a litmus test for your perspective it should be you who goes back to the spin doctors. The vault in NS is empty Doug, and your propensity for spending will know longer suffice.

      It easy to suggest we spend more money when the funding source is not “you”.

  148. Jo Anne, Joel Klein was a total failure leading NY schools. The parents wanted to kill him which is why he left. His CEO replacement Catherine Black did not last 6 months.

  149. SQE used to have many posts after many articles. They decided to teacher bash and therefore lost all of the conservative teachers that were contributing.

    The reform movement makes a serious strategic error attacking teachers standard of living. No matter what else you say, you lose the teachers, few as they are, who support reform and can tell you what schools are like from their perspective.

    Now Malkin writes, Nancy and perhaps Jo Anne responds,


  150. Steven, the provinces that cut spending will begin to wither on the vine of the rapid development in the world. Education and economic development are 100% congruent and NS will be an economic backwater.

    Resources will not save you, the gret societies of the future will be the most educated.

    NS has a proud history of more universities per capita than other provinces. Increasingly you will see them filled up by upper Canadians and inernational students, while Nova Scotians work in the cafeteria and sweep the floor.

    • with a quarter of our workforce already paid by the NS taxpayer, declining enrolment, and absurd capital projects which accelerate the decline ad nauseum, your financial prescription defys credibility. Glad you are not my doctor.

      Spending wisely is the objective.

  151. We are indebted to Jo-Anne Gross and Doretta Wilson for bringing us crashing back down to earth with their most recent posts.

    Joel Klein’s feature article, “The Failure of American Schools,” The Atlantic (June 2011), is a truly compelling analysis of the “painful lessons” learned in tangling with “feckless politicians, recalcitrant unions, mediocre teachers, and other enduring obstacles to school reform.” (TY, Jo-Anne)


    It’s a powerful antidote to Ruth Conniff’s recent rant, “The Republican War on Education,” The Progressive (May 2011), an over-the-top defence of the status quo in Wisconsin. (Spare us a link…Doug)

    A few vitally important nuggets from Joel Klein’s piece bear repeating:

    “Thirty years after A Nation at Risk…the gains we have made in improving our schools are negligible — even though we have doubled our spending.” (p.2)

    “(While 70 per cent of US high school students now graduate, ACT found that) some 76 per cent of our high school graduates “were not adequately prepared academically for first-year college courses.” (p. 2)

    “in education, despite massive increases in expenditure, we don’t see improved results. That leads too many people to suspect that poverty is destiny, that schools can make only a small diference, and that therefore we aren’t able to fix this problem, regardless of its seriousness.” (p. 3)

    After eight years “trying to ignite a revolution in New Yotk City’s schools,” Klien is brutally honest in his appraisal: “without a major realignment of political forces, we won’t see the dramatic improvements our children need.” (p. 3)


    Joel Klein’s essay should be required reading for Canadian education reformers. It’s a sober, thoughtful, and compelling anaysis of the obstacles that stand in the way of “radical reform” of the school system. We face many of the same obstacles and, indeed, more entrenched educational interests.

    What are the differences? The Canadian education sector is decentralized and a “blind spot” on the political agenda. Provincial teacher unions and pension funds wield tremendous influence, especially over education-policy making. For some inexplicable reason, Canadian business remains on the sidelines, perhaps because they have the means to educate their children in private, independent schools.

    The forces backing school reform in Canada are even more “scattered and weak” and those “defending the satus quo” are not only “well organzed and financed” but firmly entrenched in the educational establishment.

    Why do I remain hopeful? Partly becuase I am, by nature, a “happy warrior.” I also see the current system eventually facing a day of reckoning in the 21st century… Warmed over and rebranded “Deweyism” will eventually collapse of its own internal contradictions… Over the long run, my money is still on “David” in the ongoing war with “Goliath.”

  152. on May 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Now that the air has been cleared a bit, I’d like to have a clear definition of “accountability” as it applies to schhols and how it is measured to some degree of accuracy.

  153. Since the SQE post of the Quebec family, I have come across other articles and information regarding the recent changes to Ontario’s administration, policies of government services and agencies receiving increase powers and authority over what citizens can or cannot do in all aspects of family life. After the reading of the Quebec family, the next day on Facebook, I bumped into a few Facebook pages against the changes that have occurred or are in the works to become a reality in Children Services, which is now being commonly referred to as Child Protection Services.

    In 2004 changes made in Ontario:

    “The programs that are now included in the ministry are:
    Healthy Babies, Healthy Children;
    Infant Hearing;
    Pre-school Speech and Language program;
    Speech and Audiology program;
    Child Care;
    Ontario Early Years programs;
    Early Childhood Development initiatives;
    Services for children with special needs;
    Children’s Treatment Centres;
    Centre for Excellence in Child and Youth Mental Health;
    Children’s mental health programs (community-based and hospital out-patient);
    Child Protection (Children’s Aid Societies);
    Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy; and
    Youth justice services (probation and custody for youth 12 to 17 years of age). ”


    Likewise, other provinces have follow the same path as in Ontario in various degrees and formats, giving government Children Services, more power and authority over all aspects of children lives. The public education system, and its ideology, dogma, social justice policies and other policies plays a major role where both the Children and Youth Services and public education services in partnership are working hand in hand to advance their agendas.

    “Unfortunately, many CAS agencies have worked their way onto the policy committees of many school boards and have influenced school boards to implement policies relating to child abuse and maltreatment which in effect violate the law and significantly infringe on the fundamental rights and freedoms of children and parents. It has been reported that CAS workers are going into schools and threatening and intimidating children right in their schools. Some school boards have been so misled by CAS officials that CAS workers are working inside of schools alongside of the teachers themselves.”

    The above example is just a very small facet, and as I have discovered in the past few days, the relationships and roles of both arms are complicated and hard to untangled to make some sense. Stories like the Quebec family are becoming more commonplace among the home-schoolers, because they represent a threat to the status-quo of the public education system and the mediocrity of achievement. In some school districts, parents who committed the sin of having their children arrived late to school for the first time, will have a case file open compliments of the school administration. Here is a sample of the rules/regulations and the hoops a parent may have to jump through, before the file is close to their satisfaction.

    It is not about abuse, neglect, of the parents, but rather to force parents to adapt and adopt the aims and goals of the public education system and other government agencies and protocols. Ditto for the students, and if they do not comply, suspension is used as their means.

    “Only seven? Amateurs! Since September all Quebec students from primary school entry to high school graduation, whether enrolled in public or non-funded private schools, must attend Quebec’s new Ethics and Religious Culture course (ERC). And teachers, regardless of their beliefs, must teach it.

    Jonathan Gagne, a courageous teenager at the Joseph-Hermas-Leclerc secondary school in Granby, Que., has just been suspended, and will likely be expelled, for boycotting ERC. He is a hero to thousands of angry, mainly Catholic, Quebecers who consider compulsory submission to ERC a violation of their human rights.”

    And yet, between the public education system and the Child Protection Services, the usual route is to suspend students based on values that run counter to their own, along with imposing values unto parents that run contrary to their values and parenting practices of parents. One common practice in public schools, is to phone parents to suggest as they would put it, but to a parent they might see it differently, discipline actions for their children regarding their achievement. One thing to report to parents, but it is a different kettle of fish, when the schools are more or less ordering parents to discipline their children using the techniques/dogma of the education and child protection services.

    I received a phone call from the French teacher, reporting my child is at high risk of failing French. I kept my thoughts to myself, that this has to be incorrect and I listen to what the teacher had to say. The suggestions came, and I responded by telling her the direction that I would go, and have my child ready for the final exam. She was not at all that confident that I would be able to do this, using a 1932 Canadian French textbook, to improved her writing weaknesses in grammar, sentence structure, and spelling in French writing. But she did relent, and within three weeks from the phone call, there was a 100 % improvement, due to a 1932 French text book, that stresses grammar and the writing mechanics starting with the base that must be master, before learning advance grammar and writing in French. As I stated before, I thought the French teacher was incorrect that my child is failing French, and I was correct in this thought. It turned out, my child would be walking into the French exam with a 66-69 average, because there was missing assignments, tests, and other things that were not recorded, and found out later, the computer reporting system was rejecting parts of her grades within the core subjects, and not just French. After determining that there was something seriously wrong about the grades being reported by the school, I sent my child unto her first mission, with the supporting evidence and proof in some cases that the French grade as well as other core subjects, the grades are higher than what is being stated. It was the first time for my 15 year old to take on this mission, rather than myself. but I thought why not, since this has been an ongoing problem since grade 6 and the computerized reporting system. For some reason, my child rarely receives the correct grades in core subjects, but always the correct grades in non-core subjects. The school did move right away, since they too have observed and noted only on core subjects. My 15 year old is no longer in danger of failing French, her over-all average has increase by a few percentage points, and she has the luxury of walking into final exams, without any threat of having her overall average drop from the low 80s to the low or high 60s.

    Is it a coincidence starting in grade 6, the ongoing battle with the educrats concerning my child’s LD, and the after school home tutoring that was taking place, with the heavy use of direct instruction, and other instruction methods that are not the approved methods of the school board? As one teacher remarked to my 15 year old, he swears the computer system is red flagging her name, and someone at a higher level is removing or changing grades to reflect a lower average in the core subjects, but not the non-core subjects? Is it a coincidence, that the teachers are dutifully recording and entering my child’s grades, only to see them disappeared or change to a lower grade? Is it a coincidence that no other student in the school is affected as my child is? Than if not a coincidence, why did the school decided to not submit my child’s grades until the last possible moment regarding report cards, and monthly progress reports will be done manually, completely bypassing the computerized reporting system.

    As for the reasons, I leave it up to the readers, but I can assure you that I am not an isolated case for parents who have LD children in the public education, whose parents have spent a great deal of time, effort and expense to have their children’s academic weaknesses remediate outside of the public education system, to raise their achievement to high levels. Trouble comes to the parents who learned the most effective method for LD children is direct, explicit instruction and educrats making pronouncements that their children will always be the struggling low achievers in a school.

    Among the many battles with the educrats, the one that kept coming up is that I was not following the prescribed methods of the school board, and my child was at high risk for never becoming an independent learner, independently studying on her own, and I was harming my child’s emotional welfare. Like the Quebec story, the judge reasons are very much like the educrats reasons that were given to me year after year.

    In her ruling, Judge Bernier called the mother’s teaching approach “outdated,” saying it emphasized repetition exercises and acquisition of knowledge rather than the Ministry’s preferred approach of teaching learning skills. She also criticizes the elder children’s social development, noting that they had difficulty at first with the other children when they entered the classroom.

    “The parents, though aware … of the need to stimulate each child by interactions with peers of the same age, outside of the family, either at school, kindergarten, or day care or occasional education trips, maintain their interest in the teaching model of the home school,” she wrote, going on to lament that they are “refusing to integrate the youngest in kindergarten or day care, and opposing educational outings for the children.”

    “Their reasons are always the same and regard a social mistrust that does not meet the needs of their children,” she added. She also took issue with the fact that the parents apparently had not obtained a homeschooling exemption under the Education Act, which requires that the parents offer a program equivalent to that offered in the schools. ”

    Social mistrust? More on my next post, that justifies a single post, as well as another post on the public education system on collection of data and how it is use to advance the goals, values and certainly not the best interests of children.

    Leaving off with the last post of Paul’s, and somehow it is fitting because I have always saw myself as a ‘little David’, fighting tooth and nail for my youngest on the basics of reading, writing and numeracy.

    “Why do I remain hopeful? Partly because I am, by nature, a “happy warrior.” I also see the current system eventually facing a day of reckoning in the 21st century… Warmed over and rebranded “Deweyism” will eventually collapse of its own internal contradictions… Over the long run, my money is still on “David” in the ongoing war with “Goliath.”

  154. Actually a pretty good analysis of the situation Paul. The USA DOES NOT suffer from the problem of underfunding. They spend enough for sure. The problem is their antiquated local control financial property tax system rewards those that already have and punishes those who really need the money.

    Try telling wealthy suburbs that they are actually spending too much on their schools and the money is needed “downtown”.

    The thing the Americans cannot seem to get a grip on is why they are #19. Why are the other nations NOT failing. Some spend even less per student (but spend it more equally).

    America has FAR more relative poverty than all of these nations. It is far worse to be poor in America than any other developed nation. Because the poor are “them” (black and hispanic to a large extent) not “us” there is little demand to move them out of poverty. Every single democratic developed nation on Earth is more socialistic than the USA and therefore the poor are a priority both inside and outside of schools everywhere else.

    The OECD was clear with all nations. Relative equality = school success and relative inequality = lack of success.

    • Where on earth Doug, do you arrive at your conclusions from Paul’s last post? The same problems are in Canada as well, but are masked by various elements and systems that it appears on the surface, that the problems of the U.S. are not present in Canada. Just scratch the surface, and the rot seeps out. As for relative poverty, understand the terms. It would mean about 50 % of Canadians are below the relative poverty percentages of American citizens, if the Wikipedia link is correct.

      “A measure of relative poverty defines “poverty” as being below some relative poverty threshold. For example, the statement that “households with an accumulated income less than 60% of the median equivalized household disposable income are living in poverty” uses a relative measure to define poverty. In this system, if everyone’s real income in an economy increases, but the income distribution stays the same, then the rate of relative poverty will also stay the same.

      Relative poverty measurements can sometimes produce odd results, especially in small populations. For example, if the median household in a wealthy neighborhood earns US$1 million each year, then a family that earns US$100,000 would be considered poor on the relative poverty scale, even though such a family could meet all of its basic needs and much more. At the other end of the scale, if the median household in a very poor neighborhood earned only 50% of what it needs to buy food, then a person who earned the median income would not be considered poor on a relative poverty scale, even though the person is clearly poor on an absolute poverty scale.

      Measures of relative poverty are almost the same as measuring income inequality: If a society gets a more equal income distribution, relative poverty will fall. Following this, some argue[who?] that the term relative poverty is itself misleading and that income inequality should be used instead.[citation needed] They point out that if society changed in a way that hurt high earners more than low ones, then relative poverty would decrease, but every citizen of the society would be worse off. Likewise in the reverse direction: it is possible to reduce absolute poverty while increasing relative poverty.

      The term relative poverty can also be used in a different sense to mean “moderate poverty” –- for example, a standard of living or level of income that is high enough to satisfy basic needs (like water, food, clothing, shelter, and basic health care), but still significantly lower than that of the majority of the population under consideration.[citation needed]”

      Or is your world Doug, since Canadians have universal health care, that justifies the income of low income by including the costs of health care, to rework your figures, so that Americans live in far more relative poverty than other nations??? Just as insane, as repeating the tiresome one-line that each student receives an equal amount of funding per student. That is not true, but it sure looks good on paper, and to be used for various agendas of the education arms looking out for their own best interests.

  155. on May 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Brian Mulroney had the answer to alleviating much of the poverty in Canada… lower the poverty level from $14k/year to $12K/year.

  156. The more a society has “polarized” incomes plus a lack of social services and income redistribution schemes to mitigate the polarization, the worse those societies will do in education.

    The lower the income polarization and the greater the income dedistibution the better that society will do in education.

    Again, not me, OECD. I’m just the messenger. Yes Nancy, medicare and similar programs are income redictribution as well since the rich and the poor contribute vastly different sums but get equal treatment (in theory anyway).

    Joel Klein is very naive. He looks at KIPP uncritically where there is now mountains of evidence highly critical of them. He believes “open boundaries” will solve anything. Toronto had had open boundaries for almost 40 years. Makes little difference. Only the middle class will move their kids to seek a better school in Toronto. The poor demand that their neighbourhood school be fixed.

    The system in major cities has been corrupted by the Democratic Party, not the unions. The unions are doing exactly what their members who pay their salaries tell them to do.

    Value added evaluation if fraught with problems as everyone close to it knows. It is wildly inaccurate.

    The great school systems of the world are not built on choice or teacher bashing or cutbacks.

    They are built on relationships, teacher training, well resourced schools, respect for teachers, pulling together on the same end of the rope.

    Can you imagine the attacks we see in Canada or the USA directed at Korean teachers?

    His pal Michelle Rhee caused the fall of the mayor of DC because she was wildly unpopular. Bloomberg and Klein were wildly unpopular in NYC for their schools policy and their next candidate Catherine Black did not get out of the starting gate.

  157. on May 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Doug certainly is good at contradicting himself. It’s kinda funny but it’s a complete waste of time.

  158. The contradiction would be where exactly Andrew? Can you be specific?

    • Doug’s theory of contemporary education:

      Throw money at the system.

      Doug to the empty school hallways in 20 years:

      Hey, where did every one go?

  159. Try not spending money on the system. “education is expensive but ignorance is a lot more expensive.”

    I have posted this one many times Steven. Reformers always scream that money is not the solution but also scream if anyone tries to close their local school or shortchange them vis a vis other.

    I have proposed many times that we have a referendum by school board.

    Would you like more money spent on the schools in your area? Yes or No?

    The areas that vote no would give up money and it would be transferred to the areas that voted yes thus avoiding a tax increase. Brilliant eh? Only problem is no area would vote no.

    Over and over I have suggested the reform movement do some legitimate polling.

    You would find out that an OVERWHELMING majority of your neighbours favour more money for education.

    If the reform movement wants to marginalize itself by opposing more money for schools, just keep driving towards that cliff. You are on your own, literally.

  160. Spend wisely,

    not at the expense of the students or the classroom. This is where transparency comes in as a first step toward accountability.

    Right now in NS if you polled whether or not to debate the relevance or reduction of school boards, you may have a challenge throwing more money at them prior to that debate.

  161. In the education debate “spend wisely” is a meaningless term unless a faction emerges that favours “spending foolishly”. Classroom spending and wise spending overlap strongly but are not the same thing.

    Much as I spent half a life arguing with administrators, the system does need to be administered. We are a little past the little red schoolhouse phase but even then the inspector did visit.

  162. Keep it up guys. Eventually nobody will take you seriously.

  163. Doug, you are at again, espousing rhetoric without backing it up with stats.

    Speaking about stats guys here is one that shows how accountability the American public education system in another way.

    “Remedial education—courses designed for postsecondary students on basic skills that they did not master in high school—costs the United States an estimated $5.6 billion according to a new brief by the Alliance for Excellent Education. This figure represents the cost associated with students enrolled in two- or four-year institutions during the 2007–08 school year who had taken one or more remedial courses while in college. It includes $3.6 billion in direct remedial education costs and an additional $2 billion in lost lifetime wages because students enrolled in remedial courses are more likely to drop out of college, which in turn, significantly reduces their earning potential.

    “Remediation is paying for the same education twice,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “It is a wasteful use of public and private dollars and an unrealistic solution to closing the preparation gap between high school and college. Doing it right the first time by delivering a high-quality high school education improves the chances of long-term success for students and for communities.”

    5.6 billion dollars for remedial courses at the post-secondary level! In Canada, no one has determine the cost of remedial at the post-secondary, but no doubt it would be around the 1 billion mark. But there is stats for the private tutoring for the K to 12 and it comes in at the 2 billion dollar mark, and the majority of tutoring centres around remediation and a solid foundation in the 3 Rs. In the United States, private tutoring comes in at around the 10 billion dollar mark or so, for K to 12 students. The taxpayer paying for children to received an education at the front door, and taxpayers taking money out of their own pocket, going out the backdoor to arrive at the tutors for remediation services. Accountability – not on your life.

    As for the remediation at the post-secondary level, all the things that were thrown out a long time ago – spelling, grammar and how to write a sentence to paragraphs to an essay. Numeracy remediation is a real scream these days in post-secondary institutes. Can you imagine a math professor with all his education and qualifications, teaching the multiplication tables to first year students, than fractions, to more advance arithmetic skills? It is the reality, and yet the public education refuses and wants to spend more money to get the same results. Insanity at its best, and the sane parents do the right thing by sending their kids to the tutors or tutor the kids at home. Either way, it is these students that do not have to take remediation courses at the post-secondary level.

    But par for the course for educrats like Doug, pushing for all kinds of busy courses like the new boy that will be emerging – Mental Health, and heaven help the parents when they attend meetings, with the newly minted teacher with a master in social work, attached to the regular homeroom teacher, speaking more on the child’s emotional state and mental health than the lousy grades in LA, math, and science. No doubt, if parents do not meet expectations of the school, the child protection services will come knocking at their door. The educrats have plans to spend more money, and none of it is to address the achievement and quality of education that a child is receiving.

  164. on May 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Throwing more money at the problem works wonders…
    NCLB… now there were more billions tossed at problems… oh, that flopped as well….

  165. NCLB was a Republican policy based overwhelmingly on testing. No wonder it failed.

    Educators ALREADY KNOW every problem that is “uncovered” by testing like oh… poor kids do badly.

    Testing solves nothing. You actually have to do something about the situation and not just test again the next year.

    Somehow many people believe that “if you just taught the basic skills in primary and junior grades everything would be fine so why don’t you do that.

    What do you think they are doing? It is TAUGHT, the vast majority of kids LEARN them. Some do not. There is nobody on this Earth that gets better result than Canada except Finland (child poverty 4%) and Korea (much longer hours + respect for teachers).

    There is this assumption on by many reformers that if some children did not learn then therefore basic skills were not taught.

    Next they go off on a tangent that the proper methods were not used. I wonder how the great majority learned how to read and do math to make us #3 in the world if the proper methods were not used?

    Get with it.

    • there is an assumption by many reformers that if some children did not learn…

      Doug, that is the fluff of a mediocracy!

      Oversized classes are not an assumption!

  166. In a publication of the International Reading Association a leading Canadian reading expert, Dr. Keith E. Stanovich, confirms the necessity of phonics. “That direct instruction in alphabetic coding facilitates early reading acquisition is one of the most well-established conclusions in all behavioral science” (Stanovich, pp. 285-6).

    Dr. Diane McGuinness, in a newly published book, summarizes the last 25 years of empirical studies on reading instruction. “From research in the classroom and the clinic, we have discovered that when the sequence of reading and spelling instruction is compatible with the logic of the alphabet code and with the child’s linguistic and logical development, learning to read and spell proceeds rapidly and smoothly for all children and is equally effective for poor readers of all ages” (McGuinness, p. xiii).

    It`s not happening-
    There are many reasons-
    Publishers-they argue and continue to sell snake oil-the products don`t achieve readers-
    Universities-don`t teach the teachers the above-they teach them the opposite.

    So Doug,AGAIN-The problem is not poverty-the problem is poverty of instruction.

  167. The problem is poverty if all the middle class, wealthy and blue collar kids learn to read but the poor kids have trouble, it is not the method, it is the poverty.

    In almost every board, the reading scores match the income distribution figures so the “bad methods” work for everyone but the poor.

    It is the POVERTY.

    • Not true-False-Excuse!

      Bigotry of low expectations.

      • on May 17, 2011 at 8:20 am Andrew Gilmour

        Odd how Doug’s constant carping gets disproven at every turn by real-life stuff.
        I grew up poor and do math in my head. The difference might be that we weren’t given calculators to do the processing for us. We actually had to learn something. Then we all learned to use calculators, computers etc. One needs to learn to use ALL the tools and not only a few of the tools.
        Now if only I could learn to type properly………….. 😉

      • If it was not for the firm foundation in the 3 Rs I received in school, I would not have been able to advocate for my child as effectively, nor would I have been able to navigate through the education system of the many twists and turns, effectively. No matter what was thrown at me, I always returned with the evidence that the educrats were wrong.

        Doug’s comment, ‘In almost every board, the reading scores match the income distribution figures so the “bad methods” work for everyone but the poor.’

        Conveniently ignoring, the higher income levels, the parents will take action on their own by sending their children to tutors, or purchasing products for home use or doing the tutoring themselves to addressed the education of the 3 Rs that schools refuse to remediate. And some buy the reasons why their children are receiving so-so grades, and dutifully follow the school’s methods, instructions, and dogma.

        I observed earlier on, that in my child’s class there was a rather large group of children receiving steady As year after year. What were the parents doing differently than other parents, including myself. What was the differences between this set of children and the rest of the children. It turned out, the A students were receiving instruction at home, in some form or another, and was heavily incorporated in the day to day routine in their homes. My concern at that time, was the differences between my child and the A students, since the educrats were insisting my child will always be a C student at its best. When I went to school, there was only a few students with steady As in all subjects, except in PE. Why was this not holding true today, as it was in my day, or even my older adult children’s day?

        The difference was the A students were good readers, and my child was not. What the A students shared with the rest of the students, weak foundational skills in various degrees, and where the A students remain A students, because of the extra instruction and routine practices at the home front. While I work on the foundation at home, concentrating on the essentials, I kept telling my child one day most of the A students will start to received Bs, Cs and from time to time they will even fail a test, because the strengths in reading will no longer carry them, because their foundation is weak in some aspect. Today, in my youngest grade 10 class, only a few students are receiving steady As, and not the large group that were receiving steady As in the earlier grades.

        The former A students have to work a bit harder improving note taking, studying review and the essentials, and can no longer relied on their reading strengths to get straight As in all subjects. As for my child, with the firm foundation that I put in place, she is doing quite well despite her core weaknesses in reading that was never correctly remediated by the school. It is rather ironic, that the A students from time to time, asked my child for help or some tips, and where once upon a time, in their eyes she was considered dumb.

        Doug, if all children received a firm foundation in the 3 Rs, the SEC factors would only play a very small role in achievement. Low-income children and LD students need the same thing, a firm foundation, as do all the other children, including the straight A students. The top student in my child’s class is in the lowest income group, as the next two below the top student are in the low-income range. All excellent readers, and were reading before they started school, taught by the parents, who the educrats insist and as you do, that low-income is the biggest factor regarding achievement. False, it is all about instruction and expectations at the school front, and at the home front it is about the expectations, values, and abilities of parents. Apparently, I had high standards according to the educrats, who felt that it was I alone that was causing the stress in my child’s life. The problem for my child, was indeed the bigotry of low expectations, instruction, and curriculum of the educrats, that played the major role in ensuring my child would always remain a struggling student with learning problems.

  168. One of the reasons why the public education system, is not doing a very good job with students, is the use of subjective data. Starting in the early years, it was quite evident to me, that dealing with the educrats, developmental progress was of no concern in their eye and it leads to bad decisions in programming and practices. Below is one such assessment tool in early reading, that would produced reliable results, that are objective and where subjective data, takes a secondary role. What is commonly occurring in public education, subjective data is over riding objective data, and in some cases the objective data is discarded, and decisions are being based on subjective criteria only.

    “An essential feature of the EYE-DA and EYE-TA is that they focus on the skills enabling children to benefit from school instruction. This differs from the popular teacher perception scales in which teachers rate children’s performance
    in relation to their peers. For example, in a commonly used perception survey teachers are asked, “How would you rate this child’s ability to tell a story?” Teachers respond on a three-point scale – very good or good, average, poor or
    very poor. With this kind of instrument one does not know what reference group a teacher is using when making a relative ranking. Is it the current class of students, or all children the teacher has ever taught? It may even be some hypothetical group of children that the teacher thinks would be representative of children that age. Some teachers make allowances for the child’s age in making relative rankings, while others do not, and a rating of “good” for one teacher may be “poor” or “average” for another. Also, teachers’ judgments can be affected by
    their assumptions about the children they are serving. Their beliefs about gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background can affect their rankings. This bias in perceptual data is seldom conscious, and it is very difficult
    to assess.2 This is why objective, skill-based assessments
    are essential for identifying students that require extra support and for tracking the progress of a school, community, or province.
    The two standard criteria for assessing the quality of
    an evaluation are reliability and validity. Reliability refers
    to the consistency of a measurement process. Would an
    instrument yield similar results if it were administered by
    different assessors, or on different occasions? Is the measure internally consistent? Are results from different subsets of a test’s items correlated?…………………………….The second criterion – that the measure is valid – requires one to gather evidence on the fit between the items of the instrument and the underlying theoretical constructs, such as cognitive development or language development. This is called construct validity. Recent thinking about validity also
    requires one to consider the kinds of decisions made from
    the assessment; a test is valid only if inferences made from
    the results are appropriate, meaningful, and useful.3 This
    calls for consideration of how results are interpreted and
    used in the school context.”

    At the conclusion of the above paper, “Does the evaluation ultimately lead to changes in policy and practice that increase each child’s chance of success at school? This requires objective assessment of children’s skill development, not subjective perceptions of children’s
    standing in relation to their peers. It also requires a
    reporting system that yields immediate feedback of how
    well each child is progressing, individual reports that can be
    easily interpreted by parents and teachers, and data that
    can be aggregated to school, district and provincial levels.”

    The next link is a PDF file, is a detailed article by the developer of EYE – Early Years Evaluation. And the secondary assessment called EYE-TA where TA stands for teacher assessment. Finally some science entering into the picture, and it would certainly capture all of the students who are at risk in having reading difficulties, compared to current assessments, relying on subjective criteria for the most part.

