May you live in interesting times

As I read through Marilla Stephenson’s article of July 5th, Parents Aren’t Buying Pitch on School Cuts, I was reminded of this old curse. Using the current maelstrom of debate on public education as a barometer, one could conclude that  these are interesting times indeed. However, the fact of the matter is that this debate is not particularly interesting. At the end of the day, it boils down to money.

The government claims it has no money. Critics point to $240 billion to the Irvings.  The government claims declining enrollment. Critics say schools were underfunded in the first place. The government claims they want schools to provide quality education. Critics say we need money to do so. Round and round we go.

And, as simple as the problem is, the solution is even simpler.

Fund the schools.

People talk about our aging population. True, but without good schools, families won’t stay. People talk about dwindling class size. Is it a bad thing that a student is sitting in a class of fifteen? Parents hate the new report cards and the constant testing. Ok, get rid of large-scale standardized assessments all together. Only in education would policy makers decide that a well trained, highly educated, experienced workforce should not be used to do a job. Doctors diagnose patients. Firefighters put out fires. Teachers should be evaluating students. The province would save millions.

I challenge anyone to show that a child in a class of 29 receives more individual attention than a child in a class of 25. I challenge anyone to tell me we should be proud that we are near the bottom in per student funding in the country. Finally, I challenge anyone to show me that students in this province are better off because of the millions and millions of dollars spent on standardization, testing, or new report cards.

I rather wish these were interesting times.  Perhaps then we would have something to discuss.

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