Ugh! Why do I read the comments?!?

So the latest from Nick martin, education reporter for the Winnipeg Free press is here:

I knew before reading the comments, how they would go. You see, everytime there is an article that has anything to do with teachers, the comments are always the same tired refrain, slagging teachers for having too many days off, making too much money, giving too much homework, not giving enough homework, disciplining their kids, not disciplining their kids and a whole host of other supposed grievances.

I wonder why the free press allows comments on and education related story. They constantly cut off comments on aboriginal based stories when they become unacceptable yet allow the disparaging of teachers to on unchecked.

And why do we as a society tolerate this? Whenever there is a story mentioning a lawyer, is the comment section rife with comments about lawyers making too much or taking too much time off? Of course not. When Dr’s are mentioned, are the comments towards them as full hatred? No. Yet for some reason, the free press ( and this city as a whole) seems to think it is acceptable to slag teachers at every opportunity. Why? Why do we stand for this?

Do they make too much money? Compared to who? Other public servants? Police Officers regularly take in more money. So do Doctors, Lawyers and pretty much most other university professions.

Is it because they have “too many holidays”? Do the math and start factoring in unpaid after school meetings, unpaid parent teacher interviews, unpaid report card preparation, unpaid extra curricular supervision, unpaid assignment marking and curriculum development, and you’ll see that’s hardly the case.

I could go on and spend this whole post rebutting the ludicris and completely inaccurate whining that goes on in the freep comment section, but lets just say that most of the comments are innaccurate and wrong ( notice that I didn’t say “I beleieve”, it’s not a matter of opinion).

It scares me to think people think this way. Shouldn’t there be value placed on those that are building the next generation? And yet it seems to be those of a social/religious/political/ethical class ( think US Tea Party), a class that most would say we can rise above that seem to be pushing this line.

You’ve heard or seen Josh Green’s position on taxes and education, and I totally echo that – I think it is important to compensate and provide a fair working environment for teachers because I want my children and their peers to receive the best education possible. I think most would agree.

So why do we stand for this constant slagging of teachers?

Why Bill 18 is flawed

At the risk of being labelled a homophobe ( of course this would be by those who don’t know me, those that do would laugh at that accusation), I’m going to offer a couple of thoughts on the Bill 18 debate.

If you haven’t read the bill 18 debate, the legislation can be found here

I’ll come right out and say it – I don’t like bill 18.

It’s not that I have anything against the intent of the legislation, I agree with that 100%., and to be even clearer, my religious belief are not in conflict and support the intent of the legislation. I have a big problem with the way it is written.

As Manitobans we deserve better, we should expect better. These are our elected officials that have been in power for over a decade. And what do we get? legislation that is purposely worded in such a way as to effect a political response from the opposition.  The intent or purpose of the legislation can be political, but the wording of the legislation and the way it is written should be in such a manner that the actual text is as non-partisan as possible. Reading this legislation, one can only assume that the legislation was worded in a manner that this response would be expected and the government could label the opposition as homophobes.

What am I talking about? How about section 41 (1.8)(b)? Yup, that’s this section here:

(b) use the name “gay-straight alliance” or any other name that is consistent with the promotion of a positive school environment that is inclusive and accepting of all pupils.

why is this a problem? Well, for a couple of reasons. Inclusion of one named group by definition excludes all other groups. So by naming ‘Gay-Straight Alliance’ , what happens to other groups that  promote the same? Can a school reject formation of a group that provides for the same if a Gay-Straight alliance exists?

Now let’s look at section 41 (1.8) (a):

41(1.8)     A respect from human diversity policy must accommodate pupils who want to establish and lead activities and organizations that

(a) promote

(i) gender equity,

(ii) antiracism,

(iii) the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people who are disabled by barriers, or

(iv) the awareness and understanding of, and respect for, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities; and…. 41(1.8)(b)

So what’s missing? We have promotion of gender equity, promote antiracism, promote disability respect  and awareness, promote awareness and respect for sexual orientations and gender identities. That’s fine and all good. But what’s missing?

What about activities and groups that promote awareness of and respect for cultural diversity?

What about activities and groups that promote awareness of and respect for religious diversity?

Am I missing something? What about these groups? Why aren’t they specified? If there is a large enough Jehovah’s Witness population in a school they can’t form a support group? What about a Muslim or Hindu group? Are they not allowed to form groups?

I think the intention of and the protections provided by bill 18 are good. But I also think we need legislation that is written in a non-partisan manner and that provides these protections for all Manitobans. Legislation that when someone reads it in 10 years time they don’t immediately conclude ‘oh, this legislation was written by this party’ or ‘ this legislation was written by that party’

We need better. We deserve better.

Unfortunately, that seems to be an all too common refrain when talking about our provincial government.