You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Education’ category.

I hope the Edmonton Public School Board takes notice

 

“SS: What health and safety measures are your school district and you taking for the reopening of school?

MKS: As of this writing, our district has delayed its start by 2 1/2 weeks for faculty and 4 weeks for students. Required temperature checks daily for staff and students (if temperature exceeds 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, individual must go home). Designated room for sick students.

Students will report half Mon and Wed, the other half, Tues and Thurs, and alternate Fridays. Masks are required for adults and for students in grades 3 thru 12. No visitors on campus. At my high school, three lunches, I believe, in a partitioned cafeteria. Scheduled bathroom breaks. Staggered class change. Reserved seating on the school buses. Deep cleaning of facilities each day (evening?), with teachers cleaning their classrooms before school, after school, and between classes. (To limit movement and cleaning, students will follow a block-styled schedule of 110 minutes per class for three classes and 53 minutes for the last class of the day. Desks 6 feet apart; teacher has a designated space and is encouraged to move around room as little as possible. District is also providing Chromebooks to all students, and teachers will be using Google Classroom as the principal teaching and learning platform.

I have also purchased two HEPA air filtration machines for my classroom. I also have purchased scrubs (allowed this year for teachers because scrubs are easy to wash), goggles (2 pair), face shields (2), and masks (multiple). The school will also provide all of these to staff (except goggles), as well as gloves and gowns for staff and masks for students (if needed). The school will provide cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer for staff and students.”

Will it be enough?  Hard to say.

 

 

In Alberta our current government is off the rails.  They are enacting austerity programs that are targeting the public sectors of our society during a pandemic.  The quarrel with Alberta doctors over their working conditions during this exceptional time exemplifies the negligence of this UCP government.

This same radical right United Conservative government laid off thousands of Educational Assistants and support staff during the pandemic as well.  The pattern is clear.  The UCP are starving each of the public sectors of our society of the funds and people necessary for them to function efficiently.  The next round of bullshit will be point out how these same gutted public sectors are not doing a good job and therefore must be replaced with private, more efficient, systems of delivery.

The UCP of Alberta are taking plays from the very first page Disaster Capitalism’s playbook.  They are pushing through reactionary anti-education, anti-worker, anti-public health, reforms in the legislator at a marathon rate with essentially no debate.  Albertan’s will be waking up to a very different set of ground rules in society, and most of said rules will be making their lives marginally worse.

Speaking of marginally worse, the contract for Alberta Teachers is up on August 30th.  There will be no joy at the negotiating table this year, let me assure you.  Austerity will be the only option – while we generously fund pipelines to nowhere – for Alberta Teachers.

Plastic shields for students? Netherlands is doing it.  Alberta is not.

Concomitantly, Teachers will be asked to perform their duties under conditions that are directly hazardous to not only their students’ health, but theirs and their families as well.  No additional funding for pandemic measures is on the table for the opening of the school year.  No PPE, no classroom caps of 15, no additional cleaning personal or cleaning routines will be available.  Teachers will be expected to take up the pandemic slack, as do ‘the best they can’ with the dangerous circumstances mandated by the UCP government.

This is unacceptable.  Teachers should not have to unreasonably risk their lives and the lives of their families working in unsafe conditions.  Is it just to expect teachers to be responsible for the death of their aging parents, or young children because of the government’s mandated unsafe working conditions in the schools?

Alberta teachers will not get, as in the previous agreements, another cent more in wages.  Cost of living be damned.  We expect that, especially with this government that is so completely beholden to private sector; especially Oil and Gas.  The continued existence of the white elephant Energy War Room more than proves this egregious bias, the fact that it continues to exist during the pandemic will be one of the darker stains on this government’s legacy.

Wages aside, it is not reasonable for Alberta Teachers to risk their lives (and their families) to perform their duties.  We are being set up to be the at the very nexus of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The situation, as currently mandated, is a untenable situation.

We must seriously consider a strike because our government seems unwilling or unable to adequately protect the students and teachers of this province.  We should also consider coordinating with healthcare professionals because this government is serious about dismantling our public systems, and we need to present a united front that is too big to fail and cannot be punitively,and in piecemeal, legislated back to work (which will happen).

