[Byfield] The letter Alberta’s left-leaning print media don’t want you to see

[Ted Byfield] The letter Alberta’s left-leaning print media don’t want you to see

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A top educator details the school system’s deep flaws but the big dailies won’t print it

[Ted Byfield Blog] There’s a little-known but vitally significant fact in the recent history of education in the Canadian province of Alberta. In the closing years of the 20th Century a team of conservatively minded educators somehow gained control of the city of Edmonton school system. Within a very few years they sent Edmonton’s academic scores soaring so spectacularly on international tests that American systems, one of them California’s, conducted studies to discover the mystery of how they did it.

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One of the men chiefly responsible for this, Stuart Wachowicz, then director of curriculum in Edmonton, scoffed at the question. In essence all he had done, he later explained, was to restore the curriculum that had been in place up to the mid-1970s. Meanwhile, other extraordinary things were happening. The city’s famous “Cogito” schools emerged, as alternative and charter schools came into existence. Faith-based schools acquired state support. All these innovations had the effect of empowering the parent who could choose the school that best suited the his son or daughter.

Wachowicz was by no means alone in the movement’s leadership. Another key man was Richard Dietrich, principal of one of the Cogito schools, and an eloquent spokesman for the whole Edmonton phenomenon. Yet another was Leif Stolee, a founding vice-principal of Old Scona Academic High School, which became a showcase for the movement. Stolee’s witty spoofs on educational “progressivism” gravely irritated the progressivists, though most of them were too humourless to reply in kind.

Wachowicz himself says the chief role in the Edmonton experience was played by Emery Dosdall, who hired him as director of curriculum. “He was the spark-plug of the reforms by forcing issues of accountability using quantified measures,” says Wachowicz. “That’s something for which he was and is still hated by the granola eaters.”

Few realized, however, how wholly this Edmonton movement differed from what was happening elsewhere in the world of education. It was absolutely at odds with the dire changes wrought by the Sixties revolution in the universities whose aim was the destruction of the traditional. No longer, they ruled, were the schools to teach the appreciation of, and the functioning of Truth, Goodness and Beauty. All such concepts were now known to be purely subjective and transient “feelings.” The purpose of the school was to produce citizens who would acquiesce with whatever “the community” required. Learning specific skills and acquiring specific facts of our past– maths, grammar, history– were secondary. In fact, real history, as distinct from “social studies,” could be actively dangerous to this new ideology..

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One Comment

  1. The current, and direct attack on “truth” by Alberta Education Minister Eggen, is an affront to the sensibilities of common Albertans. One must ask the question, “Is there such a thing as alternative truth?” The answer is no, but that is what is now being flaunted by Minister Eggen. His alternative truth is better than biblical truth, and as a result, there is a confrontation, to which there must be a victor. So we have now gone from Eggen’s alternative truth to his absolute truth, that must be followed, under penalty of law. Christian schools are now under the gun. Either follow Eggen’s truth, or you will have your funding and accreditation removed. (I guess there IS now absolute truth, according to Eggen.) Great communist tactic that even modern-day communists in Russia don’t impose. We’ve gone way over a line, in fact it is a deep, DEEP chasm. In British Columbia, SOGI 123 crossed that chasm, and 200 pastors had the dynamite lit under them to the point that they now have established the West Coast Christian Accord, established to challenge the encroachment of indoctrination of the gay lifestyle on unsuspecting children without the knowledge of their parents. Alberta Education is only days behind in an effort to bludgeon parents into submission by imposing restrictions on those same parents. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, under the leadership of John Carpay, has attempted to challenge these encroachments into the constitutional rights of parents and other interest groups. Well-funded opposition groups continue to challenge our most cherished conservative values, and most parents are almost completely oblivious to this incursion into their ideal world. Christian schools are being told to remove biblical references and principle statements, or lose funding and accreditation. The deadline looms with this Friday, September 5 being a critical date for some. Many “christian” schools have already caved to the pressure. They will live or die by Minister Eggen’s directives, which by the way, contravene the Alberta Bill of Rights regarding parents. For Eggen, legal writ does not matter. He will enforce his agenda and Christian schools and the home educators that are under their protection will be decimated, if Eggen has his way. Where is your “line in the sand”?

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