    The next link is the EYE site.

    “Data from provincial and state monitoring systems provide trailing indicators that can be used to portray the distribution of educational outcomes across schools, examine long-term trends in student outcomes, and assess the extent of inequalities in educational outcomes among ethnic and social class groups and between the sexes.

    However, district administrators, principals and teachers need leading indicators of children’s development that guide school policy and practice and help them plan programs to meet each child’s learning needs. Leading indicators can also help parents prepare their children for each successive stage of schooling.

    The Early Years Evaluation provides a leading indicator of children’s development. It provides accurate data that helps teachers organize their instruction, increase learning time, and monitor each child’s progress. The evaluation also informs parents about their child’s progress.”


    Guess what Doug, even Finland uses assessments based on developmental indicators, to guide instruction. What the public education system is essentially guiding and developing policies and practices on the use of the SEC factors, without consideration of the developmental indicators. It is all about the instruction, and not about the poverty level. If the education system was making decisions for my child when she was 2 years old, it would be the opposite of the health and speech professionals decisions. In the same way, when the results and recommendations of the psycho-educational assessments were ignored, in favour of making decisions on subjective data. What my child needed, she did not received, because it was based on subjective criteria for the most part to guide instruction. As for testing, what the public education avoids for the most part is the objective data streaming off the pages, that screams out for practices to be guided by the science, and not the ideology and dogma of the educrats.

  169. http://www.iiep.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Info_Services_Publications/pdf/2009/EdPol10.pdf

    The VAST majority of education experts around the world say that POVERTY is the issue. Read the above. There simply is no question in the minds of the experts on this.

    Some of the authors in this paper are quite conservative.

    It IS the POVERTY.

    • You are wrong-
      Don`t care how frequently you state your excuse-

      I can send you references from First Nations communities if you wish-are they livid,frustrated etc…also,why should a child with a language processing problem not get intervention very very early while the brain is in neuroplasticity stage-read Overcoming Dyslexia by Dr.Sally Shaywitz-you are wrong-wrong-wrong.

      Are the Cubans rich?
      96% literacy success annually!

      Are the Costa Ricans rich?-same..

    • Doug, the original data collection came from third world countries, that clearly showed that there is a link between education achievement and poverty, based on the biases and misconceptions of those within the global organizations and the the lack of public education and schools for people at the middle to low income ranges. They only seek to served their best interests. The real crime, is applying the poverty conditions of the third world, and foisting it upon the developed world, as the only answered to low achievement. Much like the arrest of International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on sexual assault charges, where their policies to the third world countries are just as questionable as the poverty theory is. It looks good, imagine that this guy was refuse bail, and perhaps his own misconceptions and biases will be discarded when facing the realities of a New York jail that would be considered Club Med, compared to the third world jails. And the International Monetary Fund, is one of the biggest advocates of the poverty theory, because it keeps the status-quo and the inequities running full steam, global wise.

      In developed countries, it is about instruction, curriculum , resources, and not the income level of a person, that is the key to achievement and reaching the full potential of students.

  170. on May 17, 2011 at 9:18 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Always did find one note songs to be boring.

  171. Andrew, if you go to a symposium and say “poverty cannot be the problem because I grew up poor and I am ok”, you will be laughed out of the building.

    The % of students that are not succesful goes up exponentially as you go down the income scale.

    Of course some affluent people do not do well in school, I have taught them and some poor kids do well. I have taught them as well. The point is that 90% of the kids that are unsuccesful are found in the bottom 20% of the population economically.

    • If I can contribute and Nancy can contribute,you will be the laughing stock at the symposium.

      We need money for our symposium-we need to invite Dr.Stanovich,Dr.Reid Lyon and Dr. Shaywitz.

    • We are complaining about your reading comprehension.

      We feel it is tragic that you miss the point,we dont want the status quo,we want dramatic improvement for the parents and students available to us immediately through a change in skill building explicit instruction based on the compelling reading research.

      It is an instruction problem!.

      • on May 17, 2011 at 9:36 am Andrew Gilmour

        Reading comprehension being one of the problems, as is being clearly illustrated right here.

  172. on May 17, 2011 at 9:47 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Perhaps I was licky enough to go to a good school with dedicated teachers and staff where one didn’t go on to the next level unless one had the sufficient skills and knowledge to do so.
    Socio-economic status didn’t enter into the equation at all. We were all treated the same and we were all held to the same standard.
    Did “rich kids” have it easier? Yes they did, but so what?

  173. on May 17, 2011 at 9:49 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    P. S. I hereby promise to proofread before hitting “Post Comment” in order to avoid future Freudian slips… unless I forget. 😉

  174. Of the 242 responses to this post, so far, I counted 85 from one poster alone. (35% of the comments are his on this one.) His is always the first response when I look and he likes to get the last word. You can check it out.

    If you say black, he says white. It doesn’t matter what the post is about, it is all about the debate for him. It’s a sport don’t you know. Facts don’t matter and he contributes nothing new to the debate. He then dominates the conversation–all roads lead to Finland, poverty, and the ultimate boogie-man, Mike Harris–which is why his comments no longer appear on School for Thought. We still get lots of readers and media attention, so I don’t sweat it.

    This behavior has been repeated on a couple of other blogs that he eventually gets bumped from. Ignore it–unless debate is a sport for you too! ;-))

  175. Oh and one more post–I’m off to learn about a private school for kids who come from poverty–Cristo Rey.
    Education is the key.

    • on May 17, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      I’ve a friend involved in a charter school in one of the poorest, toughest, crime-ridden ethnic districts of Chicago and they’re doing wonders. I don’t favour charter schools all that much but this one works wonders thanks to the dedication of the staff, parents and the volunteers. They even have classes for students’ parents if they need or want them.

  176. The Cubans have a 96% literacy rate, the highest in the 3rd world because Castro made education a priority under his socialist regime. Costa Rica, same thing the Democratic Socialist Party that ran that country for many years made education a priority.

    Before Castro they were poor and illiterate. His fist major campaign was the illimination of illiteracy.

    I toured Nicaragua after they won the UN prize for Literacy in 1983.

    Cuba and Costa Rica prove my case, not yours.

    • All instruction is phonics.Also,scritpted and controlled by government,not left to individual teachers.

      Also,you have given me the MOST wonderful belly laugh with this post.Thank You.

  177. on May 17, 2011 at 11:42 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Poor countries that are highly successful in public education prove that poverty is the prime cause of educational failure.
    No wonder Doug was a school board trustee.

  178. “A true story: in 1960, less than a year after their victory, Castro’s government decided to wipe out illiteracy. They recruited 120,000 volunteer teachers, most of them young high school students. Armed only with books and Coleman-style gas lanterns, the volunteers entered the most remote areas, teaching peasants of all ages to read. The grim part of the story was that there were still counterrevolutionaries in the hills — and they received support from the CIA. They knew the literacy brigades were helping solidify Castro’s support among the peasantry, so the young volunteers were terrorized and at least one was murdered. But the campaign succeeded anyway. Practically overnight, Cuba’s literacy rate rose to 97%, and it’s now a little higher than that. By the way, the average Cuban’s knowledge of the U.S. and of world events is astonishing.”

    It was the hope of the Cuban people, when Castro took power that the things that were denied to them like schooling, health, and enough income to support their families were to be the first orders of the day. And it was, much to the chagrin of those who opposed Castro. The above link is just one of the numerous links of ordinary people that have visited the country, expressing different thoughts, when they discovered what is being stated in the political world, are based on lies and propaganda. I too got a good laugh, on this line – “Costa Rica, same thing the Democratic Socialist Party that ran that country for many years made education a priority. ”

    Here is the economic and political history that tells a different tale, education was used in Costa Rica for political purposes inside and outside of the country. It certainly paints another picture, where much of the economic activity benefited the rich and powerful, with a little being trickled down to the masses, in the form of education. At least Castro raised the standard of living for all people, despite the political and economic troubles of the times.

    There is many factors raising the literacy rate of a country, and poverty only plays a small part, within the political and economic spheres. Often what goes on in the political and economic spheres prevents the formulation of good education policies. Much like the political and economic activities within the current public education, that prevents effective instruction and curriculum based on the science, and promotes policies based on ideology and dogma.

  179. http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2330/Poverty-Education.html

    The VAST majority of literature in the field of education supports the concept that poverty is the reason for educational problems.

  180. Read it and weep. Cuban socialism provides the only context that can supercede the ill effects of poverty.


  181. Anyone who believe Doug is out on a limb here ought to look of the field of experts who agree with him.


  182. Would you look at that? The worldwide experts at the OECD consider poverty to be a critical issue in education but what do they know?


  183. We talk solutions,you talk excuses and status quo.

    Very weak reading comprehension-you need to get remediation in extracting the main idea.

  184. Everybody is interested in fixing the problem and nobody is interested in excuses.

    Cuba WAS illiterate before Castro took over. He launched a literacy campaign and created a high quality health system and a high quality education system. He focussed on the poor and as a result has the highest literacy rates in the developing worls.

    He has done exactly what I recommend for ALL jurisdictions.

    The top 75% of schools by income are fine. Focus all of our efforts on the poor schools who just happen to be the low scoring EQAO schoools in Ontario, (odd that).

    Solutions? Radical and rapid implimentation of the ELP ECE plan. Slash class sizes again but only in poor schools, hand pick principals for those schools but pay superintendent wages.

    Hand pick teachers for the poor schools and pay extra $20 000 per year to attract the best but make it difficult to get the job.

    Demand an MA in teaching subject + MEd from new HS teachers.

    Nationalize the Pathways program and offer it in all poor neighbourhoods.

    Revamp the curriculum so that it is equity based focusing on the injustices of the world and Canada.

    Tell welfare mothers that they will get $1000 more per month if their children are in school but lose it as soon as they drop-out.

    Increase the frequency and availability of vision, and dental clinics in poor neighbourhoods and of course make them free.

    Introduce free cafeterias in poor schools that serve only nutricious food for breakfast and lunch, free of course.

    Tell the federal government to forget about fighter jets and prisons and radically increase their efforts in Native education, a national disgrace. Educate the First nations and you will need far less prison capacity.

    That is a start at least.

    The goal needs to be, not only passing Finland and Korea but leaving every other nation miles (or kilometers if you prefer) behind.

  185. on May 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    I wouldn’t want an ideologue of any stripe to be building bridges. But give me some competent engineers…

  186. Doug, read the history…………….Castro did not have the capital or the necessary structure and people of the system you have described. It did not happen this way, it was a lot of hard work on everyone, and they made do with the materials at hand, and it was not a picnic nor an easy ride for everyone. Furthermore, the people who choose to stay in Cuba, after Castro took over, were permitted to keep their money in the Cuba Bank, providing that they were ready to be called when Cuba needed their expertise. Some of them went to jail, and some decided to stay, and help the Cuban people. It was not the Eden that you have describe, but Castro is an example of a leader who knew very well that he could not lead his people through ideology, without actions. Quite a few leaders have forgotten this, and people will revolt when the citizens are prevented from obtaining their basic needs, by the elites of the country. Some Middle-Eastern countries are paying a dear price, constant oppression of people does lead to this each and every time. It goes back as far as the Roman Empire, and throughout history, oppression of the people, always leads to dire consequences for the ruling elite.

    As for your tiresome lines. none of it will work effectively. Not in Canada or United States. “Tell welfare mothers that they will get $1000 more per month if their children are in school but lose it as soon as they drop-out.”

    Sure they will send their children to school, but it does not mean the children will become academic learners. And your ideas, it will take a bureaucratic army just to run it, for every person and student breaking some infraction. In your world, a lot of the low-income people, will start up their own schools, just like in some places in the third world that feel the local school is not for their children. I can just imagine what the curriculum would be – Show a man fishing, and tell the students where to buy the fish. I rather teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    Much like the grade 12 graduates being produced, sadly lacking the essential skills in one aspect or all aspects, and lacking the handy skills to do it yourself, and instead has to pay someone to do it for them. And you wonder why schools are filled with badly behaved kids, when the public education system has taken everything out of the system, that had value for the parents and kids. Art, music, wood shop, mechanics, how about the biology labs, home economics, and field trips to the local pond to catch frogs and tadpoles. Oops, the educrats deem not suitable and replace it with knowledge and a million bits and pieces of data gleam from the enriched literature. And somehow, these kids are suppose to learn the skills through osmosis. I remember telling the principal at the end of grade 1, stating the same thing more or less, the skills are far more important than pushing children to strive to read Harry Potter, when they can barely get pass the first page, tripping over every other word of a simple grade one primer. A few years later, a teacher came up to me thinking she discovered a wonderful strength, that was a talent. It was my child’s observation skills and tracking of animals in nature. I shrugged my shoulders, I told her I taught her just like my father taught it to me. But I thank her for observing this, and I kept my mouth zipped after that, in fear I would tell her what I really thought. Skills must be taught and not read about it in a book. Especially in the 21st century! Give a person a set of skills, and the person will used it as a means to benefit themselves. Your way, creating needy, dependent citizens who will need a great amount of help in teaching the skills well into adulthood, in order to find jobs. Do it right the first time around, and society will be a lot better off in so many ways.

  187. A bit of comic relief, that will certainly irk Doug. Even pulling his hair out – an attack on his precious dogma.

    “Public education in learning invites a sympathy to the kind of moral equivalence that helped bring its monopoly into being in the first place during the last century. A certain type of person is predisposed to become an educator or curriculum author by the advantages of social engineering that the system presents, as well as by the financial self-interests that accrue to the members of a monopoly. Modern education has the advantage not only of a resigned custom to its monopoly but also of the proliferation of accepted social engineering platitudes from which to choose. Institutionalized values — as opposed to individualized values — receptive to progressive objectives or legislations on social justice, diversity, tolerance, internationalism, anti-bullying, etc. are thus instructed to the point where one wonders how educators find the time to teach arithmetic or basic literacy. Such is the case in Mississauga’s newest political indoctrination boot camp for youth where students will be fed a diet of social activist hero-worship to compete for their scant attentions — the Stephen Lewis Secondary School (S.S.), where the eponymous hero last week hied to gather his accolades.”


    “This did not go over very well at all, which was rather surprising to me. I had to interrupt their angry words. “What on earth are you upset about?” I demanded. “Do you disapprove of public education? Does public education use something other than this ‘six step’ program? Don’t we give guns to a group of people and then ask them to educate our children? Don’t we give these people the entire power of the state, which they use to prevent other educators from competing with them? Does this power not give this group access to enormous amounts of money? Do we not keep handing those in the government our ‘wish list’ of the problems we want solved? And do we not fully expect that they will provide us with a solution? Why on earth are you angry? You have already approved this plan!”

    “It is time for the Liberal party to rally behind the forces of political correctness and embrace diversity and listen to the voices. Liberals, listen to the voices. Eating cat is not ‘wrong’. Just because the racists who pay taxes disapprove is no reason to not seize this opportunity to undermine western culture. I call upon those who are political brothers, sisters, and othersexuals of Kinsella to support his right to say whatever he wants without responsibility, and to extend that fundamental human right to all members of designated groups, so that those that pay taxes can learn to shut up and celebrate freedoms for some but not all. This is the politically correct way.”


    Somehow, Doug does get upset that we have not learn to shut up and celebrate diversity where every student is an unequal as the next. Even more upset, when we do not see that the public education and their educrats being accountable to themselves, as being the only way, and very much like their methods of diversity, except those who pay the tab, the taxpayers.

  188. You need to understand whatever else you think of the radical left wing regimes like Cuba and Nicaragua, as soon as they are elected, they initiate a massive literacy campaign and their illitrate nations can soon read.

    They are doing exactly what they should do. Apoor nation like Cuba actually overproduces doctors and trades them to Venezula for oil.

    We could rapidly upgrade our schools and eliminate our education problems. It is a matter of our priorities.

    Jails are not a solution as the USA is learning. States are dumping mandatory minimum sentences just as Harper tries to bring them in. It does not deter anything, it just fills prisons.

  189. A bit more complicated than what Doug has stated.


    And there is good reasons why Cuba’s jails are filled, for a number of reasons. Certainly not a bed of roses in Cuba.

    Doug, I always thought it was insanity for ideology and dogma to be first and foremost in the minds of those who are in charge of education policy. Reading the ways, means and whys on many of the papers, documents and essays is being immersed in a utopia world, where the reality on the ground, is no longer represented, except in a form of idealized abstract. Take the inclusive classroom as an example, throughly soak in ideology and dogma, wrapped in social justice principles, without the classroom having the means and resources to implement inclusion effectively. The why is fairly easy to answer, the upper structures still maintains their power and control over the resources, the training, curriculum and teaching practices. If policy was formulated using reality as their guide, and not as they wish it to be, the public education system would be a much better place for it, and more importantly in closing the achievement gap and the inequities that are teeming in the system.

    This can be applied to other policies in different areas of society as well, but in education shares a good portion of policies based on how it should be, and not based on the reality on the ground. Accountability to the students and taxpayers, are the first items to be eliminated to pushed through their Shangri-La policies.

  190. Do you expect the parents to be put in charge of that Nancy? I don’t know how old you are but you don’t have enouh years left to see that.

    There was a broad consultation in Ontario. Parents don’t want much more say than they now have and parents overwhelmingly support the system as it is. Most students are successful and the parents of the successful students support the system “as is” more or less.

    Once again the 3 parties in Ontario cover the spread of opinion in Ontario.

    Liberal = smaller classes + ELP no charters, vouchers or merit pay

    NDP = the Liberal plan but faster. Cancel EQAO

    PC Party = no to charters, vouchers and merit pay, maybe more phonics at best.

    As you can see, there is almost no support across the political spectrum for the main tenets of the reform program. This is becuse all of these parties do polling focus group etc all of the time and discover there is NO SUPPORT for that radical agenda. Does that not tell you in the reform movement how far out you are when even the most conservative party won’t touch the reform program? Once burned, twice shy.

  191. on May 18, 2011 at 9:50 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Government at its best – take a poll and appease to get votes instead of fixing that which is broken.
    Lord save us from politicians and ideologues of all stripes.

  192. More phonics will be turned into a platitude and empty rhetoric by the boards even if it`s dictated because the Universities don`t train the teachers.

    Phonics that are explicitly taught K-3 would raise literacy levels immensely.

    All the research says so…but,they do whole language-go figure.

  193. Full autonomy at the school level, where the boards and ministries are serving the school and their needs.

    There is no support, because the political arms of the various parts of the education system, ensures that the parents, children, taxpayers, front line teachers, and politicians are kept out of the loop, and providing information that maintains the public education status and expertise. Expertise, is laughable, on the many policies regarding children, especially children who have reading, writing and numeracy. There is nothing more aggravating speaking to reasonable educated politicians who are repeating the myths of SE children and their low ability to achieve. The public education system, the public face is all about equality and social justice, but the actions of the system is the face, of inequality, no accountability, and malpractice.

    If there was accountability and transparency to the parents and taxpayers, the policies that would be produced would be based on reality and the science, and not some imaginary Shangri-la of how it should be. As you stated, but not true, that parents do not care. Wrong they do care, but they are never asked the right questions. Number one issue, that would probably be on the top is discrimination issues based on the policies and practices, that impacts the students achievement negatively. The myth that is constantly repeated by the educrats – there is no discrimination. But it goes on every day in many different ways, where parents are force to accept the reality of discrimination, and work around it. Parents who send their children to tutors to addressed and remediate reading, math and numeracy are not about to announced it to the school officials, especially when the school did not suggest it in the first place. As parents, we already know that would be inviting more trouble on their doorsteps in various different forms. Keep quiet is the better option, for parents.

    • http://cochise.uia.net/educ8ors/reportcard/ibd6299readingscores.htm


      explicit plans for improvement and explicit phonics would assist dramatically.
      Isn`t this sad???

      • In Canada, the colleges come up with all kinds of reasons too, not to implement correct reading and writing instruction based on the science. Some of the pseudo-science I have read by educrats, regarding children’s learning, if implemented at home, parents might be treated to a visit by children protection services. When I was visiting social services, with my child for about six months to obtained strategies dealing with bullies, at school and on the home front, I was not alone by a long shot. Most of the parents were dealing with a lot of issues concerning LD , reading and writing problems that were not being addressed at the school. First we talk about strategies for the bullying and the rest of the session the social worker wanted to know all about LD, because she really knew very little. At presently, the Social Services in the region office, has all kinds of information that the education system does not hand out, for all the disabilities, including information on reading and writing instruction, based on the science.

        The below link is one of the best I have read on low-income, that is well-balance, and presents it differently including brain development. So unlike Doug’s take, and it does make sense to me.
        “Why Early Poverty May Matter Most
        It is not solely poverty that matters for children’s outcomes, but also the timing of child poverty. For some outcomes later in life, particularly those related to achievement skills and cognitive development, poverty early in a child’s life may be especially
        harmful. Emerging evidence from both human and animal studies highlights the critical importance of early childhood in brain development and for establishing the neural functions and structures that shape future cognitive, social, emotional, and health outcomes. There is also clear evidence emerging from
        neuroscience that demonstrates strong correlations between socioeconomic status and various aspects of brain function in young children. For clear and compelling evidence on these points, look no further than the pieces in this very issue of Pathways.”


        Systematic Explicit Phonics instruction becomes the only reading instruction for the low-income as well, especially since the government will be unlikely to change policies that are directed at the low-income with young children and infants. But the school, can put a dent into it, by discarding whole language, in favour of the reading instruction based on the science for the pass 60 years.

  194. Andrew Gilmour
    Government at its best – take a poll and appease to get votes instead of fixing that which is broken.
    Lord save us from politicians and ideologues of all stripes.

    Yes we should do the right thing which is apparently what you and almost nobody else wants. Hmmmmm.

  195. on May 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    So says ideologue # 1.

  196. Everybody is an ideologue, some acknowledge it, some don’t, some are confused.

    Whether I am in NS or not, my POV will be strongly represented.

    Anybody ever ask why Reform Movement ideas are so hard to establish? Because they are wildly unpopular, that is why.

    Testing advocates demanded the NCLB policy in the USA now seen as a walking disaster.

    Vouchers, just say Milwaukee failure, charters? A scandal a day.

    • on May 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      So go fix Milwaukee. Stay out of Nova Scotia, where my money goes.
      That way we can get along.

  197. Andrew Gilmour
    So go fix Milwaukee. Stay out of Nova Scotia, where my money goes.
    That way we can get along.

    As if they were different problems in different places LOL.

    It would be the easiest thing in the world to literally bury Jo Anne and Nancy is studies and academic papers that say in 1000 different ways, enemic education results are PRIMARILY caused by poverty but their bias’ does not include this possiblity. They are in denial.

    Google education and poverty. The number of studies are endless.

  198. You are just repeating the myths, Doug, and it sounds like rubbish to me.

    I ran into an interesting site, on one particular school board in the U.S. The parent’s background is indeed interesting, and how the board pushed the parent into action.

    “When everything is going right, we rarely question the operations and expenditures of our school districts. There were many years when I simply baked cookies for the teacher appreciation luncheon, volunteered in my child’s elementary school, served on various committees and wrote an annual check to the booster club. I did not know the location of the central administration building of my school district much less the board room. I had more than hope. I had faith … in my public school district.

    Sometimes in life, our perspective changes without warning, sometimes so dramatically that we are moved to action. ”

    “Education is unique among consumer products; when it fails to work as advertised, it’s the customer that gets labeled as defective. – Kevin Killion”

    So very true.

    “Retaliation against parents is a taboo topic in special education. No one knows how wide spread it is, or how often it occurs. Yet, wherever parents gather and whenever parents talk among themselves, the topic of retaliation receives lively attention. The focus of this essay is on parents; however, retaliation is not limited to parents alone. Anyone who advocates for children can become the target of retaliation. (click here to read about Pamella Settlegoode, adaptive PE teacher, who sued her Portland, Oregon school district for retaliation and won a one million dollar verdict that was upheld on appeal).

    Retaliation is the act of using official resources to “punish” parents. It can take many forms. It is not, technically, a crime and it can be difficult to detect. (Note: This is not correct. Retaliation is defined and prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Click here for the legal definition of Retaliation from the ADA)

    However, the underlying “causes” of retaliation are no mystery. There are two key ingredients: power and accountability – too much of the former and not enough of the later. The mechanism that seems to trigger retaliation is effective advocacy.

    Retaliation occurs in an environment where school officials view IDEA as an unwanted imposition or as a way to develop a power base. In this setting the job is not to fully implement IDEA. Instead, school officials translate their responsibilities and duties to children and families into unquestioned decision making power over them. The profile of such officials can take two forms: openly hostile or smoothly deceptive, the latter preferring passive aggressive resistance. Hostile officials on the other hand use their position as an instrument of power to openly intimidate and even punish parents.

    Many parents never encounter retaliation. Those that do however, are usually strong advocates for their children. Regardless, retaliation does occur and the fear of retaliation inhibits many parents. This affords school officials wide latitude to implement IDEA and the ADA as they see fit. ”


    So very true for Canada as well, no matter what province one is in. Legally speaking, the retaliation tactics of the public education system the educrats used against parents are taught by the lawyers, who are paid handsomely for their services via through taxpayers money. Although the majority of parents do not have the means to take legal action, those that do take the legal route, the civil suits are settled quietly, and not long enough for the media to be alerted in Canada. The most effective means to have the public education account for their actions, is to write a letter to the Premier and key ministries, addressing all aspects of the neglect, the retaliation, and how your child’s education was put at risk. I often wonder how the conversations went, when the highest levels of the provincial government, is phoning the low-level educrats demanding answers. A well-written letter, can be very effective especially dealing with low level educrats like Doug and tactics that violations of rights that children and parents have.

    As for letter writing, Wrightslaw has excellent samples of letters, that one can follow the same format. Every word will be read by the the top-level politicians, seeing the legal implications, as well as being choked up hearing the words come alive as to the emotional damage that has been done to a child, who only wants to read and write well, just like the other children.

    “……….Joetta Beaver had been our daughter’s classroom teacher. She was also a teacher leader in Reading Recovery. We thought she knew what she was doing. We considered Joetta and the other educators at Barrington as the “experts” in deciding what to do about Joe’s reading difficulties.

    Today, I have learned that Reading Recovery was probably the worst thing that we could have done to Joe. Due to Joe’s dyslexia, he had no natural phonological awareness and a poor visual memory. Instead of an intensive, systematic, phonological method like Orton-Gillingham, the Reading Recovery method teaches the child to use picture and context cues, and tries to get the child to memorize sight words. Every day, Joetta taught Joe to guess at words based upon what he saw in the pictures and his understanding of the sentence context.

    Joe did not learn to read with the Reading Recovery method, but he did practice guessing at words day after day. This had a devastating effect on Joe’s learning to read. Every time he would guess and be wrong, he felt he had failed. This will emotionally affect Joe the rest of his life.

    Joe got so frustrated that year that it changed his personality. Joe our happiest child was gone and Joe became a child who feared failure. Joe began to judge himself by his peers. They could read and he couldn’t. Joe’s self esteem dropped through the floor…………..”

    As for Doug, should he not maintain professionalism in his conduct on blogs, that are directed at parents, and others that are interested in education issues? It would be interesting, what the premier and other key positions would react in a collection of quotes by him in the last two years or so. Politicians are parents as well, and would do the very same thing as parents advocating for their children using the resources that they have at hand. Just an idea, of bringing accountability back in the system. It certainly work effectively for my single situation, and why not used the quotes of known educrats posting on the web, repeating the myths, misconceptions, and in some cases telling parents, if you don’t like it, leave.

  199. on May 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Not interested in Google. Not interested in Milwaukee. Not interested in Ontario. And, quite honestly, not interested in your politics or anybody else’s.
    Only interested in the public education system in NS.
    We have all the tools we need to have a top-notch system. The problem is people like you who misuse those tools.

  200. If you think you can get politics out of education you have another think coming.

    Concentrate on the poor areas, Coal Harbour, Dartmouth, Cape Breton,… raise those areas you will rise to Canadian average.

    Education problems are not “general problems” they are highly specific easily targeted problems. Look for schools in poor neighbourhoods. Give them far more support.

    Nothing unique about Nova Scotia.

  201. Your poorest counties are Guysborough, Annapolis, Digby and Cumberland. Give them some extra help if you want to do better.

  202. It would be the easiest thing in the world to literally bury Jo Anne and Nancy is studies and academic papers that say in 1000 different ways, enemic education results are PRIMARILY caused by poverty but their bias’ does not include this possibility. They are in denial.

