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Monthly Archives: January 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Support the teachers in their childish behavior?

I think it a bit shameful that the question can be asked.

All they were asked is to give a tiny slice back, and that after years of receiving inordinate new returns as measured by the general standards of our society today.

Instead of accepting their responsibility as very well-paid citizens of Ontario, they squabble like unthinking and privileged teenagers about rights being abused.

Many parents are afraid of not saying they support the teachers because they are concerned about the treatment of their children afterwards.

And that implicit intimidation is an important part of why strikes have absolutely no place in education.

Our teachers are subject to no scrutiny in their work, are not measured in any way by results or performance, receive quite extraordinary benefits, and are paid at what can only be called an extraordinary level considering their educations and expertise.

Most have only bachelor’s degrees, many just general (close to meaningless) general degrees, and many, many are expert in absolutely no subject.

On top of that they have a genuinely useless certificate from a teachers’ college, reflecting about 8 months spent in a completely non-academic environment, one where people like the disgraceful Director of TDSB earn “graduate degrees” with second-rate thought, much of it plagiarized, from “professors” who can’t tell the difference.

Take just those credentials and see what other work you can obtain today.

The effort will result in an honest “not much.”

People with such qualifications work, by the tens of thousands, as store clerks, restaurant staff, salespeople, and low to medium grade office clerks.

Overwhelmingly, they do not, nor will they ever, earn $80-90,000 with the most generous benefits on the planet short of senior government officials. All for a short work day and a very short work year.

Yet, we’ve heard over and over nonsense like, “Well, if you want university-educated teachers, you have to pay for them.”

We do pay for them, in many cases at nearly double the going rate for their levels of education.

What is so distressing about this matter is the genuinely childish and insanely melodramatic behavior displayed by a great many teachers and their leaders.

Show some civic-minded leadership, show some concern for kids, show some concern for the communities in which you live.

But, no, all we get is the equivalent of a pack of petty beasts fighting over a bone or two in an alley.

By the way, the Minister of Education, Laurel Broten, has done an outstanding job in difficult circumstances. Always calm, always in command of the facts, always available to CBC for interviews, and clearly sharply intelligent.

If we had more people of that quality in government, our society could only benefit.
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“I thought this government wanted to stop bullying. This latest tactic is bullying pure and simple!”

Bullying?

Yours is a complete misuse of language.

The government is the employer.

The teachers are the employees, extremely well paid ones.

The employer today has financial problems, and it has asked a very modest sacrifice of its employees.

Do they pitch in to help?

No, they whine about rights and other irrelevant nonsense at a time when many would just like decent job.

It is the teachers who are bullying, bullying the kids.

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“So many people who comment on these stories have no idea of how hard teachers work.”

Oh yes they do know how hard (some) teachers work.

In fact, teachers are the ones who seem oblivious about how hard others work.

Your comment is just the kind which irritates so many decent and thoughtful people.

It is special pleading, and it reflects genuine ignorance about the work of others.

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JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Chris Spence has always been pretty much an empty public relations machine.

His record in his previous job showed no worthy academic achievement.

He actually established a reputation for running around the city, with a photographer constantly in tow, doing photo-ops with big grins and arms around groups of boys.

Those were his only grins because he also had a reputation of avoiding eye contact with staff, displaying a contact-avoidance type of personality.

There was also talk about his quiet spending of rather large amounts for projects which appeared of little educational value.

So it was surprising at first when Toronto hired him.

But then the Toronto Board has a national reputation for being dysfunctional, so, on second thought, the appointment seemed somehow fitting.

Of course, he was appointed as a symbol for black children failing in the school system, but symbols do not change serious situations like that.

Hard work and intelligence and management skills are what is called for, but the School Board deals only in appearances and slogans and politics, never in the roll-up-your-sleeves kind of work for change of any kind.

Now we have the clearest possible case of plagiarism screaming at us.

The plagiarism is especially embarrassing because it was so completely avoidable.

I’m confident there are staff at the Board who can write, or at least research and sketch out, speeches and pop essays, a common practice in all large organizations.

But Mr. Spence insisted on doing things himself for a forum almost guaranteed to reveal his plagiarism.

What can you say?

And a campaign against plagiarism, rightly, has become a major one in our schools.

I cannot see how the TDSB, if it has any integrity remaining, can fail to ask for his resignation.

After all, if being a football-player director is about symbolism for some students, what are we to say of a public-plagiarist director as a symbol for all students?

And, as I write this, I hear on CBC Radio that researchers now scouring his past writings have said there are indications of other plagiarism.

