Frame of Reference

I dozed off in my recliner last night, it’s a very comfortable chair, easy to doze off in but in bad need of some maintenance.  I woke up around 4:30 this morning and gave some thought to moving into the bedroom.  After glancing at my watch I just pulled the blanket up and went back to sleep.  By the time I would have dragged my butt into my wheelchair and moved to the bed I would have been too awake to really sleep but not awake enough to get up completely.  Woke up around 7 feeling great which gave me about an hour and a half of extra time.

For frame of reference, (had to get it in here somewhere) my old bed is just that, my OLD bed, most of the comfort disappeared years ago so it can take a little longer to roll my way out in the AM.  The recliner is proving to be a much more far reaching investment than I thought at the time of purchase.  Anyway I digress, so now I have my usual daily chores done (yes even at our age we have chores) and almost a free two extra hours.  It is raining and blowing like crazy out there so good time for some tunes and writing.   I have lots of ideas percolating so here’s one.  I will try and stay focused.

I have spend fifty years developing a career (which was very diversified), living in cities in every part of Canada, raising a family, paying taxes, doing things associated with ebb and flow of life but the one constant has always been my activism.  I have been involved in some form of community activism since the late 60’s and I continue that involvement to this day.  The issues may change (some even come back) but there will always be issues.  I’ve known a lot of very good advocates in my time so it is something I understand.  It has been my experience that the best advocates were those who could best find a middle ground, a solution where nobody had to lose.  In the last twenty years that middle ground has certainly shrunk.

In the last five years it has almost completely disappeared and in my simple mind a big part of that is a failing education system.  By “failing education system”, I refer to a system that puts more importance on the quantitative aspect of success while getting further away from the qualitative nature of education.  In other words students are graduating based on administrative needs rather than educative realities and this is nothing less than dumbing down of educational learning.  That manifests itself in todays society by creating a community that is more accepting of messaging rather than learning.  That tool with the wrong ideology can destroy a country.

We are losing the flexibility to deliver good education because we have evolved to a point where administration is considered education.  We see that same “groupthink” in health care delivery but that is another article.  We have become fragmented which makes it quite easy for some ideologies to take hold.  The concept of fear is fuelled by lack of education.  Fear is fertile ground for divisiveness and fear is most fertile among the uneducated…

Slow down, take a moment to enjoy!
Slow down, take a moment to enjoy!

I have watched for the past thirty years as our education system has eroded and the standards of education have become more about administration than teaching.  We are only now recognizing the impact an inclusive educational system has on the collective psyche of the Canadian population.  Inclusion was a concept that didn’t really receive much administrative attention until it started being regulated in the years following the introduction of the Charter.   That generation, the Millennial’s, grew up in the inclusive classroom, a classroom usually busy figuring out what this whole inclusion thing was about, are now the 30 year olds moving into life.  Inclusion is really a social experiment started in the late 80’s early 90’s.  It’s not that old of a concept and many people forget that.

And what would lead me to think our education system is eroding.  I gained some insight having worked for the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Technology.  I was very involved with an international student exchange program in the 90’s.  I returned to school 2004 to 2006 and spend a lot of time with 20 year olds and experienced first hand this culture of accept, don’t research.  Now this is almost ten years ago and I would like to think that concept was on life support when I was attending classes.  With the Internet being what it is today, if you can’t Google you’re screwed.  (Food for another article).  With that said this is my personal opinion and not an endorsement on any person but more of a concept.   It is strange what will happen when you apply critical thinking to historical context.  Anyway I digress, again.

Think about this.  We just went through an election where it was discovered that one of the candidates, who also happens to be the Vice-Chairwomen of a major school district, not knowing what Auschwitz is.  Does that not want to make you question what a school curriculum look like these days?  What are our kids learning?  When a school administrative body feels it is better to fire a teacher for refusing to reverse a students failing grade, what kind of expectations are we setting our kids up for?  Failure, whether we like it or not, is part of life.  It is through failure that we really experience the concept of “cause and effect“.

Not understanding cause and effect leads to intolerance and makes it easier to be a victim of divisiveness.  Something that I hope we have had enough of in Canada.  If you think inclusive education is old history then the civil rights movement must be ancient history.  To me it isn’t, which is why I write these things.  People have to remember and not just on November 11.

Civil rights activists died attaining the level of rights we enjoy today and no one should take that for granted.  The last time I personally saw the level of intolerance and polarization that was around during this election made me think of the mid-60’s.  In those days if you were an activist you could just disappear.  So before we get to sanctimonious let’s remember our history.



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