Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Beginning of how New Brunswick Got into a mess in Education.

     It began eighty years with the great depression and then the war. In the terrible years of the great depression, there was no health care for most people even in the most advanced western countries. There was no employment insurance. In the US, Roosevelt introduced a small pension to ease some of the suffering. Canada maintained what it had - a pension available to those absolutely destitute which was so small as to be incapable of supporting life. There were almost no social services. Almost all government intervention in the economy was there to help business. An example was the protective tariff which gave Canadian manufacturers a captive market; and did so by raising costs for most Canadians.

        The depression made it clear even to the politicians that something more would have to be done. Then came the war. After ten years of depression came six years of war, and more sacrifices and suffering. Governments had to make promises to keep up the willingness and ability of the Canadian people to suffer those years.

       As it happened, the war also proved that government intervention in the economy could be extremely efficient and effective. Indeed, Canadian governments did an impressive job of managing the economy, leaving very little room for the free market, thoughtout the war.  When the war ended, then, Canadians expected much more from their governments than they ever had before.

      The Liberals and Conservatives, though both dominated by big businss, had to make some gestures if only to keep the CCF party at bay. As early as 1942, it was leading both Liberals and Conservatives in popularity. That's what led to Liberal reforms such as child bonus payments, and Conservative ones to increase the pension to an (almost) liveable size. Similar movement was occuring throughout the western world.  Though it has largely been forgotten, government management of the economy and social concerns was so great that business leaders actually studied the the civil service's methods to improve their own.

      But big business was also alarmed at the trend. The alarm was greatest in the US where business feared greater taxation for corporations and the rich as government assumed a larger role; it feared regulation; it feared government intrusion into profitable fields such as health, pharmaceutics, and insurance.

         Their response that emerged in the 1950s was the adoption of the idea of think tanks. These had existed for some time, gatherings of specialists to study various problems, and to issue reports. The new feature was to use think tanks for ideological purposes. The purpose was to broaden the involvement of private business in social matters; to praise the benefits of cutting taxes to corporations and the rich; to get rid of regulations.

      Accordingly, the think tank "experts" knew their conclusions before they began their studies They were in favour of  private profit, and against any role for government (with the exception of giving contracts to supporters of the think tank - as in the case of health insurance and the defence industry.) So, with the support of wealthy backers, the think tanks, perhaps bolstered by a "rent a prof", would carry out pseudo-scientific reports which really were propaganda.

       The news media were cooperative. Of course. They were largely owned by the same people who owned the think tanks. Any report was guaranteed wide and favourable coverage. There was one given prominent space in newspapers about five years ago, and approving comment on TV and radio. It was a report by the grandly titled Montreal Economic Institute. It "proved" that  climate change was not happening.

     That report, which dismissed years of research by eminent scientists all over the world, was done by one man.  He had no scientific training. I checked where he got his information. He got it from two books. Count them. Two. One was a recent book by one of the minority of scientists who say climate change is not happening. The other was a book on economics printed in the middle of the nineteenth century. Go figure. While you're at it, try to think of a single article or editorial in the Moncton T&T which has ever been critical of AIMS or of standardized testing.

      So were born the Fraser Institute, The CDHowe Institute, and the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. The latter, in defiance of hundreds of years of research by thousands of education scholars, has been given effective control of New Brunswick schools.

       The general aim of these "think tanks" is to discredit all public instutions, and ease the way to a gradual privatization of everthing - including schools. They play the press like a harp. When Jeb Bush gave a speech on education, attended largely by business people and sponsored by AIMs, none of the  media had the wit or the inclination to ask the obvious questions.

       Has Jeb Bush ever taught? Is he considered an authority on education? Why? Why was an education conference attended by so many leading business people?

       The general tactic against public education is the same one used so effectively against government, against health care. Look for isolated instances of things that go wrong. Get them played up in the news media. In the case of education, debase teachers, highlight minor or isolated problems in education to give the impression the system is falling apart.

