Teacher, Faculty of Ed & union bashing will not improve public education!

Contrary to the opinions of many parents and Canadian taxpayers today, teachers, the teachers’ unions and faculties of education staff are NOT to blame for everything that is wrong in schools today. Yet, if you read the 300+ comments on a thread at EduChatter, it is obvious that there is an intense public anger and disdain against anyone and everyone within the public education system. And, that includes all those dozens of groups that are part of the Education Blob (Big Learning Organization Bureaucracies). Of course, that kind of discussion was not Paul Bennett’s intention given his post was just about how the various teachers’ unions resist reform. [Sentence added after posting.]

Perhaps, the anger and disdain are caused by looking through rose coloured glasses to a time when kids sat in rows and were taught the same traditional curriculum from itemized government documents. In fact, I still have a copy of the Ontario Department of Education’s “Grey Book” from the 1940’s through to the 1960’s where lists of content and skills could be quantified. Now, with the advent of the personal computer, the Internet, E-Books and Smart Phones, that is simply no longer possible!

Yes, I acknowledge that there are an awful lot of things needing improvement within our public education systems today. I also acknowledge that this post is fairly long because I didn’t want to take anything out.

To start with, there are the social promotion and no-fail policies that only seem to encourage and reinforce mediocrity.There is the all-pervasive “teacher/parent wall” when teachers communicate with parents with a “we know what’s best for your child better than you do” attitude rather than working with them as school partners.

Plus, there is the extremely divisive and controversial issue of quality teaching and teacher evaluation. In the United States, for example, they are turning to the results of standardized tests to evaluate and, even, to fire teachers. Here is a link to the Washington Post that claims 200 teachers were recently fired for just that reason — a decision that is just going to lead to a teacher shortage.

The reality is that many kids will admit that they don’t try to do very well on standardized tests. Moreover, teaching is not a passive activity. True, teachers are taught to motivate children but the reality is, politically correctness aside, that children have differing academic abilities. I mean, both my husband and I have taught in different school contexts and our standardized tests results varied from year to year and location to location — depending on the children.

All that said, there obviously needs to be some type of generalized teacher accountability criteria developed. However, it is not going to be the teachers themselves, the teachers’ unions, faculty of education staff or others in the blob – unless they get direction and orders from the politicians who are the governing party.

In other words, classroom teachers do not develop or set generalized board of education policy. Nor do principals or members of the Education Blob. Rather, teachers will implement board of education procedures which are based on government policy. They will do that, for example, a week before school starts at the end of this month. Specifically, they will decorate their bulletin boards, organize desks and tables and learning centres. Plus, they will develop and revise unit plans and day plans, depending on whether their grade level or subject specialty has changed, as well as whether or not there are any new board or government directives.  

In other words, at the end of this month and all through the school year, teachers will not be thinking about reforming anything. Rather, to not put too fine a point on it, they will be doing what they are told!

Faculty of Education staff will also not be setting school board or government policy either. Rather, they will be preparing teachers who will want to be hired by school boards to teach. Yes, there is a teacher surplus but that is not what pre-service students and their instructors think about. They think positively because they have no way of knowing who will be hired and who won’t.

So, at the end of each academic year (usually in late May or early June), faculty meetings are held to determine what curricula and modules will be included for the next group of pre-service students. Do the education faculty themselves decide what they should teach without examining government policies or curriculum guidelines? No, they don’t. 

In fact, having developed and implemented pre-service courses myself, I can confirm that education faculty are very careful to teach the knowledge and skills school boards want new teachers to know and do — because preparing teachers is what a faculty of education does. It does not try to reform the system.  

Put another way, faculties of education do not chose, willy nilly, what studies are going to guide their courses and practicum counselling. Rather, they follow the direction of the provincial government department/ministry involved — which usually sends memoranda to the Deans of such faculties.

So, as with classroom teachers, anyone who blames the faculties of education for all that is wrong with our education system today, is simply involved in scapegoating.

It’s actually similar with teachers’ unions in that they still have to convince the government of the day to make the changes they want. 

A case in point: Dalton McGuinty campaigned in 2003 and again in 2007 as the “Education Premier.” He promised that, if his Liberal Party was given a mandate to govern Ontario, he would implement smaller class sizes, have fewer drop outs and an increase in the number of high school students who would graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

Well, Ontario now has more split grades to accommodate the smaller class sizes policy and fewer students dropping out and graduating from high school because of “no-fail” and “social promotion” policies. As this “Letter to the Editor” states: “Ontario is one of the ten best education system’s in the world.” Says who? On what basis does the writer make that claim?