In the end, the most important lesson in this is how totally inept our school boards are in having charge of children’s education. They are a force only for mediocrity and should be abolished.

[Note: Chris Spence resigned later the same day.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

 

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Lack of transparency is harming Chief Spence’s cause”

And lack of transparency is not harming Stephen Harper’s cause?

Please, this is the most secretive, most manipulative, and least democratic prime minister we have experienced.

Only in his case, hundreds of billions in dollars are at stake and tens of millions of lives.

And he has no excuses such as poor infrastructure, lack of expert advice, and a generally poor environment.

Indeed, he has the best of everything at his disposal, but he only uses the facilities to hide, dissemble, and play nasty political games.

The Globe’s cheap editorial pomposity and selective attention find yet another easy target.

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Amazing, our robot-ideologue gets something for once.

We have no interests in Mali and no interest in Mali.

But those facts didn’t stop Harper’s most brainless minister from floating the idea that we should get involved in America’s next foreign adventure in mass murder.

I guess Harper received enough feedback to convince him that the public could not stomach his Minister of Rescue Helicopters for Fishing Trips’ brainless proposal.

Concern over Mali, apart from normal humanitarian concerns, is solely the territory of America’s giant blundering military-intelligence establishment.

But that is the case in so many other matters too, and was the case in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya.

We did waste a good many lives and a great deal of treasure in some of those places just in order to gain “creds” with America’s military Frankenstein.

And this is, after call, a government whose ministers’ surest route to a big appointment is to suddenly blurt something out, almost like a devotee at a Pentecostal Church’s speaking in tongues while writhing on the carpet, about fighting for another place in which Canadians in general have no interest, Israel.

That certainly was the case for Peter Kent and is an ongoing obsession for John Baird, aka the junk yard dog of vicious attacks and gushes of seemingly pointless enthusiasms.

I suppose we should be grateful for small things: we will not be winging our way over to Mali, dribbling away billions of dollars we don’t have, just to interfere in matters about which we have zero understanding.

 

[Note: Shortly later, Canada offered limited use of a C-17 transport plane to France, whose military had agreed to do America’s dirty work in Mali. Fittingly, given the clownish nature of  our Minister of Defense, after some fanfare in sending it off, the plane had a problem and was stuck on the runway for some time.] 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Peter MacKay, as always, talks as the fool he is, a fool who doesn’t understand the extent of his own foolishness.

Among the Harper government’s clearest achievements in international affairs is reducing the country to a length of soiled toilet paper trailing from the Pentagon’s rear end.

We have zero interests in Mali and zero interest in Mali.

There is nothing there for a rational state to fight over.

But the Pentagon is on a holy crusade, stretching over the face of the earth, for anything that might be in any way associated with what it perceives in its dim lights to be Islamic fundamentalism and terror.

It very much resembles an obsessed, insane Captain Ahab sailing the world’s seas to kill the white whale.

It is egged by the domestic lobby of America’s nasty little sidekick, Israel, a country whose mad leaders speak of nothing but war and assault and enemies and hatreds while they continue stealing the property of others and suppress 4.5 million people into utter hopelessness.

We are heading into a long period of senseless, pointless, and destructive conflicts inspired by the military-industrial complex and its Ahab-like search for the white whale.

Traditionally, Canada, a rational people with progressive views, would not even think of joining in such destructive stupidity.

But now this rational people are ruled by a 39% “majority” government of extreme ideology whose major goal is to play a role in international affairs as defined by the seething Captain Ahab.

We literally threw away billions of dollars and about a hundred and fifty lives to achieve absolutely nothing in Afghanistan.

And we wasted millions more in killing civilians and destroying property in Libya to help create a chaotic state whose leader the United States hated.

In state after state the United States is busy killing people, all innocent people by the standards of justice – in Yemen, in Bahrain, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, and in Syria (through its paid and supplied proxies).

In Egypt, it encourages the government to impose an unjust constitution just to secure the cooperation of that government.

In Iran, it threatens and blusters daily over nothing.

Its achievement in Iraq – besides a million killed, thousands crippled, two million refugees, and an advanced society reduced to poverty – is a nation effectively divided into pieces and endless internal conflict.

Fortunately, Canada played no role in the filthy business.

Repeating what it achieved in Iraq is, of course, America’s aim in Syria.

Israel’s mad leaders are gleeful for such murderous assistance, but no person of democratic and humane principles can possibly agree.

But we do not have a government today dedicated to such principles, and the whole world knows it and treats us with shame in international forums.

Happy New Year, Canada.