Thursday, September 20, 2007

The 'ethics' of politics - An oxymoron in the extreme.

Do you think that Dalton McGuinty's re-election efforts to pillory John Tory's proposal for Faith-Based funding have more to do with opportunistic tactics than altruistic concern for public education? Well whatever the reason, polls show the strategy is working.

And the Ontario Liberals appear to have some heavy-hitting support behind them. Why? Because of course, union jobs may be in jeopardy.

In today's Sun, Lorrie Goldstein berates MSM, strategists and politicians who pounce on a perceived weakness and play it to the hilt; deliberately distorting the truth and ignoring clarifications - An Education in Election Coverage:

A proposal by Conservative Leader John Tory to extend public funding to non-Catholic religious schools (Catholic ones are already funded) if they agree to teach Ontario's approved curriculum and meet other criteria, has been transformed by hysterical media and shameless Liberals into a silly suggestion Tory would allow the teaching of creationism as an alternative to evolution in schools.

That's not what Tory's policy -- which has been public for months -- says.

One phone call to the education ministry by the media would have revealed that Ontario's existing, publicly funded Catholic schools only teach evolution -- in the science curriculum.

However they may also teach creationism -- in religious studies and world religion courses, where the context is obviously entirely different.
Tory's promise is to extend public funding to Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and other religious schools, which 53,000 students attend, on the same basis as Catholic schools, which 650,000 students attend, now receive it.

Instead of explaining this, the media, overwhelmingly hostile to Tory's proposal, seized on one poorly worded remark by him early in the campaign, that the "theory" of evolution is still called a "theory" (true, but it's the widely accepted one) and that creationism could be taught in addition to evolution (true, but not as part of the science curriculum) to suggest Tory was advocating what they knew he wasn't -- using public funds to teach creationism on a par with evolution as a scientific theory.

The Tory campaign sent out a clarification a few hours later, but by then, the Liberals were also pretending Tory was saying what they knew he wasn't.

This gave the story "legs." Why? Because the media wanted it to be a story and the Liberals fed them the quotes needed to make it one, even though it had no basis in reality. Typical.

Well said, Lorrie.

And the time-strained electorate gobbles up the sound-bytes without bothering to investigate the issues.

Although Goldstein himself supports a "single, secular, public school system", he suggests we follow the open-minded attitude of Pope John Paul II who "advocated continuing scientific investigation into the "Big Bang" theory of creation, and the theory of evolution, stressing these were not antithetical to faith."

Unfortunately, lying and politics seem to go hand-in-hand, so I doubt we will ever progress to level of adults rather than "'gotcha'" journalists and scheming politicians".

Because in politics, only winning matters, right?

* * * *
Related: Please watch tonight's leadership debate. Info here.

Great op-ed in the Star - Fear of Islamic Schools Based on False Stereotypes.

Also, lots of letters in the National Post under the title Flawed Thinking on Diversity and School.

* * * *
Post Debate Impressions - I thought John Tory handled himself very well tonight. In fact, he looked positively Premier-ish.

A few MSM sources have commentaries already up.

Globe - McGuinty's integrity focus of debate.

Star - McGuinty Put on the Defensive.

Post - Live-blogging the leadership debate.

More from the Post here.


Anonymous said...

Let's all take a good look at what the education premier has done to our schools.

1. Gerard Kennedy moved to provincial bargaining without consulting school boards.

2. as a result schools scrambled to balance budgets to be able to afford those lucrative 4 year deals.

3. Educrat Dalton, while funding a four year secondary school curriculum, plans and sets targets for 5 years. This is putting a further strain on boards which have a large number of kids staying for a 5th year, both financially and in accommodations.

4. class size caps in primary has created bottlenecks and multi-split grades that neither parents or teachers like. What does the MOE do? Sends out a nice glossy flyer that pretty much tells school communities to get used to more split grades. What it doesn't say is that split grades result in more teacher hires, and keeps unions happy.

5. the education premier promised rural/small schools help with funding and accommodation reviews.
A new process came very late, and doesn't move things forward or help much at all. It's 2 years long and borrows heavily from the Conservative outline that was in place previously.

6. This hands-on education premier is so hands on that the fear among trustees is that their flexibility and decision-making is eroding because things are coming down much too prescribed, so that board meetings become simply a selling of Ministry plans, initiatives. Trustees are not government toadies, and need to take their schools back.

7. the education premier sold the College of Teachers out to the unions to oversee. This even when Dave Cooke, and other former ed. ministers advised against turning the agency that oversees this profession from one of arms-length to one of union protectionism.