Well, to begin with, the letter is written by a McGuinty Liberal MPP by the name of Dave Levac, which only reinforces my opinion that it is politicians who are primarily responsible for education reform. 

Levac claims, for instance that: “It’s clear that we have achieved a great deal since 2003 – taking our public education system from a declining state to one of the best in the world.” Declining state? Again I ask: Says who?     

My opinion is, therefore, that no matter which political party is in government or which province or territory is involved, when Canadians are dissatisfied with public education policy and practices, they should lobby and blame those who really are in a position to bring about change and reform — the elected politicians that represent the governing party, no matter which party that is!

And given the number of provincial elections this fall, that time is NOW — MAN on Oct, 4th, NFLD/Labrador on Oct. 11th, the NWT on Oct. 3rd, Ontario on Oct. 6th, PEI on Oct,. 3rd, SASK on Nov. 7th and the YUKON sometime in 2011.

26 thoughts on “Teacher, Faculty of Ed & union bashing will not improve public education!

  1. Thank you for your acknowledgement that teachers are simply one part of education. It’s often amazing how often parents think that one teacher can unilaterally change public education.

    For those who place significant value on standardized testing, they should look at the documentary “Hard Times at Douglass High”. It chronicles the difficult situations that teachers face in teaching students (and working with No Child Left Behind) in a Baltimore High School. Most telling is the effort that students put into the standardized tests and the overall implications for the school as a result of the test results.

    Your statement about looking at the rose coloured glasses reminds me about the many times I have had visits from grandparents. It’s funny how most of them talk about if they were raising their grandchildren, they would do things differently so that their grandchildren were better behaved and doing better in school.


  2. Matt — I left a comment at EduChatter in response to a practising teacher. In trying to explain what I have learned from experience, all she says in her reply comment is that I am “educratic.” That is code, I suppose, for being a know-it-all.

    Well, what that says to me is that people simply don’t want to hear about how reform and change happens in education. Rather, they simply want to complain until the cows come home because that complaining is simply not going to change anything. In fact, I can remember my parents complaining about the education system and it was similar in the 1970’s when I started. Even the complaints have hardly changed, albeit as you say, standardized testing has become a lighting rod and more vocal because of the Internet.


  3. Thanks Matt for the acknowledegment. You are “in the trenches” and, as such, I appreciate the positive feedback. Writing a blog post can take hours. I literally worked all day yesterday on this post.


  4. Sandy, you’re right that change in Education (and everything in general) can be slow. It can also be easily derailed by elections that bring different points of view into government. The reality however is that even if there is change, it won’t please everyone. There are many, many parents who support social promotion. I have seen it myself where attempts to retain students have been opposed by parents and there is nothing that the schools can do. The same goes for special education support. Teachers may encourage parents to put their children into special education if necessary, but it is inevitably the parents’ decision.


  5. Teachers have negative views to evaluations because there has not been one developed yet that is suitable to judge teachers. Looking simply at standardized tests is not valid enough to evaluate a teacher. Many of our best teachers would be unemployed if standardized tests were the only criteria. It’s also amazing to look at what are considered some of the best schools in Ontario and see their lower EQAO test scores. Thankfully there are parents that look at the entire school, instead of simply test scores, to judge the school and subsequently its teachers.


  6. Matt, I hear you. Many parents demand social promotion and many don’t want their child identified as special needs. About the only exceptionality that is usually viewed as positive, although not always, is the “gifted” label. I agree about standardized tests being used as the main tool to evaluate teachers is missing the point. Imagine evaluating parenting on the basis of outcomes. Some kids get into drugs and mayhem no matter how good the parents were. Sometimes they might have brought up six children without a major incident and then one goes wild. I know this situation from experience as mothers were blamed for autism in the late 1960’s.


  7. Nice to see someone taking a “big picture” look at the situation. Major changes can only take place through political action, which is typically driven by both party doctrine and values (on the one hand) and grassroots public pressure on the other. Thus, people who want significant changes to the system need to work at the grassroots level, organizing fellow citizens who share their values and goals, developing plans and protocols to present to the political powers that be, and on the other hand they need to work through the existing political structure to get their ideas taken seriously and implemented. That’s the way a representative system (such as we have) works.

