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Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Everything is awesome

Few students in BC graduate from post-secondary schooling laden with debt, according to Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education in British Columbia.

Wilkinson asserts there is no student debt problem. He claims (wrongly): “70 per cent of students go through their higher education with no debt whatsoever.

From the minister’s vantage point, everything is awesome. Wilkinson, a guy with a west-side home worth 7-figures, has long enjoyed annual income in the large 6-figures and he can afford to hang in spiffy places. Even so, when he moves around the province, taxpayers pay the bill for him and the entourage.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Nora Loreto rightly challenges the instinct to respond to tragedy with blame in the name of “responsibility”, rather than compassion in the interest of making matters better: Blame is the projection of grief, sadness or fear. It is the projection of our own inadequacies; of our own feelings of, “oh god, that could be my kid” wrapped up in “thank god I’m a better parent than that.” It pretends that all things are equal, that all family situations are equal and all children are essentially the same.

But it’s malicious. Blame, (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: What Happens to the Eloi When the Morlocks Leave Town: A Lesson for Jim Prentice from H.G. Wells

“History is a race between education and catastrophe.” — H G Wells

HG Wells may not have had a time machine, but he was certainly prescient.

In The Time Machine the narrator, known simply as the Traveller, invents a contraption that takes him to 802,701 AD. There he finds a world inhabited by waif-like Eloi who loll around doing nothing and ape-like Morlocks who eat them. The Traveller temporarily upsets the balance of this efficient economic system when he accidentally starts a forest fire.

Wells’ premise is simple. Humans without intelligence evolve into Eloi; those with intelligence evolve (Read more…)

centre of the universe: Saskatchewan Racist as Fuck No Surprise To Anyone But Folks Who Don’t Like Indians

Yeah, I stole the title from my own Twitter stream. I’ve seen these headlines over the last couple of days that talk about how SHOCKED everyone is to find out that SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH has PROVEN that Saskatchewan is full of people who pretty much hate each other. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has lived in this … Continue reading →

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jacques Peretti discusses how corporate elites rewrote our social contract in a concerted effort to the inequality we’re fighting today – and suggests it’s well past time to push back in the name of moral economics: Politicians have now, as then, conspired in their own diminishment — outsourcing foreign policy to Washington, saying there’s nothing we can do about global capitalism.

But it’s not up to them, it’s up to us to be uncompromisingly moral at a moment when the criminal immorality of 30 years of misguided economic policy has been revealed.

The (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: Many Canadians aren’t voting, particularly young Canadians. Why? Because politics moves slowly.

This article on the ongoing decline in Canadian voter participation, particularly by youth in the Globe today by Michael Adams, President of the Environics Institute for Survey Research and  Maryantonett Flumian, President of the Institute on Governance  has been shared by more than a few people I know on Facebook, so I thought I would share my thought on the subject and some of the ideas the article raises.“One reason for declining turnout is a deep shift in social values away from deference to institutional authority. It used to be that if society’s leaders told us to do (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Liberal Scarf: Many Canadians aren’t voting, particularly young Canadians. Why? Because politics moves slowly.

Dead Wild Roses: As If You Needed Another Reason to Pick Up a Musical Instrument.

Playing an instrument enhances your cognitive abilities. I just wonder if they’ll find a way to motivate people to practice.

 

Filed under: Education, Music Tagged: Music, Playing an Instrument, TED talk

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rethinking Economics Waterloo Conference, Feb 7

Ali Kraushaar and Geoff Evamy Hill, co-founders of the Rethinking Economics Waterloo initiative, are organizing a conference to be held Feb 7. It looks good! See below.

We want to inform you about the Rethinking Economics Waterloo Conference happening at St. Paul’s University College on Saturday, February 7. We invite you and all your members to be there, and hope we can collaborate on spreading the word!

The Rethinking Economics Waterloo Conference is all about asking if, how, and why economics can and should be rethought. Over the course of the day, participants will be hearing from a variety (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Logic: How to PWN an argument, without getting the RPOJ

If you want to take down somebody else’s argument, a certain familiarity with the nature of intellectual or philosophical (as opposed to playground) argument is required, so that you can construct your own counter-argument. In an intellectual argument, the person putting forth an argument sets out a number of premises (statements of facts), which, when you add them together, at best makes it impossible for their conclusion to be false (deductive argument), or at least makes it much more likely that their conclusion is true (inductive argument).

If you want to show that somebody’s argument is wrongity wrong, there (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Alberta Needs Charlie Hebdo

Wednesday’s massacre of eight journalists, five of whom were political cartoonists, at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo unleashed a torrent of “We are Charlie Hebdo” editorials across the world.

Newspapers fell all over themselves in an effort to demonstrate solidarity with the slain cartoonists—but they had a concern. Was it enough to simply describe Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons or did they have to reprint examples of the magazine’s work?

Some reprinted the cartoons, others did not, arguing that reprinting an offensive cartoon would be disrespectful to Muslims.

In both cases publishers reassured themselves (and us) that when it came (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – Charlie Hebdo

Oh, those wacky religious Muslim terrorists are at it again going all murder happy on people who dare to make fun of their religion.

This event is completely ludicrous and, in 2015, should not be happening, some reasons off the top of my head:

1. Mohammad, Jebus, Krishna, Sif – pick your imaginary friend – they all don’t fucking exist.

2. If they did exist wouldn’t there be some godly smiting going on, like all the time? Being immortal and all powerful and all that shite, you would think that they could take care of business without (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How to Excuse Your Child from the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA)

Well, it’s that time again: Foundation Skills Assessment in BC.

There are so many things wrong with the FSA tests. I won’t go into them here, but you can read about many of them in these places:

Foundation Skills Assessment: Another Dirty Trick The BCTF on the FSAs.

