Weighing in on education ‘war’

I have to admit, I was almost fooled by Tom Fletcher's column last week.

Editor:

Re: BCTF indoctrinating kids (BC Views, March 8)

I have to admit, I was almost fooled by Tom Fletcher’s column last week. When I read how outraged he was by the way B.C. teachers are indoctrinating our young people into the philosophy of the left and how the teachers are all liars, I thought it was just Tom being his usual outspoken, reactionary, closed-minded self.

It didn’t seem to make sense that he totally accepted the government’s facts and figures as truth and totally rejected the BCTF data as lies, while complaining that students were being fed a “North Korean style system of indoctrination.”

Shouldn’t a responsible journalist take a more even-handed approach? Then I realized that he was taking a page from the BCTF and teaching by example, providing an excellent demonstration of what indoctrination looks like.

For instance, by accepting the government’s assessment that teacher demands would cost $2 billion and denouncing the BCTF claim that it would be more like half a billion, he was demonstrating the need to loudly and consistently deny the claim of any opposition. By calling the teachers liars, he was showing how necessary it is to denounce not just the content, but the character of the other side. Classic stuff, and it looked like he really meant it, but he didn’t fool me for long.

The big clue came when he said we should Google “Study: class size doesn’t matter.”

I did and guess what I found? A website’s link to a Washington Post story on a Tennessee study on 35 Charter School classrooms that sort of indicated that class size was not as big an influence on academic success as previously thought. But right under that link was another called “drwilda-battle-of-the-studies-does-class-size-matter” and it makes it very clear that reducing class sizes has been “proven to increase student achievement through rigorous randomized experiments.” And this by the Institute of Education Studies, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, no less!

I never would have discovered that if I hadn’t followed Tom’s instruction.

So kudos to Mr. Fletcher for demonstrating not only the true meaning of indoctrination but also how to combat it; don’t just listen to the raving blowhards, find the information out for yourself.

Mike Balser, New Westminster

Editor:

I will not attack Tom Fletcher for his defence of the BC Liberal government and its attempt to prove that it is pretending to be fiscally conservative by picking a fight with teachers in this province. I will not question whether or not he has children in the school system or whether or not he felt he was wrongly picked on by left-wing teachers when he was a child — hopefully, he has an employee assistance plan that will pay for his access to the necessary counseling.

But I suspect, being the obvious selfish what’s-in-it-for-me BC Liberal sycophant that he is, that he would not continue working for his employer, if his employer so disvalued his worth that it offered him a net-zero increase in his pay. Being the free enterprise Ayn Rand disciple, he would go on strike and cease benefitting society. “Atlas shrugged” and if it wasn’t for teachers who gave more than net-zero, he would not have a column to write, and no one would be able to read his crap.

Quinn Mebesius, Agassiz

The True Effect of the Teacher Strike on Students

Editor:

This teacher strike is nonsense. Being in grade 12 this year the strike affects me more than ever. This is my last year to do all the things I love to do in high school, such as sports and after school clubs. This year has been difficult to form a rugby team and now with the strike it might be shut down all together.

When I am driving to school listening to the radio I hear ads about the strike like “this strike is for the kids”. If it was truly for the kids you wouldn’t be using kids as leverage. The teachers take away the things students love to do and then this in turn gets the parents involved, creating pressure on the government to do something.

I have been taught by many a teacher that life sucks and you can’t always get what you want. So take your advice; the government isn’t going to give you everything you are asking for. Learn to compromise. You would think that if a group of highly educated people got together they would be able to come up with a solution. I guess not.

Kevin Bos, 18, Langley