    It would be a lonely post, since many educrats would not even touch you with a ten foot pole, because they know the stats on whole language that 60 % are at high risk for becoming poor readers. Out of the 60 % virtually all of the SE categories, will be ensured of becoming poor readers. The educrats are hiding this set of stats, and it is not a coincidence that testing, and school subjects are being dumb down, to keep achievement rates steady. There is a big difference between the students of the 60s,70s and 80s compared to the 90s and into the 21st century. Keeping the myth of poverty is the cause of the dumbing down of the curriculum, and skills of students. But it is pretty ironic, keeping the other myth going, that middle-income student and higher incomes, they have reading disabilities, and all low income students it is cause by poverty. Try telling that to the local drug pusher around the corner from you, why he is doing this, rather than being in school. No doubt, no good at school, and I found something that I am good at. Or go to the prison, and run reading assessments to only find out that 75 % of the population have reading problems, due to poor reading instruction. Or go to the committee meetings, where principals are on bended knee, because 60 % of the incoming grade 9 class have poor reading and writing skills looking for the kind of help that actually work, and not what is being supplied by the school board. Nothing like systematic direct instruction, outlines, tutoring classes that are based on the science, access to software, and above all – keep out the overpaid consultants at the school board. Very amusing when they showed up in my child’s class, and they make a beam line to my child, using my child as their latest test subject. and I get a note about two days later, asking to correct it. Nothing worse than undoing instruction that is not effective instruction for my child. But I can’t wait and I do hope it does happen, walking in my child’s grade 10 math class or higher, a math consultant showing his bag of bad math tricks. He be in for a real treat, to see my child tell him outright his way is too complicated, and present to him a more simple way of doing it, without all the fuzzy math techniques attached.

    Now after all that ranting Doug, the latest stats on inclusive education and the achievement of LD children. Get ready for this, in 2003, mild disabilities students in an inclusive classroom setting, the number of graduating:

    ” The graduation rate for all students with mild disabilities went from 26.8% in 2003 to 26.7% in 2008. Graduation rates varied for each disability category as follows:

    Graduation rate for students with SLD decreased from 37.1% to 36.1%.
    Graduation rate for students with EBD increased from 15.6% to 16.6%.
    Graduation rate for students with MID decreased from 4.6% to 3.8%.
    Graduation rate for students with OHI decreased from 48.8% to 36.3%.


    These results show that as inclusion increases from Grade 8 to Grade 12 for all disabilities, the graduation rate stays stable or decreases. Graduation rates for students without disabilities during this same time increased from 70.8% to 78.9%. ”

    In Canada, no doubt probably worse than the U.S., and with the advent of inclusion, probably drove it down to 20 % or so.

    Reasons why: The researchers conclude that “the data from this study seem to indicate that students with disabilities do not have the same chances of graduating as any other student. Although laws continue to be written to ensure that students with disabilities receive an individualized and free and appropriate public education, data show that they in fact are not receiving the same opportunities as students without disabilities. As graduation requirements are standardized and diploma options are limited, individual options for specialized instruction are being eliminated.”

    Furthermore, as the researchers point out, “although the special education literature is replete with effective strategies and interventions to use with students with disabilities in inclusive settings, there seems to be a disconnect between best practices and implementation as evidenced by the low graduation rates for students with mild disabilities inclusion.”

    Therefore, “federal and state policy makers should be aware that policies regarding inclusive as the primary placement for students with disabilities to receive access to the general curriculum do not necessarily bring about successful results.”


    Disconnect. Read my lips, disconnect to the best practices and implementation on all children. But when a public education system cannot take care of the children with mild disabilities, who mainly have reading, writing and numeracy problems, perhaps they should get out, and let others who know what they are doing. So take your poverty and shove it where the sunshine don’t shine, and start addressing the reading, writing and numeracy weaknesses of students. The first thing that goes for children who have early reading difficulties is their spirit, wearing the cloak of shame and than all the labels after that. Having dumb etch across the foreheads of children, and giving the stupid self-esteem lessons without effective reading instruction, is an act of education malpractice.

    As for my last post that bears repeating, and it is happening in each school, across all incomes in our public education system:

    “Joe got so frustrated that year that it changed his personality. Joe our happiest child was gone and Joe became a child who feared failure. Joe began to judge himself by his peers. They could read and he couldn’t. Joe’s self esteem dropped through the floor…………..”

    Isn’t about time the public education system change their ways and become responsible and accountable to the students first, and than the parents and taxpayers. The educrats almost destroy my child’s future, for not providing effective instruction and curriculum.

  203. on May 18, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Go do an alfiekohn in your neighbourhood. Stay out of ours.
    You know nothing about Annapolis County – nothing other than maybe where iis on a map.

  204. “The Reggio Emilia Approach to preschool education is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It was started by Loris Malaguzzi and the parents of the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II. The destruction from the war, parents believed, necessitated a new, quick approach to teaching their children. They felt that it is in the early years of development that children form who they are as individuals. This led to creation of a program based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.”

    The profiteers must be getting desperate – I can see why a group of mothers and one teacher after the war, would do this, just like other communities all over Europe if they were ravage by the war. I am sure they had much success in getting children to talk, and help to get their village back in some kind of new normal. Five schools in Europe, and that’s it. But as you see, the teacher was no ordinary type, climbing the ladder of success.

    “Born in Correggio, in the province of Reggio Emilia, on February 23, 1920, Loris Malaguzzi graduated with degrees in Pedagogy from the University of Urbino and Psychology from the CNR (Italian National Research Center) in Rome.
    As a young elementary school teacher, he began an intensive parallel educational activity in 1946, working with eight “people’s nursery schools”; in 1950 he founded the Municipal Psycho-Pedagogical Medical center, where he worked as a psychologist for over twenty years.
    During the same period he continued to dedicate himself to pedagogical activities within the municipal early childhood education system.
    As consultant for the Italian Ministry of Education, director of the early childhood magazines Zerosei and Bambini, Malaguzzi founded the Gruppo Nazionale Nidi-Infanzia in Reggio Emilia in 1980.
    Conferences, seminars, joint research projects with universities and foundations, and the itinerant exhibit “The Hundred Languages of Children” conceived by Malaguzzi, would take him throughout Europe and to the United States as the untiring promoter of an innovative and creative philosophy of education.
    In December 1991, the American magazine Newsweek lauded the preschools of Reggio Emilia as the “best in the world”. Following this recognition came the prestigiuos Ygdrasil- Lego Prize (Denmark) in 1992 and in 1993 Malaguzzi was given the Kohl Award in Chicago (USA).
    Malaguzzi died unexpectedly of a heart attack in his home in Reggio Emilia on January 30, 1994.”

    And now since he is dead, the educrats intentions are to bring it to America, Americanized it, put in more Dewey-speak and expect it to work just as well as post WWII in Europe. Now what happens to children who are not talkers? Just wondering, The year 2011 is quite different from the late 40s, 50s, and 60s. I just do not see it working effectively anywhere in North America concerning low-income. No word on costs either, and I bet what I found there is costs associated with the schools.

    “In Manhattan, affluent parents scramble to get their toddlers into the handful of private and expensive preschools based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy developed in Italy after World War II. The approach, combining child-initiated learning with teacher-directed activities — usually involving art — became popular in the early 1990s after Newsweek magazine described the Reggio Emilia approach to preschool education as the best in the world.

    There are now about 1,200 North American Reggio Emilia Alliance programs across the country, most of them private. The Englewood school district program, which the state says is New Jersey’s only public Reggio preschool, serves 125 children who share five classrooms and an art studio in a drab brick building with the Bergen Family Center, a social services agency.

    “I wanted to offer a public prekindergarten program that was the equivalent or better than the expensive private schools nearby,” said Barbara Berger, the director of the program, who helped bring Reggio Emilia to Englewood about seven years ago.

    Parents of children enrolled in the program appreciate the respect its teachers give children, its dual-language (Spanish-English) classrooms and the heavy emphasis it places on art.”

    I bet the public one has a huge waiting list for the upper income group. But perhaps not, since it is tied in with Children Services. But than again, a lawyer and a minister……nah it filled up with children who are not low-income.

  205. Andrew, the blog is not about Nova Scotia it is about Canada and the world. BTW I have been all over NS twice.

    You keep doing this Nova Scotia only stuff. You are the only one.

    • If you did Doug, than you would not be making the comments on Nova Scotia, or for that matter the rest of the Atlantic provinces. The Atlantic provinces has a rich history and deep history of educating our children, and it goes back to the early settlers. So stopped dissing people who are living in other provinces other than Ontario, and look into your backyard, for examples of non-accountability. It would be indeed, very interesting if a forensic audit was conducted in Ontario, for the public education system. Follow the money, and no doubt one would find lots of evidence of not being accountable to the taxpayer or the children.

    • Because you Doug, of course, know MUCH more about Atlantic Canada than the people who have lived there all of their lives, naturally. ;-))

    • on May 19, 2011 at 10:26 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      I am so totally impressed with those credentials – you visited NS twice.
      I guess that means I can tell the French, English, Spanish, Italians, Moroccans and a few others how to fix all the problems in their countries.
      After all, I have visited them.

  206. One only needs to look at the data that shows which provinces are ahead and which ones are behind. NS has many small universities for a small province but this can indicate a polarization of success not just success itself.

    Poverty = educational difficulties. Of course they can be mitigated or even overcome with the right attention.

  207. http://www.aims.ca/site/media/aims/Were%20number%2034.pdf

    Nova Scotia does better than some western provinces but you will notice the “have” provinces (or former have provinces in the Ontario case).

    Still you can see the direct relationship between prosperity in school success.

    Do you trust AIMS? They are a lot closer to you than they are to me.

  208. on May 19, 2011 at 11:31 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Sorry, Doug. I’m on the ‘phone with President Sarkozy telling him how to fix France.
    Visiting France qualifies me to do that. You’ll simply have to wait your turn.

  209. There is basically no difference in educational problems around the world.

    Nova Scotia is no diffferent. Schools closing due to declining enrolement everywhere as well.

    There is nothing unique in the debate.

  210. on May 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    I had a car named “Doug” once.
    Couldn’t get the damn thing out of reverse gear.

  211. Another myth that Doug keeps on repeating, that education problems are all the same. The only problem that the various education systems shares, is the bureaucratic army of educrats calling the shots, but cannot peer into the future using reliable stats and data, to predict the needs and plan for the future in terms of schools, staff, to prevent the problems of school closures and staff needs. But somehow they can perform the very act of predicting the future education needs of students by dismissing all outside data and documentation, using only the data of grades and often is the case, the SEC factors, to provide for the needs of the students.

    Much like Doug, bias on groups of people, or regions, or even countries based on SEC data to infer and implied that SEC factors proves success or failure. Try that one in a bar in NL, you be treated to a Newfoundlander form of justice. They know when they are being dis by a mainlander, insulting their culture and values. Or his obvious lack of knowledge on universities in the Atlantic provinces.

    Starting with the oldest:
    “North America: Canada:
    Université Laval, 1663, first institution of higher education
    University of New Brunswick, 1785 (oldest English language university)
    University of King’s College, 1789 (oldest chartered university)”

    Compared to the University of Toronto start in 1827 as a small religious college.

    And where are oldest schools for children – Again in the Atlantic provinces, with Quebec close behind. Ontario from what I have read, were far behind.

    One of the major problems of the educrats, they never look behind the stats, to help them understand why the stats are showing the data. The educrats do not considered other SEC indicators such as culture, history, economic policies, health data, and other such data to limit personal bias and to create effective policies. And with Doug, his personal bias rules first, over facts. Met a lot of educrats in the last 10 years, that ignored hard data of assessments and outside documentation of my child, and made decisions for my child, based on their own personal bias and knowledge.

  212. I am on both ends of the spectrum.
    I am a publishing,training company AND I interact with boards every day.

    They are not motivated by results or the logic of “research based”discussion.They are motivated to pay teachers and Union dues,whether or not you are content or getting results is not on the landscape.

  213. What I am trying to say-is-it`s ridiculous to provide stats-
    It`s poverty.

    Whether or not you can get 3 grade improvements in a child in 3 months is irrelevant.

    That is why Doretta and Malkin are correct at SQE are correct.

    It has to hurt them in the pocketbook.
    Money talk to them,not the fate of children.

  214. Now that I been at it for over 10 years slugging it out with the educrats, to provide for my child’s education needs, what really surprises me the differences of the public education system in the 70s and 80s to the 90s and up to 2011. Parents were treated with respect back than, and often I received phone calls from teachers asking if there was anything wrong at home, because my kid was out of sorts, or something along that line. Teachers seem to have time for their students, making phone calls to parents, and urging parents like me to phone when something happens that might impact my children’s learning. Things like a death in the family, or a late night, or even a fight with their best friend, and I grew accustomed to it. It showed to me that they cared, and had keen observation powers to note slight behaviour changes. The schools back in the 70s and 80s did a really good job on knowing the whole child, and not just the SEC factors.

    Than my youngest came around, outside documentation of her pre-school days was a bureaucratic nightmare in having it inserted in her file. Nursery school data, was unwelcome, but I pressed through the nightmare, and when I met the JK nursery school, she thank me for providing this information. She was a teacher with 20 years experience, and with the information of my child’s pre-school days, she could make better decisions for my child. If I had only known the first event of bureaucratic red tape, would mark the beginning that the educrats do not have the best interests of children at heart, besides the damn SEC factors of income. My first act of protest, was not to provide income, and I left it blank, when filling out the yearly forms. Back in those days, I only knew it was wrong to asked parents their income, since a public school is not the same as Canada Revenue or applying for unemployment insurance. A public school was there to educate our children, and are not in the business of collecting income stats of the parents.

    I never received a single phone call in the last 10 years, of a teacher asking if everything was OK at home, like I did in the 70s and 80s. Parent-teacher interviews were always a pleasure to go to, and I received information pertaining to my children’s academic strengths and weaknesses. Not with my youngest, it was like pulling teeth from a hen’s beak. Never asked the question, what percentile does your child stand with the rest of her classmates, or one will be treated to the words, ‘ You are not entitled to this information because of the privacy act’, or some version of it. So much has change, and I long for the days of the 70s and 80s, where parents were welcome in the schools that my children attended. With my youngest, I always felt unwelcome from the beginning, and even more when the use of the bureaucratic rules/regulations created by educrats were used against parents who were seeking more information than what the educrats were willing to give.

    I too, have come down to the conclusion the public education system is no longer in the business of educating our children, but to be used as tools to generate profits to serve their own self-serving interests.

  215. Funny how that data, where ever you go in the world, just KEEPS showing the same thing. The poor do badly the affluent do well.

    I am waiting for someone to discover a country and tell us all

    “Look at Lower Sobobia, the rich are in terrible shape educationally and the poor do very well”.

    The greater the internal polarization the worse the situation becomes. The OECD says want to see the difference between successful and unsuccessful countries in education? Successful nations have relative equality and unsuccessful nations have very polarized incomes.

    The rest is window dressing.

  216. on May 19, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Imagine. Doug’s an expert on Lower Slobovia, too.

  217. This is all you need to know to be an expert on education anywhere and everywhere on this Earth.

    ” Educational success is basically based on social class, from time to time, it may be compounded by race if there is a racial element in income distribution.” This can be overcome to a large extent by highly targetted policies.

    Any questions class?

  218. Dear Mr.Bennett,

    I fear Doug has monopolized your blog with his theories.

    It is unfortunate,we can look at it that he represents the oppressive power that educrats and Unions represent or we can look at it that he is a powerful negative force,eroding the slight heartbeat that Students First is trying to maintain.

    The blog is no longer,how can we change things for the well being of parents and students alike,it is a rhetoric between Doug and all of us who oppose him and his platitudes..

  219. Hardly theories.

  220. on May 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    A bit about a certain Doug Little and how he operates…


    • ” In an email to the Canadian Jewish Congress, Little stated it was the editorial board’s intention in selecting the story that it was to be one-sided. ‘We make no pretense of being ‘objective’. We do not have a ‘balanced’ view of the Mike Harris regime’ We side with the oppressed and against the oppressor. We view America, and Israel as its agent, as the prime oppressor in this case in the Middle East.’

      The truth, accuracy in history and a liberal arts education for school children do not matter to left-wing activists who happen to be educators.

      If they hate America and Israel, the children under their charge will be taught to hate them too.

      Meanwhile, God help the students of history at Rosedale Heights High. “

  221. Questionable theories to say the least, and indoctrination at its best. Might even put Chairman Mao’s indoctrination to some shame.

    I found an interesting site, BC, and how ordinary citizens are reacting to all this data collecting, social justice policies and the insanity of the policies that are devoid of the science, and in its place, highly politicized rhetoric.

    I spent quite a bit time, to find out information that I was not aware of. Such things that giving of one’s self to the community is a bad thing, if the army of government unionized workers are not directing the activities. So what does Doug do, presents an article on the evils of people in a community, providing meals for children. Apparently, giving one’s self is doing more harm to society, than the awful policies of the government agencies, including education. Policies designed to denied the rights of people, until the state authorizes it.

    “This faulty perception of culture extends, in this policy statement, even to staff development: the proposed policy says, “All staff members need the knowledge, skills and attitudes to understand and accommodate diversity and difference.” That is fatuous, errant nonsense.

    They need the knowledge, skills and attitudes to enable them to discern between diverse ideas and practices, to select the good and eschew the bad.

    If the attitudes proposed in this policy proposal become the template of public education, there will be no people in the future equipped with the necessary discernment between good and bad cultural practices. If the Vancouver School Board wishes to destroy our society and culture, then let them campaign clearly on that theme rather than impose a regulatory agenda by bureaucratic deception.”

    “On February 22, 2011 the West Vancouver Police were called to prohibit the distribution of an information leaflet at a public forum, held at a municipal theatre.

    The West Vancouver School District and the West Vancouver Memorial Library held a “community forum on Early Learning” featuring Dr Fraser Mustard, a well-known advocate of universal daycare and all-day kindergarten. Helen Ward, President of Kids First Parent Association of Canada handed out a leaflet in opposition to Dr. Mustard’s policy message in the venue’s foyer.”

    The leaflet consisted of quotations from Dr Mustard, his colleagues, and economists, with sources. It provided Kids First contact information……………..”This reaction to a mild mannered democratic protest shows signs of paranoia. The event promoted a political agenda using tax payers’ dollars. The groups running the event accept millions of public dollars and used space paid for by the public, and then seek to exclude public voices,” says Ward. She goes on: “It is reprehensible to deny free citizens the right of protest—a simple pamphlet, distributed quietly—at a public event, held on public property, using Canadians’ tax dollars.”

    “‘Implied consent’ means no parental approval is needed

    Kindergarten students in BC are being used to “data-mine” information about them and their families—with or without parents’ consent.

    The Human Early Learning Partnership at the University of BC (H.E.L.P.) recently sent a letter to parents of kindergarten students—now that all-day kindergarten has been imposed on BC families—“informing” them that unless the parents go out of their way to meet with their child’s teacher, consent to the data-mining operation is “assumed”……………………………………
    The survey seeks information about kindergartners’ physical health and well-being, social knowledge and competence, emotional health and maturity, language and cognitive development, and general knowledge and communication skills. All the information is linked through a “Personal Education Number” assigned to each child; the child’s name is not on the form—but their P.E.N.s and postal codes are, which make it easy to identify each child—and family.

    Kindergarten teachers are asked to give subjective answers about each student to eight pages of questions.

    “This isn’t real research,” said Helen Ward, pointing out that there are questions teachers cannot answer without asking parents—including “problems at home.” The teachers will have to guess. And some of the questions—like “are there troubles at home?”—are also intrusive.”


    The Home page for Road Kill


    One will be greeted with the words of – “Parental Rights Revolution!
    There is a RUMBLE in the Land!”

    Would it not be fun to have someone with some pull, to suggest to Road Kill, to have a couple of shows on the blogs that educators like Doug have, pushing to kill the rights of parents, while at the same time denying the rights of children from receiving an education free of indoctrination, and preventing all children from learning to read, write well, and have good numeracy? Road Kill, will have a good time with Doug’s blog, and show his profiteer ways of being an owner of a private school.

    And BS on Doug’s theory of class, using data. Scratch deeper, the cesspool of inequities seeps out, and the data that was not included. Much like the B.C.’s mining of kindergarten SEC data, based on the teacher’s opinion. Kind of scary, that policy is going to based on this regarding a child’s learning needs. I do hope parents say no I will not allow it, because implied consent is another dirty trick of the public education system, compliments of the lawyers who are paid by taxpayers monies to find ways that the educrats can employed their nasty policies of indoctrination unhinder by parents and other people who may opposed them, and their policies.

  222. There is a total difference between a union paper and the classroom. Totally exonerated after an investigation.

    One OSSTF member demanded I step down. At the council meeting she lost 112-7.

    Does SQE “present both sides”. We were clearly a pro-union, pro left, paper with a POV just like the Toronto Sun or the National Post.

    The article was entitled “why is America hated” by the Moslem world. The entire article was a chronology of American interventions in the middle east.

    Some want this blog to present “one side” of the education debate. Same thing right?

  223. on May 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Lies are lies are lies.
    They aren’t illegal but so what. Now you can run along.
    Political hacks have no place in this blog.

  224. What is the truth and what is a lie depends totally on where you sit. That is why we have more than one political party.

    You would be shocked I’m sure to find out that when you ask Arabs and Jews “what is the truth” on the middle east you get different answers.

  225. on May 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Your own email does you in.
    Keep digging your hole.

  226. In your mind only Andrew. Do you actually make a contribution or are you just the cheap shot artist?

  227. on May 19, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    You even bring your own shovel.

  228. on May 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Doretta Wilson
    Andrew, there really is no accountability right now in Canadian schools.
    Sure you can elect another trustee, but so what? Does it change anything significantly?
    Accountability implies a consequence for non-performance.

    Here’s an example of accountability–Parent Trigger Law.


    And I will ask again.
    Where is a clear definition of “school accountability” and how is it measured?
    Or is it simply more bumpersticker sloganeering?

  229. Doug, it clearly shows your hidden agenda even if it meant twisting history to do it. Even in a court of law, this would be considered lying, and in polite company, an omission of not telling the truth. I read an interesting essay on how people with hidden agendas who have influence and power, such as the public unions have, the underlying reason behind it all, is to change the values of the outsiders to reflect their own values. By that time, it be to late to stopped the policies being implemented. The damage and harm to society is in the changing values. What was once found to be good, is now evil. What was once to be thought of evil, is now good. A good place to explore is the social justice policies of the public education system.

    What should be in the schools, but are missing in action are:
    “Sudbury model of democratic education schools maintain that values, social justice included, must be learned through experience[21][22][23][24] as Aristotle said: “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”[25] They adduce that for this purpose schools must encourage ethical behavior and personal responsibility. In order to achieve these goals schools must allow students the three great freedoms—freedom of choice, freedom of action and freedom to bear the results of action—that constitute personal responsibility.[26]

    In addition, critics contest that the political and ideological priorities of the Teaching for Social Justice movement have little or nothing to do with the actual problems that struggling students face and in spirit harms the quality of the teachers of these students.”


    Used caution, with the Sudbury model of democratic education, but on the most part the critics speak of the lack of morals and ethics within the social justice policies, and does great harm and damage to society. There is no right or wrong, and I found it to be true in teaching instruction and the negative impact on my child’s learning.

    As for Doug, there is no right or wrong actions to advance his goals, until the day someone comes knocking on his day, demanding a piece of him, who also thinks that there is no right or wrong, carefully cultivated under the new social justice policies in the public education system. I doubt it he would seek understanding of this guy’s perspective, ponder on it, finding a solution that would be in harmony with social justice policies.

  230. on May 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    That’s where you and I part ways, Nancy.
    I don’t see public education as a politcal vehicle. That’s Doug’s style.
    IMO, it is to educate our youth in a way that gives them the tools to make wise choices based on their own perspectives. This political indoctrination stuff has no business in the system.

  231. School boards are older than the nation. they were elected before confederation. Why? Because the population understood that education was and is inherently political.

    The concept of a public only education system is inherently socialist and the attempt to privatize it is inherently capitalist and in political terms conservative.

    The 3 parties in Ontario and I assume in Nova Scotia, take their conflicting positions on education into each election and duke it out over the priorities. Political? You bet. Between elections they vigorously debate educational bills and reforms. Political? Perish the thought.

    There is no such thing as a non-political position on educational change. The fact that education is under the control of MPPs and school trustees means that it is political.

    Some people admit it. Some people deny it. Some people are confused about it.

  232. on May 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Get back under your rock. I wasn’t addressing you.

  233. Who cares who you are adressing. Are you in charge here. Do you actually have a contribution to make or to you just hurl abuse.

  234. on May 19, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour


  235. Andrew if you are referring to the Sudbury model, I said used caution, because I disagree with the model. But they do make valid points, in the social justice policies of the education system. I agree that political indoctrination has no place in the education system, where the development of skills is no longer a priority, nor the sub-knowledge that is necessary to make good decisions in one’s life. The reality is that the public education system is using social justice policies as the vehicle for the purpose of political indoctrination. There is much better people that can state it better than my clumsy attempts, but I do strive to understand why I react so strongly, when my kid comes home from school babbling enthusiastically the ideology, and not the facts. I have learned to find the facts first, and than she can decide on her own what makes sense. These days, it makes for interesting conversations with my 15 year old debating different points on various issues. A park is being build in our community, and I am in the opinion is will be a park that no one will used, and my 15 year old has the opposite view, based on the facts. Once I saw the plans, I opposed it for various reasons and my 15 year old loves it. I can well imagine a ten foot chain link fence surrounding it one day, but my 15 year old said that would never happen. Today, she came home and asked what pure language is? I told her I have no idea, and I try to look it up tomorrow, since it is something that she must learn. Could it be authentic language that is talk about in whole language/balanced-literacy? It would not surprised me at all.

  236. on May 19, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    No clue what “pure language” is.
    Probably some new packaging for old stuff that governments and boards will spend millions on because it’s the “latest thing”.

  237. Might I suggest that we change the record?

    The topic is School Accountability: What’s Next on the Reform Agenda?

    As moderator, I would like to declare a moratorium on using the Blog as a means of repeating tired slogans, dredging up past events, or settling old scores… (Examples: Mike Harris is now just a political ghost, and Doug Little is no longer a Toronto NDP Trustee…)

    With so many new reform ideas being proposed in the United States and Canada, I do not see why we keep beating old drums or repeating old nostrums.

    Over the past week, for example, two new proposals surfaced and Educhatter missed both of them….The Education Week Forum on “Extended Learning Time” and “Could the Internet spell the end of School Storm Days?”

    Let’s try looking forward, instead of backwards. Let me assure you…there is a wider audience for that discussion.

  238. on May 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    School Accountability: What’s Next on the Reform Agenda?

    What do you mean, next?
    Have y’all given up on this bit?

    • No body has given up.

      True accountability will be achieved when parents can choose the type of schools they send their children to.

      • on May 20, 2011 at 7:25 pm Andrew Gilmour

        Define “true accountability”, please.
        Also, what are the standards of measurement? who sets them? who does the measuring?
        This is the third time I’ve asked and have received no response whatsoever.

        Also, why should the schools be held accountable when they are compelled to follow orders from the school boards?

      • Think of it like any other service you use and pay for. If you are not satisfied, you take your business elsewhere. If you are unhappy with the treatment you get from your doctor, you can choose another. If you don’t like GM, you buy Honda. GM tries harder to compete. The same should, but currently does not, hold for any other public service.

        My point is there IS NO public accountability for the reasons you state in your questions. The only people who can take advantage are those who can affort to pay for private schooling.

  239. In my mind,when accountability is on the agenda,I want to see progress.

    In Ontario,we do have EQAO scores.
    If you go to SQE site,click Sunshine on Schools.

    You can see some school boards do better than others in the reading,writing and math scores.
    They designed a test where they want the children to attain the minimum of a 3 for it to be acceptable to the MOE.

    Some boards have only 60% of their students attaining that level,some much worse;where is the accountability if 40% or more of your children are not reading at grade level and there are ZERO consequences from the MOE-These chronic underachievers can just give excuses,no repercussions.The consecutive years are just as bad.I am told by friends on the inside it is even worse than that because the special ed children are exempt.
    If every child was learning explicit systematic synthetic phonics starting with phonemic awareness,you`d see a dramatic improvement.
    I believe they are afraid to do research to test the two competing pedagogies,their careers are based on teaching inferencing to 5 and 6 year olds instead of teaching the kids to read.

  240. on May 20, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    So have any of you even attempted to establish why there are such discrepencies?

  241. Massive amouts of literature exists that shows SES is the critical factor. 80% of the gap is explained by different incomes.

    Different boards have different SES mixes within them.

  242. More excuses-they are poor,LD or First Nations-they can`t learn.

    Deplorable-we know it is not true.
    NCLB was built on Reading First methodology till the publishers went ballistic and hired lobbyists.
    They were petrified for their businesses,oh my,they didn`t have the goods when the law came out.