      And the real capper - give the contract for supervising the testing to the think tank that is advocating it. That means the same people who want standardized testing are the ones who get to report on it and say whether it is working. And you know what? Surprise. AIMS reports that its standardized tests do show an improvement in the system. And that takes a step further to private for profit education.

        Educationally, standardized testing is a scam. Economically, it's a waste of millions. Educationally, it's damaging.  There's also a moral aspect.

       You've heard of neo-conservatism? This is a movement which is heavily pro business and anti government. Its leaders were the ones who wanted to invade Iraq. Their statement of purpose and their programme is on the web. See "Project for the New American Century".  One of the people who signed it is Jeb Bush, the "educator." In the process of developing their extreme right wing philosophy, they also modernized the ten cmmandments.

         As they have often said, publicly enough, greed is  not bad. Greed is good. Greed and competition make everybody rich. This comes from Jeb Bush, whose family has made its millions for three generations out of government connections. (George Sr., before becoming head of the CIA, ran a business front for it). Their new gospel is to be found in the writing of their patron saint, Ayn Rand (notably in "Atlas Shrugged")
Not surpringly, they rarely mention countries that have allowed free rein to greed and competition for over a century, countries like Congo and Haiti and Guatemala.

       Greed is a moral good. Competition  is a moral good. Schools aren't for children. They're something to make money out of. Our children are not there to be taught. They are there to be used for profit - as we use factories and ore and oil. And if we ruin earth in the processes of burning and refining and spilling the oil, who cares?  And if we ruin the children. who cares? Greed is good.

        AIMs is not only incompetent and untrustworthy to have any influence over our children. It is also bloody immoral about the way it is using them.


     

     

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Pathetic Side of New Brunswick

I noticed it first when I taught in PEI. I'm dismayed to find it here in New Brunswick.

I've been writinig and broadcasting commentaries across Canada, as well as some in the US and Britain, for some thirty years. I'm now writing for a very professionally organized national blog called The New Mark News, as well as this blog. But there's a difference between all the others and this blog. This one is just for New Brunswick.  There's another difference, too. In all the other writing I've done, people who disagreed with me wrote or phoned to say they disagreed, and they said why. That's called serious discussion. It doesn't suggest good or evil or name-calling. It's called serious discussion and it's the way civilized areas develop their thinking and their responses to the world around them.

Serious thinking didn't happen in PEI when I was teaching there. People would tut-tut silently. They might report you to somebody. They might gossip. But there was no serious discussion. Ditto with NB. It acts like a province of serfs who stay trivial so they won't annoy the feudal baron or his soldiers.

I was reported to Mr. Doyle. Somebody reported me to him. I'm glad it was done. It was a pleasure to talk to him, and to exchange serious ideas as people in democracies are supposed to do. I'm sure we don't entirely agree. But we can discuss, and maybe both of us modify our opinions, or one of us change the other's mind.

Lots of people read this blog. I get a record of it - though without names, of course. For the first time in thirty years, I have not had a single person comment. The one who reported me to Mr. Doyle obviously read my column. By all means report me to whoever you like. I'm happy to have the additional readers. But it he disagreed with me - as I presume he did - why didn't he say so? Why the skulking, why the reporting, why the anonymity? Why the whispers?

It reminds of a kid when I taught grade seven. I h ad to go the  office for a moment. As I headed to the door, he followed me out to ask, "Can I take down the name of anybody who talks while you're out?

I'm not interested in preaching or trying to convert anybody. I'm interested in serious discussion, which would benefit me as well as the other person.

Obviously, though, New Brunswick is more the sort of place for the kid who wanted to take down the name of anybody who was talking.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Harry Doyle

Harry Doyle is chairman of the DEC for school distrcit two. A reader of this blog sent a copy of my post about the DEC. That's good. That's what I wanted to  happen. (Though I do wonder why New Brunswickers will scurry to report and gossip, but never reply to a blog with their own views.)