We let this happen at the ballot box, and now the grave consequences of voting in a American style government with a unhealthy privatization fetish, are here.  We cannot sit back throw up our hands and somehow think that students and teachers dying at school because of the malfeasance of the government is in anyway okay.  We are better than that as a teachers and as Albertans.

 

Signed,

 

A very concerned Alberta School Teacher.

 

@albertateachers

@rachelnotley

@albertandp

@ucp

@edmontonjournal

@adrianalagrange

The second wave of the pandemic now has a date.  The beginning of the school year.

“The Alberta government is targeting a return to “near-normal” conditions with students returning to classrooms across the province for the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says.

“Our goal is to get us back to normal learning as soon as possible,” LaGrange said Wednesday at news conference. “We are targeting a return to new-normal operations with some health measures in place.”

LaGrange laid out three scenarios that have been part of the planning for weeks now.

The first scenario would see near-normal operations resume with students returning to daily in-school classes with some health measures…”

Wow.  We’re just gonna throw the kids back into the mix.

“Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said there are outstanding questions about safety.

“If you have a look at staffing as well, as teachers can’t spend the day cleaning their classrooms because they’ll be busy teaching, and if we have students that are in cohorts that are expected to be socially distanced, how is that going to work in some of our classrooms where we have 30 or 40 students? And are they going to split those grades and then hire more teachers?” he said.

“Unbelievable to me that we would move forward on a plan to restart school without making sure that it is adequately funded and that everything that needs to be in place for students, teachers and staff and the broader community, for that matter, are safe.”

Oh, and masks won’t be mandatory.

“LaGrange says wearing masks to school will not be mandated for either staff or students.

“From what Dr. [Deena] Hinshaw has been advising us, the data shows that particularly in young children that it is not something that is required.”

Students or staff who choose to wear a mask may do so, but there is no standalone funding for this type of thing.”

Yep.  Looking forward to the second wave.

 

Source cbc.ca: 12.

 

“Unless someone can answer the simple questions that immediately arise in the mind of any reasonable person when claims about “theory” and “philosophy” are raised, I’ll keep to work that seems to me sensible and enlightening, and to people who are interested in understanding and changing the world.

Johnb made the point that “plain language is not enough when the frame of reference is not available to the listener”; correct and important. But the right reaction is not to resort to obscure and needlessly complex verbiage and posturing about non-existent “theories.” Rather, it is to ask the listener to question the frame of reference that he/she is accepting, and to suggest alternatives that might be considered, all in plain language. I’ve never found that a problem when I speak to people lacking much or sometimes any formal education, though it’s true that it tends to become harder as you move up the educational ladder, so that indoctrination is much deeper, and the self-selection for obedience that is a good part of elite education has taken its toll. Johnb says that outside of circles like this forum, “to the rest of the country, he’s incomprehensible” (“he” being me). That’s absolutely counter to my rather ample experience, with all sorts of audiences. Rather, my experience is what I just described. The incomprehensibility roughly corresponds to the educational level. Take, say, talk radio. I’m on a fair amount, and it’s usually pretty easy to guess from accents, etc., what kind of audience it is. I’ve repeatedly found that when the audience is mostly poor and less educated, I can skip lots of the background and “frame of reference” issues because it’s already obvious and taken for granted by everyone, and can proceed to matters that occupy all of us. With more educated audiences, that’s much harder; it’s necessary to disentangle lots of ideological constructions.

It’s certainly true that lots of people can’t read the books I write. That’s not because the ideas or language are complicated — we have no problems in informal discussion on exactly the same points, and even in the same words. The reasons are different, maybe partly the fault of my writing style, partly the result of the need (which I feel, at least) to present pretty heavy documentation, which makes it tough reading. For these reasons, a number of people have taken pretty much the same material, often the very same words, and put them in pamphlet form and the like. No one seems to have much problem — though again, reviewers in the Times Literary Supplement or professional academic journals don’t have a clue as to what it’s about, quite commonly; sometimes it’s pretty comical.