    Teachers are only a part of the system, but they are the ones members of the public generally have the most interaction with, so they are in the forefront of both praise and blame. As you point out, they are no more in a position to effect change than any other citizen. I find a wry irony in the fact that those who most supported and rejoiced at the passing of Bill 160 are now so vehemently (and unmindfully) indignant at its effects, which were perfectly predictable: the bill stripped power from local trustees, vastly empowered the MOE to be an almost unchallengeable autocracy, and forbade teachers (or other employees) to criticize the ministry of education, under pain of summary dismissal. School boards were amalgamated in the hope of cost savings (which never materialized), but which made them even larger and more unresponsive to everyday citizens, whether parents or others.

    We cannot unscramble the omelette, but we can work with what we have. It will take more grassroots organizing and some marketing savvy, however, which is nowhere in evidence in the reform camp, as far as I can see. Substantive changes will not be made because a few people complain loudly and indignantly; the fact is, we need the support of a large number of people who may not even be “conservative” politically, to effect change. Those centrists will not be drawn to shaming-and-blaming tactics.We must instead present a clear and detailed vision of what we would like to see instead, both on the instructional front and on the organizational front.

    Canadians are not Americans (a truism too often ignored). The strategies for change that are popular in the U.S. often don’t speak to parents here. I meet many parents who are dissatisfied with one or more aspects of their local school, but –so far — none who are actually seriously down on “the system.” Their complaints are not those I hear from the handful of protesters on Educhatter or SQE. They are not concerned about phonics or math facts, but rather about racism, streaming, irrelevant curricula, and so on. I think these folks could be harnessed onto looking at the school reforms we would like to see, but they will not be drawn in by vitriol and vituperation. George Lakoff, who is a lefty from the U.S., has made good points about the need to frame one’s arguments and proposals in a certain way to attract support. Canadian school reformers need to give this some serious thought.

    I too was disappointed in the responses to your post on Educhatter. The option is open to parents to start a traditional school through the alternative schools model — a route that doesn’t cost anything and gives the parent community ownership of the program — a very important factor. There are alternative schools in the TDSB (and perhaps in Ottawa — I am less familiar with the alternatives there) which the “powers that be” grit their teeth and endure, rather than support. But, these schools are never shut down as long as they have a small but committed clientele. Some of the Toronto ones have been in existence for 30+ years; they go against almost everything the board and MOE want, but they are not on the closing list: they have a small, consistent and vocal community of support. If a similar community of support could organize a traditional school, it would be nearly immune from the vagaries of political opinion. OWNERSHIP is key. When “the board” opens a school of choice — whatever kind — “the board” owns the idea, and can quickly change its mind when some other idea comes along (witness the Flowervale school phenomenon). But if parents own it, it is much more resilient.

    I don’t know of any site or organization trying to reach out to, or mobilize, parents with such an interest. I’m sure such parents are out there, but they may not be political conservatives (most of my friends in the traditional charter school movement in the US are liberal Democrats) and they need to organize around a positive vision for the future, rather than bellyaching about the present. I don’t know who could serve as the nucleus for such a movement, but that is what is needed.


  8. Thanks for a well thought out comment TDSB. I hadn’t heard from you in awhile. I agree that some type of parent organization needs to mobilize that is not all about “bellyaching” as you say. The problem with P4E is that they are too close to the government and the teachers’ unions but I suppose a subcommittee would work.


  9. A balanced approach, finally some reason in the debate.

    The Thomas Forham organization looked at teacher contracts all over the USA and surveys of principals. They concluded that principals did not fire very many people, not because the union was too strong or the contract to rigid but because of colleagiality and bureaucratic inertia. People around schools would say it means, “people will not like me if I fire people” and “I’m too busy to fire people.”

    Some reformers get very frustrated when studies do not support their POV. Vanderbuilt and NYC said Merit pay does not work, Stanford says charters don’t work, new study and metanalysis of vouchers show no real gains notwithstanding attempts to keep out SE and ELL kids.

    Long standing charter and voucher schools are starting to say “it is very difficult to make progress because the kids are so poor”. Duh.

    The times as they intesect with party policy, dictates more about change than parties alone. A much greater leftward shift in education took place under Bill Davis than under Peterson Rae or McGuinty. I am forever grateful to Davis for creating the CAAT system. Brilliant and a world model.


  10. P4E is ‘liked’ by the unions, given awards by the unions etc but not financially supported. I would say they both just share the same mildly left of centre POV. The leaders of P4E and the teachers are all either left wing Liberals of the Kathleen Wynne type or NDPers of the softer (non Kormos) type.


