Sunday, February 3, 2008

Hodgepodge. Dogs, more dogs, schools and the Fibs.

Great article about the Vick-tims in the New York Times, read it here, there's an audio slide show as well. H/T to Lassie Get Help for the link. Visit the Best Friends site for updates on the dogs, and watch for the National Geographic series Dogtown which will follow their progress.

Caveat has found some great historical pics and articles about dogs in general and bulldogs in particular. Read it here. Yet more proof that puts lie to Merritt Clifton's nitwittery.

Barking Mad is on a roll, read it here.

And my hobbyhorse of the day...

...whether Dalton McGuinty will develop a spine and squash the Afrocentric school approved by the Toronto School Board. Can't wait to see what he does (Dalton do something? slap me silly if he does), considering the xenophobia the Fibs manipulated on the faith-based school issue. To condone a culturally-based school would be hypocritical...oh, slap me silly again, we're talking about the Fibs, hypocrisy is their Golden Path.

The squeak for an ethic-centric school is that too many kids are dropping out. Kids of all colours are dropping out.

All things aside, and colour is irrelevant...when are people going to accept that some kids just don't have the brains to do well in school, some kids will never go to university? Find them a trade! When the pipes leak, I'd rather have a plumber than a philosopher. Good, honest auto mechanics are like gold. And be honest...someone's got to do the McJobs.

Are these kids dropping out because (a) they're expected to go to university and just don't have what it takes so they become discouraged and disappear, or (b) they're so seduced by television and movie idiocy, they don't know what the real world is like, or (c) they've fallen into a shallow life (what I call the "bling" lifestyle, espoused by so many idiot musicians and actors) and have no idea there's something else? And let's face it, some kids are just plain lazy, won't make an effort in school or life.

Where are the parents in all this?

It's easy to blame the schools, but what example are the parents setting? Do they teach their children the value of education? Do they teach their kids values, period, right from the start? Things like being honest, reliable, trustworthy? Do they sit with their kids, help with homework, read to them when they're young? Do they monitor their kids, put restrictions on tv time (hell, throw the set out the window - at least cancel the cable), carefully select the toys (including cellphones, iPods and the like) the kids have, make the kids work for stuff (like an allowance) so they have some concept of the value of money? This all starts in the bassinet...I was going to say "crib", but some people think that's a place to live, not a baby's bed.

Have parents forgotten that children need boundaries? Training dogs and children, it's not much different, honestly. Positive reinforcement, specific boundaries, structure and routine, and a leader who always leads.

Reading, writing and arithmetic have no colour and form the foundation of an education. Beyond that, it's up to the parents and the students.

Now, I understand how a faith-based school would establish its curriculum (aside from the provincial curriculum), because the particular faith has its history and rules. Jewish is Jewish, Muslim is Muslim. But an ethnically-focused school? In the example of an Afrocentric school - Africa is a big country, and there are so many tribes. To swipe from Wikipedia, some of the tribes and ethnic/social groups include Afar, Anlo Ewe, Amhara, Arabs, Ashanti, Bakongo, Bambara, Bemba, Berber, Bobo, Bushmen (San), Chewa, Dogon, Fang, Fon, Fulani, Igbo, Kikuyu (Gikuyu) , Maasai, Mandinka, Pygmies, Samburu, Senufo, Tuareg, Tutsi, Wolof, Yoruba, and Zulu. Africa contains over 1,000 languages.

Which culture will form the basis for this school? Will choosing one disadvantage others? Will people bring overseas conflicts with them (as some Serbians and Croatians did when I was in school)? What about those who don't know what tribe they are, where will they fit in?

From the Toronto Star, Toronto School Board chair John Campbell is quoted as saying "You'll have a bunch of little kids who could be black and white and Chinese, whatever, maybe studying more African geography and history than at other schools."

OK. From my POV, this disadvantages the Chinese and "whatevers". So, when do we open ethnically-focused schools for everyone? Why should Chinese children study "more" African geography and history? China is an ancient land, with probably the longest recorded history.

What subjects will be lost for the ethnic-based "more"? Is this going to funnel kids into ethic-based education that will deprive them of a broad view and, more importantly, deprive them of the history of Canada, the land they live in?

