Is our children learning?

by Aaron Wherry

Conservative MP Larry Miller finds a sympathetic high school civics teacher.

A student asked about prorogation and Miller defended and explained that decision. The civics teacher then remarked, “I didn’t know the word prorogue,” then added he doubted many had…

Scott noted former prime ministers Jean Chretien and Pierre Trudeau shut down government four and 11 times respectively with no fuss. ”How come all of a sudden when he does it, Mr. Harper does it, everybody knows about it and there’s protests?”…

Miller blamed the media for prorogation criticism. He said the media have “worked it up” to “sell papers or sell TV shows.” ”The national media needs a story in Ottawa and they didn’t have one,” Miller said, to which Scott expressed agreement…

Scott next asked Miller why opposition parties “give the impression they’re a little softer on crime.” They’re “not pro-criminal but they seem to look after the criminal as much if not more than the victim. What is that?”…

At one point, a student passed a note back to Scott, which he said informed him he was asking too many questions. Scott paused and invited students to ask any. Who’s your favourite hockey team? one asked. “Boston Bruins,” Miller replied.

Is our children learning?

  1. There is such an oversupply of teachers in ontario, you would think they would be able to start firing some.

  2. And there could be many, many more, since a fair number of potential teachers are turned off by the poor job prospects.

    Well, that's the teacher's union (and administration too weak to take on the teacher's union) for ya. So thankful I had mostly competent teachers in high school…

  3. Kinda makes it hard to admit I was a teacher. Not that kind, however. I was never conservative.Encouraging questions (inquiring minds and all that) is in the job description of 'teacher'. They can make one uncomfortable, eh 'civics teacher'?

  4. Fire that civics teacher.

    Any adult in Canada who can't remember the word 'prorogue' from just a year ago needs help. Any 'civics' teacher unfamiliar with it is in the wrong job.

    The Con ad the teacher added is a dead giveaway.

    • I'm not sure about firing the teacher, but how can someone who doesn't know the word "prorogue" be put in charge of a civics class? Particularly just a year after a pretty well publicized controversy over the government's previous decision to prorogue Parliament to avoid losing a confidence vote in 2008? If the teacher should be fired it's less, imho, for his naked partisanship than for his stunning ignorance.

      • Probably because he is trained as Phys ed teacher, or a Religion teacher, but has seniority, which means he can bump the person trained in social studies, who now has to go teach music, Meanwhile the music teacher is teaching math part time, while a young budding math teacher is subsituting all over town teaching French. Etc.

  5. Well now we know what poster "Wilson" does in his workaday life.

    • He 's a she.

        • No, he'll get funding. It's not as though he's a pride parade or a democracy/rights group.

          • Pride parades get funding. So do democracy/rights groups.

          • Divers/Cité isn't a "pride parade". UNWRA funding was reallocated to direct food aid for Palestinians. CIDA funds hundreds of aid groups, even though one of them (KAIROS) lost their funding.

          • Oh, now you'r just be a spoilsport.

            Pride festival, then.

          • Divers/Cité is already being funded by the federal government, through Canada Economic Development. The festival has received $100,000 per year for each of the past three years. Last year, the organizers submitted a bid under the new Marquee Tourism Events Program for an additional $155,000 to add performers and promotion, and this bid was rejected.

          • I like your way with facts.

  6. One of the great things about proroguement is that all the Conservatives are back in their ridings and engaging with the local press. For more evidence of the smooth talking Larry from Owen Sound:

    http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/ArticleDisplay.a

    • The word is "prorogation", not "proroguement". I realize Evan Solomon contributed to the confusion by using the wrong word over a week after it happened, but still.

      • I defer to your superior spellin teach, but reserve the right to mangle the word if a ryhme is required.

  7. Wow, Miller must have done some searching to find a teacher with a Conservative viewpoint.

    I`m sure the CPC MP`s appreciate the press with the catchy headlines from Mr. Wherry and his attempt at showing a typical work-day. But if he were lookin for a contrasting position he should interview a Lib Mp to see how him-her contributed in last fall`s Parliament. How about that war-crime investigator Dosanjh.