  11. The teacher federations are amongst the groups that have brought George Lakoff to Ontario twice for retreats and 3 day workshops on exactly the “frameing an issue” style that TDSB discusses.

    As a progressive, I am very happy to debate Nancy, Jo Anne, Catherine, Chuck and others because one can spot an “armchair quarterback” of the somebody ought to do something, there ought to be a law, variety. I would be more concerned if I saw far more names and a broader representation.

    I asked a well known American writer what fueled parent outrage in the USA. He pointed out that there is a significant group of parents who believe they did everything right. They got an education themselves, moved to the burbs so their kids could have good schools, paid their taxes, kept their nose clean but their children were eventually diagnosed as LD or some other catagory of SE.

    They tried everything and they held on to a belief that SE was a kind of short term ‘pit stop’ where you got fixed up and put back on the track with the rest of the kids. They slowly realized that SE is a kind of track or stream to us especially if your LD is more than mild.

    They are very angry that the system does not seem able to make their child into a normal achievement type student. Their post secondary hopes and plans for their child have been dashed and they deeply resent hearing about their friends successful children.

    They are sure much more could have been done by ‘careing teachers’ or teachers using phonics or whatever. These parents are the lowest rung of the education reform movement. Their anger and frustration drives them and spills over sometimes.


  12. Thanks for the feedback Doug. I worry when you and I agree. LOL

    Anyway, I have removed some comments from a regular on this thread (as well as on other threads) because from now on, I want to look at what is right with the system as well as where improvement is needed. In other words, when I write about a negative or what the media interpret as a negative, I want to balance it with a positive (or vice-versa).

    Of course, a good discussion is always welcome as long as it is in keeping with moving forward, not backwards.

    P.S. I really wish you would not trash Tim Hudak quite so much on your site because the very idea of getting another McGuinty mandate…… Anyway, as far as the NDP, what exactly would they do that was better than the Tories? Perhaps you too could be a little less partisan. 😉


  13. The only thing I have against P4E is that they don’t rock the boat enough. I mean, they actually do have political connections, yet don’t use them other than to constantly agree with the Liberals. Sounds to me like they are afraid they won’t be invited back to the table if they push too hard.


  14. Most of wht you say is true, Wynne was a ‘buddy’ of Annie and the gang but they were becoming exasperated with each other late in Kathleen’s term. Annie demanding a lot, Kathleen not delivering enough… I also worry as they gradually become a “professional operation” that their insurgent motivation is being sapped. They are rapidly turning against testing since most came from ‘the arts’ and they sense a negative effect of testing narrowing the curriculum. The more tests become important, the more class time is stolen for test prep.


  15. “As more class time is stolen for test prep.” Well, Doug, I don’t look at standardized testing once a year over one or two days as stealing class time. If it is, then that is a problem because spending the bulk of class time on preparing for the tests really would be sapping creativity. Yes, of course reading and math are important, but so is knowing our history and geography and science. And, then there is art and music and phys ed. Some people just don’t realize the demands on a day. Yet, want more time to prepare for tests. Now, the priorities are impinging on other priorities. Either the school day will have to be lengthened or the school year. Something has to give.


  16. The Neo-con instincts are still there in the Ontario PC Party although moderated by experience. I would actually prefer see a Bill Davis PC government to McGuinty but John Tory was alone. A decent man who we in Toronto know as a public spirited man although a patrician. He faced a back bench of mossy-back old Tories that would not have allowed him to breathe. He did understand the Red Tory instinct in Canada which did see the entire community organically as the NDP does. One smells off the neo-cons, a looking down and distain for the poor as ‘losers’ which puts them out of sinc with the mainstream.

    When the PCs go back to listening to the Hugh Segals, the Joe Clarks, the Flora MacDonalds, people will see them as decent people again. The spoiled frat boys who graduated to Bay St after biz school segregate the Tories from mainstream values.

    As we can see in federal elections, the political world is polarizing between those who want a total privatization of everything and those who offer full throated absolute resistance to it. There is little ground for “lets all try to get along” liberals in that world.


  17. The problem with longer days/terms/years is that some people just expect that teachers will do the extra time without compensation. Nice try some people. There are ways to make days longer for students but not teachers by hiring more teachers but this would be deemed ‘inefficient’ by John Snobelen. Some teachers could arrive later and stay later, others arrive arlier and leave earlier. A typical 4 X 75 minute HS day could become a 5 period day. In ES French teachers etc could be deployed to make this happen.

