Quebec students & Obama partisans prove some teachers indoctrinate rather than educate

Click image for frontpagemag.com

There is now plenty of proof that far too many teachers in both the United States and Canada are not “educating” their students about alternative political viewpoints.

Rather, they are indoctrinating them with a “my way or the highway” one-sided progressive ideology that, over the long term, could actually threaten our right to free speech and political affiliation.   

For example, check out this column by Mark Tapson from FrontPageMag.com and its link to a nine minute video of an unidentified female teacher and her students in a North Carolina high school classroom. (H/T bluecanada.ca)

As a former teacher and teacher educator, I find the video very difficult to listen to, not only because it is hard to follow given the noise in the background but because it is embarrassing. Clearly, the teacher is an Obama supporter which is her personal right. But, it is not her right to be an Obama apologist in her classroom.

Specifically, besides demonstrating an almost complete lack of classroom control, the video demonstrates the difference between indoctrinating and educating, especially when the teacher yells “stop” several times when a student argues they should be able to talk about Obama as they do Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, because “Obama is not God.”

Personally, I have no opinions or concerns about Obama one way or the other, although I have written about him several times on this blog in the past, most of it complementary (e.g,. here is my archive). Rather, my concern is with the type of political indoctrination we were witnessing.

Unfortunately, however, that type of “teaching” is not new. In fact, as I have written before, I was witness to such a phenomenon myself in Ontario between 1995 and 1999 when I was employed by a Mike Harris “Progressive Conservative” Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP). The teachers’ unions hate for Premier Harris and his government was over the top and eventually infected everyone in the profession.  

In fact, to this day, the effect of the indoctrination of students attending high school during the Harris years is still felt.  Now in their late 20s and early 30s, many are parents themselves and I read their “Harris ruined Ontario” comments on any blog or mainstream media column about the Harris years. When, in fact, the Harris government kept all their promises and completely turned the Ontario economy around.

Whatever! As the latest Quebec student protests demonstrate, the demonization of politicians we don’t agree with continues. Specifically, Chris Selley writes in today’s National Post, the student protestors in Quebec are now referring to “Liberal” Premier Jean Charest as a fascist. 

A fascist? Talk about magical thinking and hyperbole! Is the Quebec government using death squads to round up protestors, never to be seen again? Of course not. All Charest is doing is raising post-secondary tuition fees to be closer to what they are in the rest of Canada.  There is also the issue that progressive politicians ignore what doesn’t fit their agenda.

Anyway, whatever the examples of indoctrination by teachers or bias by progressive politicians, whether during the late 1990s in Ontario or in North Carolina and Quebec today, the results speak for themselves — free speech is at risk!

As such, I would remind all those with a one-sided political viewpoint, that as far back as Athenian democracy itself, Socrates taught his students the importance of the dialetic – a method of “dialogue between two or more people holding “different” points of view about a subject, who wish to establish the truth of the matter by dialogue and with reasoned arguments.”

A truth we should all remember!

Marching for freedom in 1944 vs marching for free tuition in 2012

Photo # 1: Marching into France on D.Day, June 6, 1944.

There are three photos in this post. The first was taken during WWII and shows young soldiers marching down a village street in France in 1944.

The other two were taken recently in Montreal in May of 2012.

In the 1944 photo, the young soldiers were marching to free the people of the village because it was the start of the liberation of France. 

It was a great day. It was D.Day, June 6, 1944. However, a full year would go by before the war would actually be over and they could go home — assuming they even survived.

Those young people fought against tyranny for both individual and collective freedoms, free and democratic elections and the rule of law.

Photo # 2: Student blocking students.

Photo # 3: Montreal Protest May 23, 2012.

Now compare the 1944 photo to the other two taken in Quebec recently. The differences are striking.

Heroes versus petulant and spoiled narcissists.  

The 2012 young people are not fighting against tyranny and for freedom.Rather they are tyranizing others by taking away person freedoms (by wearing masks and blocking their fellow students from attending classes).

And, judging by the riots and mayhem, the 2012 young people are completely ignoring the rule of law.

The crux of the matter is that, whereas in 1944 thousands upon thousands of young  people were willing to give everything they had in the fight for freedom (including their lives), in 2012, thousands and thousands of Quebec’s student protestors fight so that they might have free tuition. 

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Update 1 May 25th 12noon: It seems the Quebec student unrest has spread. (H/T JNW #1) Meaning, that we have whiny, spoiled, entitled children all over Canada, instigated by the student union movement and big labour. Mind you, it is not all young people by a long shot. In fact, it is likely a noisy minority.  But, as I said in the above post, narcisissm is alive and well in far too many young people who feel society owes them everything.

Remember John F. Kennedy said: Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. In our protesting youth, it would be: Ask not what you can do for your country but what your country can do for you.

Update May 25th, 5pm: Check out Blue Like You’s post on a related topic – that Wilfred Laurier faculty are going to contribute to the Quebec riots. Marxism and fascism is alive and well and it is very scary.

Quebec student protestor “rights” do not trump “rights” of others

QC students block other students.