  243. on May 21, 2011 at 8:05 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    I am getting the distinct impression that most “reformers” have something to sell while students, parents and taxpayers are largely ignored unless they “buy in” to that particular refomer’s ideology.

    • Best of luck-your cynicism is well deserved.I don`t blame you.

      Nancy,Doretta and I have tried tirelessly to send you studies that will assist in forging a new plan based on improvement.

      I am off the blog.Doug simply is too persistent a presence.

      He has shown us though,the tenacity of the impervious educrats and Unions that he represents.
      They will not take responsibility with your dollars and they are insatiable.
      I like your spunk.

  244. For once I agree with you Andrew. Reform is NOT about improving public schools It is about the privatiztion of public education. Many school boards have bent over backwards to provide dozens and dozens of PS options but in the end, most reformers want public money but they don’t want any accountability to come with it. They don’t want oversight supervision, they don’t want to be tested, many want state funded religion, they don’t want limits on what their own “owners” can take from public ,
    money as compensation.

    This is why in the USA we have scandal after scanal with public money in the charters. I mean literally hundreds of scandals.

    There is no evidence that there is any record of improvement in vouchers and charters.

    Some in the public schools view them as fads because we have seen so many fads before. They are not fads. They are an attempt by a far out right wing extreme to fully privatize the system.

    It is frustrating to them that the public loves the public school system and rejects this direction when ever they can.

  245. Well Andrew, just getting caught up here and will humbly offer my opinion.

    Notwithstanding this so far modest, yet relevant reform initiative, public education has for the most part devolved into a graphic example of power.

    It operates on two levels; reward and punishment, which effect parents like you and me and other respected posters, who examine and feel responsible to provide insight and criticism – thus providing fresh air for a system mired in survival at the expense of both “urban and rural communities”. If there is a critical point to public education in this century, then it could be bracketed by these elements.

    As Doug so aptly put it, the public loves the public system. Those accepting the will of others are usually conscious of doing so, calculating that in their interests this is a better course of action. Submission usually comes with some form of reward. Those wielding the power (school boards, ministers, the board of education) are also accutely aware of their control and efforts to maintain a purposeful system – even if they also see the cracks appearing.

    The compensatory reward for those content with the public system enables the individual to forgo the task of his or her own preference – like school choice, for the promise of future benefits (optimal programming comes imidiately to mind) like the Walmart school Mall, one size fits all.

    Comensurate with such promises is the level of urgency being pursued by the holders of power. For example, concurrent with the mass centralization of NS’s schools, is the outright abdication of community responsibility once prized by the public system in the past. No school board will touch “community” within their school utilization criteria. It would be fatal to their objectives in todays consolidating market.

    In Doug’s world, or that of school board’s also, they are becoming more and more like preachers who acquire submission from their flock when the flock is presented with a very disagreeable alternative for considering any form of dissent. Down to the pit you go! The cuts are coming.

    Stay in line and you will discover the incentives to the rewards of public education as it presently exists – so we are told.

    Parents:fundraise we are told. But do not try to improve the system or your community. During the Zwagstra symposium, Alexis Allen revealed; by even musing that there is nothing “broken” with our public school system, that there certainly is and this is a matter few if any modern governments, let alone school boards, are willing to examine purposfully, let alone admit (agreed, Levin did address some thorny issues).

    School boards have achived something in their evolution in NS wich has now become evident. That special relationship between the carrot dangled to parents, or conversly during periods of severe cut backs, punitive measures which achive the requsite submission desired.

    If public education trancends “Dougbabble” and it surely does, then stay on track, expose the fractures, and provide alternatives. It is our system and we need to improve it.

    • on May 21, 2011 at 11:09 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

      “It is our system and we need to improve it.”

      Not any longer. We pay for the system but it’s ownership has been co-opted by the Doug-zealots.

      • I agree. But without improvement you can’t get it back.

        For example, the editor in our local paper endorses on a consistant basis the closure of schools – any schools in our region, for the greener pastures of his town schools – Bridgewater, home of the sacred cow Parkview. Busing is a blessing measured by the length of the journey.

        Furious, that parents would dare question and influence the identification school review list, which had 12 SSRSB schools up for review, and then witnessed the board vote to remove them from that very same list, supposedly owing to public pressure, the editor admonished all parents for making the wrong decision in his next editorial. They should want all their schools closed. Yet access to informtion from the school board for the public was not available to parents at the time.

        If that was not enough, the editor continued his rampage on all parents for not organising to protest the recent cuts to the school board budget. Never once did he mention the administration. (did I hear Doug groan?) It seems the next capital project to replace the closure of all the schools was not in the cards, infuriating the local editor to no end. The students will pay.

        Does this editor sound a bit like Doug?

  246. Noted and confirmed in so many ways through my many attempts at obtaining the correct remediation for my youngest, I was forced down a road designed and built by the powerful interests of the public education system. The purpose to serve and promote their interests, the pseudo-practices of accountability, achievement, best teaching practices and a closed shop of administration/management procedures, are all designed for the users of the public education system to serve the powerful interests, and not the best interests of the users of the education system.

    I met the powerful interests very early on, disguised as wolves in sheep’s clothing. My first questions on reading and math instruction, the reactions of the school and board to my innocent questions were to silence me, using their authority and expertise. It was made clear to me, that I was accountable to them, but not at all accountable to my child’s education. My first innocent questions so many years ago, represent a threat to the established interests within the education system. The questions that I posed, threatened to exposed and question current practices in reading and math curriculum and instruction. Instead of answering my questions, I was personally attack for questioning their teaching practices and authority.

    Andrew, true accountability and its measures does not exist in the public education system. I would described the established accountability within the education system, is to protect the vested interests foremost, and has the highest priority over the students, parents and taxpayers.

    One example, is standard testing that represents an accountability measure for parents and taxpayers alike, that offers an inside look on achievement of students. Some of the vested interests, want it shut down because the stats points to the current curriculum, teaching practices, reading and math programs as being the cause for low achievement among students. Other vested interests within the public education system, sees the data obtained from standard testing, as the means to kill two birds with one stone. To protect the current curriculum and teaching practices through the use of SEC factors, collaborative practices of the teachers, and other means to prevent curriculum, policies and teaching practices that do not meet the ideology, dogma and profits of the vested interests. And the second bird, standard testing provides a window for parents and the taxpayer to determine if the public education system is providing an education for the children.

    As for the use of SEC factors, it has become the bad boy – the number one factor to explain low achievement by the vested interests in the public education system. The socioeconomics status theories, and there is many being generated within the education system, where accountability has shifted to society, where the different parts of what makes up society takes on the responsibility in various degrees the low achievement of children, while the public education system is sheltered and protected to protect the vested interests of the education system.

    My two innocent questions, as a parent the SEC factors were used against me, by questioning my education levels, my parenting ability, and accused of not providing the home environment according to the educrats that would be conducive to average achievement in math and reading. Even though, I pointed to the documentation of health professionals that stated the complete opposite in many different ways, the response was the professionals were not educators and did not have the qualifications to attend to the educational needs of children.

    Another area that SEC factors is used by the educrats as a means to prove that SEC factors is the only factor that impacts achievement, is the use of providing IEPs for the high achievers of low-income students. At one time, IEPs were provided to students that have bona-fide disabilities. This is no longer the case, due to the administration changes that have occurred in the last 10 years, where the schools have been given the option to provide IEPs to students who are not identified with a disability. and a good portion of the IEPs are given to the high achievers of low-income students. My youngest have been reporting this fact to me in the last 4 years, since many students do compare report cards. One would not expect the low-income students that are high achievers to have access to accommodations in the core-subjects, the same accommodations that SE parents have to waged a battle with the educrats to obtained. The rise in IEPs numbers at the school level, the educrats state better identification of students with disabilities, and it is the standard stock answer by the educrats. It only came to my attention, because every year my youngest is faced with proving to the other high achievers that she is part of their club, since it is well-known she has a learning disability, and is the only one with an identified disability in LD. Out of the high achievers, the students who have IEPs are students of low-income being the majority, with only a few of the identified disabilities. My rough estimates that in her class, 10 have IEPs according to low-income, compared to 2, where one is a physical disability and the other is a LD disability.

    The SEC factors that Doug espouses as being the most important, are really being used to protect the vested interests of the public education system, and to prevent true accountability measures from entering into the system, to hold the education system accountable and responsible for low achievement of our students. From my viewpoint, when I went to the parents of two low income high-achievers with IEPs, I received an earful of what they thought of my actions, my child’s academic abilities in one ear, and in the other ear, that their children are entitled to the same as my child with the identified, and diagnosed condition of LD, based on what their children do not have or have experienced such as divorce. My only response, since I was not looking for a war on that front, was to walk away with the last words. I voiced, with much emotion as I was walking away, ” But that still does not justified having IEPs being provided for your children, when their children are not and have not struggled in reading, writing and math.”.

    True accountability in the education system, is to provide the best means for each child to reach their full potential, by providing a firm foundation of the 3Rs, for which each child can stand on to reach their full potential, without undue influences of outside variables impacting the ability of students to reach their full potential. The current public education system, provides the excuses for the users to manipulate, to protect the vested interests of the public education system.

  247. on May 21, 2011 at 11:26 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    I’m still convinced that we have all the tools needed to have an effective public education.
    Those tools aren’t being used correctly.

  248. on May 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Sounds as if you got Jim Gunned, steven.

    • He has been the dominant personality of “high centralization” and is synonymous on the south shore with ” optimal programming” for the big box.

      Property, that is our public schools, still has the submission of the parents; bigger is better.

      Not to mention the public relation firms (JG) for which school boards can pay substantially to their ends.

      However this was one of the few situations where the school board recinded their motion.

  249. on May 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Gunn was superintendant at the AVRSB. Before “retiring” he was very careful to ensure the appointment of his hand-picked successor, Margo Tait. Your superintendant is also one of his proteges. Ms. Pynch Worthylake was parachuted in from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.
    IMO, Gunn and his acolytes have done more to destroy schools and their attendant communities than any political party in the last couple of decades.

    • Yes, in the name of the increasing importance of the greater good.

      But our recent experience was indeed a beam, albeit a tiny one of accountability – initiated by parents, community leaders etc.

  250. on May 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Maybe the ultimate plan is to have one huge mega-school with 100,000 students all being indoctrinated into the “latest trends” of the current political doctrine. 😉

    • A recent proposal to bus high school students from the New Germany area to Parkview in Bridgewater was analyzed and the students would incur a 1.5 hour bus ride each way.

      Don’t laugh, it was estimated Citadel High in Halifax was closer.

  251. Here is another angle to make one wonder about the public education system. In today’s Toronto Star, “In the age where helicopter parents hover nervously over their kids micromanaging their lives, and tiger moms ferociously push their progeny to get into Harvard, Stocker, 39, and Witterick, 38, believe kids can make meaningful decisions for themselves from a very early age.”


    Where Stocker is currently a teacher under the Toronto School board, working in an alternative school, ” at City View Alternative, a tiny school west of Dufferin Grove Park, with four teachers and about 60 Grade 7 and 8 students whose lessons are framed by social-justice issues around class, race and gender.”

    After reading the article, should not the teachers who work for the public education system, be required as part of their contract, to send their children to public schools rather than being given options that work actively against the public education system and what it stands for. A teacher working in the public education system, where his children are ‘unschool’. I bet the education authorities does not give this family a hard time, compared to the hard time that has been demonstrated to parents who ‘unschool’ or ‘homeschool’ their children. One would think, that the Children Services would be knocking on their door, rather than knocking on the doors of home schoolers, who preferred to used direct instruction as their main means to educate their children. They get taken to court, and the possibility of having their children removed from the home, and this teacher’s family gets star treatment on their questionable child rearing methods, while the public education system gets another free pass on their questionable methods of providing an education for all children.

    • Opinion polls does not make good policies, nor should it form the basis for public education policies that is imposed on the students and taxpayers, while the employees of the public school system, practice choice by sending their children to private schools, home schooling, unschooling, or bypassing the rules to send their child to other schools than the schools within their zone. Nor should opinion polls serve as the main means for consultations, since a tiny percentage takes part in the polls. More importantly, opinion polls rests on the premise that the people participating in the polls, have more or less equal knowledge of the education system, and thus opinions are more important than the knowledge that a person is basing their opinions on. Easily done, when the information and knowledge of the education system, is control by the educrats, preventing the negative facets of public education to come to the surface.

  252. No political party will make public policy that the polls show is suicide either. John Tory tried it and paid a very heavy price. That is why Hudak has already said “no vouchers, no charters no merit pay.” He is not as stupid as John Tory.

    Now with the police wages at the arbitration table, there is not that much to fear from a Hudak government.

    We can all thank our union sisters and brothers in the OPP and Toronto force for that.

    Solidarity Forever

    • Yes Doug, the vested interests take advantage of the politicians’ position in pecking order, where their jobs are held accountable by the people, The politicians would be inclined to follow polls to keep their jobs, but the educrats are unaccountable and the same polls to implant their dogma and indoctrination unto the children.

      A prime example: the equity policies being rammed down the collective throats of all in the public education system.

      “After nearly four hours of debate Thursday, the board voted 7-4 to pass the province-mandated policy. Introduced in 2009, it requires all publicly funded schools to address “ongoing incidents of discrimination” by the 201112 school year. This includes Catholic and French-language schools, which are publicly funded in Ontario.”

      But it is ok to ignore and discriminate against the special education students. The greater number of students that are suspended are the SE students, the victims of bullying for the most part. While the gay students are elevated to be untouchable, given a free pass to defend their rights that have been apparently ignored for so many years. While the equity policies formed in the beginning to addressed civil rights of students in education, the SE children have only received their civil rights in name only, and hold as much value, as the paper it is written on, since the vested interests would find it inconvenient at the very least, to provide the correct instruction, programs and therapies that would addressed their deficits that are impacting their learning, and socialization on so many levels.

      The equity policies, as stated in the article – “The school board has always had policies in place to protect all students from discrimination, she said, but adjusted its guidelines to fall in line with provincial requirements. “When you start identifying individual groups, you essentially segregate and you’re not being inclusive in the policy,” she said. “We have to address the needs of all, but it would be inappropriate to start segregating and identifying individual groups within the policy.”

      Though Ms. Guerron claims the policy will affect the way children are taught, Ms. Andrachuck said this is misinformation. “We can’t stop people from saying what they want to say, but what we taught in school yesterday before we passed this policy is exactly what we’re teaching today and next week and going forward.”

      Misinformation??? Andrachuck and the rest of the educrats should live the life of a SE child for one, and see how they would like it, when a student or students are calling them dumb in so many ways. because the policies are telling students that they have less rights than the gay students, the black students, the top achievers (who apparently do not bully according to the low level educrats), and all down through the various sub-groups of differences.

      Try living the life of a boy with autism, who walks into high school fearing the combination lock of his locker. He fears the lock, because he needs explicit instruction, to prevent the laughter of his classmates, and the humiliation that comes with it, because he has to do things differently, to achieve the same outcome, as other students can with ease. For a week, the boy was reduced to tears, where many teachers tried different methods, based on their training and experience. The next week, an accomplished LD student, a year older was running late, passing a boy, alone and in tears. The girl stopped to help this boy, knowing that this boy was the laughter of other classmates, and she could be in trouble for arriving late after the bell. Within 5 minutes, the boy was a pro in opening and closing the combination lock, and he to this day, along with his parents, are very grateful to this girl. Unknown to the girl and the boy, 3 teachers were standing out of sight watching and was blown away that a LD girl could teach a boy with autism a combination lock within 5 minutes. The LD girl, showed the method to the teachers, and the autistic boy was eager to participate and confirming to the teachers the girl thinks like me. Direct explicit instruction is one of the many things that is not used, and not encouraged by the educrats for the SE children, who think differently from the normal population, and cannot processed information using progressive methods, that eschews direct explicit instruction.

      The above is a true story Doug, and the equity policies do not provide a place for the children who think differently from other children, in so many ways. Nor do the vested interests even have on the radar the SE children’s civil rights in the equity policies. If they did, the achievement rates would not be sitting at the bottom of the heap, to be used as excuses by the educrats as the reason for lackluster achievement results.

  253. Paul Bennett wrote:
    “The topic is School Accountability: What’s Next on the Reform Agenda?”

    To paraphrase a political slogan of the 90’s –It’s the curriculum, stupid.

    Curriculum and instruction are what should be on the reform agenda.


    Choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee is a mirage at best.

    Curriculum change is needed.

  254. on May 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Now the cops are in on the act.
    How does one unregister here.
    I’ve had enough of the garbage.

  255. A prime example: the equity policies being rammed down the collective throats of all in the public education system.

    What is wrong with equity policies? Are people not equal?

    Marginal thinking again. So long as the reform movement adopts marginal policies it will remain marginal itself.

  256. Nancy I admire your dedication and I also believe that many more SE students could be doing better but their is also a deep seated unwillingness on behave of many SE parents to even consider the fact that some children have limitations.

    The ‘they just lean differently’ mantra eventually runs up against reality.

    The idea that it is just all someone else’s fault is clssic projection.

  257. No Doug, not the students with disabilities, especially the students who have the invisible disabilities. Is is social justice when students with disabilities are not receiving the remediation for their weaknesses, or worse receiving inappropriate remediation? Or the blatant disregard of the recommendations in the psycho-educational assessments, and replace it with other things, that do nothing for their weaknesses? One of the common recommendations found in the assessment is a O/G program to be put in place, but what happens expressive writing, or in some cases, assigned extra reading where a student will need to read so many number of books. It still does nothing for their weaknesses, besides creating a downward spiral of low-self esteem, thinking that they are too stupid to learn, and learning many different strategies to avoid any type of school work. What is fair about that? What makes matters worse, is that reviewing the gay literature on social justice, they too have co-opted many of the ideas that have been tossed around in the LD files, regarding discrimination, the bad image that others have of them, and so forth, and inserting it in the social justice policies.

    The social justice policies have only succeeded to make some more equal than others, and some are not equal to anyone, and are sitting at the bottom of the heap. Far from marginal thinking, it is a reality for students with invisible disabilities. They walk it everyday in schools across the country, and the social justice policies does nothing for students who are constantly being told how dumb they are in all aspects of schooling. How sad, that students are taught that it is not permissible to call someone gay, or other names regarding gender, and race. But acceptable to call someone stupid, dumb. retard, Sped kid, Dumbo, and all the other names and than expect this set of students to learn and behave in a classroom. I often wonder why my child never exploded, but she finally did when she was strong enough physically and had effective strategies that would work. What did the kids do, go running to the principal on my child’s reactions to their name taunting. My child mocked them on their insecurities and get a life, other than the one that includes name calling. My child was called into the office, to hear her side without the name callers, and she listed all of the sins committed by the name callers since grade 1. So now the name callers want to apologized to my child, but my child won’t accept their apologies. Than they said, they will go to the office, and my child urges them to do just that. But they have not as yet, because now they are probably wary what my child will come up with next. Some of the other less stellar students are taking a page off my child instead of using fists. But Doug, it still does not change the fact that the social justice policies does nothing for students who learn differently. Even though my child is winning the battle in one corner, she is not winning the battles where her grades are seen differently from other students grades. If she beats everyone in the class, or even gets a so-so grade, she is seen as the one will less intelligence.

    As for your last post: ” I also believe that many more SE students could be doing better but their is also a deep seated unwillingness on behave of many SE parents to even consider the fact that some children have limitations.
    The ‘they just lean differently’ mantra eventually runs up against reality.
    The idea that it is just all someone else’s fault is classic projection.”

    SE parents are taught that very thing inside our schools to strive and act like normal students. The emphasis that was stress to me, that my child should try to do things, act like and think like the top students in the class. Impossible task, since the top students do not have any reading, writing and numeracy problems that I am aware of. My child cannot study in the same way as the top students, nor can she read the same amount of reading material in the same time, and she has one thing that the top students do not excel in, thinking outside the box, and other learning strengths that are not normally associated with school work or measured, which the top students have in lesser amounts than my child. LD children for the most part cannot effectively learn with the current instruction and curriculum of the K to 12 public education system. I only persisted on doing it my way, and resisted all attempts from the school, and mainly the educrats to have my child act as a top student. She will always be learning different, because of the learning weaknesses. To ignore the learning weaknesses, is at one’s peril, and many parents have made the mistake of thinking that their child is normal, and ignore the learning weaknesses.

    At present, the teachers at the high school can attest that my child is definitely learning differently, from the top students. The hard work at home is paying off, despite her learning weaknesses. She does everything differently in approaches, compared to other students, that works for her, and the outcomes are just as successful as other top students. But the top students do get peeve and wonder why the teachers will borrow her methods in trig to teach to the class, or even science notes. And my 15 year old, will turned around, I am just better at writing notes than you are, or in math, I am better at simplifying steps, so it becomes easy math. Things that I taught her at home, because she did not have a chance copying the learning styles of accomplished students, since she was not accomplished in reading, writing and numeracy. She is much more improved, the teachers work on her writing weaknesses regarding the mechanics of writing, and since most of my work is now done, I can now act as a normal parent, where she is doing the work on her own, regarding weaknesses, and I am just there for advice. As for school, the teachers just let her be, and she is no longer confined to doing things in a specific way according to the school board, especially in math.

    The social justice policies and the inclusive policies has made more trouble for the learning different students, where the norm is dumb down the work, and let us all pretend we are normal students. My child and a good many in the classroom, would not be having major difficulties in the classroom, if they have received a firm foundation in all facets of reading,writing and numeracy. Blame can be placed on the policies of the educrats that does not provide effective remediation on reading,writing and numeracy, and the misconceptions that the educrats hold, creating biases within the policies, including the social justice policies. It is only in the world of education, where race, gender and language will triumph over the education needs of students with disabilities. It starts in the beginning of the primary years, in reading instruction, by not providing the correct reading instruction based on the science and knowledge of the pass 60 years. The damage inflicted, continues on to the older grades due to all the misconceptions and biases held by the educrats. Built-in systemic discrimination, against students who learn differently.

  258. The reform movement in education suffers from what all movements suffer from, an inability to agree on priorities.

    You can see this debate out in the open between the “Fordham” crowd and the “Education Next” crowd primarily based on centralization vs decentralization.

    There is a;

    phonics and DI crowd

    a charters crowd

    a vouchers crowd

    a ‘fix the public system’ crowd

    an ‘abolish the PS’ crowd

    a testing crowd

    a teacher testing and merit pay crowd

    a religious schools crowd

    a ‘centralization’ crowd

    a ‘decentralization’ crowd.

    Although there is a strong overlap, there is also major disagreement on certain priorities.

    Sadly, if there is not an agreement on what is in and what is out, it is hard to move forward in Canada where the PS system is much more popular than in the USA. On the other hand, declaring some POV “outside” the reform movement costs some support.

    I notice in particular that the teacher bashing on some sites has cost the movement the support of reform minded teachers.

  259. Doug’s theory of Public Education: “just give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of Bureaucracy: “just give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of School Boards: “just give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of Centralization: “just give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of Solidarity forever: “just give it money.”


    Doug’s theory of students: “only necessary to give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of parents: only necessary to give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of busing: “only necessary to give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of curiculum: “only necessary to give it money.”


    Doug’s theory of standards: “not necessary to give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of school choice: “not necessary to give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of efficiency: “not necessary to give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of transparency: “not necessary to give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of accountability: “not necessary to give it money.”

    Doug’s theory of “it”: :”just give it money.”

  260. Try not giving it money. Ask the major parent groups what they want, smaller classes and more resources and more specialized teachers $$$. Teachers demand pay raises at minimum CPI $$$, every year energy prices go up $$$, schools need repairs $$$ books need replacement $$$.

    You put a bunch of reform conservtives in charge of a board and costs go up just as fast.

    People want the best for their kids. Any surprise?

    Every poll says the public supports more money for education.

    Of course no money for school choice, no demand, polls oppose it, unpopular. Majority in BC wants an end to public money going to private schools.

    Love standards so much I would phase out streaming in high school. Those who support streaming support low standards.

    Accountability? Elect school boards and MPPs and keep them accountable.

    Money for efficiency? Kind of an oxymoron isn’t it.
    Support covering roofs with solar panels, and windmills very efficient.

  261. Doug’s eponymous view from the top of the poll. Alls well as long as “it” gets the money.

  262. I have to laugh at Doug’s list for a number of reasons, because it is based on the current structure, and where parents have no say in the public education system, back up by keeping lawyers on retainer, to fine tune policies legally, that are in keeping with the education policies of the day. Also to protect staff, the policies, and more importantly the lawyers is to keep parents, students and taxpayers in line, through the use of bully tactics.

    Take for example on one of Doug’s items on the list, “Love standards so much I would phase out streaming in high school. Those who support streaming support low standards.”

    A school board would need to retain a few more lawyers to work the policies on non-streaming because there is high risk of liability issues arising from non-streaming, and to ensure no accountability and transparency measures are put in place that would make the school board, legally accountable to the outcomes of students.

    Just started to look in the number of lawyers and retainer fees being paid by school boards, unions, and other parts of the education system. Now that would be an interesting number to look up, since lawyers do pop up every where when groups or individuals have issues with the school board. Lawyers play a starring role in all aspects.

    “Director, Anne Perron, then invited board staff lawyer, Eric Rohr, to address trustees. Rohr claimed “groups” could sue the trustees and that Dalton McGuinty’s government could punish them collectively if the amendments were added.

    “The other issue that you should consider is potential legal liability to the extent that groups could take action against the board saying that we are exposing, or are refusing to ensure that our children and students are treated in an equitable and inclusive manner”, said Rohr.

    Parents were stunned by the intimidation tactics of the lawyer. Trustee John Del Grande echoed the insult felt by parents when he shot back: “The scare tactics, I don’t think are appropriate”.

    “Under the general direction of the Senior Lawyer, the staff lawyer will provide: general professional legal service, advice and assistance to Member School Boards; a broad range of general legal service; advice and assistance to the Association and, when required by the Association, to Association staff; support to Member Board development and education; and he/she will also advocate services to boards. The successful candidate should understand that they will be required to provide seminars and workshops to the Association and various other related stakeholders. Candidates must have the ability to prepare case briefs and other written materials for advocacy purposes for the Association as required.”

    Even to provide legal advice, on handling parents.

    “Activities in the afternoon included a number of
    workshops by—Eric Rohr, who gave advice to
    principals and vice-principals on dealing with

    Or to defend the actions of school boards, and blame the parents.
    “A statement of defence and counterclaim filed by the board and Gilbert denies the suicide was caused or contributed by any want of care, breach of duty or negligence on their part. It states Jordan’s parents were the negligent ones because they were aware their son was depressed and suffered from bi-polar disorder, but did not tell any staff at West Elgin.”

    “Boards and schools are only liable while the kids are under their supervision, he notes. And they are only required to take “appropriate action.” What that is depends on the details.”

    The last one is used quite often, that boards ands schools are off the hook, if they take appropriate action. In the world of SE, best efforts is often heard along with appropriate action.

    Doug, and the rest of the educrats are quite happy pushing education policies where liability is at the bottom of the list of priorities, because few parents have the means to sue. But that is changing, as noted below, “In a recent application, board lawyer Miller tried to get the case dismissed on the grounds that public policy prevents survivors of a suicide victim from claiming damages. But Superior Court Justice Alan Bryant dismissed Miller’s application in February.”

    The current education policies are a piece of work, where human rights, individual rights, are only words on paper, since public policy – translation rules and regulations – prevents groups or individuals from suing, and over rides human rights and the Charter of freedoms and rights. And where accountability has been written out of the many education policies, much to the dismay of parents and taxpayers, when they take issue with policies of the education system.

  263. You need to take a deeper view of public opinion research and political outcomes Steven. Politicians that advocate cutting education budgets don’t get out of the starting gate they do so badly. There is no indication in public opinion reseach that indicates people want any controls on education whatsoever.

    Education is the second most popular government expenditure after health.

    Spend carefully is a totally empty slogan. One person’s wisely is another person’s wasteful. What you mean is spend on things I like but not things I don’t like.

    You would find out very rapidly that you are pretty much all alone on that one. I six years on the board I must have fielded hundreds of phone calls from parents asking for more money for their favourite program but did not get even one single phone call asking me to hold the line on spending. Other trustees and MPPs will tell you exactly the same thing.

    There is simply no constituency for reduced educational expenditure anywhere. Most people understand that cutting education when the competitors around the world are ramping their spending up, simply cuts Canada’s economic throat.

    • There is simply no constituency for reduced educational expenditure anywhere.


      Yes there is, just ask Ramona Jennex.