    Personally I would create a five period day in HS, offer kids a fast track OR more support and offer teachers a 4 period day at existing rates or a 5 period day for a 25% increase. What do you expect they will choose? That is correct 90% will choose a 5 period day but it is cheaper for the system because the benefits only have to be paid once.

    BTW I would solve Valley Park MS Muslim issue the same way. Instead of a 5.5 hr day, they would go 6 hours Mon-Thursday, Friday morning and let everyone off Friday afternoon for prayers “at the mosque” or get extra help, extra curricular activities or their parents can pick them up. Problem solved, students available for prayers, prayers kept out of school everybody happy.

    Old toronto board, schools in mainly Jewish areas scheduled “limited activities and extra help” on high holidays for Jewish students. Same idea.


  18. George Lakoff addresses his remarks to liberals, but his message could — and should — be adopted (adapted) for those conservatives wanting to change the school system in any significant way. How you “frame” the message is critical. You also have to address the real needs and wants of people you hope to get on board, and these may not be what you assume they are. We really need more information on what young parents today are most concerned about. Geriatrics for School Reform can chatter all day, but unless younger people are involved, change is not going to happen.

    Now, Doug’s assertion the teachers are all either left wing Liberals of the Kathleen Wynne type or NDPers of the softer (non Kormos) type may be true for secondary teachers, but various polls of elementary teachers have found that 40-60% consider themselves conservatives. In the staffroom on election day, people were sharing who they were going to vote for — most identified CPC candidates (quite a geographic spread – Georgetown, Brampton, Woodbridge, Vaughan, Etobicoke, York South, Mississauga). Nary an NDPer or Liberal in the bunch. However I have met few who have any party affiliation. They are mainly centrists whose vote may vary depending on the candidate and issues. These centrists are the ones who need to be on board if “school reform,” Canadian style, is to have any future. It doesn’t need to follow some American model. We don’t have Gates, Broad and the Waltons here, and maybe that is just as well.

    Where P4E is concerned, I’m not particularly involved in what they do except via parents in my school, but they do not consider themselves a “reform” organization, nor a “parent” group. They bill themselves as a parent-led group in support of public education. They state up front that they deliberately avoid taking positions on instructional issues or teaching methods. So, they are true to their mission, no reason to blame them for not being something they have never claimed to be. Parents at my schools have found P4E very helpful in navigating the bureaucracy, understanding the Special Education maze, report cards, curriculum issues. P4E produces lots of parent materials in Turkish, Urdu, Somali, Farsi and many other languages of our diverse school community. Parents have told me they are a great help. But, they are not (and probably will never be) a “reform” group.

    George Bush I was famous for lamenting, “that vision thing.” He was unable to communicate a vision that would galvanize the electorate into saying, Yes, take us there. Education reformers need to have a positive vision to convey as well. “Let’s do it this way, it will be so much better for children!” is a much more powerful message than one of mostly negative complaining. Besides, if everything is “bad,” what’s the use? Unfortunately we lack models in Canada to show off the kind of instructional milieux that can be achieved; ones in the U.S. or the U.K. that I would love to see replicated do differ from our context in several ways. Still, one could put together a vision of what is possible. Again, though, it needs to speak to the young parents and their values. As far as I know, no one has made a serious effort to find out what these are. What we can be sure of, they are different from those of Americans. Michael Adams’ work shows that social values held by Americans and Canadians differ significantly, and even more among post-boomers than older adults.

    Doug is simply incorrect in stating that “instruction makes no difference.” Of course it does. Certain populations benefit from specific instructional practices more than others; the Bereiter-Engelmann preschool project produced spectacular results for very poor children in the Chicago projects; the middle-class comparison group also did well, but they would probably have done reasonably well regardless. However, the effects on the poor kids were staggeringly beneficial. Young disadvantaged kids need a different kind of enriched preschool program than their more advantaged peers. Many of the school reform folks I know from the U.S. are motivated strongly by equity concerns to provide programs and schools that target poor or working-class kids and attempt to give them an outstanding education. Others are focused on children with autism, who need quite different teaching methods, early on, than other children do.These people are “leftists,” not “conservatives,.” but they start charter schools, community literacy services, and more. We probably have such folk in Canada, too (actually, I know we do, because I have met them), but how can we engage them in the struggle for better schooling? Political partisanship keeps them away.