The naive, spoiled, Quebec student leaders, along with the entitled, well paid “public” (as in taxpayer funded) sector union officials, who are protesting in Montreal about tuition fees and all things capitalist, don’t get it.

They don’t get that their fundamental right to protest and shut down entire Montreal neighbourhoods does not trump the rights of others.

Either Canada is a free country or it isn’t.  Either political disagreements are settled at the ballot box or they aren’t.  Because, angry disruptions and riots lasting a hundred days are no longer peaceful protests, they are the beginnings of anarchy.

Yet, listening to Quebec’s student leaders, you’d never guess that Canada was built on the rule of law, has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that covers everyone and allows free elections when we disagree.  

Laws? What laws? Given what the Quebec student leaders say (H/T JNW), the students who are protesting are above the law. 

In fact, it seems that they actually believe that their “fundamental rights” to cause mayhem and defy laws are above everyone else’s right to peace, order and good government.

Well, I have news for them, when you STOP others from doing what they have a right to do (as in deliberately stopping students from going to classes, interrupt existing classes or shut down businesses that provide employment), that is what Marxist totalitarianism looks like. And, leaders who hold to that kind of ideology are narcissistic, lacking in compassion and completely intolerant of opposing views!

Leaders in democracies, on the other hand, like in Canada, try to balance the rights of everyone. Which is why consensus is so difficult and why we have the right to make changes at the ballot box.     

Life is not fair. That has always been true. Some people have more than others. Yet, striving for a better life can be the very spark that pushes people to rise above their circumstances.  And, that is what a free country is all about, not free in terms of getting everything handed to us on a platter, but free to pull ourselves up by our boot straps and making our own way.

Which brings me to a couple final thoughts.  As a former professor in education, I would like to send a message to all those college and university teachers who are protesting with the students and/or condoning shutting down classes — you should be ashamed.

Why? Because what may have started out as legitimate protest, has become anarchy. And so, early on,  it should have been you who explained, just as is happening in Greece, that there are limits to social demands and entitlements.

The parents who are condoning and protesting, along with their children, should be ashamed as well. Have they never said no to their children? Have they never taught them that there are consequences to their behaviour and actions?  No? Well, perhaps now might be a good time to start. As the saying goes, better late than never! 

The crux of the matter is that the fundamental right for Quebec students to protest, along with their public sector union enablers, does not trump the rights of others to expect adherence to the Canadian principles of peace, order and good government.

Update: (1) Here is a link to a New York news item about the lawlessness in Montreal. Unfortunately, the fact that the protests are getting negative international attention bodes badly for tourism revenue this summer.  Do the protestors care? No, they don’t. Rather, they only seem to care about “their” fundamental rights. Talk about magical thinking. It is as though the student leaders think the Quebec economy can run on empty.

(2) There is apparently a blog that includes protestors daring the police to arrest them. However, I will not put up the link to give them traffic. Which only goes to prove that there is an entitled generation out there that has not been taught that with rights come responsibilities. Just thinking or alleging that Jean Charest is a dictator does not make it so.  What exactly do all these student and occupy people actually want? To make us a third world country? A communist country? If so, they have no idea what a dictator and dictatorship are really like!

Montreal students hindered by thugs who break law with impunity

Click for Sun Media video.

What kind of society allows student law breakers — naive thugs — to take control of post-secondary schools and city streets without any consequences whatsoever?

Mexico? Syria? Somalia? No, actually, it is the City of Montreal in the Province of Quebec in Canada.

Strange, just a week ago, Matt Gurney of the National Post wrote that the Quebec government of Jean Charest had boxed the student’s into a corner. Well, who is in the corner now?

For example, check out this Sun Media link.  This morning some students, armed with a court injunction that would allow them to attend school, tried to enter Lionel-Groulx in Ste-Therese.

However, they were unable to do so because they were stopped by masked protesters. And, as readers can see in the photo above, the police just seem to be standing in front of the masked protestors doing nothing. 

So, what is going on there? Are we seeing another potential Caledonia when there is one law for most of society and one law for the thugs?

Well, in my opinion, it’s long past time for some tough love in Montreal.  Millions of students in other cities in other provinces are watching. What is the official inaction teaching them? What is ignoring injunctions teaching them? Plus, what kind of message is the inaction sending to terrorists around the word?

In other words, the Charest government has to stop the pandering and pussy footing around. Confirm the tuition fee hikes. Support the police to do their jobs.  And if protestors get hurt, or they lose their academic year, so be it. Such are the consequences of the students’ own actions!

No society, particularly a Western democracy can allow the continuous thwarting of the law.

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Update: The Quebec Education Minister, Line Beauchamp, resigns. Here is a Google link to several sources that confirm that update. What difference her resignation is going to make is hard to understand given that many of the student groups want their own way — no tuition increases, if not no tuition fees period.  Like I said in this post, some tough love is needed because the Quebec students cannot get their own way given the tuition fees in rest of Canada are much higher. Plus, Quebec gets billions in equalization!

Quebec’s univ students protesting tuition hikes get failing grade

Student Protest March 13,2012. Click image. Courtesy CBC.