Anyone, Harry Doyle called. me. It was a very friendly call on both sides. That was largely because of Harry. He's such a thoroughly likeable guy,.he could charm a moose in heat. That's good.  That's exactly what he needs in  his work. I wish I had that skill (though I have only limited interest in charming any moose I have ever met socially.)

He invited me to present my case at a DEC meeting in, perhaps, September. I appreciated his gesture, and accepted it gladly. We may still differ after that. But differing is fair ball. That's why we call our system a democratic one.

Thank you, Mr. Doyle. (Oops. I forgot I'm a New Brunswicker now. Thank you, Harry.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

the competitive market and the well-being of Canadians

The Fraser Insitute is a think tank that is practically a twin of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. That is, it is a propaganda agency for the very wealthy. It's stated objective  is,"...the redirection of public attention to the role of competitive markets in providing for the well-being of Canadians." Cutting through the jargon, the very wealthy and their corporations want a share - maybe all - of things like health care and education.

That's why both AIMS and the folks at Fraser Institute churn out a stream of pseudo-scientific reports on why private health care is better than public health care, and why private education is better than public education. The people who back the Fraser are rich enough to own the BC government. That's why BC has introduced standardized testing for the schools, completely ignoring the fact that virtually every scholar in the field of education says its a bad idea.  And - guess who got the contract to administer these tests at a cost of many millions of dollars from the education budget. Why, it was the Fraser Institute, of course. That's called "redirection of public attention to the role of competitive markets in providing for the well-being of Canadians".  Well, it certainly pays the mortgage for a few billionaires. Your education dollars at work.

AIMS is doing precisely the same thing in New Brunswick. People with names like Irving sit on the board of AIMS to "redirect our attention to the role of public attention to the competitive market..."

The journalists at the Moncton T&T are not fools. They know what's going on. That's why there's never a word of criticism of it in that wretched paper. Any reference to AIMS is sure to be a kiss up one. The papers are lying, and they have to know they're lying. The Minister of Education is harming our children, and throwing our tax dollars away. And he has to know it, too. Nor would the Conservatives be any different.

Damn it. These are our children. Greedy business people, lying journalists, and rented politicians are not going to lay their hands on them, not if New Brunswick parents have a shred of intelligence to see what's going on, and shred of love for their own children and their welfare.

Alas! Living here for three years has not reassured me New Brunswick parents either know or care a damn.

Oh - and in four days of my requests to the provincial government's media centre for information about the cost of standardized tests, and who got the contract, they just can't seem to find the answer anywhere. Really!

Lucky for me I already knew.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The deliberate destruction of public schooling in New Brunswick

The item below is by a quite distinguished American educator, W.L. Sanders. It offers brilliant insight into what is being done to New Brunwick schools by the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies. It should be read by every teacher and parent in the province. It should, in particular, be read aloud to the chairman of the district two education council who is, I suspect, playing political games with our taxes and our children.



But now to Mr. Sanders:


Although I’m a career educator, I'm also a skeptical, questioning independent,not a mindless defender of
public schools. I believe our nation’s public education system must bechanged (dramatically so at the secondary level) for the U.S. to retain its economic competitiveness and democratic freedoms.



I worry that many of the changes proposed for schools could be motivated by aims other than economic
or democratic ideals. Simply, a growing number of the changes to the public education system may be motivated by entrepreneurial greed with little or no consideration for the consequences of the changes.


Hypothetically speaking, if I wanted to end public support for schools and privatize the system, Americans
would have to believe privatization was necessary. To justify privatization, the public schools would
have to be discredited.
If I wanted to discredit the public education system,I would:


1. Reluctantly and minimally fund the system and restrict spending flexibility within the system.

2. Mandate punitive accountability standards thatforce school districts to stress the basics at the
disadvantage of elective courses.

