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Save Grade 2! Fire cops!

Not everything can be a priority. By definition.


 

Nova Scotia teachers have a clever new campaign (sorry, “movement”) called Save Grade 2 which aims to convince the provincial government — cash-strapped due to naughty previous government, they say — from cutting funding for public education.

The clever part is where they say that expected cuts will result in choices that any right-minded citizen could not endure — like cutting a whole grade level from the system. Not that Grade 2 is actually in jeopardy, but the point is that educators should not have to face these “impossible choices.”

Fair enough. But couldn’t just about every government-funded program and service say something similar? Education, an earnest fellow in the video there tells us, should be a “top priority,” but on top of what? Health care? The Court System? Fire departments?  Couldn’t those groups put up similar sites saying that they too are too important to mess with? Save the Emergency Room! Save Justice! Save Your House! Aren’t these all impossible choices?

I have no problem when people with vested interests argue that what they do is important and shouldn’t be cut. But when they do, they should have the guts to say what should be cut. If you don’t want to see public education cut, what do you want? Higher taxes? On what? Cuts somewhere else? Where? Or do you think we have the money after all? Explain.

Roger Martin over at The Walrus (which, interestingly enough has its own Save the Walrus campaign) recently argued that education had been neglected because, in effect, we have been spending too much on health care. Good for him. I hope the folks at Save Grade 2 can muster the same level of courage.


 

Save Grade 2! Fire cops!

  1. This is an interesting and provocative topic choice. Working in the field of social services, I find myself doing a lot of advocating around gaining/keeping monies for social programs (often ones the rest of society feels we could do without-try advocating for housing for someone with an addiction and a mental illness. You will never see pockets snap shut at a faster rate I assure you). The issue you’ve identified, I believe, actually comes down to one priority-widespread poverty. Unfortunately, while it seems an obvious thought that poverty affects everyone (and everything), not everyone HAS come to that realization. That said, I think you’re on the right track with “say what you’re willing to cut”. However, I don’t think it will solve the issue in the long run. In fact you just end up engaging in the cycle again. I think a better idea is community development using a resiliency and collaboration framework. What we tend to have is a community with a bunch of different services (and different sources of money) tackling different pieces of the problem in isolation of one another. What we need to accomplish is bringing these organizations together and working collaboratively to combat the consequences of poverty (i.e. education cuts, health cuts, mental health cuts, family services cuts etc.). Collaboration brings people and organizations together and builds a stronger, more resilient community to things like government cutbacks or say a recession. Furthermore, the fact is, that anytime you write a grant/proposal for money now whether it is to a foundation, organization, government or what have you, there are two things that will increase your chances of having your proposal funded. First, partnering with other organizations and second, demonstrating that a portion of the program will be funded through “in kind” contributions (i.e. donations from your own organization or one in the community).

  2. I think it probably makes more sense to get rid of Grade 6 rather than Grade 2. Being right in the middle of the grade spectrum, I think it would probably be much easier to rejig the curriculum to up/download the content into the surrounding grade years. I can’t imagine it would actually be that catastrophic if it were planned properly.

  3. The “Save grade 2” thing is ridiculous. As a nurse I wonder where educators get the gall!

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