Updated March 13th, 2012. It is unbelievable that Quebec university students are not only continuing to protest, but they say they will strike until the Quebec Liberals relent and not raise their tuitions. Is that their idea of democracy – when they get their way? Windows were also broken in office buildings, although according to the CBC the protest ended peacefully. Clearly the notion that some maturing is needed comes to mind, as does the phrase “spoiled brats.” Harsh? Perhaps. But, all of us need to learn that government can’t do everything we want.

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Original post starts here: Read this column by the Calgary Herald’s Licia Corbella.  It is quite an eye opener, even for someone like me who spent half my teaching career at the university level. What Corbella proves, beyond any shadow of a doubt, is that Quebec’s post-secondary tuition structure is subsidized by all the have-provinces — which are currently Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and BC, albeit primarily Alberta. Yet, Quebec students continue to protest over a $325.00 hike

Now, while it may be their democratic right to protest, are the Quebecers who are protesting so self-absorbed they have no idea that: (1) they already have one of the lowest tuition fee structures in Canada; and (2) it is tax revenue from other provinces, through the equalization program, that is making it possible for them to maintain such low rates?

Then, there is the unfair fact that Quebec charges out-of-province students a higher rate than Quebec residents. Check out this McGill Student Accounts page, for example, and it shows “Residency Status” — Quebecer, Non-Quebec Canadian & International. Odd, because as this York University link shows (scroll half way down the page to “Domestic Tuition Fees Category”), it is not apparently the same in reverse. To attend York, you need only be a Canadian citizen or a child of one.  

However, as Corbella writes, if an Albertan were to attend McGill University in September 2012, probably the most prestigious university in Canada, he or she would have to pay the out-of-province total tuition of $7417 a year compared to a Quebec resident who would only have to pay $3727.00 — just over half. 

Clearly, there is something wrong with this picture. Sure, all non-Quebecers have known that Quebec is treated differently. However, I had no idea Quebec universities had discriminatory tuition fees.  Meaning, perhaps that it is the university students studying in Quebec but considered “Non-Quebec” who should be out there protesting — for equal treatment for all Canadians. 

The crux of the matter is, therefore, that Quebec’s protesting university students get an “F” for their unrealistic and discriminatory demands.

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Endnote:  If you do a Google search on the topic of equalization, you will find some who complain that Alberta does not give transfer payments to other provinces. While that is technically true, the result is the same. What happens is that, as Corbella explained happened in 2009, Alberta sent $35.990 billion gross taxes to the federal government. They received $19.997 back in transfer payments. So, no matter how you do the numbers, the rest of Canada got to keep $15.993 billion of Alberta tax dollars. And, of that amount, Quebec got $13.641 billion in equalization payments. Which means, that no matter how you spin it, Alberta makes it possible for Quebec university students to get a break on their tuitions that no other Canadians get.

Quebec hides high school drop out & failure rates

 

Credit Microsoft Clip Art

Read this eye-popping column by Sarah-Maude Lefebvre of QMI. It is about why the Quebec Education Ministry does NOT release high school graduation and drop out data — even though the statistics are shocking. (H/T JNW) For example, Lefebvre writes:

“The province’s education minister, Line Beauchamp, said the policy [to not release drop out data] was introduced a few years ago for reasons of ‘sensitivity.’ ‘If we made the data public, one would realize that many institutions have a 100% dropout rate,’ Beauchamp told QMI Agency. ‘It would have a significant impact on the students’ self-esteem and staff morale.’

Yes, you read that right. Some high schools in Quebec have 100% or near 100% drop out rates –which, not surprisingly, have a significant impact on student self-esteem and staff morale. I mean, what do you expect to happen if more students fail high school than pass? How on earth are they going to be ready for the world of work and self-sufficiency? 

Okay, so what is the Quebec government doing to turn those numbers around? Not much it seems other than tsk tsking and saying ethics and confidentiality prohibit them from releasing data?  What absolute poppycock!  Excuses, excuses. How else can any school improve if the administration and staff at that school don’t know what they are doing wrong or how they might improve?

Frankly, the Quebec government’s entire approach to such reportage indicates, not only a complete lack of public accountability and transparency, but a philosophy of lowered expectations, what some might call bigotry and/or racism.

The crux of the matter is then, that if the Charest Liberal Government actually want to do something to reduce high school drop out rates, they could start by telling the truth and actually talking about real problems, rather than ignoring reality for reasons of “sensitivity.”

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Endnote: When I was teaching in a Faculty of Education, I also owned and operated a private special education practice. My staff and I helped children, youth and adults who had learning and other related disabilities how to use learning strategies and technical devices to complete their assignments and exams. Most went on to succeed in school and life, even if it was only to take part in assisted employment.  Which means, that it is nothing but an excuse to suggest ethics and confidentiality prohibits the Quebec Education Ministry for telling the public why schools with kids in them that have disabilities are not graduating. They should be, even if they need assistance to do so. The failure is, therefore, with the school system, not the students. Meaning, the only breach of ethics is what the Quebec government is NOT doing.