    We need a reform movement that crosses political boundaries and focuses on instructional issues, IMO. But I am aware that mine is a minority viewpoint.


  19. In reference to teachers and politics, I was aligning teachers’ federation leadership with P4E’s soft left of centre position. I know them all very well and I am very aware of who turns up at whaat political events. Annie Kidder basically announced to an OSSTF convention that “I usually vote NDP but I do support some progressive Liberals.” One can see from all 4 teachers federations in Ontatio that only NDP and Liberal candidates are supported in provincial elections.

    Any teachers that still vote conservative after the Harris years deserve what they get from Hudak.

    I have to say that on the crassest self interested terms, they will make more money and receive better benefits and pensions if Hudak is not elected. Their classes will be smaller, their day shorter, their support greater.

    The late Bob Novak conservative journalist and broadcaster put it best and most honestly when he said “conservatives were put on this Earth to cut taxes. The rest is nuance”

    In discussions with Lakoff himself we discussed polling done by CNN which showed what are the top ten issues (the usual, education, health environment, taxes crime, foreighn affairs, military etc) the polling was done to capture an exactly equal number of Democrats and Republicans.

    The citizens were then asked “on which issues do you trust Democrats and on which issues do you trust Republicans”

    Democrats were trusted on only 3 issues out of 10 but to a much higher degree, Health education and the environment. On the other seven issues taxes, military crime etc citizens trusted Republicans more. Yet in the end 50% would vote (D) and 50% (R).

    Lakoff basically said, one of the problems in America as we have just seen in the debt ceiling debate is that Americans (and many Canadians) want Democratic social programs and Republican level taxes and they are angry at politicians because they don’t seem able to give Cadillac social programs on Ford Focus budgets. The result has been no new taxes, new social programs and the whole thing has gone on the credit card.

    Lakoff frames Republicans with the metaphor people understand as the ‘strict father’ and Democrats as the ‘nurturing mother’.

    The fact is that only about 30% of Americans are “down the line Democrats” and 30% are “down the line Republicans”. The rest ‘usually’ vote D or R but not always. It depends on who frames the issue better and on whether voters feel they now need the strict father or the nurturing mother.


  20. Doug — I completely disagree since I worked for the Harris government. Having more money in our wallets means more spending which means more investment and more full-time good jobs. Taxes cannot keep going up or we end up like Greece — with an underground economy.

    Anyway, anyone who plans to vote Liberal — again — on October 6th needs to read my latest post. At the very least, the McGuinty Liberals are anti-democratic and abusing power, at the most, they are corrupt.


  21. Sandy, I think if you ask most teachers if they want a raise or a tax cut you will get your answer.


  22. You only have to look at the views of some conservatives to see that although they may want your vote in October, they don’t want you to change their party’s ideology. I also don’t need to associate with people who question whether or not someone is a true conservative (in their minds). They will blame the public sector for all the problems in the province while still wanting the services that benefit them only.

    People should take a close look at Toronto where the combination of a property tax freeze, a low property tax rate, the vision of the gravy train wasting money and a disrespectful view of its workers is leading to major cuts to all programs, especially fire and police.


  23. As some regulars to CotM know, one of my hobbies is also a small business — desiging and repairing jewellery. Not suprising I guess since I used to be a visual artist and my teaching specialty at both the elementary and secondary levels was art. Anyway, my point is that I have decided to take part in a Niagara area Heritage Day and craft show in October. Which means, I have an awful lot of designing to do. So, I’m back on my summer hiatus again. Have a good one, what’s left of it!

    I will leave comments on partial moderation.


  24. Well said Matt,

    As I said above, the population, not all that surprisingly, wants NDP service levels, PC tax levels and no debts or deficits. They get quite angry when you point out that NDP service levels need NDP taxes (especially on the rich) and that PC tax levels mean severe cuts in the services they value. Liberals tell them “you can sort of have both” but in the end, their taxes are too high for some and their services too low for others. They can get caught in the squeeze. Witness the Federal election and the provincial polls.

    If you want high quality schools, you need high tax levels. The reformers will bob and weave and duck to avoid people coming to that conclusion but at the end of the day; you get what you pay for.

    I believe in a Cadillac school system and I fully realize that I need to pay Cadillac prices for this.


  25. In relationship to the original post by Sandy, when people want both, they begin to bash the people who are providing the services and consider them the source of the problem.


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