      • Thanks for the link. And I`m sure the students who wish a balanced approach to their education thank the Fraser Institute for this singular effort to offset the constant barrage of liberal bias in academia that is obvious is most of our schools.

      • He doesn't mean all our teachers are lefties…he means all our teachers think too much. Which is pretty much the same thing in Con ideology come to think of it.

        • Actually no, I did mean almost all of the teachers are lefties.

    • In Ontario there are still some who would swallow walkerton water to prove that Flaherty/Clements/Baird were all just innocent partisans in a hit-and-run driveby smear…

  8. Where I went to school, the classroom was no place for un-informed, one-sided, or partisan rhetoric. Least of all, coming from a guest speaker or teacher. Students were encouraged to think critically, ask questions, and form their own opinions – not simply base them on some politician's whinging that "the media" is somehow conspiring to bring the Conservative Party to an untimely demise.

    This repulses me. The student is asking legitimate questions, and all the teacher can do is shrug and say "I dunno" while the politician says "it's because the media is after us! Ack!" What kind of response is that?

    And then his peers. His peers (!), who tell him to stop asking questions, then turn the guest speaker's attention to such critical matters as one would get out of a Cosmopolitan interview.

    • Obviously, you didn't grow up in the Stephen Harper era.

      • That's correct. I was a guinea pig, double-cohorter of the Harris/Eves era.

  9. 'Scott next asked Miller why opposition parties “give the impression they're a little softer on crime.” They're “not pro-criminal but they seem to look after the criminal as much if not more than the victim. What is that?”…"

    Objection M'lord…that's what's known as a leading question.

    I like how the kid shut him up though.

  10. Is it possible for the cons to cite one more example of a dubious prorogation other than Chretiens? The fact that the vast majority of them were in fact ok, and that they can only cite this one example does nothing to build their case…in fact it's quite the opposite Perhaps they shouldn't keep reminding people of chretien and inviting comparisans?. But then they do so love: :But he did it first, don't they:?

    • The way things are going, I half expect Harper to rip off his mask in a press conference one day and reveal that he was Jean Chretien all along.

      Who am I kidding. Harper holding a press conference? You're right, it's too crazy to contemplate.

    • Dear Tories, especially from the former Reform Party:

      Doesn't it burn your @$$, even a litle, to learn that the best justification lines that Dmitri Soudas and the Little Shop of Tories can come up with, is "Chretien did it too!"?

      • I hope Chretien's getting royaltiies on this.

  11. I don't know what's worse in this story, this whole partisan song and dance in front of a bunch of kids in their classroom, or the fact that his favourite hockey team is the Boston Bruins.

    • Actually, having re-read the story, it occurs to me that the worst part is neither of those.

      The worst part is that once the MP was done his little partisan pep rally, the students went back to watching T.V., watching a football game, and listening to their iPods.

      • When I was in high school, we played Tetris on graphing calculators. These days, technology gives kids so many more options.

        • When I was in high school, we played hangman with pencil and paper and that's only 20 some odd years ago. Too right technology gives kids options.

          • Fair enough to both you and CR, but TELEVISION? Some of them went back to watching T.V. for Pete's sake.

          • I bet the kids knew what prorogue meant then, even if their teacher didn't.

          • Not serious answer – I was trying to start when I was a kid …. stories.

            I agree that it is crazy that kids get to watch tv at school nowadays. I know a few teachers and they often tell stories about idle kids and how the system mollycoddles them. I am sure watching tv is part of school's way of teaching kids to 'think'.

  12. The last person I'd invite into a civics class is a serving politician.

  13. The teacher claimed that he did not know the word "prorogue" but then went on to state the number of times two Lib PMs prorogued Parliament? He must think Canadians are stupid or naive.

  14. The headline should read "are our Children learning?" (not "is our children learning"). Evidently children who grew up to work at Macleans weren't learning.