8. Thanks to the move to give elementary teachers more prep. time many boards are moving to "balanced school days". The selling point to parents is that it's healthy and devotes more time to reading and math(a quick review of the EQAO scores kills that notion doesn't it). Balanced school days are good for teachers that much is clear.

9. schools are still closing under the education premier's watch

10. post-secondary tuitions are through the roof, and the cost of university housing needs serious attention and auditing.

11. early in his mandate the education Premier clawed back the special education funding to all school boards. The clawback was preceeded by a report done for Minister Kennedy painting a very suspicious picture of spending.

12. The biggie is that in opposition McGuinty promised to fix the funding formula. He's not done that. Why? It's because the one think the Rozanski commission said to ensure that the formula developed by the previous gov't was sound, was that it was sound because the money followed the kids.

13. Under the education premier the number of bureaucrats at the MOE has increased.

14. After disbanding the Ontario Parent Council where parents served under the NDP and Conservative govenment, the education has replaced the group with his own version. When Kennedy disbanded the old OPC it was alluded to that the parents were shills of their governments.

15. While student enrolment is down across the province why are school administrations UP??? Why hasn't the education Premier addressed that beauty.

Can we see now why the Liberals want to divert our attention to the faith-based discussion and fill heads full of untruths?

To quote Lorrie G it's because McGuinty "has nothing else".

OMMAG said...

If Tory's campaign cannot manage to get the media to report on the facts of the McGuinty record there is NO hope of changing the channel!
The Toronto Centric media is thick with liberal sympathisers and idiots who think that pandering for the McGuinty's of the world is their job.

Tory needs to rip McGuinty a new one in the debate to get any traction.

Personally .... I don't think he has it in him.... sad.......

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thanks for that list, Anon. I hope Tory uses some of those points in tonight's debate.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Personally .... I don't think he has it in him.... sad.......

We'll see. It ain't over til it's over.

Anonymous said...

Big, expensive unions OWN Dolton McGuinty - he's their little poodle and they want to keep him on their leash - and in charge of the treasury so he can keep squandering millions of dollars.

Another $600 'health' tax is coming right up after the election.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Another $600 'health' tax is coming right up after the election.

Yes, and it will be the 'second-hardest' decision he's ever had to make... I can just hear the violins now.

Anonymous said...

There is another story in your post Joanne. Take a look at pg 2 under the heading 'Casebook Diary' of the OECTA agenda you linked to. Be sure to save a copy, they'll be taking it down soon.

And I quote "OECTA reimburses school boards for teacher release-time, provided they work full-time for a candidate that has been targeted by OECTA"

So let me get this straight. The Ontario Catholic Teacher's Association, reimburses Catholic school boards that release their teacher's to work full-time on a political campaign (Liberals) dedicated to ensuring only Catholics continue to receive public funds.

Anonymous said...

Will the Liberals claim these donations in kind? Teachers get paid very well.

Torian said...

I'm not one to believe in conspiracy theories, but has anyone else noticed what a co-in kee-dink it is that many of the "meet the teacher" events are planned for this evening, right when the debate is on?

bluetech said...

Here I was thinking the teachers union are subtly behind McGuinty...and anon@1:49 proves that it is not so subtle!
I'm sure the public board has the desire to keep McGuinty in as well.
They prefer the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Of course it's opportunistic Joanne.

Rather than be known as the "education premier" though. I'm thinking Dalton should be honest with Ontarians and call himself the "teacher union premier".

What teacher unions want vs. what parents and children need from the system are usually two very different things.

I like how the new ad for the ETFO wants parents to lobby on their behalf for parody with the secondary school teachers. They spin it so that it seems that the money goes to students in the classroom. We know better than that don't we?

Sadly, if parents fall for this bs again, I say bring on schools of choice, and let parents vote with their feet which system they send their kids to.

Anonymous said...

It's more than status-quo the teacher unions are after from McGuinty. They know they've got their "yes" man who will give them everything they ask for.

This fall be prepared to hear the whines and drones from the Elementary teachers, support staff and next year the teacher contracts come due again.

Oh, and the elementary teachers are in cohouts with the principals to get out of supervisory duty. In the end under the Liberals we're paying MORE for education and getting less....including less education for students...isn't that what education is all about?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that most open houses are happening this evening.

I also believe that it was no coincidence that the timelines of the Liberal accommodation review process means that no schools and boards are at the point in the process of deciding to close or consolidate schools.

If there's one thing that the public hates more than lying politicians it's teacher unions.

