The rotating cast of characters in British Columbia educational professional development workshops – Damian Cooper, Adrienne Gear, Stuart Shanker, Gordon Neufeld, Martin Brokenleg, and rising star Shelly Moore – all share one thing in common: a presentation devoid of academic underpinnings. Like the worst of popular self-help literature, our rotating cast of Keynote Speakers deliver their same message ad infinitum . They do not talk about new peer-reviewed studies showing their ideological underpinnings have an empirical basis. This is purposeful for their presentations are not designed to elicit critical thought from the audience. I want to use this post to discuss one of the above mentioned presenters, Gordon Neufeld, and then briefly to discuss why he continues to be booked when he offers teachers nothing applicable to their jobs.
For the past twenty years the BC Liberals, first under Gordon Campbell and now Christy Clark, have been issuing dire warnings to British Columbians that a vote for any part but theirs would cause massive economic pain. They have been aided and abetted in this simplistic and highly demented message by British Columbia’s conservative media.
In last night’s BC leadership debate, the plastic surgery victim reading the questions read one about the opioid crisis that is killing people in our province. Christy Clark, our premier who has almost graduated from university, stated that she did not want to “play politics” with this issue. I did not hear her, or any other leader on that stage, state that other issues were above the political fray, so let’s look at what Ms. Clark will “play politics” with. Continue reading
So the easily swayed amongst my Facebook friends have been posting a fake news story about a man arrested for walking his dog near Muslims. This was posted, about a month ago, on some terrible fake news site called Debate Post: Ideas Worth Debating and written by Jason Long, the site’s “journalist editor in chief” (sic). The actual incident occurred five years ago. Five fucking years ago.
A guy I went to high school with changed his profile picture to him holding a Confederate flag while standing out in the woods. It has been puzzling me ever since I saw it. Let me give the recent backstory of this guy (as I have been piecing together on Facebook):
- He has four children
- He spent several years posting bible quotations
- He also posted, during this same time, numerous declarations of his love for his wife
- He seemed to be unable to hold down a job (as evidenced by posts describing how his life was going to improve due to his new job)
- He recently lost his younger brother to heroin overdose
- Last week he posted he was in a relationship with a new woman
- One of his friends asked him if he was married under this post and he replied, “not for long”
- I looked at his status this morning and the previously described picture of him with the Confederate flag was posted
In Karl Ove Knausguaard’s fourth volume of his My Struggle series he secures a job as a teacher in northern Norway. He is eighteen years old and has no post-high school education. This is not an aberration for the school as the students are cognizant enough to blame their ignorance upon being taught year-after-year by unqualified and inexperienced teachers.
British Columbia’s schools are facing a new curriculum, but the same old problems remain and will remain. The perennial complaint about schools being underfunded and teachers underpaid will be present no matter the reform. Even if these problems were to be solved tomorrow, the cultural problem o who is attracted to teaching will remain. Specifically, the problem of the sort of male who aspires to teach and lead in schools will remain unquestioned. The majority of men who teach in British Columbia’s schools, at least from my experience, are enamoured with athletics, at the expense of academics. Continue reading