This politically-correct and poorly-thought-out concept could create more issues than the one it purports to resolve.

For God's sake, people died to end segregation in North America. Why is the Toronto School Board taking baby steps towards reinstituting it?

Let's cut the crap, stop expecting everyone to be a high achiever, and help the kids to be the best they can be. Maybe some kids should be streamed into trade programs very early, in grades 7 and 8. Maybe some kids are suited only to McJobs and should be streamed into programs that help them learn to use cash registers, make change and the like.

Repeal the Ontario law that requires kids to stay in school till they're 16. If they have a trade and can earn a living, let 'em go.

And absolutely dismiss some looney idea I heard a while ago about starting school at 10 because teens need more sleep. Hey, they can turn off the tv and go to bed early just like working folks! Welcome to the real world!

Parents should stop expecting everyone else to do their job. If parents want their kids to have cultural education, they can do it on evenings and weekends. I went to school with Ukrainian children who went to Ukrainian language, culture, history and dance classes on evenings and weekends, and it was only good for them. The parents of these kids didn't expect anyone else to do their job; they got together, got teachers, got their kids to the classes, and it did nothing but good for the kids.

Try some DIY, parents. It could be great for your kid, and for you.

And if you're not willing to DIY...don't breed.


Mac`s Gang said...

Just Brilliant!
What more can I say?

Oh yeah

[quote](Dalton do something? slap me silly if he does)[/quote]

Have no fear.
There will be no slapping.

Corrupt cops(allegedly)get off
Justice System in shambles
Schools for black kids-Who`s next?
Maybe we need Dog/owner obedience schools funded by the taxpayer.
Militant dog owners-well at least one
Enjoy the next 4 years Dalton.
Maybe you`ll have to promote Mikey to help you out.
I kind of miss the little weasel.
Scratch that last one.

Caveat said...

It's very easy to blame parents overall but in this case I blame the educational system.

I blame a system that allows blue-collar workers (union members) to influence children socially with a left-wing bias that promotes dependency, not individuality.

I blame a system that offers high salaries, enviable time off and a rock solid pension to people who have acquired a general arts degree and attended teacher's college. The are people who read from the answer book to a bunch of kids - they are not specialists in a field such as Math, History or whatever - yes there will be exceptions but not many.

I blame a system that, rather than raising the bar, lowers it. Standardized tests: McGuinty likes to claim that kids are doing better. Duh. They made the tests easier. Nobody ever fails in school these days, so what happens is that kids get promoted when they should be held back.

It's true that not everyone is an academic but quite frankly, for those who are academically inclined the public school system is a complete waste of time, largely due to its focus on the lowest common denominator and the amount of time wasted on 'fluff'. It's extremely boring if someone is bright. Those kids would be better off going to the library and studying on their own.

I blame a government that has created a financial crisis. By overhiring and overpaying staff, they have reduced the amount that can be spent in a more constructive way - on books and supplies.

I don't blame parents who may be new immigrants themselves, without the network and number of contacts that we old-timers have. They are struggling to pay the bills, working multiple low-paying jobs because McGuinty has sat on his hands while good jobs leave the province.

I'd like to know what the overall dropout rate is across the board, I haven't seen that published yet. I'd also like to see it by postal code.

I'd like to know why being 'black' is somehow important, as opposed to maybe having emotional or intellectual issues, personal problems, a lack of exposure to books, etc.

I'll bet that if you look at any group of recent immigrants, you'll find the same problems, as you point out.

And, as you also point out, this school is based on race - not ethnicity. Aside from Africa, there are black people from the Caribbean, Nova Scotia, the US, etc. What the hell does 'Afrocentric' mean?

Furthermore, if you are living in Canada, I find it the height of arrogance to hear statements such as those I heard on the news about how Canadian history, culture, etc, doesn't have meaning for black kids. WTF? Since when do you have to be 'white' (pink, really) to appreciate Canadian culture and values? I thought everybody wanted to move here because it's a great place to live?

I'm so sick of all this big-L liberal nannying crap that I could spit.

A better solution would be to actually educate immigrants, before they come, about what to expect when they arrive. Raise the standards, improve the curriculum - across the board.