3. Legislate burdensome compliance standards thatrequire more administrative personnel to complete.

4. Discredit those who defend the system and those who work to make schools successful.

5. Divide the ranks of school employees by creating suspicion about compensation decisions made by administrators and boards of education.

6. Hype the instances of public school violence,mismanagement, incompetence, and the results
7. Shift blame for violence and poor student behavior to educators.
8. Absorb any discretionary school district funds by creating unfunded or minimally funded
mandates.
9. Blame teacher turnover on the lack of administrative support for effective classroom discipline
instead of on low salaries and the vexing societal maladies that spill over into classrooms.
10. Minimize the benefits of the teacher retirement systems and increase the cost of school district
and individual contributions to those systems.
11. “De-professionalize” the art of teaching by
promoting a recipe-driven method of instruction that minimizes the importance ofpedagogy and great expectations for all children.
12. Devalue teaching certifications by allowing “just about anyone to teach,” but simultaneously
require all school districts to have highly qualified teachers.
13. Develop legislative incentives that encourage competition among public schools and
minimize the compliance and accountability standards for the competition.
14. Implement a comprehensive strategy, accompanied by unlimited private funds, to continually
tout the advantages of home schooling, private schools, charter schools, and virtual schools.
15. Call attention to political differences between wealthy and poor school districts and encourage
feuding over limited resources.
16. Deny that market forces are driving up administrative salaries or be proactive and blame increasing administrative salaries on incompetent school boards.
17. Disguise the aforementioned actions as school improvement efforts.

These strategies aren’t all inclusive. I’m certain that other public school supporters can add ideas from
their own experiences.
I hope my intention here is clear: I want citizens to be savvy about distinguishing between changes that
could bolster our democratic and economic ideals and support public schools and changes that would harm
public education for enigmatic, avaricious reasons.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What is and what isn't in the Saturday T&T

Well, the T&T at last did a report on a two day old meeting of the District Educational Committee. But it was pretty tame and boring stuff. According the to published agenda, there was supposed to be a lengthy discussion of curriculum results and an evaluation of the superintendant.  If such happened, it never made it into the T&T. Apparently, the feeling of the T&T is that the only educational issues that really matter are those involving which school gets a new roof first.

The agenda also mentioned special guests at their meeting, including a representative from the Moncton Wildcats and a representative from the Irving Group. Why? Do DEC councillors normally attend board meetings of the Irving Group and the the board of the Wildcats? Whatever the case might be, the T&T didn't want to worry our little heads about it. So it didn't mention them.

They also didn't mention another agenda item, correspondence. I know there was at least one letter because I sent it. However, I feel pretty confident that it was tucked away.

The T&T was also in its usual form on the editorial page with a lengthy editorial about how poor Mr. Irving is being mistreated by Moncton Council because they want to raise his rent. When it comes to courage and telling it like it is, nobody beats the editor of the T&T.

But it all gave me a wonderful idea. Mr. Robert Irving likes the idea of us all paying for an 85 million dollar stadium out of our taxes, and he says it will make wonderful profits for us.

Well, if it will make such wonderful profits, why give them away to an ungrateful city? Why doesn't Mr. Irving spend  his own money to build his own arena so he can keep all those wonderful profits for himself? Why waste all that money on people who don't apprediate him?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Your DEC, the best kept secret in Moncton.

The District Education Council is a body elected by us to look after our interests, especially as parents, in the school system. It met on Thursday evening, June 17, in the school board offices.  You didn't hear or read all about it in the news? Well, no. Probably not. Sure, I know education is vital to a province's future.  A baseball game in Los Angeles or a Tiger Woods story is not. But a news source has to sell its news; and the reality is more people care about a baseball story or a Tiger Woods story than they do about their children.