  264. If we make cuts in education, these guys will bury us.


    I estimate we are $4 billion short on a quality education system in Ontario and since Ontario is 40% of Canada, we are probably spending about $10 billion less than we should across Canada.

    No expenditure is more important. Our future our children’s future and the future of the nation is at stake.

  265. Doug, you should really check out the economic pages, and explore. I came upon interesting things on the current structures of education systems, dealing with the rising costs of education, and the relationship in decline in jobs, types of jobs, lower paying jobs, fewer pension benefits or none at all, and other indicators dealing with quality of life or standard of living, in the private sector. As more is spent in education, the standard of living declines for the folks working in the private sector.

    Since I have just started to research this, I am not well grounded but the gist of it – as education funding increases, inefficiencies increases as well. Take your example of a $4 billion increase on top of the current $20 billion which brings the total to $24 billion. The inefficiencies will add another $6 billion dollars, to a grand total of $30 billion. This in turn, will increase taxes, new fees imposed, that leads to the eventuality of the loss of jobs in the private sector, and new jobs in the private sector, will consist of lower salaries and fewer benefits. The public sector workers, will not be effected like the private sector, because they form the largest group that promotes rising inefficiencies within the public education system.

    It is based on the nature of public services such as public education, and where public education is no longer in the business of educating students, but are now in the business of creating growth and profits to add to the GDP of a country. and the economic engine of the country. The public education system does not aspired to have each student reached their potential, via through a firm foundation in the 3Rs, using education, learning, and cognitive science as their guide, because it decreases the inefficiencies and decrease the costs of public education. By using questionable practices not based on the science, in the education of children, it leads to inequities, creating a new line of inefficiencies which than increases the funding of public education.

    It is where , the simple remediation of the 3Rs in a public education system, are caused in the first place by not basing education policies on the science, which in turn the hiring of additional staff is needed to support the less achieving students in many different ways, but never to remediate the 3Rs based on the science. If they did truly remediate the 3 Rs, it would mean a loss of jobs within the public education sector. The inefficiencies are needed to create growth and profits in the public education system.

    A recent example, is the cutting of PE that began back in the 1980s or so. Even back than, the science did not support it, but the educrats cut PE anyway, along with recess and any other type of physical activity. By doing so, it create more inefficiencies, that also increased staff, new programs that resulted in the bad outcomes of students no longer receiving PE or recess. The newest being, is 30 minutes of exercise for the at-risk children for the most part. Increase costs for equipment, adding more staff at the board level, and promoting old information that was confirmed by the science since the 1970s or so, as if the educrats have discovered the relationship between physical activity and better behaved students that are able to focus on their school work, all on their own.

    “A bout of exercise is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin,” the psychiatrist says in an interview, citing common medications used to adjust the brain’s neurotransmitter balance to treat depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder”


    Although very true according to the science, and my own observations, including my mother’s observations. the troubling aspect about it, is that the current instruction and curriculum design is not based on the science. How effective it will be in raising achievement can be questioned, when the costs to run the program keeps increasing, but over-all achievement flat lines. Physical activity is important especially for students who are struggling, but without applying the cognitive and learning science in instruction, curriculum and training, it increases inefficiencies in the quality of education for students, and increases in additional funding from the fallout regarding achievement.

    As for a personal experience, for some dyslexics and ADHD children, chewing gum helps them to focus and even increases test achievement. A simple request of allowing my child to chew gum while taking a test, was a difficult task for the school she attended. Chewing gum is against the school rules, and of course the cognitive science that I presented was dismissed as poppycock. How to chew gum silently without the teacher knowing, is an art that my child learned, because it really did help her in tests, studying at home, and even in the first thing in the morning before school started. As for tests, achievement went up anywhere between 5 to 10 marks, with fewer careless mistakes as the educators would state, but in my view mistakes common with dyslexics. But chewing gum alone does not help much, without the correct instruction according to the science, and not a philosophy based on pseudo-science.

    But than again, if the public education system actually did go by the science, the only increases in funding will match the costs including inflation according to the number of students. The educrats need to create inefficiencies to support their high salaries, pensions, benefits and profits being made by the educrats. There is no concern on the negative outcomes in the private sector and the citizens who work within the private sector.

  266. If the reform movement wants to be the movement of reduced funding for education be my guest. You will have a lot of trouble gaining parent support.

    • Tell that to the NDP minister of education Ramona Jennex. She see the importance of a realistic approach to preserving public education within our means. She, not you, is intent on spending wisely!

      • To be honest Doug, it appears you not only have an over active imagination regarding reform initiatives (and like to put words in the mouths of parents) but seem hyper defensive when spending control is discussed.

  267. Doug, start studying the protests in Europe, and the reasons of the protests. Protests that will come sooner of later to North America. It is no longer a protest of the unionists, it has become a protest of the private sector labour. Among the many things, is the increase funding in education and health, and limited access to services, poorer quality, and the one thing that really bugs them, as funding increases in the public sector, unemployment increases in the private sector, cost of living increases, and even less access to health and education services, and where many have to meet the narrowed criteria of taking advantage of services. The young people are really peeved at the education system, because they have discovered that they do not have the foundation skills that are crucial to retrain and force to work for less pay, with more hours.

    But than again, you do not have to worry about anything like this, since the politicians of any stripe have look after your needs and desires, and would not know the difficulties of private citizens must deal with. The latest from the Ontario government, is the 4 % bonus pay, for just showing up to work. Apparently it is danger pay, and yet the danger in the work of guards, or even the mail man are well under the 25 % in terms of danger, compared to the top category of fishermen that is over the 100 % in danger, thrown in the miners, and the other dangerous occupations, that have never been paid danger paid, or bonuses for showing up to work. If a private sector worker does not show up to work, they do not get paid. With a union, they better have a reason for not showing up to work. But paying bonuses for showing up to work, takes the cake especially when the rehab services and education services in prisons are reduced to pay for the bonuses.

    Parents are catching on, as well as other taxpayers, because they are dealing with the fallout of public sector demands, unemployment, and reduced services from the public sector. Next thing on the menu, is teachers’ unions demanding danger pay from the fallout of poor policy planning that does not provide for the educational needs of the students.

  268. steven
    To be honest Doug, it appears you not only have an over active imagination regarding reform initiatives (and like to put words in the mouths of parents) but seem hyper defensive when spending control is discussed.

    Steven show me a poll that says parents want to cut education funding. No eh. Easy to show you the polls that show they want it to go up.

    • Doug, I’m not interested in polls and I’m not interested in cutting funding. Spend wisely. You should address your concerns to the NDP Minister of Education Ramona Jennex, who has had to grapple with reality, not fantasy.

      • Ditto for me, Steven. I quickly scanned the union sites, and their polls. Number one concern of parents is resources. Bottom of the list, is the number of teachers. And everything in between in single digit percentages, and a few in the low double digit percentage. I can see why the ministers of education are cutting staff numbers, based on the polls of the unions. But I sure wish that they look further at the school board level, and the number of staff/inefficiencies occurring at that level. In areas of resources alone, I am always scratching my head on the methods used to prevent resources from reaching the school, that is needed to address the individual learning needs of students.

        Polls are changing, but according to Doug increase spending, even if taxes go up. I guess Doug, has not seen the mountain of letters sent by parents over the years, criticizing the public education system, especially when parents have to pay for tutors or buy the resources to attend to the foundation of the 3Rs. What is interesting on some of the union sites, is open discussion on standard testing, and the number of students that should not take the test, because their reading and numeracy is below grade level. But offers no solution to this dilemma, except not requiring students to take the test, if they are below grade level. How about pushing for better reading and numeracy instruction? Nah, that would working against their best interests.

  269. Steven,

    I can see that you are not interested in polls because they tend to show that you are not correct in your assumtions about education. Let me tell you this, policy makers watch the polls like hawks.

    There is a clear difference between the public desire for more money for education and the ability of a poorer province, during a recession, to pay for it. These are 2 different things but the public wish is there. If NS cannot spend more it will just fall farther behind.

    Ontario, OISE poll “Should more money be spent on education even if your taxes would ge up?”

    73% say yes. It is not even close.

    • Doug,

      as parents, we all have a fantasy wish list for optimal programing, new facilities, renovations, curiculum development, “state of the art education ” as it has been called ad nauseum.

      What is general knowlege now is that no one has been minding the post modern hen house.

      Perhaps you should send Ramona Jennex your OISE poll. I’m sure she would be ammused!

  270. Your problem Steven is that you attempt to make it look as if people especially parents, WANT education budgets curtailed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    OECD today says Canadians second happiest people in the world after Australians. One big reason is canada’s excellent education system. You must have seen it. It is in all the papers.

    Canadian’s are not happy about one aspect of their education system however. They want a major European/Quebec style child care system for the country. Luckily it is on the way.

    • OECD report, forgot to include debt load of individual citizens, long waiting lines for health, dealing with crime for some citizens, high consumer prices especially in food, and jobs disappearing only to show up in China. Standard of living has dropped, they know it, you know it Doug if you stepped out of your world, and the last thing Canadians want is European/Quebec child care system. They rather have complete reform on the Canada Pension Plan, and a drug plan for the expensive drugs that only a well-paid public sector worker have covered in their health coverage and for life, including family members. But I guess OECD has to put on a happy face, and present only the positive, when the bad news come down the pipe line informing us that the economic recession has worsen, and a fact that would come to no surprise to a good many. The trouble is, it usually means more corporate bail outs, or in this round, country bail outs. All because no one was minding the hen house, but it is the little guy who pays through the nose, and than expects us to be happy with the crumbs that are thrown our way.

    • Today Doug,

      parents are better informed regarding educratic excess. They experience first hand, the ramifications of spending without direct benefit to the students in the classroom and at the overall damage inflicted to the urban and rural community at large.

      Do I wish for a return to the late 1960’s when NS was building schools at a significant rate to keep pace with the increased enrolment? Sure. But the times have changed and enrolment has plummeted.

      If there is a perception problem, I recommend you lobby our provincial NDP goverment to correct it. They implimented the cuts, not the parents.

      Once again Doug, you seem to want to blame the consumer for a defective product.

  271. Schools close due to declining enrolement everywhere. The solution is Community schools, multipurpose but people are slow to adjust.

    Our polls say people want public child care in the European/Quebec model. It is inevitable, relax and enjoy it’s arrival. Ontario ELP will just keep happening just slower if Hudak wins.

    There is no perception problem except from the “usual suspects”.

    • Gee Doug,

      never thought you would “suspect” the NDP for going against your idiology? The Levin report and Ramona Jennex appear to be intent on improving our education system, just not in the way you envision it.

      Multi purpose community schools is an idea that has already arrived here, but thanks for the tip.

      Keep lobbying the NDP Doug, they just announced more cuts to education today.

  272. Doug, the reality is very different, where the type of community schools that you are advocating for, brings a steep price tag, in renovations, and upgrades needed for health services, daycare, and other services to co-exist with a school. In many cases it is lest costly by building a new school, and selling the old school. Plus there is additional staff needed to administrate the day to day operations of serving the needs of the businesses that are leasing on school premises.

    I doubt there is much call for the type of daycares, being solely under the ministry of education, where they are dictating the rules as to what can be or cannot be done regarding the children. From, splitting up siblings , to a rule where colouring books are not allowed, to the introduction of social justice policies. All have implications of impacting the developmental and cognitive functions of children, that may do more harm in the future lives of the children, and more work for the schools addressing the fallout. Another valid point is that the public education systems are not known for their expertise in the development and cognitive fields. If they were, they would be using reading instruction that keeps in mind the cognitive factors as well as the learning science and whole language does not use either.

    There is more to closing schools, and as Steven has stated a bit more complicated. As in the G/M article, “As Alberta’s population spikes and shifts with a booming economy, its education system has become a tale of two realities – one with hundreds of millions in new spending and a glut of students, and another facing hundreds of teacher layoffs, empty classrooms and budget shortfalls.

    The province, facing a baby boom in some areas that will add another 100,000 students to its enrolment by 2020, on Tuesday announced that it will spend $550-million over the next several years to build 22 new schools and renovate another 13.”

    Or in this BC story regarding a new policy, ” The policy, which is still in the draft stage, was developed over a two-year period. The goal as stated in the document is “to ensure that all members of the school community learn to work together in an atmosphere of respect and safety, free from homophobia.”

    But a group called Parents’ Voice has spoken strongly against the policy and launched numerous protests, the latest of which was scheduled for Tuesday evening.

    Gordon World, one of the group’s spokesmen, said the policy isn’t necessary because the district’s code of conduct already includes sexual orientation as a protected right. He also accused the district of failing to consult parents properly.

    In a news release, Parents’ Voice blasted the school board for what it called a “hidden political agenda.”

    To me it represents once again, education authorities discriminating, and raising one group of students that are given more rights than other group of students, over and above the protected rights under the Charter. I think many of a parent who have LD children feel a bit put out, if not angry that the policies regarding LD children, they rights are less within the education system, and it is also a protected right under the charter.

  273. What do you expect you would be getting with the Tories or the Liberals increases?

    The NDP is usually the best of a bad lot. Not always. Sometimes they don’t listen to me so they make bad mistakes. I hope they learned from the cancellation of public auto insurance and the social contract in Ontario.

    • Actually yes. Increases have been the norm under the rule of both Liberals and Conservatives here in NS.

  274. Regardless of the political stripe in charge, what never changes is the bureaucracy, including the educrats and unions, whose goals are advance and adjusted according to whatever government is in power. Unions does a great job in convincing politicians of accepting policies that go beyond the common sense realm, into the realm of ideology and dogma that smacks of social engineering of utopia design to serve the unions best interests.

    Note the latest, where a couple as outlined in NP today, “What are the odds of two utopians, married to each other and both blinkered enough to find this unrealistic story so “compelling” they would use it as a template for raising their own child?

    Meet one-in-a-trillion Toronto couple Kathy Witterick, 38, and David Stocker, 39, parents of Jazz, 5, and Kio, 2 — both acknowledged to be boys — and their four-month-old baby Storm, knowledge of whose sex the parents are withholding because, after reading Lois Gould’s story, “How could we not?”

    There is more articles in the Toronto Star as well, but the GP article states it best. “Witterick and Stocker are what I call “Ouija board” parents. Ouija board users believe that the planchette is moving of its own accord under their fingers to “answer” their questions. Witterick and Stocker insist that their children’s lives are unfolding spontaneously. But these animated planchettes are merely responding to parental guiding hands virtually pushing them into what some of us might recognize as heterophobia. This is a “progressive” ideology that would happily sacrifice a child’s identity on the altar of bogus social engineering.

    Once they emerge from their protected environment, these guinea pigs may end up as social martyrs. But Witterick rejects criticism: “Everyone keeps asking us, ‘When will this end?’ And we always turn the question back. Yeah, when will this end? When will we live in a world where people can make choices to be whoever they are?”

    In reality, any other parents who would attempt to do as this couple have done, the child protection services would be knocking on their door quicker than a blink of an eye, unless a parent happens to be working for the public education system. The same education system, that support progressive ideology of all types, regardless of the harm being done to children. Accountability does not enter into the picture for the public sector unions, and the only ones held accountable are the politicians in the next elections.

    SQE has a great post for today. I laughed and many would appreciate it, and hear shades of Doug mantra throughout the video.

    Teachers’ Unions Explained

    Accountability and transparency – Not on their agenda.

  275. Nancy,

    he, he, he! A beautiful piece of satire.

  276. I saw it over on SQE, the usual propoganda from the far far right. Shallow, less than sophmoric.

  277. I think a lot of people like you Nancy, who have had highly specific grievances with the PS system like to generalize their concerns as “general discontent” with the system. There is no general discontent, simply a small series of highly specific problems.

    This accounts for the high percentage of parents of special education students in the reform movement and the centrality of SE in the reform debate.

    The vast majority of students are doing very well in the existing system which accounts for the high level of satisfaction with the system in all of the surveys.

    • Wrong again Doug.

      Is the NDP so satisfied here in NS with the system that they feel the need to cut back on the budget? Maybe we’re just doing so well we do not want to surge ahead and embarass the rest of the country.

      It seems to me your own camp has done a 180 degree turn on you.

      You have a strange way of maintaining the “Mediocracy status Quo.”

  278. steven
    Actually yes. Increases have been the norm under the rule of both Liberals and Conservatives here in NS.

    So you are attempting to blame the closure of rural schools on the fact that the government of NS is NDP?

    Rural schools are closing all over Canada and the USA no matter whether the government is Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Democrat or Republican.

    As the author of Boom, Bust and Echo, David Foot has put it, “demographics does not explain everything, it explains 2/3 of everything.”

  279. Provinces fail to raise the taxes so that they cannot pass on the revenue to school boards forcing school boards to close schools.

    When I was a trustee we passed a motion at the TBE (preTDSB) that said, “our policy is to close a school when the majority of parents at that school feel that it is time to close the school.” We will do it by vote if it is unclear whether there is a majority or not.

    • NS has the highest combined taxes in the country. So much for your theory.

      I also find it hard to believe as a trustee you would concern yourself with the majority of parents. As I said school boards close schools.

  280. It simply does not matter whether you have the highest combined taxes. Cutting education budgets = cutting your own throat.

    You will be the only one cutting, it will soon be obvious as the schools disintegrate, the best teachers move elsewhere, the business’ tell the gov’t we won’t locate here because the schools are not good enough and the vicious spiral spirals down.

    All over southern Ontario and rural BC the small town mayors and councils are pleading with the MPPs and trustees not to cut their school because the town will die.

    Same with a province.

  281. Highly specific grievances? A lot of people as well, but they have not been able to sort it out in their head as effectively since they brought the line from the various players, especially the union line. Your latest being, ““our policy is to close a school when the majority of parents at that school feel that it is time to close the school.”

    Had to laugh about that one, because the conditions were set in the first place by the boards, who would slowed down funding, not repairing, make resources of the school a scarce commodity and other tactics that would lead parents to think the only option is to closed down the school. Governments have been using this tactic for a very long time, to help speed the process of a dying community. The vote by parents is meaningless, since they played no role in the process that their voice would be heard, and taken seriously by the board. As for your remark, lots on the union sites, indicating and stating in black and white, that the unions led the charge on closing down rural schools, in favour of the factory-style big schools, to advance the goals of the teachers’ unions. What goals would that be, to be able to keep a better eye on teachers who dare to break their union contract on a regular basis, for the best interests of the children. Since than, rural achievement has gone down, along with the basic foundation skills in the 3 Rs.

    Than we have the newest directive from the unions, where parents are blamed for everything. Apparently all wrapped up within the social justice policies that unions have been the main leaders in pushing for a number of years. Within the social justice policies, is a section for parents usually under the heading, Parent-Teacher relationships. EFTO has it outlined in black and white, using inclusive policies as well to reinforced the social justice policies to parents, even if it goes against their own legal rights.

    The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario’s head office gets calls every day from teachers seeking advice on how to deal with aggressive parents. The union has produced a special booklet called “Parent-Teacher Relationships: Putting the Pieces Together,” which includes special tips on dealing with “parent harassment.”

    “It’s not just sports parents who get abusive. Everyone thinks they’re an expert on education because everyone has been to school,” said the federation’s Sharon O’Halloran, who offers legal advice to teachers dealing with aggressive parents. “Some parents yell and scream and hand out defamatory press releases against the teacher in the schoolyard — with copies to their MPP and the press. ”

    What is so interesting, and suspect, is the booklet is a closed publication. and for the eyes of the educators only. I seen bits and pieces, to get a pretty good idea that this booklet is mainly for parents who object to school policies and education policies, rather than directed at the parents who are abusive. The word that is use for the former, is parents who resist to accept. So every parent out there, who insist on staying on topic on your children’s grades, rather than focusing on your children’s ability for empathy and understanding of the bully’s situation, and the many other perverse twisting of rights without the responsibility, be aware that the educrats may indeed see you as a threat.

    In the United States, the public education system in Florida is considering to grade parents on their parenting ability.

    “That’s the proposal a Florida State representative, Kelli Stargel, is hoping to convince her fellow lawmakers to adopt. According to The Ledger, the Parent Involvement and Accountability in Public Schools bill would see parents of kids from pre-K to Grade 3 assigned a “satisfactory, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory” in these areas:

    •Parental response to requests for conferences or communication.
    •The student’s completion of homework and preparation for tests.
    •The student’s physical preparation for school that has an effect on mental preparation.
    •The frequency of the student’s absence and tardiness.”

    Do read the comments, parents would not please, since they would dearly loved to grade teachers in kind. Who is behind it, unions once again pushing to advance their own self-serving interests.

    And where did this come from? Jolly old England and their teachers’ unions.
    “NASUWT members are expected to debate a resolution on pupil indiscipline at their annual conference in Glasgow today.

    The resolution warns that the indiscipline of a minority of pupils “continues to blight our educational system” and suggests many school leaders are “recklessly” abandoning their responsibilities on the issue.

    NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “Teachers are not receiving the support they need from parents, school leaders or government to assist them in maintaining high standards of pupil behaviour.

    “Parents can’t simply abandon their responsibilities at the school gate.

    “Sending their child to school with basic equipment, on time, with homework completed and with clear expectations of how they expect them to behave in school is a critical part of their role.

    “Too many pupils arrive at school with mobile phones, iPods and MP3 players when teachers just wish they would bring a pen.

    “Hours of valuable teaching and learning time are clearly being lost in lessons every day through pupils not being ready to learn.”

    The poll questioned 8,231 teachers in February and March”

    I suspect the social justice policies had repercussions that the unions did not anticipate. Too bad they did not read the pages of philosophers that have warn that people will simply abdicate their responsibilities and let the school take care of the mess, when social justice and rights is taught without the other half, the responsibilities. As I see the public education system is paying the price in spades, for badly behaved children, making one group of people more equal in legal rights than others, the social engineering indoctrination that paved a few generations thinking that they have legal rights without the responsibility that goes with the rights, and the unions’ pushed on promoting policies that more or less, silence parents, their voice and ability to advocate for their children.

    But take heart Doug, the unions have a strong advocate in the Communist Party of Canada. They just loved what you are doing. Why don’t you go over there, because even the NDP can face reality that unions are out of control and need to be rein in, for the sake of the children, parents and taxpayers. They actually cheer the social justice policies, that ensures the state or in this case, the unions can maintained their power over their charges, from cradle to grave.

    Not a word on reading, writing and numeracy instruction, from the unions, pushing their agenda. If unions truly want parents involved in the schools, than they should stick with things that matter to parents, and not the social justice issues, that are being used to force change on today’s society, and making mockery of people’s values and culture. Maybe the time has arrive, to start up parent unions, so our legal rights are protected from the powerful teachers’ unions and the other arms of the public education system. Just a thought, since I read this in a few blogs here and there.

  282. Cutting a school budget in this era of international competition is like cutting the budget of the fire department during the fire.

    • Hey Doug,

      ease up with the pithy metaphors. A few blurbs back we were all doing well with a high degree of satisfaction. You were advocating the centralization of both rural and urban education. Now you are concerned about small town school closures and community survival?

      Go figure.

      • Your in good company with the other teachers’ unions in the world. It is apparent that the teachers’ unions have caught the wrath of other powerful people. Check out YouTube Doug, I never seen so many videos just under teachers’ unions, and only a few are taking the side of the unions. There is videos, that I have no way of checking them out, but if parents are watching, the reputation of unions being on the children’s side, is rapidly going down the tube. Although I did not check out every video, one was even in Turkey, defending the union’s demands on salaries. I never knew that a teachers’ union is in Turkey, but it be another reason added on to all the other reasons, why countries in that part of the world are protesting. And Doug, don’t mention firefighters and police, they are in the dog house as well. All part of the big public sector unions who all enjoyed big salaries, working hours, overtime, benefits and the big pensions,well above the private sector.

        The public sector unions are starting to get that seedy reputation along the lines of the profiteers and the racketeers. Does not look good for the long term future of public sector unions.

  283. Without unions there would simply be no middle class in the USA, Canada or Europe. “Unions- the people who brought you the weekend”.

    Yes there is the politics of envy out there but thos who attack the unions always end up second best in the end, Bob Rae, Mike Harris…..

    Here is one on “data driven” results. Brought to you by people who are not teachers but think they understand education LOL.


  284. You like videos Nancy, here is one you will love

  285. Here is another you will just love

  286. Once upon a time, public sector unions use to do those things, but not anymore. They were even reasonable, and never would think of holding the public hostage. Public sector unions once upon a time, would help out their private labour unions, in donating cash to the strikers and their families. Sad, to see public sector unions running to help the miners in a third world country, to support them in the fight against the big mining companies. The same mining companies where at home, the miners were on strike, and one lasted 18 months. Not a wooden nickle thrown their way by the public union sector. A lot of hot air from the public sector unions.

    As for the lie on unions being responsible for the middle class, it was the economic times after WWII, where private labour was king, and politicians saw private labour that could shut down a country, and turn an economy upside down. That was than and things have change, where the public sector unions now have the power over the politicians, but not the power over the people. Politicians know that the ordinary citizen will adjust, because services such as schools, garbage pick-up, or even mail, people can live without for a while, but the politicians it could mean their job in the next election. Ford became mayor for a reason, and it was not rubbing the backsides of the public sector unions. The essential services, the unionists cannot strike, besides if they could, it would be bad optics where the criminals are out doing their thing, and people dying on the way to a hospital. Bad optics for both sides, and not a way to persuade the people that either side is on the side of the people. Being a monopoly, unions and government have a tough row, compared to the labour unions after WWII. The private sector union, had to worry about prolonged strikes, because there is lots of competition, where people can buy the same product. But not the public sector unions, but the day is coming when citizens will have more choice, because of the greed of the public sector unions.

    As for the teachers’ unions, what isn’t the union fighting for better curriculum, reading instruction, the correct resources for children who are struggling, insisting that teachers are properly trained in the reading science, and the list can go on and on? Instead the teachers’ unions are too busy, demanding more money, than all the extra money go to the big pay raises and a boost in benefits, and than waged political campaigns against parents, the taxpayer, that it is all their fault the schools are in such a mess. What is really galling that one will hear from time to time, it is the fault of parents for not preparing their children on the rigors of college. Accountable? Unions are determined never to be accountable. But that day is coming, because the economic times are shifting once again.

  287. The teachers just don’t agree with YOU about your priorities. You confuse yourself with the public or the parents. You represent yourself, nobody more.

    Most education problems ARE the parents fault.

    • most education problems are THE parents fault.


      Wow, Doug, I’m speechless!

  288. Too bad Nova Scotia (or other provinces) don’t have a cout system like New Jersey.


    • Doug, you should do some investigation, on who is backing it. The Education Law Centre, although have done some admirable work for children and their rights, which is their specialty, the donors are the ones that financing the costs of court cases. What is interesting, and par for the course in the U.S., the organizations that makes for strange bed partners. The Rockefeller Foundation and the New Jersey Education Association ? Rather odd, but I can see the reasons of joining for two reasons, ensuring that student’s legal rights and their entitlement to an education, using the correct supports through the court processes. One thing great about America, it is a whole lot easier to sue, than in Canada. If you don’t have the money, lawyers say bye bye, and before you are out the door, they have a client sitting in the chair that can pay. The second reason, is more of an objective, or a goal, to fixed the tax system and how things get funded. Even a teachers’ union would agree with this objective, as well as the other foundations and organizations.


      Too bad teachers’ unions and all their monies from dues, using it for all kinds of political activities, could not decide to used their left over dues, to fight for children to receive the proper help in schools, for their reading, writing and numeracy problems. A good place to start, is the LD students who many have been denied effective remediation based on the science, and has been proven to be superior to whole language and all the many versions. You can start with the inner schools, because any court decisions would applied to the rest of the province and perhaps the rest of Canada. Or the years of unions blaming parents for the troubles of the public education, might tarnished the image of the unions, and their stance towards parents?

  289. Teachers unions go to work every day of the week fighting for more SE teachers and more support staff for SE kids. I am sick of you saying otherwise. If it were not for teachers unions, SE kids would be getting one heck of a lot less service.

    Are they fighting for your curriculum and pedagogical priorities? This is a mangement function. Their advice is sought, they sometime sit on committees but they do not negotiate curriculum and pedagogy.

  290. Hey Doug,

    maybe the problems with the system is not only the parents fault, but also the students fault as well – since that appears to be the direction you are heading in.

    With a perspective like yours it would be hard to believe your advice would be sought by any committee.

    as you struggle to get beyond this personal barrier “Students First” will continue to gain credibility and respect.

    Thanks to Nancy for much research and dilligence on the issue of reform and accountability. Keep the info. flowing!

  291. The 90% of students that re successful have the same teachers as the students that re unsuccessful.

    Anybody with teaching experience will tell you, there are a few students that do have limitations but the vast majority of students that are unsuccessful are BONE LAZY.