A final point, something I’ve written about elsewhere (e.g., in a discussion in Z papers, and the last chapter of “Year 501”). There has been a striking change in the behavior of the intellectual class in recent years. The left intellectuals who 60 years ago would have been teaching in working class schools, writing books like “mathematics for the millions” (which made mathematics intelligible to millions of people), participating in and speaking for popular organizations, etc., are now largely disengaged from such activities, and although quick to tell us that they are far more radical than thou, are not to be found, it seems, when there is such an obvious and growing need and even explicit request for the work they could do out there in the world of people with live problems and concerns. That’s not a small problem. This country, right now, is in a very strange and ominous state. People are frightened, angry, disillusioned, skeptical, confused. That’s an organizer’s dream, as I once heard Mike say. It’s also fertile ground for demagogues and fanatics, who can (and in fact already do) rally substantial popular support with messages that are not unfamiliar from their predecessors in somewhat similar circumstances. We know where it has led in the past; it could again. There’s a huge gap that once was at least partially filled by left intellectuals willing to engage with the general public and their problems. It has ominous implications, in my opinion.”

Source: http://www.mrbauld.com/chomsky1.html [accessed 30 Dec 2008]

How not to run an academic institution. My Alma mater is demonstrating some worrisome (read batshit fucking stupid) decisions regarding firing female staff for having the absolute gall of teaching the ‘unorthodox’ view that biological sex is important to women and their struggle against patriarchy.

Her feminist views are apparently causing a small segment of students to feel unsafe and thus because if we are not walking on eggshells around entitled gender deluded males one must be doing the whole academic thing wrong.

Something very wrong has happened at the University of Alberta. A professor has been fired from part of her academic job for views on sex and gender that break with current orthodoxy.

In late March, Kathleen Lowrey, an associate professor at the University of Alberta, was asked to resign from her role as the Department of Anthropology’s associate chair, undergraduate programs, on the basis that one or more students had gone to the University’s Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights and the Dean of Students, André Costopolous, to complain about her without filing formal complaints. All Professor Lowrey has been told is that she is somehow making the learning environment “unsafe” for these students because she is a feminist who holds “gender critical” views. 

Apparently, Lowrey’s very openness about her views is a problem. Should a course have gender or sex as a central theme, on day 1 she offers a summary of her views along with the declaration that no student need agree with her about any of it, as she did this year with her course “Anthropology of Women.” As she cleaves to a feminism that asserts the continuing importance of biological sex and feminist projects of resisting patriarchal oppression, her views put her out of step with much current thinking about the nature of gender, which from the seminal work of Judith Butler forward takes sex to be a social construct. Lowrey also posts statements related to her views on her office door — something she is entitled to do. She contends that in asking her to resign from her service role the University is endorsing ideological conformity. 

Lowrey refused to resign from her service role and insisted that if the University wished to dismiss her from it, it would need to put its reasons for doing so in writing. She subsequently received a letter from the Dean of Arts Lesley Cormack dismissing her from her service role without offering any specifics as to why. The letter simply declares that the Dean believes that “it is not in the best interests of the students or the University” for Lowrey to continue in it.”

This is unbelievable.  Exactly what part of a healthy part of academic debate does this help?

 

“The University of Alberta takes the position that Lowrey had to be dismissed from her service role “for the good of the department” because at least one student claims that for the University to let her continue in the role would be for it to run the risk of the department losing students to another field of study. The argument, in effect, is that Lowrey could not be allowed to let the Department suffer a financial penalty for her views. (In the University of Alberta’s budget model, government funding “follows” students to the departments in which they take their courses.) With its worry that Lowrey’s views will have financial consequences for the Department of Anthropology, the University of Alberta lets an unfortunate development of the academy over the last few decades, in which students have become tuition-paying “customers” upon whom universities rely for more and more of their revenues, come into direct conflict with academic freedom principles. This is a very serious problem. No department at any university in Canada should be taking the position that it has to concern itself with how a professor’s intellectual views may affect a department’s bottom-line. 

Finally, the University of Alberta takes the position that it had to dismiss Lowrey from her service role because if it did not do so students would feel that the University “cared more” about “supporting” the professor than it did about them. This is a terrible line of reasoning, which pits students against a professor when what ought to be of paramount concern to all is the commitment to intellectual engagement and critical scrutiny of ideas as fundamental to the University’s flourishing. Quite simply, at a university, unorthodox or controversial views must be actively debated, and never suppressed, if the university is to meet its societal obligations. 