  15. When I was in highschool my teachers were hardcore anti-Mike Harris and the Ontario Conservative government.

    I hope the civics teacher doesn't actually think the opposition parties are soft-on-crime; hopefully, he was just trying to kiss Larry Miller's bum.

    Anyways, most surprising is that a civics teacher had not heard the word prorogue before especially after what happened in all that drama of December 2008 (coalition, prorogation, constituional crisis).

  16. Reminds me of the time about 25 years ago, when my 11 year old son came home from school one day and told me that he learned that health care in Canada was free.

    I just about blew a gasket. I challenged the teacher on this and he said the students were "Too young to understand the relationship between healthcare and taxes."

    Sheesh! Is it too much to expect teachers to know what they are talking about?

  17. All I can say after reading this article, is that a good teacher would never have treated this the way Mr. Scott did.

    At the very least he could have behaved as 'devils advocate', and challenged the opinions of the MP, even if he agreed with them.

    A good teacher would have presented both sides of the issue, and allowed the students to formulate their own opinions.

    Shame on Mr. Scott. A career change might be appropriate.

    • If having impartial political views was a prerequisite for holding a teacher`s position in Ontario, then there would be thousands of vacancies. The Libs and Dippers have been using Ontario Schools and Universities as recruitement centers through their left-leaning staff for years now.

      • Wasn't Mike Harris a teacher? And a school board trustee?

        • I don`t think his recruitement efforts were too successful at the local Schools.

      • If having impartial political views was a prerequisite for holding a position in most business orgs , then there would be thousands of vacancies. The cons have been using business orgs as recruitement centers through their right-leaning staff for years now

  18. The national media needs a story in Ottawa and they didn't have one,”

    Umm . . . that's the point. There's nothing going on in Ottawa.

  19. Good grief, check out the tone of the text books in the provincial curriculum. Check outt he teacher's union's politcal stance, look at the crap programming come propaganda youth are subjected to via TV and facebook etc. Just because you folks accept the Trudeaupian ideal as the quintesential Canada doesn't mean millions don't strongly disagree. In fact their complete disregard for your self-serving left-center never-has-worked, never- will-work, philosophy has yielded the present government.

    Your shock that well-read responsible adults agree with a position you seem to denigrate as "propaganda corrupting our youth" is illuminating.

    • "In fact their complete disregard for your self-serving left-center never-has-worked, never- will-work, philosophy has yielded the present government"

      Indeed, the present governement has a self-serving right-center never-has worked, never-will-work philosphy. Plenty of those in there, the PM to start with.

    • I was under the impression that the market wants what's on television, therefore the producers of television aim to meet that demand. They sure do a lot of testing to determine what people want to see. Isn't that how capitalism works? No? Maybe you could explain in some detail where I've gone wrong in comprehending this. I'm sure the fault is mine.

      • Nobody watches the CBC, they're not going anywhere, that's a huge market influence paid for by the government. Then there's the mutual-self-interest relationship between media and politicians.

        • So sourstud, if nobody watches the CBC then how can they be a huge market influence?

          Alas, your argument contains more logic than most of what your ilk offers up on this subject

    • "In fact their complete disregard for your self-serving left-center never-has-worked, never- will-work, philosophy has yielded the present government."

      You're exactly right, and that's precisely what's wrong with the current government – they're not willing to acknowledge that the left-of-centre might actually have an idea or two that is worth looking at, nor are they willing to acknowledge that the left works just as hard for this country as the right does. What would this country be without "the left"? I wouldn't be paying for your retirement, that's for certain.

      There are two problems in that classroom – the first is that a partisan was able to spew rhetoric without any sort of opposition, and the second that a teacher played the "I'm an idiot" card and let him do it.

      The "I'm an idiot" card is useful in classrooms when you're trying to get a bunch of non-participatory students to put up their hands and demonstrate that they've learned something – it's NOT useful when it just encourages one-sided rhetoric.

    • You used the word Trudeaupia…i'm sorry, but Steyn is next door…i think?

  20. That probably made the Maclean's staffs day right there.

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