July 12, 2006

July 12, 2006: Bud Talkinghorn: Native Education ... & More

Native control of education

I could not let this topic go without comment. While the desire to control the curriculum in native education sounds wonderfully progressive [for what that means], the various reserves have a problem here.

If the drop-out rates, guaranteeing later high unemployment rates, are too high among natives, it is because of the natives' cultural resistence to the wider world of Canada--and by extension, the entire world. Here is a report from one in the trenches of native schooling.

My own experience teaching native children was one of frustration, not because they presented any discipline problems, but because of their docility, intellectually. They were the least curious group I ever encountered. One grade eight girl I guided through to year's graduation--even re-marked her papers to see if I could find the two more percentage points she needed so she could at least reach high school--informed me that she was quitting. Her explanation was that her chief told her that "the whiteman's education is not for Indians." I asked if this chief's message accounted for the enormous drop-out rate of Indians. "Probably", she shrugged. I was floored. When I brought this disturbing conversation to the principal, he also shrugged and said, "It's been like that since I've been here. No point in gettting involved in native politics; especially with the chief." Later on, I talked to the high school teachers in the district who told me of orders to shove the native kids through. [i.e. keeping a lid on it ... but that's how you keep your job ... NJC]

So these grade-inflated students reached the gates of academe. From the first hand report of a math instructor, I found out that the natives were automatically promoted. The instructor taught a "special" fourth year math native class and had been warned by other profs who taught them other subjects to expect very little. The instructor found that it was necessaary to teach them basic high school math, that on any given day a third of the class skipped class, and that come final exams, a suspicious number of students were "sick". One even demanded to be given the exact same exam that she had missed. At the insistence of a superior on the university totem pole, all were passed. Do you want to hire them as qualified personnel?

Will they have learned to cry racism to cover up what they must have some inkling is a massive deficit in their education? Furthermore, is it not really racist not to demand that they perform as well as other students ... who do poorly enough as it is, come to think of it. But to knowingly allow native students to underperform is wrong ... and racist ... the soft racism of lowered expectations.

I have collected numerous examples of this blatant "affirmative grading" policy from teachers across Canada. If this abysmal educational success rate is the product of the same school system which produces excellent recent immigrant graduates, then what could possibly replace it for academic success? In a time of labour shortages, we need workers who know how to access cutting-edge knowledge, not people who can speak Slavvy [sic -- Slavey?] and know how to use the Charter's victimology 101.

If the "First Nations" want to totally run their lives, then they should start paying for it. If they want to not assimilate to Canadian society, fine; however, stop picking the pockets of those who have contributed to the nation's wealth--off-reservation working natives included.

© Bud Talkinghorn

July 12, 2006: Teacher Arrested

International Press Associations (IPA)
Montreal, QC
July 9. 2006
by Ima T Cher, Chief Foreign Correspondent

At Montreal's Trudeau airport today, an individual, later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Minister of National Security, Stockwell Day, said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement.

He is being charged by the the RCMP with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult, "Day said. They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value.

They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as unknowns, but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.

As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, "There are 3 sides to every triangle."

When asked to comment on the arrest, the leader of Her Majesty's official opposition, Liberal interim leader Bill Graham, said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

Thanks, J for that.

"A" is for Asia-- by Bruce Dawes

Dawes, an Australian poet, wrote this many decades ago. It is as relevant today was it was in his Vietnam era--maybe more so.

It is part of our peculiar charm that each time we witness
A nation's total collapse
We are amazed and hurt as the cruel waves make nonsense
Of another sand castle
And the hurt is a personal hurt as deep as a child's,
Trudging up the beach-
Already planning the ramparts of his next castle,
Beyond the sea's reach.

"Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it..."
With variations, of course,
And, while the beach may be limitless, there are, unfortunately only
A certain number of nations,
Which means that every step we take back with bucket and spade
(Having for protection only our innocence of such things as tide-rise and tide-fall)
We must feel the more lonely,
The more desolate and set-upon, while personally wishing
Not so much as a starfish harm,
And the injured look on our faces as we finally go under will be
Not the least of our charm ...


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