I do believe that all teacher unions give teachers paid leave to campaign. It's what happened to Dave Johnson. Heck, they even came from other parts of Ontario, rented apartments in Johnson's riding just to take him down.

Ruthless thugs, and we trust them with our kids.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Ruthless thugs, and we trust them with our kids.

Yeah, and no wonder they're fighting tooth and nail against funding for non-Catholic FB schools.

They're probably afraid some schools might turn out some free-thinking Conservatives instead of little Liberals lemmings.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

BTW, I added a couple more links at the end of this post.

Anonymous said...

You know what's really REALLY ironic in this whole championing of the public system that McGuinty's spewing, is that the tierage and segregation is happening within the public systems as we speak. Take a look at what's happening in Louisianna today and the march against racism that started with the beating of a white student by black students.

I wonder if McGuinty's been to a science fair or robotics competition lately, or an OFSAA sporting event lately. I seriously doubt it because if he had, he would have seen private and public students taking part and working together.....nothing happens to thin the fabric of either system.

Oh and the best part of course is the the government kicks in money to these events that invite public and private schools to participate.

OMMAG said...

I sure hope that John Tory's campaign reads this blog!

Anonymous said...

Hi - whoever anon. is on here makes some really good points and ones I'd forgotten about. Let's hope he's working for Tory.

I got curious about who was supporting MMP and learned the the teacher unions are 100% behind this move. Why would they be? What's in it for them? I don't get it?

I can understand why the NDP and Greens like it because it's their only shot at getting more seats and more representation because they can't ever form a government.

Anonymous said...

I'm taking bets on how many times McGuinty tries to back Tory into a corner on the fb and private "american-style" health care crap in tonight's debate?

I'm thinking we need a place to debate the debate.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I'm thinking we need a place to debate the debate.

Feel free to use this thread. Also, I understand that the Leadership Matters site will be live-blogging.

We have a conflict in this riding because our local candidates' debate is on tonight as well. Great planning...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I got curious about who was supporting MMP and learned the the teacher unions are 100% behind this move. Why would they be? What's in it for them? I don't get it?

Here's my theory: I'm thinking that that list of candidates that get appointed will have a large showing from teachers' unions. What do you think?

OMMAG said...

Watching the debate on CTV....
Tory seems composed and logical!
Hampton - A completely deranged socialist fool!
McFerretface - Complete Weasel!

Very disappointed that Tory not tougher and more aggressive ... McFerretface provided plenty of opportunity and reason to be nailed to the wall!

I doubt if this debate moves anyone....

Möbius said...

Of course, it's opportunistic.

The PC's handed them an issue that a) most Ontarians disagree with, and b) allows them to change the channel from the lies and corruption of the Ont Lib Party, under McG. And a) is what we call a "vote losing issue".

Gosh, what a bright political party!

I missed the first 20 minutes of the debate, but, from what I saw, McG. didn't get much out of FB funding, and was nervous and fidgety.

Tory, as well, didn't seem to get much out of the slush fund spending. He handled himself well, but he doesn't seem much of an attacker, when it would have been a good idea. It's not the Harvard debating club, it's a job interview.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I thought Tory came out on top, but of course, I'm biased.

Just watching a TVO recap now.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the debate was really bad. I too don't believe it will move the polls.

I thought Mcguinty looked unsure, and referred to his notes way too much.

Tory missed a couple of good oppotunities to really hit it home.

Hampton actually helped Tory a few times, filling in what Tory didn't touch on.

The only question to ask yourself is who do you trust.

Everything else is secondary.

Are Tory's people even listening to their core support?

Anonymous said...

Cherniak says McGuinty was great.

Also, we can count on the Liberal media to spin the faith-based portion of the debate and not much else.

I think that for folks who weren't sure about Tory, he came off well and clearly ready to take on the province.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I think that for folks who weren't sure about Tory, he came off well and clearly ready to take on the province.

I agree. He seems very capable and fair. And I feel that I can trust him a whole lot more than Dalton.

I like Howard Hampton too, but I'll never vote NDP again. Not ever.

Anonymous said...

John Tory was the winner.

Anonymous said...

I'm really disappointed in whoever it is handling John Tory, especially on the education file. Tory missed several opportunities to go tougher on McGuinty's claims of "test scores are getting better". Um, no Einstein they're not. They've flat-lined or worse.

Are the Liberals so convinced that the average, uninformaed voter will believe the lies just like McGuinty does?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon, I agree. That needs to be brought out to the forefront more. Also health care. Matt is covering that.