So, if you want to know about the DEC meeting, you have to go to the DEC website, and look up DEC. But that still won't help much. They have the agenda for the meeting there; but no minutes. Reasonable enough. The minutes can't be approved until the next meeting; so they aren't yet official.What's more troubling is that the May minutes aren't there either. So I settled down with the April discussion - and a tame one it was.

Two things are striking. Few of the committee members know much about education. But all of them fall in line for these destructive standardized tests and standardized curricula, all of them taken in by the pseudo-scientific reports of the Irving-influenced Atlantic Institue of Marketing Studies.  A report goes in. Eveybody votes aye, and it's on to the next sucker game. Democracy in action.

There are thousands of committees like that all over Canada. I've been on more than a few. Typically, they're set up to pull in some good-hearted people who want to help. Once in, they are dominated by a person of some connection with t he field, and whose job is to keep the DEC lined up with their masters, the AIMS and the  Irvings..

The bad part is DEC is helping to do enormous to your schools and your children. That good part it doesn't intefere with the latest news about Tiger Woods.

The Princess and the Pea

You must remember the story about the beautiful young woman who came to the door of a royal palace. She claimed to be a lost princess from another land. The young prince was smitten with her, and asked his mother if she could stay with them. The mother consented; but she had a plan.

The "princess" was taken to a bed with twenty mattressses on it. The queen had instructed the servants to place a pea under the bottom one. Next morning, the queen entered to ask how the princess had slept.

"Oh," she replied, "I couldn't sleep at all. There was something hard under my mattress that kept me awake all night."

The Queen smiled. Only a real princess could have a life so pampered as to notice that. She was welcomed to the palace as a guest, and later as a bride for the ptince.

It's a story about entitlement. As an ordinary woman, however lost and helpless she might be, she would have been turned away. But as a princess, she was welcome. She was entitled to expect graciousness.

When American banks went broke, the demanded mass bailouts from the American taxpayers. Then they rewarded themselves with billions for the fine job they had done in destroying their banks. Some called it greed. But it was really much worse. It was a sense of entitlement. They were rich. Therefore, they were entitled to divert money from  health care and poverty relief; and to take it for themselves. In the same way, large oil companies are entitled to spend over a trillion dollars of taxpayer's money and to spend thousands of lives of taxpayers to kill over a million innocent people in wars to corner the oil market for them. They're entitled. It works the same way in New Brunswick.

The tax payers of Canada and New Brunswick and, most especially of Moncton will be hit for eighty million dollars for a new arena for Robert Irving's hockey team. He's not greedy. He's entitled. And if Moncton won't lease it to him at his price, then he'll sell the team. Up yours, Moncton. He's entitled.

Similarly the Irvings support a neo-conservative think tank - which means its a propaganda agency for big business. It's using that, with the support of the newspapers it owns, to take over the education system. The New Brunswick system of education, from the minister down to the DECs, appears to be controlled by a propaganda agency. The Irvings and the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies (neither of whom knows anything about education) will determine how our children will be educated. We're not entitled. All we're allowed to do is to pay the taxes.

In the same way, it doesn't matter whether New Brunswick elects Liberals or Conservatives. They are both dogs that hunt for the same master.

This is part of a general movement we're seeing in both Canada and the United States, with big business buying and selling governments, and setting their agendas.  That's why the US can spare trillions for banks and wars, but can't afford a decent health care system.  That's why we see big business all over the US and Canada muscling in on control of education. They're entitled.

If you ever stay over at the Irvings', watch out for that bed piled high with mattresses.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Prize for Dumbest Editorial of the week - and the winner is....

For June 9, 2010, the prize for dumbest editorial of the week had a clear winner, perhaps even a record performance.

The second editorial in the Moncton Times,etc. praised the formation of the People's Alliance of NB as a breakthrough in New Brunswick politics. This is our new party, and it was founded on a principle. That's good. A political party should have principles. The principle is that the elected candidate should vote as his or her consistuents wish, and should not follow a party line in voting.  No problem so far.

