The UN has released its latest assessment of education systems around the world. Many news media are calling it as a proud day for Canada which retains its spot among the world's best education systems. But The Moncton Times likes to get its news from Postmedia, the very successful rebirth of CanWest - and an even bigger kissup to big business than the Montreal Times is. (Really.) Canwest headed it as a story of the decline of Canadian education.
How will The Moncton Times report it on Dec. 8? Will the editor treat it as bad news (the way he treated the news of a New Brunswick school superintendant winniing a prestigious award? Or the story of New Brunswick having the best high school completion rate in Canada, which the editor foamed at the mouth as a disgraceful showing?)
What has really happened is this.
The quality and rating of Canadian public education has been pretty stable, up close to the best in the world, since these UN studies began. Recently, there have been great improvments to public education in countries like China. We have not become worse. We are, in fact, getting better - but some countries are getting better faster - as China is. In any case, the statistical differences between the top countries (like Canada) are not great. So, really, nothing of great significance has happend.
But The Moncton Times has clearly signed on with corporate New Brunswick and with Atlantic Institute of Market Stuides to discredit and defame our public schools. So will it report our position among the best in the world? Or will they Postmedia it as a bad sign? Or will they ignore it?
There's a fourth choice. They could hide it under the news thatNew Brunwick has risen slightly in the Canadian stats for reading levels. They could use that as praise for the work of standardized testing and school rankings. They could do that and be honest - if only becuase editors and reporters at The Moncton Times are too ignorant of education and of statistics to realize it's not true.
The rise is too small to indicate any such thing -and it could as well be due to a drop of reading skills in Nova Scotia and PEI, the only provinces that NB beats - and that not by much.
In other words, nothing really has changed. I can however, suggest things you will lnot see in The Moncton Times on Dec. 8.
1. It will not report that UN reserachers agree and have announced that standardized tests are useless as tools to rate either teachers or schools. All they test and rank is the children.
2. It almost certainly will not report that the US, the homeland of standardized testing and public school ranking, has dropped catastrophically from its already terrible position as number 18 to something around 25th in the world. This is the country that has been using standardized testing and ranking on a very wide scale for over a generation.AIMS wants us, we of the top ten education systems in the world, to copy the education system of the country that has the education system rated the worst in the developed world. So The Times won't mention that.
3. It will not mention that the woman appointed by George Bush to spread standardized testing, ranking and their bastard child - charter schools - the woman who was one of the very few education scholars to support standardized testing - has recently publicly admitted it does not work In fact, she says it has been a disaster for US education. (Of course, The Times has shown us what a great success it is. Remember their gushing report on the visit to Moncton of that great expert on education - Jeb Bush?
The Moncton Times, as I write, will be going to press. It had two choices. Which did it choose? Will it lie (either deliberately or out of ignorance)? Or will is skip the story? Put your money down, folks.
The reality of what's going on is that corporate New Burnswick wants your children so it can put them on the market for its profit. That's what AIMS is about. That's what the big corporations are about. That's what the Liberals and Conservatives are about. That's what The Moncton Times and Tribune is about.
Meanwhile, one of the first budget cuts the Alward government has announced is the immediate cut to an already hopelessly underfunded education system. As it has been since the days of the timber trade, politics and your lives and your children are controlled by the province's robber barons.
And, as always in this province, the news media cover for the robber barons.
Wake up, New Brunswick. A centurty and a half of backing away from bullies has not done you any good.