On Campus

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.