The University of Alberta needs to restore Professor Lowrey to her role as associate chair, undergraduate programs, in the Department of Anthropology, and university administrators elsewhere need to make sure that they do not fall into the University of Alberta’s mistake. It is essential that our universities never become homes for orthodoxy of any kind. “Dogma is bad for people,” writes UBC professor emeritus William Bruneau elsewhere on this blog. But for universities dogma is much, much worse. It is anathema to the academic mission.”

 

Kathleen Lowrey needs to reinstated yesterday.  This sort of totalitarian anti-academic thinking has to stop.

 

Oh and email the Dean about this travesty – artsdean@ualberta.ca

 

 

But the kit, Sagan argues, isn’t merely a tool of science — rather, it contains invaluable tools of healthy skepticism that apply just as elegantly, and just as necessarily, to everyday life. By adopting the kit, we can all shield ourselves against clueless guile and deliberate manipulation. Sagan shares nine of these tools:

  1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”
  2. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
  3. Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.
  4. Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
  5. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will.
  6. Quantify. If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.
  7. If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them.
  8. Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.
  9. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say — in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result.

Cheery stuff I know, but its interesting to see some of the trajectories we are on, and maybe if we shed enough light on them, we can can change them.  Optimistic?  Absolutely, but I’d rather have the motivation to continue the struggle than the gilded-glitz peace of the nihilist who has given up.

 

Greer estimates that it takes, on average, about 250 years for civilizations to decline and fall, and he finds no reason why modern civilization shouldn’t follow this “usual timeline.”[3]

But Greer’s assumption is built on shaky ground because industrial civilization differs from all past civilizations in four crucial ways.  And every one of them may accelerate and intensify the coming collapse while increasing the difficulty of recovery.

Difference #1:  Unlike all previous civilizations, modern industrial civilization is powered by an exceptionally rich, NON-renewable, and irreplaceable energy source—fossil fuels.  This unique energy base predisposes industrial civilization to a short, meteoric lifespan of unprecedented boom and drastic bust.  Megacities, globalized production, industrial agriculture, and a human population approaching 8 billion are all historically exceptional—and unsustainable—without fossil fuels.  Today, the rich easily exploited oilfields and coalmines of the past are mostly depleted.  And, while there are energy alternatives, there are no realistic replacements that can deliver the abundant net energy fossil fuels once provided.[4]  Our complex, expansive, high-speed civilization owes its brief lifespan to this one-time, rapidly dwindling energy bonanza.

Difference #2:  Unlike past civilizations, the economy of industrial society is capitalist.  Production for profit is its prime directive and driving force.  The unprecedented surplus energy supplied by fossil fuels has generated exceptional growth and enormous profits over the past two centuries.  But in the coming decades, these historic windfalls of abundant energy, constant growth, and rising profits will vanish.

However, unless it is abolished, capitalism will not disappear when boom turns to bust.  Instead, energy-starved, growth-less capitalism will turn catabolic.  Catabolismrefers to the condition whereby a living thing devours itself.  As profitable sources of production dry up, capitalism will be compelled to turn a profit by consuming the social assets it once created.  By cannibalizing itself, the profit motive will exacerbate industrial society’s dramatic decline.

Catabolic capitalism will profit from scarcity, crisis, disaster, and conflict.  Warfare, resource hoarding, ecological disaster, and pandemic diseases will become the big profit makers.  Capital will flow toward lucrative ventures like cybercrime, predatory lending, and financial fraud; bribery, corruption, and racketeering; weapons, drugs, and human trafficking.  Once disintegration and destruction become the primary source of profit, catabolic capitalism will rampage down the road to ruin, gorging itself on one self-inflicted disaster after another.[5]

Difference #3:  Unlike past societies, industrial civilization isn’t Roman, Chinese, Egyptian, Aztec, or Mayan.  Modern civilization is HUMAN, PLANETARY, and ECOCIDAL.  Pre-industrial civilizations depleted their topsoil, felled their forests, and polluted their rivers.  But the harm was far more temporary and geographically limited. Once market incentives harnessed the colossal power of fossil fuels to exploit nature, the dire results were planetary.  Two centuries of fossil fuel combustion have saturated the biosphere with climate-altering carbon that will continue wreaking havoc for generations to come.  The damage to Earth’s living systems—the circulation and chemical composition of the atmosphere and the ocean; the stability of the hydrological and biogeochemical cycles; and the biodiversity of the entire planet—is essentially permanent.