Then the editor suggests the new party should put forward a platform so it won't be seen has having only one issue. Think about that.

If the PANB puts forward a platform of what it intends to do, and then wins the election, then all the PANB members of the assembly are committed to follow the party line to get that platform passed.  That will mean that sometimes they will have to vote against the wishes of those who elected them. If they do keep their major promise, to break with the party line, then much of their platform will never pass because they'll never be able to have a majority.

The PANB is just a variation on a very old idea. The old idea was to have the whole poulation vote on every bill. The system was obviously impractical. Even if all the voters were literate (and half of New Brunswickers are not), how could they posssibly have spare time to study and evaluate all bills? And if they could spare time, how many would do it?

Read the editorial for a laugh. Then read Alec Bruce's much better column on the same theme, right next to the editorial.

Still it's nice to see a party with a principal. That's what every party should begin with. PANB has a principle. The Green Party has one. The NDP has quite a few principles, and ones that have proven rather good. Too bad the provincial party doesn't appear to know what they are.

The Conservatives and Liberals wouldn't recognize a principle if it came with a label on it. As I said in an earlier post, neither party even knows what its name means.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Horror of a New Brunswick Election

We have a provincial election coming. Think  of all the problems a new government will have to deal with. - heavy debt, probably a continuing recession, quite likely a significant rise in the price of oil fuel, a battered energy system....and it goes on.  And almost 50% of the voters will be people who cannot read or write adequately to do even a simple job. How on earth can they make an informed choice about who is to govern?

New Brunswickers are the friendliest and most courteous people I have ever met. But the intellectual life of New Brunswick in general and of Moncton in particular is abysmal. Serious discussion rarely gets beyond last night's hockey scores. There are plenty of places to exercise  your body - with a well equipped YMCA, several commercial spas,lots of rinks, and a hockey arena for people whose idea of phsyical exercise is sitting on a cold bench watching somebody else exercise.

But this is a city whose councillors decided what it needs most of all is an eighty million dollar arena so more people can sit on their well padded bottoms watching somebody else exercise. It seems to be unknown in this province that a mind needs exercise, too. And it really shows up on election day.

The only two parties in the running are the Liberals (who don't even know what the word Liberal means) and the Conservatives (who don't know what Conservative means). That is not an exaggeration. I would challenge any member of either party to respond to this with the definition of either of those words.

In fact, both paries are essentially the same, and both obey the wishes of their major contributors who are, in both cases, much the same people. It's rare to hear an intelligent statement from any of them. But most New Brunswick voters still haven't caught on despite a hundred and fifty years of experience. That may have something to do with the lack of any intellectual exercise in this province.

Mind you, the choices are limited. The NDP not only has no money (rich people and corporations are not big on the NDP); it is actually going to campaign on an issue as trivial as toll roads.  The Green Party, though admirable, is a one-trick pony. The new party being formed has a platform which is not workable within our government system. Anyway, they have even less money than the NDP.

The fundamental problems of New Brunswick are its astonishingly high rate of functional literacy, and its lack of decent news coverage, especially at the municipal and provincial level.  Some political idiot will suggest in the election that the schools should do a better job of teaching literacy and current events. Nonsense. It's not schools that cause illiteracy. It's living in homes that are illiterate, and living under a government that doesn't care. Nor will teaching current events in the schools help. There is no way our Minister of Education would allow children to learn the truth.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cancer, anybody?

One of the best ways to lie is to say nothing. In 1997, using the Freedom of Information Act, The Baltimore Sun discovered that the American army and the CIA had been teaching and using torture methods at least as early as the 1980s. And probably long before that. Yet it burst as such a shock in the Afghanistan war that many people still don't believe it. (If you're a doubter, google American army torture manual Baltimore Sun.)

If the story was well known to journalists in 1997, how come the public didn't know? Well, that was because almost the whole of the news media refused to publish it. That was true in both Canada and the US. Want to know another dirty secret? Our own CSIS has been working with the CIA on torture for years. But I've missed any headlines about it.

There's nothing evil about journalists. Their problem is that keeping quiet about some things is the only way to survive.. Any editor, reporter or commentator who tells the whole truth will soon be looking for a job – with no takers.

On Friday, June 4, 2010, the CBC carried an alarming story of severe and dangerous air pollution in a part of St. John, N.B. So I checked the Times&Transcript. Not a word. Well, maybe it was too late for that day's edition. So I waited for June 5.

Nope.

This is surely rather a big story for New Brunswick. A whole residential district is suffering a pollution that causes cancer, and covers the district at a level twice that allowed in other countries. But not a word in the Times &Transcript.

The pollution is coming from an oil refinery. Guess who owns it. Guess who owns the Times & Transcript.

Notice how the Times & Transcript never asks questions about the pseudo-scientific “studies” on education released by Atlantic Institute of Marketing? It reports glowingly on them, but never a question or a comment. Google the home Page of the Atlantic Institute of Marketing. Go to the page with the officers of the institute. Run your fingers down the list of names. Stop at I.

It's not the fault of the news media that we are kept in ignorance. That decision is taken by ownership. It's true of all the news media. I was in the business some thirty years as a commentator. I was twice fired for saying things that were true but that the ownership didn't want expressed. There are no exceptions. Even the good news people, ones far better than I could hope to be, know there's a line.

That's why I find a wonderful freedom in having a blog.

Graeme Decarie

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The T&T kissing up to Irving

The front page of The Moncton T&T carries the story of George's brother, Jeb Bush touting (they may have meant pimping) competitive education and standardized tests. Mr. Bush who has never taught, and who has no training in education, was speaking to, among others, John Irving who is associated with a group called Atlantic Marketing Institute - a propaganda institute which publishes absurd "scientific" reports on how schools should be run like businesses. Mr. Irving has been coy about the extent of his training and experience in education. The photo with the story did, though, have one person in education - the President of St.Mary's University. However, university presidents who have any training in education are extremely rare. They are not hired to teach. Their job is to suck up to the Irvings of this world in hopes of getting handout.

Mr.Bush's speech was enjoyed by an audience of business people. Of course; why bother to invite rabble like teachers? They're not educated enough. If they were, they'd be making as much money as Mr. Irving. Yes, they would. Mr. Bush said as much.

He said workers' incomes are directly tied to education levels. Obviously, this is something for New Brunswickers to look at seriously.  Most teachers in News Brunswick have more education than John Irving. If Mr. Jeb was telling the truth, we should be looking a some pretty big raises for teachers.

Jeb Bush also said promotion to top jobs in education, as in business, should be based on performance. Good point. His brother (George) got his first job as CEO of an oil exploration company. Bright lad, George. He ran into it into bankruptcy in a short time, but managed to sell all his bonus stocks before anybody else knew how bad things were. From there, it was onward and upward. It was just like the Irving boys, working their way up and, by coincidence all performing brilliantly.

In discussing performance and accountability, Jeb did not have time to touch on the examples of those among his many friends in banking who performed by driving their banks broke, and then showed accountablility by demanding millions in bonuses.

The reporter, clearly a hard-nosed digger for the whole story, concluded with the statement that the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies is a "non-partisan" think tank. Like hell it is. It has direct links to the Harper Conservatives. I prefer to think the reporter could not lower himself to add that last sentence to the story.  I prefer to think it was done by an editor.

But that could not have happened.  No editor of an Irving-owned paper would tell such a lie. I believe that. I also believe a baby is born whenever a fairy burps.

Curious. The Moncton T&T rushes to print a story on opinions about education when they come from any sources connected with the Irvings or with neo-Conservative "think tanks". And it has never written a word of criticism of either the Irvings or a right wing think tank.

I cannot remember it ever carrying a contrary opinion by a major scholar of education.


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