    You can say “oh the teacher did not motivate them or key in on their learning style’ but this is coddling. They learned their laziness at home. The other students did not need coddling.

    The fact that the “reform movement” attempts to blame teachers is the reason they have little teacher support and teachers resist their shallow reasoning regarding cause and effect.

  292. Hi Nancy,

    this forum should not be a therapy session for Doug. I for one think it would be advisable if all credible contributors avoided any response to his comments.

  293. You are telling Nancy not to respond. Good luck with that. BTW who needs a responce?

  294. “Anybody with teaching experience will tell you, there are a few students that do have limitations but the vast majority of students that are unsuccessful are BONE LAZY.”

    Bone lazy eh? A quick review on EFTO, and other teachers’ union sites, play a major role in preventing effective instruction and curriculum because it would play havoc with the contracts, the new direction of unions taking the lead on teacher development, training, and where curriculum and instruction is in agreement with the over all goals of the unions.

    EFTO is more open than other provincial teacher federations, as to what information is made public. A good thing, but has negative ramifications and consequences among the public and students who become bone lazy as Doug would like to put it. The trouble lies taking bits and pieces of science, than dressing it up with the goals, aims, ideology, dogma of the unions, and the other arms of the education system, where the union has the position and the power to adapt new reforms, to suit the unions and maintain their power and position within the education system.

    “ETFO strives to develop programs and services that both protect and enhance the working lives of its members in these challenging times for education. It works continuously to provide an environment that celebrates the diversity of its members and the students in their care. In addition to its internal work in support of members, ETFO reaches out to the broader community to foster a climate of social justice in this province and beyond.”


    To protect and enhance the working lives of educators to diversity and ends with social justice. Sounds wonderful, until one sees the results of the outcomes of students. Doug says bone lazy, I would say the unions and policies being promoted, creates the negative outcomes of students, more so than the external environment outside of school.

    Just take a look, on what is important at the EFTO.

    For 2010 to 2011:
    “•To protect the collective bargaining rights of all members.
    •To defend publicly funded public education.
    •To serve the needs of the membership.
    •To provide for the professional development of members.
    •To promote social justice in the areas of anti-poverty, non-violence, and equity.
    •To support international assistance and cooperation.
    •To promote the care and protection of the environment.
    •To actively engage members in the Federation.
    •To promote and protect the health and safety of members.”

    Or on teacher accountability:

    “Teaching is a highly regulated profession. As well, teachers continually enhance their practice by:

    •assessing their own learning needs and developing annual professional growth plans;
    •participating in professional development activities at the school, school board, and provincial level;
    •addressing critical issues, sharing ideas and working on grade activities in divisional meetings;
    •attending curriculum meetings;
    •presenting workshops;
    •taking courses to enhance their learning;
    •mentoring peers;
    •writing curriculum; and
    •serving on in-school, board and provincial committees”

    All kinds of opportunity for teacher union brass, to keep out effective reform, that puts children first. Equity, social justice, and diversity does not in itself improve achievement, nor does it improve weaknesses of students. Nor does it put the individual student first, since the decisions are based first on equity, social justice and diversity policies, and than the strategies are used, providing that they do not cross the line of equity, social justice and diversity. It does show clearly in areas of reading instruction, and unions play a big hand in preventing the instruction methods that are effective, because they cross the line of equity, social justice and diversity policies.

    The example:
    “Phonological Processing

    Phonological processing is an auditory processing skill. It relates to words, but occurs in the absence of print. It involves detecting and discriminating differences in phonemes or speech sounds under conditions of little or no distraction or distortion.

    A student with phonological processing needs may have difficulty in one of many different detection or discrimination tasks involving speech sounds in words. This might be manifested through errors in speech production or in misperception of spoken language. In school, the student often has difficulty associating the speech sounds to letters when reading and spelling.”


    Compared to the reading science: From Reading Rockets

    “Phonological awareness is the understanding of different ways that oral language can be divided into smaller components and manipulated. Spoken language can be broken down in many different ways, including sentences into words and words into syllables (e. g., in the word simple, /sim/ and /ple/), onset and rime (e. g., in the word broom, /br/ and /oom/), and individual phonemes (e.g., in the word hamper, /h/, /a/, /m/, /p/, /er/). Manipulating sounds includes deleting, adding, or substituting syllables or sounds (e.g., say can; say it without the /k/; say can with /m/ instead of /k/). Being phonologically aware means having a general understanding at all of these levels……….”


    As one reads further, phonological awareness is not as simple as the one portrayed at EFTO.

    The equity, social justice, and diversity gets involved, is within the instructional, environmental and assessment parts of strategies concerning reading, that the union brass promotes and practice, which in turn does little for the student in improving reading mastery, but provides strategies that offers and teaches a student that handicaps the student in so many different ways.

    In two sections on the EFTO site:

    Environmental Strategies:

    •Preferential seating away from sources of noise
    •Reduce auditory distractions
    •Visual cuing of phonics skills through wall charts
    •Word walls based on phonics components
    Assessment Strategies:

    When assessing a student’s reading and written language skills, make sure that phonological processing deficits do not penalize the student when evaluating their knowledge.

    •Provide oral testing
    •Provide a personal dictionary to prompt sentence composition in written language
    •Use test formats of short answers, true/false, multiple choice, and other formats that require reduced written output
    •Read the questions aloud to the student to avoid misreading and misinterpretation”

    “When assessing a student’s reading and written language skills, make sure that phonological processing deficits do not penalize the student when evaluating their knowledge”. is important. None of the strategies, are effective for students when the reading deficits instructional approaches do not bring students up to mastery. The environmental and assessment strategies are used as an equalizer, or leveling the playing field, to respect the learning differences (diversity in their world), but still does nothing for the reading deficits. The negative outcome, comes in the higher grades, where the reading deficits that were not taught to mastery, will come in play. Where expressing their knowledge verbally, or written is highly dependent on the subset of reading and writing skills. Providing a dictionary to prompt sentence composition in written language, will not cut it in the older grades, nor does it promote good sentence construction, according to the science. Direct explicit instruction is a must, but not according to the teachers’ unions, diversity, social justice, and equality are far more important, even though these policies will create the ‘bone-lazy’ students that Doug has described.

    As for calling students ‘bone-lazy’, I resent that since many students from the beginning of school, are called lazy when they are struggling. It is one of the many excuses used, especially by unions to defend their goals, aims and policies. Most students learn how to be lazy in their studies, by the practices of the public education system that are not based on the science of learning and cognitive fields. Just like the unions have learned to take the easy way out by blaming SEC factors, and the rest of society for not providing the right type of students that will adapt to the policies of the education system.

    On another note: The EFTO does worked on curriculum.

    “◦To develop policy recommendations related to professional curriculum for consideration by the Executive and the Annual Meeting.
    ◦To develop program recommendations related to professional development and curriculum for consideration by the Executive and the Annual Meeting.
    ◦To advocate on behalf of the members of the Federation and propose initiatives related to professional development and curriculum.
    ◦To provide advice on the content, delivery and design of Federation professional development and curriculum programs.
    ◦To advise the Executive on matters relating to the professional development work of the committee”


    And at the above link, a whole host of other items that are not directly link to the normal union activities.

    Something tells me, not a whole lot based on the science coming from the unions. One just has to look on the instruction strategies. Adding more staff still does nothing for students who are struggling, and the only difference that would make a difference, is to ensure that the staff is trained on the science of learning, and not on the policies of equity, social justice and diversity. Pathetic excuse used that the union does not negotiate curriculum and pedagogy. If that was the case, than curriculum and pedagogy that are of the direct explicit instruction and not the child-centered pedagogy, would be sitting inside the schools, with the union literature pushing it.

    Accountable only to themselves, but not to the students or society as a whole.

  295. Ontario Green Party just announced that they want public sector wage controls for 4 years until 2015.

    First they would find it difficult even if government. Courts say contracts cannot be opened any more, illegal.

    Second, I expect the GPO vote to now drop in half as all the public sector unions inform their membership that they want to attack their standard of living.

    All those geography teachers, NMR types etc will roast them.

  296. Court rulings are not written in stone. Rather they involved, according the current legislative laws, and changing values of society. Good to see a Green party going after the public sector. The same public sector who blames others, including parents for the failings of their public policies, rather than their own practices and training, Throw in the poor customer service, where the customer is always at fault, the nanny policies, and the constant preaching coming from the public education, that is hard to stomach, when must public sector workers, are not impacted at all to the realities of what most citizens are dealing with. For the Green Party to do this, they must be upset with the environment teachings across the curriculum, and the practices of the public education system where the environment of students is the last thing that is on the mind of educrats.

    There is more voters than the ones in the public sector, and many do not buy the line of the public sector anymore. And more that are upset on the secret raises of the public sector, and where the EFTO are rightly put out, because they only received a 10 % raise, and they need to addressed this in the next set of negotiations. They want their own secret raises that the public is not privy to.

  297. If anybody thinks the teachers will accept a freeze while the police get 11%+ and move past them, think again. Not happening.

    The public sector is blameless in the recession. They will not pay for it.

  298. “Now the only safe harbours for big labour are public sector monopolies, where competitive alternatives are few or non-existent. Another advantage for union leaders is that those on the other side of the bargaining table don’t have to worry that too rich a settlement might drive them out of business. Union leaders are acutely aware that their survival depends on a continuation of their monopoly powers and, all too often, strike-bound public officials support this quest by acceding to “no contracting out” clauses.

    This mission to maintain Big Labour’s power manifests itself in other harmful ways. For example, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) recently celebrated a successful grievance against PeerScholar, a new online application at University of Toronto wherein students can file papers for grading by fellow students who have completed the same assignment. CUPE spokesman Michael Swayze justified blocking this innovative educational advancement on the basis that “if students are doing marking, then they’re in our bargaining unit and must be paid.”

    This illustrates another glaring flaw in our labour laws: the requirement that anyone doing work which could be done by union members must join the union, even if they don’t want to. So we have two toxic levels of public sector monopoly power: government-imposed restrictions against private service providers, and unions that are legally empowered to deprive individuals of the right to work outside a union.

    When it comes to the delivery of public services, Canadians are amazingly tolerant of behaviour and service levels they would never put up with from any private business. But the time is nearing when, abused by the workers they are being taxed to pay, Canadians will cry “enough.”

    Bureaucratic, uncaring and unaccountable “service” delivery experiences bring that breaking point nearer. Images of beleaguered Torontonians struggling to cross picket lines so they can dispose of their smelly garbage will only accelerate the outrage. The contrasting images of residents of nearby Etobicoke serenely putting out their garbage for pickup by privately contracted workers, and the happy Toronto parents who chose “for-profit” daycare while 57 municipal centres are temporarily closed, clearly illustrate that we just don’t have to put up with it any more.

    The fact that we’ve seen it all so many times before has spawned a sort of numbed resignation. But what we haven’t seen before is the confluence of a painful recession and the spectre of public sector unions using their powers to abuse the very people who pay their wages. Once public outrage catches fire, these unions will have depleted their bank account of goodwill, and will never again be able convince people they serve any positive purpose. Then there is the stark reality that their high wage levels and outrageous benefits programs are simply unaffordable as federal, provincial and municipal governments sink deeper into the red”

    I suppose the day will come soon, when high school students working as tutors, the unions will demand them to be paid with union wages, rather than the vouchers towards payment in tuition at post-secondary.

    Just think the article was written in 2009, and since than revelation of secret raises of the public sector, the bank account of goodwill must be in negative double digits, and all the levels of governments deeper in debt, how the public is not going to take it anymore. Especially in the light of the public receiving fewer services, increased taxes, in order to pay for the greedy public sector unions. Just think of the angst of taxpayers now.

  299. Respect for teachers? Those craft Finns, what will they try next?


  300. The contracts that are SIGNED by universities, school boards etc stipulate who can do what. They are usually an open and shut case.

    Old news.

  301. “Most education problems are the parents fault”


    If transparency is indeed the first step to accountability, Doug just took it!!!

  302. The preverbial lid has been blown off the educratic pandora’s box, which may bring to a boil the venomous disdain for parental involvement for the education of their children in the coming years. Perhaps that is what this is all about!

    Doug has emotionally brought to the surface one of the most contentious elements in any educational reform; the right of the parent to play a role in the direction and democratic relevance of education today.

    The echo of the Socratic question “Whom do I call educated?” reverberate down the halls of Mr. Zwagstra’s lecture in Halifax, as educators and parents alike continue to forge a partnership to move forward with the “students first” in mind.

    Often our biases reveal the transparent failability of a weakened system. To blame parents for most education problems reveals a critical weakness; indeed a poison infecting the chemistry of education by those charged with the responsibility to administer it.

    That exceptional quality we have as people to inspire others to learn, is quickly called ito question when we blame those who most value that very quality in contemporary democratic society, a quality which cultivates the depth of a student’s will to learn.

  303. Parents have a role in education, it is not the lead role and it never will be. Parents come and go as their kids move rapidly through the school system. The teachers and education leaders are much more entrenched.

    Parents such as Annie Kidder are role models of parent involvement and the holding of real power over the system. Bureaucrats and politicians live in real fear of her opinions.

    She and her comrades are well researched, progressive and not cranks.

    People for Education is, by a country mile, the most powerful parent led group in Ontario because they know exactly where they fit in and where they do not fit in.

    Parents are NOT the boss in education. They are one stakeholder group among 5-6 major groups.

    Smell the coffee.

  304. When you look at 90% of troubled students who have difficulty learning or are “school resisters” and then take a look at their home and environment, you are seldom surprised.

  305. Kidder really? She is one to work the system for her child, and squeal on others who dare to do it. One set of rules for her, and another set of rules for the rest of the parents, she does not approve of, based on income and social status. She also strikes me as a person who would rat out her neighbours, for breaking a bylaw, the same bylaw that she broke last week. But than again, coming from money, I am a bit bias whether she knows what it is like to do common labour, or does she hire a guy to do it.

    I see the P4E is back to normal, attacking the few brave parents who dare to voice something differently other than the unionists and teachers who populate the site. One parent dare to question why the actual hard copy of the EQAO testing, was not shown to the parents. She suspect it must be some type of secret, to prevent parents from finding out why their children did not do well. It looks like the P4E lost their small base of parents, especially in special education. I really don’t blame parents, once again heavily populated by unionists and teachers where parents ends up being attack, for asking simple questions. Or ignore altogether. Must be an election year, P4E has to count on the support of teachers and unions, or otherwise on it own, it would not survive.

    As for school resisters Doug, take a look in the grade 3 class. By than including my own child, learned how to hate school with a passion. It is what happens when students are provided the tools and instruction that will help them learn. Solid reading instruction would be a start, but no, they just tell the kids to try harder, the parents become the bad guys, and than they point to the one book worm, and asked the struggling students to copy their behaviour. Kids would like to do that, but with decoding and fluency problems, it is like asking the neighbour to build a house, by watching a video. Some skills need to be taught, and cannot be learn my watching videos, or others in the act.

    Steven, wonderfully stated in your last post, and the last paragraph should be repeated for Doug. I know, it is falling on deaf years, but I have to try.

    “That exceptional quality we have as people to inspire others to learn, is quickly called into question when we blame those who most value that very quality in contemporary democratic society, a quality which cultivates the depth of a student’s will to learn.”

    A video, called Teacher Union Meeting. About half way through, I wondering if teachers’ unions are actually thinking about how they killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. There is bad language, in the first half, and it is just a warning. It could have been done, without it and still be effective.

  306. Annie Kidder and P4E are taken seriously in education in Ontario by all “stakeholders” . Others are not.

    Her organization is not populated by unionists. They are everyday moms and dads.

  307. Yeah Doug, taken seriously by the ones, mostly educrats pushing their progressive agenda, based on equity, social justice and diversity. And now another piece is thrown in by another educrat, progressive evaluation for standardized testing, where schools and students will be measure on equity, social justice and diversity.

    “The Great Schools Project is a year old.We’ve begun to think in an organized way about how we might assess our schools to serve children and strengthen public education.We’re preparing ourselves to propose, not simply to oppose.We’re aware of many of the pitfalls and challenges that lie ahead.We have lots of work to do yet. We need to look at the range of possible assessment
    tools and processes, evaluate them,make judgments about them and recommend change. It’s likely our recommendations will include several methods of assessment that work in parallel and together.”

    Near the top, “While the progressive critique of standardized testing and its uses has gained traction over the last 10 years, we are vulnerable to the charge that we are somehow trying to avoid “accountability”. That’s a maddening irony, because it’s we who really care about what’s going on in schools and, in the broadest and most meaningful way, want them to be accountable.

    The “standardization agenda” on the other hand isn’t really
    about accountability. It’s about creating a curriculum and a pedagogy that build an individualist, consumerist, and passive culture, community and economy.”

    I can well imagine this utopia version and what is would look like in reality, where the biology of human beings, the cognitive sciences and the learning sciences are ignore, in favour of utopia measures on what it should be, and not the reality. I am afraid that this group of educrats, have been reading Marx, and ignore his warnings on human nature, and how they inevitably will over ride values of group think. As for the comments on the standardization agenda, regarding passive culture – not true according to the deep thinkers, and to many ordinary people across the world. Culture is a living entity, changing never static. Culture involves over time, according to the changing values of others around them. Culture never dies, and is constantly go under transformative change. Quebec and Newfoundland are two examples that clearly shows the transformative change, yet retaining many of the old values that stood the test of time. Below is a video link, of a song , a Whaling Ballad around the 1860s, called We Rant and We’ll Roar. Very much part of the culture of NL today, and is a value that really irritates those who are asking us to remain passive, and let the few elite to take care of them. The Great Schools Project is exactly that, turning people into passive thinkers, allowing the few to decide what is best for us. And they want to start with our children, instilling dogma and ideology over the 3Rs and a sound foundation, that instills innovation, and creativity in each individual.

  308. Nancy,

    these saterical views (teacher union meeting) strike an unpleasant chord for the make up of an educracy. The overall monotone, even where one would predict some emotional emphasis, is hillarious!


  310. Well Doug, did you read the whole article? So, I take it you agree that the mayor and council would have more power and say-so than the school board. Apparently, from what I gathered, the school board plays the role of clerk.

    Saying that, Montgomery County, Md is a very rich county, living next door to Washington DC. They can afford to play the game of affordable housing, since they have the connections at federal, state and local. You really have to get out, and take off your red-rosed glasses, in order to see the reality. The bonus is that lower income people, who work in some capacity for the well-to-do, have the ability to live near their employers, in nice homes that they would never be able to afford in the first place. They would be force to live in the next county, because they could not afford the rent in the high-rent district. This way everybody wins. Here is Canada, in neighbourhoods where you live, not in my back yard takes over.

    For the article, more of the same like the Great Schools paper. But the comments are to the point, they want nothing to do with it, and are calling for communities to take over education and look after the children’s education. Unions, federal and state levels for once start serving the people, instead of data sheets.

    As one poster states: “The notion that governments can dictate ‘best practice’ to teachers is errant nonsense. Good teachers vary enormously in their approach–it matters not a whit whether you are a grim authoritarian or cheerful and unorthodox. So long as you can command the respect of your students–which necessarily implies that you have something worthwhile to teach them and know how to do it–you will succeed.”

    Or this one: “Oh wow. Here come the techno-Fabians. The answer for everything is more socialism and more control. “Give us more statistics!” Now kids will have a public document that will follow them around for life? Are you kidding? Get out of here with your nanny-state totalitarianism. How long until DHS gets automatic updates?

    The big problem with social science today is that is has too much faith in the hypothesis/evidence process. Economics, for one, is a logical science referring to reality and does not rely on positivist measures. It is how one can deduce that socialist school systems are inherent failures, or that interventions into the economy– even for altruistic goals– will have net negative results. ”

    I bet the last poster thinks the 3Rs are important, and not all the socialist agenda, that is on the minds of educrats.

  311. Google “NAACP opposes Charter schools” wow the NAACP opposes charter schools across America because it discriminates against black people.

  312. I hate to break it to you Nancy but ALL public school systems, by their very nature, are socialist. That is why the reform movement wants to privatize them.

    Medicare and public pensions are also socialist. Finland the socialist system is first in the world, Cuba, socialist island id best education system in the developing world.

    China is moving up rapidly in the world, check OECD Shanghai.

    The USA is the most capitalist country in the developed world and #19 in the OECD.

    The nature of socialist systems is much higher education results. Check Sweden, Norway, ……

  313. Doug, there is a big difference in socialist states and socialist ideology. Socialist ideology is on par with propaganda of the worst kind. Trust me, we are the only ones that will help you, not your family. How many times have I heard that one or the many variations in the last 10 years? Many other parents have heard it to as well, and we wonder where are they getting these ideas. Or how about feelings, the asking of feelings? Really feelings are more important, than remediation of a writing problem? Or a parent is told by the school, their standards are too high, and the parent is at blame for the high stress of the student? Heard that one too a couple of times from educ rats. Public schools are not socialist systems, but the unions, and the other arms are practicing socialist principles and in Canada, the curriculum is throughly soaked in it.

    Speaking about being soaked in it, an example is the teaching of rights, under the social justice umbrella. Try selling that one to the NAACP, a civil rights organization, that knows what rights are. As for Charter schools, they are not against them, but have valid questions why they are mainly located in low-income areas. I am not going any further into it, because I do not have the knowledge, but below is a link for your reading pleasure. But be careful, all kinds of stats that does not make the public education look good, and their low regard for civil rights of peoples and the individual.


    But in Canada, the civil rights of students are a low priority and probably down at the bottom of educrats’ priorities. The latest that I heard my youngest tell me. Apparently, on a teacher seminar, the teachers were told, make sure the student hits first, than the teacher can than hit the student. And this was a teacher telling this in class. I bet most of the students reported this to their parents, and my first thought, or actually I had two thoughts – the seminar was about legal aspects and two, what happens if a teacher was looking for a fight, and the student could not stand it any longer, and swung? Legal implications here for the teacher and the hiring of a good lawyer by the parents where the teacher would end up being charge. I can see it happening somewhere soon in my province, and it happened to a teacher who was looking for a fight and it was not on school grounds. The teacher was trying to provoke a fight with a much younger person. He was the one ended up being charge and convicted.

    Another organization, that has closed ties with the educ rats, is called the Children’s Rights Centre. How the social justice policies sound just like the Children’s Rights Centre. I raise my eyebrow on this one, “Don’t let your children criticize themselves. Children should not be allowed to call themselves dumb because of a bad grade on a test. Rather, parents should point out to the child that it is not the child that is inadequate, but the problem is a result of some action that the child has or has not taken. If parents don’t intervene when their children are being self-critical, children may believe that their parents agree with them.”

    The problem is a result of some action that the child has or has not taken???!!!!! Talk about blaming the child, when it is the policies and instruction at the schools, that are teaching these children that they are dumb. And another thing, how would a child know what actions or non-actions that led him to believe that he was dumb. Go on the Children of the Code, it starts there, and the social justice policies along with progressive instruction methods, creates repeated experiences of feeling dumb, and not book smart at all.


  314. A reform agenda based on the odd notion that we ought to look seriously at the nations with successful education systems.


  315. Exciting news from Ontario-


    Phonics will return and the insanity of not teaching it will finally stop-the damage is created unnecessarily K-3 and many never catch up.

    We need to train the teachers,we`ll figure it out-
    Come on,change has always begun with grassroots movements of 2-3 people and grown incremently Doug.

    Kisses and hugs Doug.

  316. Not an odd notion, but seeking standards from another country, or a combination of countries, and applying the standards or benchmarks to a country’s education system, is the false assumption that successful education systems and models of countries can be copied, and applied to another country. The paper does not take into consideration the makeup of the country, demographics, the geographic size, culture, history, languages, economic systems and the national aspirations of a country.

    That said, the paper is obviously slanted, toward the global outlook in education, where research and policies are more often filled with dogma, ideology, and what ifs, rather than the more practical aspects and reality on the ground of the individual countries. For example, near the end of the report, Ontario is mentioned as the model to copy for the United States. It starts on page 43, and the first recommendation to copy, is to make peace with the teachers’ unions. And, “They insisted on high standards but they listened hard to what the teachers had to say about the support they needed to raise student
    achievement to those standards. They decided that the highest leverage strategy available to them was to build the capacity and professional skill and commitment of their in-place teaching force. They focused on what it would take to build capacity at every level of the system to deliver, and wherever possible, supplied it. They made a point of trusting teachers and the teachers returned their trust……”

    Applying other countries’ standards or benchmarks, and adapt them to another country, can work well, if the country or a province is taking care of the nuts and bolts, the essentials, the foundation skills that are essential for high achievement, or at the very least raising achievement for all students. I have observed, and noted in Canada, reforms of the educrats, and in the link that Doug has provided, their reforms do not include reading, writing and numeracy instruction, that are based on the science and the research of the pass 60 years. In Ontario, as the government made peace with the public sector unions, and other reforms dealing with teachers and in particular teacher collaboration at the school level, board level, and even across provinces, one would expect a higher percentage of Canadians at level 3 in reading, writing and numeracy. Not the case apparently, according the many reports of literacy agencies and Canada stats that have stated otherwise.

    “Many people find it difficult to believe that Canada—one of the leaders among the G8 industrialized nations—has a literacy problem. However, statistics show that more than 48% of all Canadian adults (those over the age of 16) lack the kind of prose literacy skills required to cope in a modern society. This means that they have difficulty reading, understanding and functioning effectively with written material, according to the OECD’s International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS).

    And the problem is not going to go away.

    In its landmark 2008 report, Reading the Future: Planning to meet Canada’s future literacy needs, CCL explained that thanks to a number of demographic trends (population growth, aging population and immigration rates) Canada will likely witness little to no overall progress in adult literacy rates over the next two decades.

    According to the report’s projections, by 2031 about 47% of adults will have low prose literacy skills (below IALSS Level 3) meaning that the face of low adult literacy in Canada will remain virtually unchanged for years to come. The report also provided regional literacy projections as part of its interactive PALMM tool (Projections of Adult Literacy—Measuring Movement) a free online program that gives users the ability to calculate and compare future literacy rates for 10 provinces and three territories.”

    Further evidence in both Canada and United States, is the increased numbers of students entering post-secondary that have low literacy and numeracy skills. Another item that is not track by the public education system in Canada. In the United States, somewhat better tracking, where the most reported number, is 40% of first year students have low literacy and numeracy skills. Another reported number, are the number of low literacy and numeracy skills of grade 12 graduates, at 33 % which is the most reported number. However, I suspect that has grown in the last 10 years, based on the private tutoring growth, courses at the post-secondary level, to address weak literacy, numeracy and science skills of first year students, and the government sponsor retraining programs that include literacy and numeracy remediation.

    Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, is another typical example of the numerous reports of educrats on reforms for the public education system, where there is no mentioned of the low literacy numbers, the growth of remediation of the basic skills in work, post-secondary and private tutoring companies. There is an assumption of the educrats that the pedagogy that is taught is the correct pedagogy, and in some papers the best pedagogy. Somehow, it has never made sense to me, and it is certainly not the practices of scientists, or otherwise we be still in the dark ages. Apparently, the teachers’ colleges and the educrats are quite content to remain in the dark ages when it comes to reading, writing and numeracy instruction, and to remain in the dark ages concerning cognitive and learning development of children, based more on a feel good philosophy of Dewey-speak, that takes bits and pieces of the science, and expect it to work as well as the methods based on the real science. Pseudo-science seems to be a given, and practiced well by the educrats. Until that is removed, the reforms that the educrats speak of, will be a series of mix-results, failures and few if any successes concerning reforms.

    Another current example, is the resistance of the teachers’ colleges to trained teachers concerning math instruction.

    Two videos below, on Jump Math, and I leave it to the readers why Jump Math or an equivalent is not used in the classrooms, but in my opinion, Jump Math cannot be adapted to the Dewey-speak, the social justice theories, or the diversity theories, and therefore, the educrats will dismiss all instruction and curriculum that are based on the science.

    1. Ending the Ignorance

    2. A student’s story about Jump Math.

    Doug, it is all about the instruction, the training, and the curriculum to improve student’s achievement, to make headway and inroads to innovation, creativity, high literacy and numeracy levels, that in turn will increase the standard of living for all. It is all about reaching the full potential of each individual, that have the abilities and skills needed to make good decisions for themselves, following their own pathway, based on their own knowledge resting on a solid foundation of the 3Rs.

    It is all about closing the gap of all students, based on the science of learning.

  317. Oh I am not too worried now, read the whole program. Hudak pledges to spend as much on education as McGuinty did, he is smartening up, he realizes that the politician who says they can spend less on education will lose for sure.

    My personal favourite is when the reporter asked him about “the doomed faith-based promise from his predecessor John Tory, Hudak firmly said “NO we are not going down that path.”