Humans have become the most invasive species ever known.  Although we are a mere .01 percent of the planet’s biomass, our domesticated crops and livestock dominate life on Earth.  In terms of total biomass, 96 percent of all the mammals on Earth are livestock; only 4 percent are wild mammals.  Seventy percent of all birds are domesticated poultry, only 30 percent are wild.  About half the Earth’s wild animals are thought to have been lost in just the last 50 years.[6]  Scientists estimate that half of all remaining species will be extinct by the end of the century.[7] There are no more unspoiled ecosystems or new frontiers where people can escape the damage they’ve caused and recover from collapse.

Difference #4:  Human civilization’s collective capacity to confront its mounting crises is crippled by a fragmented political system of antagonistic nations ruled by corrupt elites who care more about power and wealth than people and the planet.  Humanity faces a perfect storm of converging global calamities.  Intersecting tribulations like climate chaos, rampant extinction, food and freshwater scarcity, poverty, extreme inequality, and the rise of global pandemics are rapidly eroding the foundations of modern life.

Yet, this fractious and fractured political system makes organizing and mounting a cooperative response nearly impossible.  And, the more catabolic industrial capitalism becomes, the greater the danger that hostile rulers will fan the flames of nationalism and go to war over scarce resources.  Of course, warfare is not new.  But modern warfare is so devastating, destructive, and toxic that little would remain in its aftermath.  This would be the final nail in civilization’s coffin.”

This Blog best viewed with Ad-Block and Firefox!

What is ad block? It is an application that, at your discretion blocks out advertising so you can browse the internet for content as opposed to ads. If you do not have it, get it here so you can enjoy my blog without the insidious advertising.

Like Privacy?

Change your Browser to Duck Duck Go.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,600 other followers

Progressive Bloggers

Categories

September 2020
M T W T F S S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

Archives

Blogs I Follow

The DWR Community

A. Lien

Enjoy...

Thesseli

A topnotch WordPress.com site

I Won't Take It

Life After an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

VictimFocus Blog

Exploring best practice and research in sexual violence. A loud voice in the fight against victim blaming. Written and Managed by Psychologist and Best Selling Author Dr Jessica Taylor

Unpolished XX

No product, no face paint. I am enough.

Volunteer petunia

Observations and analysis on survival, love and struggle

femlab

the feminist exhibition space at the university of alberta

Raising Orlando

About gender, identity, parenting and containing multitudes

REAL for women

Reflecting Equality in Australian Legislation for women

The Feminist Kitanu

Spreading the dangerous disease of radical feminism

Double Plus Good

The Evolution Will Not BeTelevised

la scapigliata

writer, doctor, wearer of many hats

Teach The Change

Teaching Artist/ Progressive Educator

Female Personhood

Identifying as female since the dawn of time.

Radfem Resources | Radical Feminist Literature

A virtual library for those interested in radical feminist literature and resources.

Not The News in Briefs

A blog by Helen Saxby

SOLIDARITY WITH HELEN STEEL

A blog in support of Helen Steel

thenationalsentinel.wordpress.com/

Blasting through Left-wing BS with truth bombs

BigBooButch

Memoirs of a Butch Lesbian

RadFemSpiraling

Radical Feminism Discourse

a sledge and crowbar

deconstructing identity and culture

The Radical Pen

Fighting For Female Liberation from Patriarchy

Emma

Politics, things that make you think, and recreational breaks

Easilyriled's Blog

cranky. joyful. radical. funny. feminist.

Nordic Model Now!

Movement for the Abolition of Prostitution

The WordPress C(h)ronicle

These are the best links shared by people working with WordPress

HANDS ACROSS THE AISLE

Gender is the Problem, Not the Solution

fmnst

Peak Trans and other feminist topics

There Are So Many Things Wrong With This

if you don't like the news, make some of your own

Gentle Curiosity

Musing over important things. More questions than answers.

violetwisp

short commentaries, pretty pictures and strong opinions

Revive the Second Wave

gender-critical sex-negative intersectional radical feminism

Trans Animal Farm

The Trans Trend is Orwellian

Princess Henry of Wales

Priestess Belisama

miss guts.

just a girl on a journey

writing by renee

Trigger warning: feminism, women's rights

%d bloggers like this: