The Atlantic Institute of Marketing Studies (which has no expertise in education, and which is simply a propaganda front set up by the Irvings and McCain's and Ganongs of our world) has released its annual report card on Atlantic Canadian high schools.
This is even worse than the fraud of the MacLean's university rankings. The difference is it will do even more damage than MacLean's does - and MacLean's has done serious damage to the universities.
School grades are affected far more by family income and social status, by cultural values, by expectations than they are by anything a school or a teacher does.
A good friend of mine was a lawyer, an engineer and, for at time, President of the Quebec Liberal party. He has also been an oustanding hockey player. But he knew he could never play for the NHL, or get an athletic scholarship to a Canadian university.
He was Black.
Blacks in the Montreal of his day couldn't be police or clerks. The men couldn't be anything but, railway porters, or jazz musicians. The women couldn't be anything but domestic servants or baby sitters. They grew up accepting that. Their teachers accepted that. Finishing high school wasn't even on their radar. (Nor, if they somehow still got good grades, did they stand much chance of being accepted in a Canadian university. So how did my friend break through?
"It was the side of the street I lived on," he told me. "The other side went to the ghetto school where it was expected by parents and teachers they would do poorly - and so they did. But kids on my side of the street went to a rich, white kids school, where both parents and teachers expected the children to go on to university. So I did."
He got the hockey scholarship that no Canadian university would give him at a prestigious American university, and railway porters smuggled him over the botder for the train travel he couldn't afford..
I had a similar experience going to school in a dirt poor, white neighbourhood. None of us from my grade one class finished high school. In grade ten, I did meet kids whose families, for cultural reasons, (Japanese, Jewish) or social reasons (rich) expected them to do well - and so they did. But it was too late for me. I flunked out.
From school to school there was no difference in the curruicula or in the training of the teachers. The differences were in the communities. There is no such thing as a best school. Any school is a reflection of the community it serves.
So why are the Irvings and the McCains and the Ganongs so keen on ranking schools?
They're following a movement that began in the US some 40 years ago to privatize education as much as possible. The rankings are intended to lead to Public/Private Partnerships. Yeah. That's what we'll call them - partnerships, like a leech is a partner to whatever it is sucking blood out of.
Privatization in the US has gone a long way, with the result that basic education has gone out of reach for the poor, and is a major effort for what's left of the middle class. According to UNESCO ratings, US "public" education has gone, as a result, from a mediocre 18th in the world to an appalling 136th. ( Canada is in the top ten.)
The Irving papers have been used quite deliberately as part of the campaign to destroy confidence in our schools. The purprose of the campaign was to let corporations get their greedy fingers into our education taxes - and to hell with the damage it causes the children.
Corporations exist to make money. That's all they exist for. Hyenas exist to eat flesh. I would no sooner turn by children over to a corporation than I would to a pack of hyenas.
Contrary to statements my our finance minister, government is not a business. It does not exist simply to feed itself (or it's masters).
I have never read any serious scholar in the field of education who thinks that school rankings have any merit. And I note the dead silence of Atlantic deans of education on this subject.
In short, those bastards want to destroy your school systems and your children so they can make a buck out of it. And you can depend on the Irving media to be on the side of the bastards.
Nice to see that NewsToday has noticed the Occupy Wall Street movement - though it is still stuck with Reuters news agency. But there is another - and huge - story that is missing.
Yesterday, Ottawa announced that it has agreed to a defence pact with Israel, and will release details soon. Well...
That's kind of a serious decision. That whole region is about to explode into what could be World War Three (if we aren't already in it.) The current tension is over fears that Iran might get a nuclear warhead. (The US has over 5,000. Tiny Israel has some 250, about the same number as China).
A defence pact sounds like a commitment to join a war. But barely a week ago, we paid honour to those Canadians who died to defend freedom and democracy. Those words don't just sound nice. They have meanings. One of the meanings is that we cannot be committed to war without full debate and without the vote of our elected representatives. How soon we forget what we said we remembered on Nov. 11.
Under intenational law, the law we used to hang Nazi leaders, we cannot go to war unless we are attacked. (If we enforced the laws we enforced against Hitler's gang, there'd be a lot of Canadian politicians at the end of ropes.)
This news of a defence pact has enormous implications. How come the new editor of the TandT never heard of it? (It appeared in yesterday's Toronto Sun, among others.)
Norbert has his usual, confused column. He dismisses people who complain about our well staffed and appointed schools. Gee, Norbert, just a year ago you were the edtorial page editor who regularly ran editorials and opinion pieces that said the schools were incompetent and a scandal.
Alec Bruce's column is a warning of hard times to come. My only departure from that would be to add that New Brunswick is in financial trouble largely because we, our children, and our communities have served ourselves up for too long on the banquet table of the corporate elite. We can afford our poor. It's our rich who are breaking us.
Sensible column by Jody Dallaire on tips. Juvenile column by Rod Allen. (That's not quite fair. The Saturday columns by students are better than those of Allen.)