    Phonics won’t make things any worse but they also won’t make things any better either. I hope he brings in phonics so that we can finally see, there are NO SILVER BULLETS in education. It is hard work every day smaller classes, teacher education etc that improves education.

    Read the learning matters article above. We can model our system on #1 in the word Finland, or #19 the USA. Since we already are #3 at worst, which do you think makes more sense?

  318. No silver bullets, especially under a system that do not train teachers on the science, rather than the current brainwashing that is being employed at the teachers’ colleges in North America, to keep pseudo-education policies in place for the expressed purpose to increase teachers, small class sizes, and the creation of an army of educrats to micro-managed the lowest levels of the system to ensure compliance of the education policies.

    Small class sizes have been used for years in addressing LD remediation. Outcomes in Canada, are poor based on the pseudo pedagogy of the teachers colleges. Just look at the job that was done to my youngest, who had an excellent early childhood education, and by the end of grade 3, she was at a grade 1 level. She became the whiz kid in the SE math class for two years where remediation consisted of teaching current curriculum outcomes at two grade levels below, the SE current grade. No remediation on the weaknesses, but the LD students are certainly stamped with the dumb label, and in some cases etched on their forehead, so they never forget it for the rest of their lives.

    Some outcomes on the progressive reforms, that educrats refuses to acknowledge. And one might as well have a laugh instead of tears.

    The educrats accountable only to themselves, and certainly not to the child’s best interest.

  319. Nancy,

    Did it ever cross your mind that teachers find it profoundly insulting to be told how to teach by non-teachers?

    Teachers teach the way their boards, the ministry and the teaching institutions teach them to teach.

  320. steven
    Awe come on Doug, just say it is the parents fault!

    I don’t need to say it, it is obvious. You cannot blame the parents for being low income where 90% of the problems come from but some people can and do overcome circumstances.

    The funny one to me is the reaction of the ‘reform’ community, much like the old Reform party of the same name, to the international evidence of what works.

    “We don’t want to hear that stuff because if we listened we would have to admit that our right wing ideological solutions are not real solutions, they are just politics. We don’t want a larger state system, better educated (and therefore better paid) teachers, we don’t believe in fixing poverty although it is easily fixed, we don’t even want smaller classes even if they are offered.

    We want to privatize the system because at root we don’t believe in government. Some of us see our religion dying out and think religious schools could save it (because it is just working so well for the catholics LOL), some of us hope we can make a buck on education if it was privatized (Bill Gates), some of us resent good teacher salaries and ‘summers off’. Some of us were bad students ourselves and instead of recognizing this fact, we blame the schools.”

    Funny, the vast majority of students do well in school and go on to lead successful lives. They had the same teachers using the same methods in the same classes. In this experiment, all of the school factors were held constant. I wonder then where the fault is? Could it be the out of school factors? OMG, it is.

    Parents ever read Pogo? We have met the enemy and he is us.”

    • “Could it be out of school factors?”


      Sounds like damage control.

  321. Speaking about profiting from the pubic education – here is the new brand world of educrats form of privatization.

    Of course, can anyone see the day, when teachers (the union) will be charging the school board millions of dollars in copyright material created by the educators, but no one would be allow to criticized it and all students will be force to used it, no matter how ineffective it is?

    Oh yes I can see the day, when the unions will get into the publishing business, to lined their pockets with dollars without the accountability.

  322. Awe come on Doug, now you are fixated with blaming the parents who are under the poverty level and students who have poor achievement records.

    Watch out for Hudak, Doug. He’s gonna getcha!

  323. Could it be that Doug, and it appears quite evident among the teachers’ blogs, and video clips, that parents are becoming the next bad guy to be used by the unions? To ward off the educrats and their new policies on data-driven mostly based on the SEC factors and teacher quality factors.

    The next video, it might very well be the future. Sort of ironic, if it does come true.

  324. In a publication of the International Reading Association a leading
    Canadian reading expert, Dr. Keith E. Stanovich, confirms the necessity of
    phonics. “That direct instruction in alphabetic coding facilitates early
    reading acquisition is one of the most well-established conclusions in all
    behavioral science” (Stanovich, pp. 285-6).

    Dr. Diane McGuinness, in a newly published book, summarizes the last 25
    years of empirical studies on reading instruction. “From research in the
    classroom and the clinic, we have discovered that when the sequence of
    reading and spelling instruction is compatible with the logic of the
    alphabet code and with the child’s linguistic and logical development,
    learning to read and spell proceeds rapidly and smoothly for all children
    and is equally effective for poor readers of all ages” (McGuinness, p.

    Remember my story from OISE-How should we teach kids to read?This is 2 years ago -3rd floor says-this way of course-I say,why don`t you tell the profs that license the teachers-we did
    They won`t listen.
    I say,tell the MOE,oh,that is just politics.

    Tim Hudak has been fascinated with the research,after all any NORMAL person is and feels compelled to act on it.

    Thus ,a responsible involved leader will prescribe K-3 phonics,not just once in a while,explicitly and systematically taught.

    A DR.prescribes Penicillin for infection,averting literacy problems with Phonics instruction is a logical solution.
    Why can`t the tax paying public tell teachers they want it?
    Teachers want it also-in many private discussions with teachers,they feel very frustrated at the problems they see with their kids and how they graduated saying,”but what about Reading?”Prof says,don`t worry,it just happens.
    Insanity at work.

  325. The vast majority of parents are great because they understand their role and take it seriously.

    There is a small malcontent group with high needs children who like to blame ‘the system’ because they want to project their own problems onto ‘the system’.

    This small group is usually composed of parents of SE kids gravitate the right wing ideologues who attempt to use these people to prove that ‘the public system’ is the problem. The parents of successful don’t join because to them the system worked fine.

    Some gravitate to homeschooling which attracts the off grid granola crowd as well and the evangelical crowd who don’t want their children exposed to the 21 century.

    These ideologes want to privatize the system. Luckily there is NO appetite for privatization of education in Canada. The support level is so low that even the Tories won’t touch it.

  326. Interesting that the sisters and brothers over at SQE say “accontability measures are not enough” only CHOICE (read privatization) is enough so therefore privatization is the prime directive of the reform movement.

    Hudak, quite a right winger even in the context of his own party, says basically charters, vouchers and merit pay not going to happen.

    If he won’t bring in the only ‘real solution’, who will?

  327. Awe come on Doug, now your blaming a small number of parents with special ed. needs. Keep searching, there has to be someone out there you have not blamed yet.

  328. There is not much of a problem overall when we are considered one of the world’s best systems.

    Some people and there kids did not succeed or are in the process of not being successful. If they are poor it is more understandable because the poor do the worst in every system for complex but understood reasons.

    If the family is not poor, there may be a limited ability issue or there may be an issue of the home environment.

    The students have the same teachers in the same schools with the same admin support staff as the successful kids.

  329. Awe come on Doug, looks like you would blame the home schooling crowd also. tsk, tsk.

  330. Doug and the rest of the educrats practices the soft bigotry of low expectations, and it starts at the beginning of the school process, and throughout society.

    First example, is to excuse bad behaviour.

    “And it is bigotry. Accepting this extreme, deadly misogyny is bigotry: the soft bigotry of low expectations. Jim Coyle and the Star don’t think Muslims can be any better. They don’t think they can hold them to higher standards. So they excuse and explain.”

    Commonly found inside the schools where victims of bullies are force to apologized to the bully, because the bully could not help himself, due to outside factors of poverty, parents and so on. Bad behaviour should never be excuse, but it is everyday in the schools across Canada. When the bully is one of the top students academically, apparently they are seen as being incapable of bullying. The reverse of blaming it on SEC factors, but still the victim is force to apologized for offending the sensibilities of the grade A students.

    Second example:

    “About 25 minutes after the above video, the C-SPAN host asked Randi Weingarten a simple question about the African American black drop out rates in this country. Listen to her Marxist response, which–in today’s terms–is seeing the world through the holy liberal trinity of race, class, and gender. 2/3 of reason why students fail is because of “socio-economic issues.” Indeed, Marx is alive and well in our public educational institutions. If this isn’t the very worst kind of racism, what is? The soft bigotry of low expectations–as Pres. Bush used to say–on display here is simply disgusting.”

    Third example:
    From a parent, that speaks of the soft bigotry of low expectations.

    “From home, it can be hard for parents to understand the damage that’s being done to our kids until it’s too late and our children suddenly require remediation, tutoring, or have their hopes for their future crushed when they discover they’re woefully unprepared for college. When I initially began volunteering at my kids’ school, I admit, it was to monitor the education my own kids were receiving. In these last years, however, the education all our kids are receiving has revealed itself as the train wreck from which I can’t look away. Moral duty compels me to share what I have seen that every parent should know.

    While I have either personally witnessed or have reliable sources who have witnessed these atrocities within Spokane Public Schools, they are in no way isolated to this little town in eastern Washington. The trend is nationwide.”

    From The Economist:
    “But it is now clear that the switch has achieved another win for transparency: exposing just how many British state school teachers and politicians of the left are guilty of the “soft bigotry of low expectations”, to borrow a phrase from American educational politics.


    Or here is a series of quotes, on one page why the parents are the blame, and not the soft bigotry of low expectations that is practice throughout the education system.

    “What has been the most significant change in American culture in the last 30 years? The family. As it became more extended, more decentralized and less insulated; many parents, perhaps overcompensating for their strict upbringing, adopted more laissez-faire and lenient parenting styles. Whether or not a child likes his teacher has become more important to some parents than the responsibilities and self-discipline of the child. All too often, self-esteem trumps real character.
    When a child isn’t taught by his parents to make school his top priority, it isn’t. When parents don’t monitor their children’s homework, it often isn’t done; when grades and progress reports aren’t discussed in the home, they aren’t effective in the school. And, when children aren’t held accountable for their academic performance by their parents, there is only so much a teacher can do.”

    “Teaching is a tough job these days, made even tougher by parents who play the Blame Game instead of insisting that their children be held responsible for what they learn or don’t learn in a classroom and that they be respectful of others?
    There’s not that much “wrong” with public education these days that a little common sense – and responsibility – can’t cure. ”


    And within the above link, there is 2020 episode called Stupid in America, that clearly points out the much revere practice of the soft bigotry of low expectations within the public education system.

    What makes me particular angry, that Doug is not an exception. One just has to asked the parents the reasons given by the educrats and unionists why their child is struggling in reading or writing or in numeracy. Doug, does think that some children are too dumb to learn how to read, write and do numeracy well. But after watching the 2020 episode, the reasons underlying the lines of thoughts by the Dougs of the world, can be reveal to looking after their own best interests and not the children’s best interests.

  331. The Reform movement is about privatization. The rest is window dressing. The Tories are about getting elected.

    Reform ideas are not popular and never will be popular. That is why Hudak in Ontario will start chain gangs, put ankle bracelets on sex offenders and many other crazy right wing ideas but he refuses to fund private schools and he says he will keep eduction spending at Liberal levels.

    That ought to tell you how far out reform ideas are. A mouth breathing mossy back Trogodyte like Tim Hudak thinks they are too far out.

  332. The privatization argument is old Doug. How about looking in the public education system and the privatization done by the educrats. You know Doug, the closed shop routine and how percentages of funding flow away from the students, to finance more of the closed shop, and the lifestyles of the educrats.

    How about extortion of money from the parents?

    “And you thought liberal public schools didn’t believe in making kids work hard. Why they’re ready to bring back
    indentured servitude!
    That’s what a mom named Laura Wellington just found out. Her daughter came home from school with instructions to
    “accomplish chores around the house with the goal of being paid by me for those chores the sum of $20,” Wellington wrote on her blog. “She would then have to hand the full $20 over to the school to make up for the shortfall in their overall budget.” Her daughter’s participation, according to the information the school sent home, was mandatory. So you’re supposed
    to shake mom down for $20 and give it all to the teachers – no questions asked?

    You’ll be stunned to learn this happened at a school in New Jersey. And isn’t it interesting that this school was sending its little Johnnies and Julies home to collect, not for a field trip or class pizza day, but for the actual operating budget of the school. As in teacher salaries and benefits. This puts even more pressure on the kids. After all, now it’s nice Mrs. Johnson’s paycheck at stake.

    This trend in public school fundraising is on the rise. According to The Boston Globe-Democrat, private donations to Massachusetts public schools have jumped from $10 million to $27 million in the past decade.
    Right now, Arlington is trying to squeeze moms and dads out of an extra $1 million for teacher salaries through its
    “Bridge The Gap” initiative. Arlington taxpayers, it seems, just aren’t paying enough. So parents and citizens are
    being hectored and harassed by education do-gooders to pay more.”

    “The root of the problem can be summarized in three terms: (1) teachers’ unions, (2) education schools, and (3) the federal government. Each of these has become its own rent-seeking and bureaucratic institution, following a dynamic, well described by Public Choice Economics, that serves themselves as institutions but bears little relation to what most people would think of as the purposes of education, let alone public education. The most disturbing feature of this dynamic is the extent to which ignorance promotes the control and purposes of the educational establishment better than the successful dissemination of knowledge would. ”

    New word Doug, Public Choice Economics – short meaning of it – Public education systems forces the users to work for the best interests of the educrats.

    “This week’s example: government’s assault (at all levels) on the homeschool movement, which now includes threats to send homeschool parents to jail. Government’s great fear in this matter is not that the kids are being short-changed or abused – it’s that they might be getting a better education than the government-educrat de facto monopoly can provide and that the word might get out. ”

    Read more: The real reason the state opposes homeschooling http://www.wnd.com/index.php/index.php?pageId=16213#ixzz1NlzSsR3t

    A whole new class of educrats are born, cruising the city looking for the violators that dare to break their school zone laws, parents and children who dare to practice looking after their own best interests, and not the best interests of the educrats. Lots of money being directed for this cause, a whole legion of consultants, to enforcers, to getting lectures why parents are the blame for the ills of the public schools. Seldom talk about, is the meetings of the educrats to train the other educators, how to protect themselves legally from the parents who want their children to read, write and do numeracy well. Protect the educrats of dumbing down the curriculum and outcome policies, from parents who dare to question their authority and expertise. Lawyers fees, in Canada it probably is 500 million dollars yearly. A lot of money, to protect the questionable practices of educrats. Would it not be easier just to teach the kids to read and write using the science? Not according to the educrats.

    “The funding and academic numbers weren’t on their side (far from it, in fact), but these well-heeled purveyors of failure were nonetheless able to continue living large – drawing their six-figure salaries, enjoying their taxpayer-funded vacations and squirreling away hundreds of millions of dollars in reserve accounts while our children’s test scores and graduation rates continued to fall.

    It was all “for the children,” we were told – and anyone who dared to challenge these government-funded goons (or their increasingly-costly stranglehold on generational ineptitude) was promptly demonized as wanting to “destroy public education.”

    “What exists is more and more taking the form of socialized education with very exact governmental plans regarding curricula and goals. This would be fine, except the goals are not academic, but have more to do with attitudes, beliefs and behaviors – this is because behavioral psychologists have taken over the field of “education”.


    “These conditions have combined to form the perfect storm in education in which actual student learning is seen as unimportant. Publishers just want to sell books and educators only care about process, not outcomes. Educators are more interested in picking and choosing among various sources to create home-brewed curricula that is fun and interesting to students, but often ignore whether this Frankstein’s monster they’ve created is actually effective in teaching their students. The resultant disdain for standardized testing which shines the spotlight of failure on their creation is the inevitable result.”

    “One of the problems with education is that there are many assumptions passing as fact. Those assumptions are often based on what seems to be common sense.

    For example, most of us would assume that smaller classes would lead to higher achievement, yet there’s scant evidence that smaller classes or smaller schools make that much difference for the average student. (They do seem to help low-income students in the early grades.)

    Consider the assumptions around block scheduling. The belief was that teachers in block schools would approach 90-minute classes much differently than they had 55 minute classes; they would provide several hands-on activities for their students. But, in fact, teachers taught much the same way despite the longer class periods, meaning that students on block schedules actually lost out because they got nothing more in 90 minutes than their peers received in standard classes.

    The New York Times has an interesting column about other assumptions embraced as fact, such as children needing a dedicated and quiet space for homework and students bringing unique learning styles to the classroom.”

    How much of the education funding is being directed to defend the current practices of the public education system? I don’t know, but it would not surprise me that it is a percentage somewhere in the 40 percentages. Take for example in the last link, the amount of paper used to tell every parent in my area, the same thing on homework, and learning styles year after year. It never changes from one year to the next, and if a parent questions it, they are treated to the educrat’s dance of blame. for not following the prescribe methods of the educrats. The same prescribe methods of the educrats, that are not permitted to be reviewed by the real experts, the scientists and researchers. That is left to the other educrats who are hook up with the textbook publishers to make false assumptions as the truth.

    As for Doug, and his line – “A mouth breathing mossy back Troglodyte” – Well Doug, that is you in a nutshell, and should you be so lucky to go to the doctor’s office, that practices the same type of methodology of the educrats – Tell me how you would feel, if the doctor was going to treat cancer by using aspirin? Not to good, than why do the educrats insist on practicing, using faulty methodology and false assumptions? The public education system, can extort far more taxpayers money, than they can from a system that is based on the science and accountability models.

    As for prisoners picking up trash, unionists opposes all who dare to picked up the trash, because they see it as their job, and only public sector unions can handle this difficult job. Just like the educrats, who refuses to have volunteer parents to teach reading, writing, or present in a series of classes the ABCs of learning math the easy way.


    1. a prehistoric cave dweller.
    2. a person of degraded, primitive, or brutal character.
    3. a person living in seclusion.

    It is what I would describe a public education system and its educrats who strive to degrade all persons’ knowledge and make mockery of those who opposes the educrats and the system.

    Perhaps all the sex offenders can move into Doug’s neighbourhood, without the bracelets. There is a solution for Toronto, put them all in Doug’s neighbourhood, and move the families, schools to another area. Of course he would scream, that is not fair, but than common sense solutions such as monitoring sex offenders through bracelets, are also eschewed. Like the common sense solutions that are presented, are eschewed by the educrats on a regular basis. If anything, Doug is a firm believer of the meaner aspects of a capitalistic economy, where the top dog wins no matter the methods used, and how much harm is done to the people. This happens, when a person works in a monopoly, especially the public sector, where they are begin to think and believe that the taxpayer works for them, and the taxpayer is held accountable and blamed for everything. Much like what is happening, where the teachers’ unions are now blaming parents for all the ills of the public education system.

  333. If the shoe fits …….

  334. ….then perhaps you did not notice what you stepped in!

    Wake up Doug, you’re bad for business because your blame game is bad for your business!

  335. Boy Doug, surfing the net for educrats stuff is not a hard task anymore. People from all over, including political stripes are doing their thing, on what they do not like or are questioning the actions of a public school system.

    1. “Flunking the dress code test
    My, but there’s an awful lot wrong with this situation:

    A 17-year-old high school student said he was humiliated when a teacher made him sit on the floor during a midterm exam in his ethnicity class — for wearing a Denver Broncos jersey.
    The teacher, John Kelly, forced Joshua Vannoy to sit on the floor to take the test on Friday — two days before the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Broncos 34-17 in the AFC Championship game. Kelly also made other students throw crumpled up paper at Vannoy, whom he called a “stinking Denver fan,” Vannoy told The Associated Press.

    Kelly said Vannoy, a junior at Beaver Area Senior High School, just didn’t get the joke. “If he felt uncomfortable, then that’s a lesson; that’s what (the class) is designed to do,” Kelly told The Denver Post. “It was silly fun. I can’t believe he was upset.”
    So, in just a few short words, we’ve learned (a) that an ethnicity class is designed not to make students more informed, but uncomfortable; (b) that he considered insults and projectiles to be a good joke for him to play on a student; and (c) that “ethnicity” is related to choice of football teams. Hmm.”

    2. “The way to save is to behave
    The British government plans to give kids money to be used only in acceptable venues:

    Controversial plans to pay teenagers not to be yobs will be introduced across the country after a trial in the West, it was announced yesterday. Children from poor families will get up to £12 a month in pocket money from the Government to spend on sports or cultural activities, or even high street shops. But they risk being stripped of the cash if they get mixed up in crime and anti-social behaviour.
    Critics are likely to accuse Ministers of rewarding teenagers simply for behaving well, something they should do anyway. But the Government has been hugely impressed by a project run by Splash-Wiltshire which pioneered the use of discount cards, and believes it helps crackdown on yob culture.

    The charity distributes £10 discount cards to vulnerable and poor teenagers which can be used to pay for activities ranging from adventure sports to drama.

    It sounds more like a coupon than cash, but if the purpose is to get kids into the sports or drama culture, shouldn’t they be sure to give these cards to kids who are at the highest risk; i.e., those who do have criminal problems? I mean, if we want to give those kids another option, why take away that option once the kid gets into trouble?

    And what if the kids aren’t interested in the coupons, because the lure of being a “yob” is too exciting? Hope the government has another trick up its sleeve”

    “Scientists have developed technology to “teleport” holographs of teachers into the classroom.
    Equipment which can beam the interactive image of a teacher into schools, where it can hold conversations and make eye contact with pupils, is to go on display at the BETT education technology exhibition next month.

    Its creators at the Digital World Centre in Manchester believe it could be used to educate children living in remote areas, or to teach specialist lessons in minority subjets, which would otherwise be uneconomic.

    Nifty, but it makes me wonder – given all the disciplinary problems I’ve read about, and unruly students who ignore real teachers, how on earth is a classroom going to stay under control with a holographic teacher? Or, perhaps, this is a great idea, because the schools can hire bouncers from clubs, or off-duty cops, to make the kids shut up and sit down, while the teacher can beam in from a safe distance away.

    Interestingly, this article is actually 6 years old. Given that we don’t have holographic teachers yet, does this mean the technology still isn’t there? Or did the NEA rise up as one and block this development, seeing as how one good teacher could be beamed into many classrooms at once?”

    Too bad, the blog creator ended this blog, on the event of her marriage. She certainly sees the funny side to the educrats.

    A far more serious link is below, thanks largely to Doug’s comments. Doug keeps on stating, that those that opposed the public education system, and its Dewey-speak and progressism, are small in numbers. And yet historically speaking, going back to the Ontario Dennis-Hall Report in 1968, the very same things that we talk about were warned back than. The dire consequences of child-centre philosophies. I suppose my children were victims, especially my youngest, but than my children are in good company. My youngest I manage to stemmed the tide of progressivism slop that was threatening my child’s future. The one that was ordained by the educrats so many moons ago. Developmentally slow, are words that still ring in my head to this day, by educrats to explain away the reading and numeracy difficulties. The child-centre philosophies should really be read as, educrat-centre philosophies.

    Written by Paul Bennett, and yes I would love to read a bit more about Dr. James Daly and his booklet. Try to find a copy, if only to carve a new pathway by looking at people who have gone before us. I was always told, in order to go forward, the history is the starting point.


    “In Daly’s view, the essentials of education were under siege. In its spirit and tone, the Report represented a virtual declaration of war against traditionalism. It may have simply reflected the prevailing liberal reformist winds of the 1960s,47 but to him it amounted to a call to arms.
    The Report’s most ferocious critic was appalled at its soft, wholly-headed view of the acquisition of knowledge and its narrowing of the whole concept of learning. In
    chapter 3, he argued that the Report attempted to separate two inseparable aspects of learning — content and process. It was a grave mistake to assert that “how to learn and think” mattered more than “what to know and remember.” He took exception to the standard progressive line that “we teach the child, not the subject.” “Can the
    child learn without learning something?,” he asked rhetorically. His answer: “learning means learning something.” Turning another Hall-Dennis mantra on its head, Daly offered this dictum: “Education is a process not a thing, but it is a process by which things are learned.”48”

  336. charters, vouchers, merit pay, testing ……..

    ALL FAILURES all fads, one after another fall on their face.

    There are no silver bullets. They simply delay and avoid the hard work and extra expense of doing what is really required.

    The grown ups are doing what is required, looking at the successful countries, (only 2 more successful than Canada) and seeing what needs to be done.

    The reform movement is excluded from the conversation because their ideas are already failures and the most conservative Canadian parties won’t touch them with a barge pole.

  337. pale propaganda Doug, from a pale mediocracy.

  338. on May 30, 2011 at 9:17 am | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Just checked this blog.
    As I suspected, the focus is NOT on improving public education.
    What I’m seeing here is a battle over who gets the political power to destroy our public education system. Whether wight-wing, left-wing, pro or anti-voucher, and etc., the result will be the same.
    Little or nothing will be achieved but at a much higher cost.

    • no Andrew, ultimately it’s about who has power over money. It’s ALWAYS about money!

      • Yes. Money and always wanting more and giving very little….or should I say nothing in return for those dollars.

        Doug’s arguments are laughable and bare no resemblance to anything having to do with actually delivering effective education to children while accounting to parents.

        Ontario’s public service is in for a rude awakening come October. Don’t let Doug’s bluster and tangents fool you.

  339. Let me see;

    Hudak will keep and complete the ELP. I guess that was OK all along then.

    Hudak will add $2 billion to the education budget. I guess those who said system was underfunded were correct.

    Hudak will not allow charters vouchers or merit pay. I guess he thinks those were wrong.

    Hudak will change union dues opt out for politics. Supreme Court has already said no problem. We’ll see.

    Hudak will bring in phonics (snooze)

  340. Doug’s arguments are laughable and bare no resemblance to anything having to do with actually delivering effective education to children while accounting to parents.


    I think you may need a subtle reminder that the opinions I express here are hardly out on the fringe.

    To a far greater extent than the reform movement;

    They reflect mainstream opinion, the polls and studies are easily supplied.

    They reflect mainstream research;

    They reflect mainstream values in support of the PS system.

    It is the “reform movement” that is so far out on the fringe that even the Tories won’t touch their main policies of charters, vouchers and merit pay.

    Read the beliefs over at SQE. Nothing short of charters/vouchers will do.

    Which political party supports this in Canada? The Alberta Tories maybe.

  341. It is all about the money, and how it is getting redirected to the pet projects of the educrats through education funding and outside organizations/foundations where the main interest is in public education.

    Social Justice sneak into the backdoor of the public education system, and is now being formally entrenched in the core subjects in math, science and language arts. Particular scary, when it comes to math, and now I know why some groups who are against the social justice policies of the public education system, are up in arms about it.

    I took the opportunity this afternoon, to track one site that is based on social justice, and how it got started.

    “RadicalMath.org was launched in April 2006 by Jonathan Osler who at the time was teaching at a public high school in Brooklyn, NY. Since then this website has had over 1 million page views.

    “Radical Math Teachers are educators who work to integrate issues of economic and social justice into our math classes, and we seek to inspire and support other educators to do the same.

    We believe that math literacy is a civil right, and that our nation’s failure to provide students, especially low-income youth of color, with a high-quality math education, is a terrible injustice.

    We are committed to making sure our classrooms are places that are nurturing for all students, that celebrate different cultures, histories, and styles of learning, and that reflect the just societies we are hoping to bring about through our own lives and teaching practices.”

    So I track the creator of this site, and discovered seed money from public education sites, as well as connections from the big names in education foundations. As well as a group of people working within the public education system, promoting social justice as the key to achievement at all levels. The creator of RadicalMath, first worked in New York City, at a public school, than moved onto California, and is now working as a math consultant at the board level. Apparently still pushing the same type of social justice math as on his first site called RadicalMath, unto various schools within the Los Angles United School Board, within the context of the approve curriculum. Likewise RadicalMath has be displaced by the new site called Rethinking Schools.

    In 1986, a group of Milwaukee-area teachers had a vision.
    They wanted not only to improve education in their own classrooms and schools, but to help shape reform throughout the public school system in the United States.

    Today that vision is embodied in Rethinking Schools.

    Rethinking Schools began as a local effort to address problems such as basal readers, standardized testing, and textbook-dominated curriculum. Since its founding, it has grown into a nationally prominent publisher of educational materials, with subscribers in all 50 states, all 10 Canadian provinces, and many other countries.

    While the scope and influence of Rethinking Schools has changed, its basic orientation has not. Most importantly, it remains firmly committed to equity and to the vision that public education is central to the creation of a humane, caring, multiracial democracy. While writing for a broad audience, Rethinking Schools emphasizes problems facing urban schools, particularly issues of race.

    Throughout its history, Rethinking Schools has tried to balance classroom practice and educational theory. It is an activist publication, with articles written by and for teachers, parents, and students. Yet it also addresses key policy issues, such as vouchers and marketplace-oriented reforms, funding equity, and school-to-work.

    Brazilian educator Paulo Freire wrote that teachers should attempt to “live part of their dreams within their educational space.” Rethinking Schools believes that classrooms can be places of hope, where students and teachers gain glimpses of the kind of society we could live in and where students learn the academic and critical skills needed to make that vision a reality.