And so you know, the BC Ministry of Education has an information FAQ for parents and a brochure. Neither tells parents that/how they can exempt their students from this silly test. No surprise. While the government “says” it doesn’t support the use of test results for school ranking, the BC (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Dictionary Definitions Are A Starting Point

I would like to take this time to edify and hopefully illuminate those with access to my very small part of the blogging community.

Blogging community, if you care to listen please note that for future reference that if you intend to talk about a topic that you are unfamiliar with, or wish to actively criticize please recognize that looking up terminology you will be dealing with in a dictionary is not the endpoint of your commitment to honest discussion.

Defining your terms is important, but the level of detail present in most dictionaries is not sufficient to base (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

 - Emma Woolley discusses how homelessness developed into a social problem in Canada in large part through public neglect. Judy Haiven is the latest to emphasize that charity is no substitute for a functional society when it comes to meeting people’s basic needs. And Ed Lehman is rightly concerned that Brad Wall and company are still determined to avoid acknowledging the fact that there are plenty of Saskatchewan residents trying to make do with nowhere near enough.

- Emily Badger reminds us how inequality early in life can shape – and block – opportunities (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: How Neo-Liberal Thinking Screws up Society.

The Neo-Liberal dogma that attempts to shroud us from the realities of the world is on display in not one, but two cartoons for your edification.

Ah, here we see Neo-Liberalism invade our thinking. The thoroughly naive notion that we are all equal in society and if we just acted “nicer” (by ignoring systemic inequalities society) things would be peachy-freakn’-awesome. In dogmatic Neo-Liberal thought we are just individuals making choices – no class, no sex, no position in society. The structural factors of society are simply ignored.

 

Boom! Class analysis based in a grounded historical (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Do You Want To Be A Better Mentor?

Probably.

But maybe you don’t actually know that you are a mentor now. You probably are, but if you are more mindful of relationships with your informal apprenticeships, you will realize all the people who are getting wisdom from you.

Maybe you think you’re too young, or too busy, or too new to your gig. Or maybe you’re a misanthropist.

If the latter, you’ve already stopped reading.

If one of the former ideas strikes truth for you, consider these:

There is always someone younger than you who can benefit from your mentorship. If you’re in a job or university or (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: A DWR PSA – Investing in Sexual Reproductive Health in the Developing World

Now you know.

 

Filed under: Education Tagged: DWR PSA Satruday, Reproductive Health, Women

Dead Wild Roses: This Will Revolutionize Education – Veritasium

Well, it is nice to know I have a little job security.

Filed under: Education Tagged: Education, Revolution, Teaching

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Walden Bello discusses the need for our political system to include constant citizen engagement, not merely periodic elections to determine who will be responsible to implement the wishes of the elite: Even more than dictatorships, Western-style democracies are, we are forced to conclude, the natural system of governance of neoliberal capitalism, for they promote rather than restrain the savage forces of capital accumulation that lead to ever greater levels of inequality and poverty. In fact, liberal democratic systems are ideal for the economic elites, for they are programmed with periodic electoral exercises that (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: 25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming White Male

Oh, let the floodgates go – the bitter tears of white dudes will flow to the sweet background cacophony of #Notallmen…

Filed under: Education Tagged: Feminism, Gamer Gate, Sexism, Social Justice Warriors Unite!, Video Games, White Dudes

Trashy's World: Helping out Clifford Bowey PS…

… in the Aviva Fund competition. Hi all – PSA time: Clifford Bowey PS has moved into the Aviva Fund Semi-Finals! I like to think that our school community last year helped Vincent Massey win this competition – and a new playground! Please visit the site and register and VOTE – one vote per day […]

Dented Blue Mercedes: Legislatively “Balancing” Human Rights

There is a simple, time-honoured rule about attempting to “balance” human rights classes in legislation so that it works out a particular way every time, and it goes like this:

You can’t.

That is a court’s role. When two human rights classes are put into conflict in a way that creates hardships for both, a court becomes the arbiter, weighing the context of a given situation in order to determine which party has experienced the most undue hardship.

Legislating such a way that one party’s rights always supersedes the other creates a hierarchy of rights, and defeats the whole (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: What if Prentice Issued an FAQ to Explain Bill 10…?

Premier Prentice likes corporate-speak (“under new management”, “price takers, not price makers”, etc) so let’s apply a corporate communication tool, the FAQ, to explain the government’s rationale for Bill 10. And let’s assume for a wild and crazy moment that the answers his spokesperson provides are the unvarnished truth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What problem is Bill 10 intended to rectify?

A: Research shows that LGBTQ students feel more unsafe in their schools, suffer more from depression, and make more suicide attempts than heterosexual students.

Q: What can schools do to help LGBTQ students?

A: They can allow students (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Murray Dobbin writes about the damage caused after decades of allowing the corporate elite to dictate economic policy – and notes that the Cons are determined to make matters all the worse: However you see it — as separate from society or integral to it – Canada’s “economy” is increasingly at the mercy of a risk-averse, inept corporate elite addicted to government tax breaks and an ideologically addled government which more than anything else is simply incompetent. It is a deadly combination — a sort of dumb and dumber team slowly dragging us backwards (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Lessons Prentice Learned at Harper’s Knee

Somewhere between the time that Premier Hancock stepped down and Premier Prentice ascended to the throne, the PC caucus turned into a bunch of sniveling crybabies. Not to worry, Mr Prentice will save the day with a maneuver befitting his mentor, Mr Harper.

Apparently the Liberal’s Bill 202 wedged the PC caucus between a rock and a hard place.

Bill 202 obligates schools boards to let students form gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and eliminates the right of parents to pull their kids out of classes on religion, sexuality and sexual orientation.

The PC caucus was afraid that if they voted against (Read more…)