    Rethinking Schools attempts to be both visionary and practical: visionary because we need to be inspired by each other’s vision of schooling; practical because for too long, teachers and parents have been preached at by theoreticians, far-removed from classrooms, who are long on jargon and short on specific examples.”


    These are organizations that are at the grassroots level, seeded by small amounts of money from the big guys, to create the demand from the parents and the public, to asked for curriculum that is based on social justice principles.

    As for the guy that I was tracking, he worked at two high schools that have such low achievement in math, that anyone of the low achieving schools in Canada, would look good compared to the two schools he taught at. And now he is working at the board level, to spread social justice math into other schools. By the way, both schools are low-income, and from what I can determined that in the middle to upper income schools, there is no signs of social justice math.

    Social justice curriculum, is within Canada’s schools as well, but it was walked into the schools using the front doors. It is disguised as authentic learning, along with the social justice policies of the board. I really do not see much of it in my province especially in math curriculum, but what I have seen alarms me. What an awful way of doing math, and it really does nothing for improving achievement.

    Andrew, to ignore the political, funding and power of the education system is exactly what they want us to do, because it is the money that determines the politics that determines the education policies. And none of it have anything to do with delivering an effective and quality education to the children.

    I don’t know about you, but I wonder what your reaction would be if your grade 1 grandchild came home and told you all about the math lesson, and how unfair it was that some parents brought more crayons for their child, and should be force to share the excess crayons to the rest of the class. Where was the math, the counting of the crayons each child had. The rest is a social justice lesson on equality, and how each child should have equal amounts of crayons.

  342. Doug, while you have pursued your self appointed chancellorship for mainstream mediocrity, there continues to evolve a serious dialogue on reform issues. You are continuously marginalized because of your zeal for blaming the systematic flaws in contemporary education on the parent/student. AKA the consumer.

    You should take a cue from such stellar examples of parental insight proffered with sincerity, by posters who are credible and concerned with their community and the educational future for students who must be put first if challenges are to be confronted.

    You neither have a monopoly on values or a secure perspective/monopoly on education.

    Lead, follow or get out of the way!

    • thank-you steven well written! You’re right.

      Parents face folks like Doug right through their experiences in the public system.

  343. OK I will lead, reform prescriptons are being debunked on a regular basis.

    Testing? No relationship to improvement. If it actually worked USA would be #1 not #19. NAEP shows no improvement after many years of NCLB. Everybody is cheating.

    Charters? No better than PSs, CREDO study

    Vouchers? Milwaukee, no improvement

    Merit pay? No evidence of any improvement.

    Teacher bashing? Only drives the young ones out before year 5

    Mayoral control ? NYC is all you need to know, everybody hates Bloomberg especially parents.

    Parent and students are students and parents, not consumers. Crass commercialism.

    Profound resistance to looking at what the successful nations do because none of them use any aspects of the ‘reform formula’.

  344. Doug, never do you tell us your solutions.

    Let us see for ourselves

    1. No testing

    2. No grades, by a 1-6 scheme of what needs improvement in character and social values

    3. At least 4 teachers in each classroom, where at least two of them more or less, are the behaviourists, to control conduct in the class.

    4. No outside evaluations at all, except for the subjective observations of the teachers, support staff, including the janitors, where children exhibit behaviour that is not practicing social justice policies. You have some fun time, trying to control LD kids, who like thinking outside of the box, and do think more lateral than their classmate.

    5. Curriculum more of the same child-centered approaches, with disconnected facts, few facts to connect to the future jobs, but children will sure have their own constructive world of their own facts and knowledge, that made not match with the rest of the world.

    6. The unions will step in to fix all the ills, by demanding more teachers and staff and yes I even read this on a site that Doug would love, create rules and regulations for parents who are resisting, by sending them to parent school.

    Hell Doug, it is why choice is going to be rammed down your throat, for many reasons. And let me make it clear, as we speak the word parent is being replaced with the word guardian and/or caretaker.Language is changing within the education policies, acts and other government papers concerning children, not only in the legal wording, but as well as the addition of edubabble, that has not quite made its way into the legal world.

    “In the January 2001 Phi Delta Kappan, Scott Thompson and others argue that standards-based assessments should include more than test scores. However, tests and standards based measures are not the only way to define achievement and success. In the same issue Eliot Eisner argues that the really important variables in education are located outside the school. “It’s what students do with what they learn when they can do what they want to do.”


    Interesting points, and worthy of discussion. What other methods shall we use to define achievement? Here are a few ideas that I have.

    How many kids behind registers can make change with out their cash register. As a taxpaying citizen – paying through the nose for an “educated populace,” I think this is a fair example of seeing what they can “do with what they learn.”

    I find it fascinating that we are now told to look to variables “outside the school”. If that is the case, I think it is fair to take the resources “outside the school” as well. We can start by removing the entire layer of Assistant Superintendents and Principals.

    But no. The system demands that “inputs are never decreased,” regardless of how much the “outputs” are to measured outside the system.”

    Inputs and Outputs, the educrats does a very good job. As for the resources, what should be included is all the resources that lie outside the school, that students do not have access to, nor do parents.


    Or some of the questions teachers asked other teachers.

    “I have a few “fun type” resources [for my math classes]. I have found students quite enjoy these activities … Numerology is one topic … I am looking for further resources and ideas for furthering this theme… I also want the students to prepare a poster on a number that has special significance to them. Ideas that have come to mind so far are ~ the number of their favourite sports star, ~ the historical significance of a number in a particular culture, ~ a more indepth look at numerology, ~ numbers of special mathematical significance (happy numbers, prime numbers etc.),
    I welcome your comments, advice, input and ideas.

    … Here’s some ideas in the same vein: solving word problems with a Ouija board, doing historical research with a séance, and mastering map skills by plotting a course back to your home star in the Pleiades. ”


    I burst out laughing, but that is what Doug’s future of schooling would look like. I wonder what happy numbers are, and the significance to math? But Doug will tell us, he knows the future of education, but it won’t be like China or Finland because they have an accountability model and strong separation of duties and responsibilities between the arms of the education system. So unlike ours, where the unions, the education departments and the teachers’ colleges duke it out for power and funding, while all three work together so no child benefits. As for parents, an afterthought and usually used to support their various causes when it suits them.

  345. Extremism only marginalizes you more!

    However it is good to know you acknowlege the existence of parents and students, and have taken a brief respite from blaming the “consumer” for the ills of the system. It does get tiersome.

  346. Certainly testing going no where, especially when one gets various groups either angling for positions before the test is administered, or the ones who will used the results for political purposes and other good news announcements usually directed at parents.

    What a lot of economists have stated more less, how difficult it is to used variables that cannot be easily measured, on testing that is essentially using reading, writing and numeracy skills to test for knowledge. Made more difficult in Canada, where the test covers two to three grades knowledge. The prescriptions arrived a year later, on how schools can improve, that usually runs the gambit for increasing outcomes, to decreasing outcomes, to adding 15 minutes more of instruction, and many other ones.

    As for the parents they have a piece of paper with numbers on it, and tells them nothing except that their child is doing well in one area, not so well in another area, and maybe a couple is doing excellent. Parents do not have a hard copy of the test, and no way of comparing it to classroom tests or exams. All kinds of questions pop up but they cannot be answered by the teacher or the school very well, and the usual answer is a knowledge deficit. The same type of excuse handed to me, when I suggested rather strongly it was my child’s reading, writing and numeracy deficits that cause her to fail the written portion of the test, unlike the multiple choice part that was a decent pass. The educrats insist it was a knowledge deficit, to moved away from the subjective grading that occurs when the tests are being marked. I than moved unto the written portion, in particular math, questions that are open-ended and where many answers can be correct. I am thinking along the lines of some students just stating what the math law is, rather than a wordy statement to say the same thing that takes up a page. Who will get the better score, the wordy statement no matter if it had faulty thinking, spelling mistakes and bad grammar. I thought my child would do better in the grade 6 CRT, but no better than in the grade 3 one. What I suspect had happen, even though I cannot prove it, her answers were short and correct, but not at all wordy. And the secondary factor, is writing of paragraph describing a favourite Peter Pan character and a scene. What happens if a child have never been heavily exposed to Peter Pan, and in my case, my child hated Peter Pan. I am sure it was creative, but it was made even more difficult when a child does not have the prior knowledge of Peter Pan in the first place. Than the questions that are asked about feelings, and have them relate to a personal experience, are another bone of contention. What exactly is being measured here? Is it the ability to relate or the prior knowledge that the child processes. The only thing that matter to me, is that the CRTs represent the reading, writing and numeracy skills or the lack of skills. Knowledge did not even enter the equation, since it was soft and general knowledge that was tested. To me, it was further evidence to prove to the educrats that my child needed writing remediation, along with targeted reading remediation. The request was turned down consistently, as with other parents.

    As far as I am concern, the standard testing are used for other purposes except for the intended purpose of improving and remediating the deficits of the individual students as well as all of the students. Than the educrats above the school level would not be able to get away with, by withholding resources, or to denied services to students who need direct explicit systematic lessons on the ABCs in reading, writing, and numeracy. And to provide curriculum that provides the spelling, grammar and the essential tools and skills needed to become proficient in reading, writing and numeracy. It is time to measure the educrats, and not the teachers who can only do so much given the training, the resources, and the ability to use them as they see fit. It also includes the unions, who are the ones that manipulates the resources, curriculum and the ability of teachers to used them as they see fit, by always working for their best interests. Children do not even enter the equation.

    Below is what is commonly found on the economists pages

    “What we’re seeing with quantitative testing in school reform is very similar. Governments and voters are confronted with a phenomenon they are desperate to improve, but can’t measure. What goes on in a classroom is a social phenomenon that can’t be effectively captured through standardized measurements. But they need a number. So they’re creating standardized measurements to get one. But immediately, the application of the measurement and its incentives changes the way the phenomenon is organised. A complex, creative process is stripped down to a mechanical one designed to produce high test scores. The old-growth forest is replaced with rows of Norway spruce. Ms Goldstein writes:

    In the social sciences, there is an oft-repeated aphorism called Campbell’s Law, named after Donald Campbell, the psychologist who pioneered the study of human creativity: “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” In short, incentives corrupt. Daniel Koretz, the Harvard education professor recognized as the country’s leading expert on academic testing, writes in his book Measuring Up that Campbell’s Law is especially applicable to education; there is a preponderance of evidence showing that high-stakes tests lead to a narrowed curriculum, score inflation, and even outright cheating among those tasked with scoring exams.”

    Why not keep it simple, and used it as measure of the educrats’ abilities, of addressing and serving the needs of the student population and the communities. As I see it, it was the educrats that prevented effecting reading remediation, which in turn, created writing difficulties and by grade 3, she was still at a grade 1 level. Along with 55 % below standard in my child’s class. So she was not alone, nor an isolated case. The resources will come in fast, more than likely a complete overhaul of curriculum, and funding flowing away from the blob to the schools if the educrats were measured. As for unions, they will lose their ability somewhat to manipulate the resources and curriculum, but that a small price to pay, considering the good will returned to unions.

  347. Extremism only marginalizes you more!

    However it is good to know you acknowlege the existence of parents and students, and have taken a brief respite from blaming the “consumer” for the ills of the system. It does get tiersome.

    The reform movement are the extremists in the piece. They are the most right wing 5% of the education crowd.

    95% of the system is either satisfied or believes other solutions other than those proferred by the reform movement, are the answer.

    Most people in education have a more sophisticated response than the simple minded nostrums of the reformers.

    • and how “extreme” is it that a member of the blob is also a dean at an elite private school in Ontario?

      Does anyone else see the hamfisted irony in a fellow whose mission (by his own admission on his website) is to mess with the reformers and provoke them is in his own life engaged in the dealings of a private school?

      Doug’s sour because he’s been tossed off SQE for getting in the way of discussion and insulting people but NEVER accounting for his own spin and hypocrisy.

      Even Sandy Crux (Crux of the Matter) has him on a short-leash.

      No matter, he’s got a right to be wrong and hypocritical anywhere. Thriving on those like us to take his bait .

  348. Nancy,

    Absolutely right-
    “As far as I am concern, the standard testing are used for other purposes except for the intended purpose of improving and remediating the deficits of the individual students as well as all of the students.”

    It`s a farce-the numbers should lead to effective solutions-they don`t because they are uneducated in what they see-it`s a sea of data-

    The emperor has no clothes.

    If a Dr.gave a diagnosis and prescribed a medication and physio-this makes sense-
    If we see testing in grade 3-which is too late-and the child reads at a grade 1 level and is frequently a non speller-they may have 6 words correct on the CRT-they get to give excuses-complete lack of accountability-they blame the student and drum up the labels..


  349. Doug, it is the words, the dogma that you speak of that is extreme. Canadians don’t want it, as well as the Americans. Parents want their children to reach their potential, and not the educrat’s dogma of personal best, opportunities, and the rest of the edubabble that takes away the individual’s values, replacing the values with the dogma of the educrat. Individual values within a multi-cultural society should be respected by the educrats, and not as the educrats have done and still are within the many policies to change and shift the values of the individual.

    My story of my youngest is common, where the value of learning the fundamentals of reading, writing and numeracy rests entirely with the policies of the educrats, their values and their notions of the fundamentals. The parents’ values, knowledge and experiences are devalued and discounted to maintain the expertise of the educrats. In my case, the first educrat had a PDH in administration, and a BA in education, informing me that I had no right to question the curriculum and instruction, as a parent, unless a parent has the letters in behind their name. Doug, it was grade 1 curriculum and instruction, and not a PHD program where I would not even think of questioning a PHD program, since I have no knowledge or experience in the world of PHDs. However, I have the experience and knowledge to question the K to 12 system, as most if not all parents have. In that moment, the value of learning to read, write and do numeracy well, was devalue, and discarded by the educrats. It was replaced by the values of the educrats, and hence the dance of the educrats commenced, with me being the unwilling dance partner. A value that has been passed down from one generation to the next on both sides of the family, the importance of the 3Rs. It never occurred to me, nor would I ever thought that my personal values shaped by the previous generations would be under attacked by the educrats, who think they are the only ones that know what is best for children.

    The values of the educrats clashes with the individual values of the family unit with the intention of changing the values of the family unit to values that more or less match the values of the educrats, the policies, the dogma and ideology of the public education system. A few politicians and world leaders, have paid the price, for trying to change the values of the individual holds dear. They also believe that 95 % of the people were satisfied with their government and policies, as you think that 95 % of people are satisfied with the public education system. It did not work for governments, why would you think Doug, that people are accepting the final outcomes of their children’s education where the parents become solely responsible for the education outcomes for their children. Leaving the rest of society to repair the damage that has been done to the personal values, culture, give them the knowledge needed to navigate in society and the ability to make good decisions for themselves. The same values that are spurn by the educrats, in favour of policies of a future utopia where human nature is oppressed, to maintain the images of the educrats’ utopia.

    And on one note, I have to laugh Doug at the word reformers and how you used it. And yet on the pages of the educrats, the education policies, the words reform and reformers are used constantly in a positive light. It is pretty sad that the educrats that speak of reform, are often the policies of changing values of the individuals, with no regard to the final outcomes. In your world Doug, anyone who opposes the public education system and their policies, become the reformers of the simple-minded. Much like the communist USSR, who sent the simple-minded to Siberia, who dare to suggest reforms that would take away power and decision making away from the politico communists. How did communist USSR fare out Doug? The simple-minded reformers, became the heros……………

  350. Nancy, You could not be more wrong. I am heavily involved with the polling industry through contract work.

    The vast majority are basically satisfied with schools.

    Those who are not satisfied see money as the shortcoming of the system.

    Even in very conservative states, vouchers can never get a majority vote.

    Polling asks people how should extra money be spent? Smaller classes and ECE are the highest priorities.

    Tim Hudak’s program in Ontario is the proof. The most conservative politician in the province will not touch charters vouchers or merit pay. Phonics will be voluntary as it should be as a tool in the early literacy tool box.

    Rest assured that Hudak reads the polls very carefully. He realizes that the most critical aspects of the reform effort ‘privatizations’ are political losers for him and could cost him the election just as funding religious schools killed John Tory.

  351. Doug, the meaning of my post was of individual values, and not of polls. It is the individual values that people hold, that confound the education polls.

    “Policy-makers often rely on public opinion polls to decide which political projects to pursue. We study how the use of opinion polls influences policy outcomes if respondents
    feel pressured to offer ”socially desirable” views when answering the pollsters’ questions. Our results indicate that this type of social pressure can lead to second-best
    policy outcomes even if politicians are aware of the bias. The context for the empirical part of our study is the siting of a radioactive waste repository in Pennsylvania. We
    model the local politicians’ decision to support this facility as guided by economic concerns and by social pressure. We find that social pressure is critical for an explanation
    of local policy-making.1”

    Known better as the social desirability bias, which is just one of the factors at play where individuals values confound the education polls accuracy. The social desirability bias plays an even more important role within the public education polls, when questions are framed where few if any would be against the principle. Leading questions promote the social desirability bias, and in the world of educrats, they know that very well, and uses the social desirability bias to change the values of the individual that is more in keeping with the current values of the educrats, and have the individual adapt to the values of the educrats, even when it goes against the individual’s best interests.

    How are the new policies that educrats have pushed unto the public doing? From an educrat’s viewpoint and Doug is included, there is no concern on the outcomes of the policies that is generated from the polls. The only importance of polls to educrats, is to shift the individual values to the same values of the educrats. It is the outcomes that are ignored by the educrats, and their focus is to present a positive image of their policies, and the values the educrats hold dearly.

    Parents and children are used by the various parts of the education system, and the polls is the vehicle that is used to drive the value agenda, on values that are held by the individual. The public is left with the outcomes to deal with it on their own, while educrats like Doug, continued to push policy that is in their best interests.

    And Doug, your comment on – “Phonics will be voluntary as it should be as a tool in the early literacy tool box. ”

    Is typical of educrats reading more into the statements of Huduk, by discounting them as if they are no big deal. What is worse treating important fundamentals in reading as tools, to keep the tarnish image of whole language alive, that has been disproven over and over in the reading science for the last 65 years.

    “Enhanced Use of Phonics: Greater emphasis on phonics as a basis for literacy and enhanced training and support for teachers in its use.
    High School Exit Exams: Work with the Education Quality and Accountability Office to introduce province-wide high school exit exams to provide more information to parents, students and post-secondary institutions.
    Financial Literacy: Make economic and financial literacy a mandatory part of the high school curriculum.
    Fair and Accurate Grading: Eliminate unfair pressure on teachers to make sure students pass even if the student is unwilling or unable to complete the work. ”


    What Huduk means in enhanced use of phonics, may be very different from the usual policies of the educrats, if one takes in consideration his background and where he was raised in Ontario. He probably seen a lot of the bad outcomes resulting from whole language and their bag of tricks. On top of the many letters sent to him by parents telling them their nightmare stories of an education system that refuses to provide the correct reading instruction. It is a start, since the other parties have made no mentioned of their own education policies.

    Doug, it is all about the individual values and the need to balance the individual values and the goals of society, that makes effective policies. And the 4 changes that Huduk has stated, is a start to reflect the balance between individual values and the overall goals of society. Exit exams is good, and more in keeping with the public exams of other provinces.

  352. A letter to the editor from a teacher, that speaks more on the crazy policies of the public education system and the educrats, rather than ‘unschooling’.

    “After reading Sarah Boesveld’s article on unschooling, I now understand why public education is such a mess. Those, like Carlo Ricci (a professor of education at Nipissing University) who are entrusted with research and development in the field are promoting their own flaky agendas instead of doing some meaningful, practical investigations into helping students learn.
    As a teacher of nearly 25 years, I have had to endure everything from open-area classrooms to student-centred learning (where books and other materials were thrown on the table in front of children with the instruction that they can pick whatever appeals to them.)
    My job is not to furnish students with a place to explore whatever is intriguing them that day, but to help them gain the knowledge they need to enjoy success in the society in which they live.
    It’s wonderful that Prof. Ricci’s six-year-old daughter gets to wake up every day to a utopia that caters to her whims and fancies — this lifestyle is supported by her father’s ivory-tower existence. The rest of us, however, need to muddle through a world that will have no use for us if we do not have a very particular, common skill set achieved through practice and persistence.”

  353. Nancy – SunTV ran a great piece on the “unschooling” story yesterday.

    I find this whole idea and this fellow a bit contradictory.

    Yep, homeschooling’s terrific and is as much a choice as any other, but I so what then move the kids into a defined facility
    and call it something else?

    Isn’t the public system unschooling students as we speak.

    Great for school choice but what good is a school without some degree of measurement.

    At one point in reading the NP article I thought it sounded like a throw-back to open concept schooling – a concept that fell flat after it was found that kids weren’t learning anything by osmosis.

    Paul – I’ve been experiencing difficulty posting here. I think it may be because of the no. of posts at this thread.

    You might want to consider splitting this thread.


    Did not mean to yell just had caps on and left it. Sorry

  355. Would have to agree that a public education system is taking on the persona of ‘unschooling’, where the whims and fancies are catered to, rather than the nuts and bolts.

    As noted below in an article on the history of unschooling:

    “To understand unschooling, you really have to look back at the history of education and homeschooling. The standard used to be for children to be taught in the home. However, by the mid ’70s, homeschooling was nearly extinct. Over 99% of school-aged children in the United States were attending institutional classroom schools. By that point, people seemed to have forgotten that children had ever been successfully educated without going to school. Slowly, though, an increasing number of parents began to recognize that they were in a battle for their children’s hearts, minds, and time. They saw the control that the government had taken not only in education but in their families’ lives, and these parents began again choosing to be in charge of their children’s education.

    A February 7, 2006, article from Focus on the Family says that approximately 150,000 American children are currently unschooled. How did they come up with that number? The actual number of unschoolers is very hard to assess. Unschooling itself is hard to define. The general philosophy of unschooling holds that children are born with an innate curiosity and desire to learn that is best served by allowing the child to select and direct his own learning. John Holt, considered the father of unschooling by many, said it like this: “children are by nature and from birth very curious about the world around them . much more eager to learn, and much better at learning than most of us adults.” In unschooling, the parent’s role is that of a facilitator who is available to provide resources and guidance.”

    As one reads this article, and other articles on the history of unschooling, the child-centered philosophies and the distaste of educrats to eschewed the science as the foundation for policies, the unschooling philosophy sounds very much like the current philosophy and values that the public education system holds more dearly, than the nuts and bolts of skills that are needed in society.

    And yet what is odd, but very consistent is that the public education systems will give homeschool parents a hard time when using such instruction methods such as direct explicit lessons with lots of practice, and very little trouble if any for the unschoolers. Just recently, a homeschooler family in Quebec, received a stinging rebuke on the evils of direct instruction.

    “Faris said the judge gave “excess weight” to the government’s experts, who he says “found that one child’s hearing impairment ‘indicated’ that the parents could not be trusted and therefore all the children should be enrolled in public school programs.” Judge Bernier determined that the security and development of the children was compromised by parental negligence.

    In her ruling, Judge Bernier called the mother’s teaching approach “outdated,” saying it emphasized repetition exercises and acquisition of knowledge rather than the Ministry’s preferred approach of teaching learning skills. She also criticizes the elder children’s social development, noting that they had difficulty at first with the other children when they entered the classroom.”


    And yet the unschoolers remained free from the hassles of the education authorities, and my only conclusion that the philosophy of the unschoolers mimics that philosophies of the public school. The lastest example is the Toronto couple, and where one parent teaches at a public school.

    But at the end of day, unschooling students must meet the requirements and criteria to get into higher learning, or even to get a job, that has qualifications. Even unschoolers are aware of this, but our public education system doesn’t seem to be aware that students in order to reached the Utopia of jobs that the progressivism touts about. They too must meet the qualifications and criteria, based on standards and not on dogma and ideology. Having a pleasant personality will only get you so far in the real world, regardless of the values that an individual processes.

  356. Check out “changebook” from the PCs in Ontario. They should have called it “status quo book” or McGuinty 2.0.

    I sure don’t see the education reform agenda there anywhere. No charters, no vouchers, no merit pay no school tax credit, nothing. The Tories have learned these ideas are wildly unpopular and can prevent their election so they have been taken ‘off the table’.

    Second page of education section there is one sentence, They [teachers] will be able to ban cell phones in their classroom, teach phonics, give out marks free from pressure to inflate grades, and write meaningful report cards.”

    All voluntary. There will be no phonics if higher ups disapprove. They are not stupid.

  357. Doug, again stretching the truth – download the Change book, and on page 20, all about Education.

    Sounds to me, it is fixing the foundation of education and going after the waste that is spent by educrats, leaving less for the students. I like the part of special education, that leaves me to believe, educational resources are going to start flowing their way, in reading, writing and numeracy.

  358. Oh I read pg 20. There is nothing there either. Talk about thin. If the Tories won’t accept the ‘reform agenda’ who will?

  359. http://www.torontosun.com/2011/05/31/tories-stay-the-course-on-education

    Phonics totally voluntary. MacDonald correct. They will say “I am already doing it.”

    Rest? No change in Changebook.

  360. There is no critical mass in Canada in favour of vouchers and charters. The Ontario PCs know from John Tory’s excellent adventure that public money for private education is a huge vote loser in Canada. A majority in BC wants to end their practice of paying half.

    Every American state that has ever had a free vote on vouchers, including conservative states like Nevada, reject it overwhelmingly.

    • Really, “Doug the voice of the majority.”

      • you’re right Steven. Doug speaks for no one.
        Unfortunately for Doug the Changebook is exactly what’s going to get Hudak elected Premier and McGuinty packed off into the Liberal wilderness.

        Changebook is getting very good reviews internally and externally – contrary to what Doug’s trying to get folks here to believe


      • It`s true-Peter Fowley at Fraser Institute says ‘Where`s the Outrage?”

        You show school boards with a lower than 50% success in Reading and Math by Grade 3 and no one objects,not even the MOE.

        Consequences direly needed,whatever they may be.

  361. on June 1, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Reply Andrew Gilmour

    Enter the rightwing ideologues to oppose the leftwing ideologues while PUBLIC education gets trashed.

    • I’m willing to listen to your suggestions to counter those idealogues offered here.

      Go ahead – anoint the public system and remind us why were should unconditionally hold it up for excellent example.

    • Love to hear your ideas for improving the system.

      I am still waiting;those of us talking have contributions,what are yours by the way????

      Oh yes,right wing and left wing,we`re all nuts?

  362. Catherine, I did not say “Changebook” is not being well received (by some Tories anyway) but I did say there is literally nothing in it for the “reform (conservative) movement in education. Phonics, voluntary, already being done.


    I have piled on the facts a mile deep, all of the polling all of the studies, all of the political investigation demonstrates that ‘reform’ ideas are deeply unpopular, the system as it is is very popular, as Jo-Anne says “where is the outrage”.

    Even the most conservative politicians will not touch vouchers, charters, merit pay etc with a barge pole. Believe me, if Tim Hudak thought those ideas were actually popular he would be all over them.

    Polling even shows 70% in Ontario would vote to dump RC schools. Nobody wants the bloodbath that goes with it.

    I don’t know what it takes to demonstrate to you folks that these positions are profoundly unpopular with the general public.

    • Wow, now you want suggest the dumping of the RC schools.

      Extreme is as extreme exemplifies.

      • Steven, and to Andrew

        What Doug says of the polls are true, but what he neglects to mention is the role of the educrats and their agendas and what their visions of the public education system in 5 to 20 years from now. Some grass roots groups in education are put in place by the educrats, by working on certain beefs about a group of people. In passing, the educrats suggest to the parents start up a web site or a FB page, to make yourself be heard. Hence there is parents working actively to create a single education system, parent groups working to eliminate standard testing, groups working to eliminate graded report cards, parent groups working against choice, and even parent groups working toward a single track education system. All goals of the educrats would like to see happen, and as well as in their papers, essays and research by the educrats. It is rather scary to talk to the parent groups of this nature, because they certainly do not hold balanced views, and they certainly have some strange if not misconceptions on students who are struggling in learning.

        The only thing that is holding back the educrats’ plans are they cannot build up the support in the public arena, and they have to resort to opinion polls, that have leading questions and statements. The kind of polls, where the outcome is known before the poll goes out. The support is not in the trenches of the education system, when looking at the final outcomes in education stats. Politicians are not afraid to touch education, but they too, like parents seeking an assessment or help for their child in the 3Rs, must picked their battles well, before entering the arena of education. I too found out, that even questioning curriculum and instruction methods, the educrats move heaven and earth to silence you, using all kinds of tactics that only a dictator would used.

        For what Doug talks about, there is no support, considering that 90 % of the parents and taxpayers have been silenced, or neutered by well-defined protocols for participation and consultation.

      • surely you weren’t expecting anything close to common s