The discourse regarding education has experienced a more pronounced resurgence as of late. Legislators on all sides of the aisle have placed education into the upper echelon of electoral priorities.
The results have been a cycle of reciprocating slander between political parties, which has found its way into even the most mundane conversations.
Emerging from this conflict is a question which can dramatically alter the course of right-wing policy; where should conservatives stand in regards to public school?
Some may desire more expansive privatization of education, for any number of reasons. Others may prefer the abolition of school boards in general, like politicians currently at the helm of Quebec’s government.
The fact remains that public schools are a triumph brought about by our social system, and conservatives ought to defend these institutions so that future generations may be privy to receive an education without financial concern.
And yet, conservatives are not social democrats nor do we espouse socialist ideologies, but there is a level of duty to our country which we uphold, and a component of such relies upon protecting public education.
As stated, there is sufficient conservative reasoning to establish public schools as an irreplaceable guarantee.
Public schools in Canada
Statistics Canada latest figure indicates 5,068,587 students are currently enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools. An impressive 7% of our population.
21% of students who attended public elementary and secondary school graduate university by the age of 23, in comparison the number is only 14% higher for former private school students (35%).
In 2016 alone, Canadian “Apprenticeship Training Programs” received an influx of 417,300 registrations.
Our labour market requires plumbers, electricians, mechanics, etc, therefore, the proper functionality of these programs, and trade schools
Katie Hyslop of The Tyee notes that although public schools are meant to be fully subsidized by the government, instances still exist whereby parents are required to pay certain expenses. Agendas should be covered by the government, but parents should be afforded the liberty of purchasing the school supplies of their choice.
With so much potential revenue to be made, the government’s involvement in education should have barriers of constraint. Moreover, with the system currently in place, parents of all socio-economic backgrounds can freely choose the retailer of their choice.
Although the figures are representative for the United States, parallels could be drawn with Canada too. In 2017, Canadian parents spent an average of $880 in back-to-school spending. Another factor that is worth notable consideration is today’s requirement of technology in all areas of education.
The Fraser Institute found a significant jump in “education spending in public schools” between 2006/07 and 2015/16. The increase is valued at being $9.2 billion. While that figure may summon dissatisfaction amongst those who support a reduction in government spending, there is a reason for the expenditure change. In the nine-year window, however, “salaries and wages increased by 33.2 per cent” going from $28.8 billion to $38.4 billion.
The Conservative argument
The seemingly unbreakable union between conservatism and a free-market oriented approach to economics is but an evolution of the ideology’s early self.
This isn’t to discard capitalism, for it has proved itself to be the fairest and successful economic system ever. Capitalism has lifted billions out of poverty and is responsible for allowing human uniqueness and ingenuity to flourish. Simply put, the free market grants prosperity.
But if conservatism wants to remain a force in our changing world, it is necessary to examine past individuals who have contributed to philosophical foundations, and draw from their conceptions.
British conservative Roger Scruton does an immaculate attempt to deconstruct the politic’s history in his work “Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition”. Scruton places great emphasis on the post-French Revolution thinker’s who are due credit for their participation in forming conservative thought.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was an early British conservative, who remained sceptical about the cultural impact caused by fervent capitalism that increased in tandem with the industrial revolution. He called for government intervention in the market to help the poor and “provide education” to upkeep (what he considered to be) Western values.
John Ruskin (1819-1900), another English conservative was both anti-capitalist and anti-socialist. Going forward, it would be wise for Tory politicians to acknowledge the early teachings when constructing an adequate method to navigate our complicated world.
This isn’t a call to re-define conservatism, but rather to point towards a segment of political philosophy which can be applied to contemporary issues. Conservatives ought to conserve elements of conservatism to retain that which we seek to protect in a world subject to rapid change.
Challenges with education
There are certain flaws with elementary and secondary education.
Firstly, the politicization of education has caused justifiable concern. Only 27% of teachers identify as conservative, a rather minuscule amount in comparison to the left. In the United States, the union for teachers largely supports the Democrat Party.
As Chris Baylor of the Washington Post wrote: “They [teachers unions] are a vital part of liberal coalitions and the Democratic Party”. With radical progressivism and contemporary liberal thought becoming mainstreamed in academia, it is little surprise conservatives hold disdain with public schools.
Instead of viewing the alternative as pushing for more private and charter schools, conservatives can push for curriculum which holds regard for Western traditions and ideals. This is notwithstanding the fact that religious schools can only be private.
Another, more financially pragmatic concern, is that Canadians spend on average 43% of their salary on taxes. A proper course of action should be pursued whereby taxes are lowered and more money from wasteful spending put into public education. Embedded in this is a dichotomy between fiscal responsibility and a return to conservative origins; effectively applying the past to the present.
Lastly, the Canadian constitution makes education a provincial jurisdiction, therefore the appliance of any ambitious policy would ultimately need to be legislated by the provincial governments.
Despite many organizations and institutions distancing themselves from a disgraced Prince Andrew after his disastrous interview with the BBC–discussing his relationship with the late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein–the National Post reported he will still keep his Canadian military appointments.
The step away from public life may come as no surprise, however, the Prince maintains certain roles and appointments that are somewhat tricky to get out of.
“As is the custom, the Duke of York holds honorary title of Colonel-in-Chief of The Princess of Louise Fusiliers, The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada and Queen’s York Rangers,” Department of National Defence (DND) specialist Jessice Lamirande to the National Post.
The National Post questioned the DND for a week before they were even willing to confirm just what roles the now disgraced Prince held.
The questions surrounding Prince Andrew’s removal from these appointments have left the Canadian Armed Forces and the government puzzled.
“This has never happened before,” said one government source to the National Post.
A Royal spokesperson previously released a statement that he would be stepping away from public duties: “The Duke has stepped back for the time being and will not be undertaking any public duties on behalf of his Patronages or associations.”
This statement has put the Canadian military in a quagmire. The role of Colonel-in-Chief is not just a symbolic one, it does involve some active duties. If the Canadian government wanted to rescind Prince Andrew’s appointments themselves, there is no set of procedures in place that would even necessarily allow them to do so. The various regiments of the Commonwealth can only be appointed a Colonel-in-Chief by the Queen herself, and once appointed there is an expectation to fulfill role until death or a formal retirement from public life.
“The position of Colonel-in Chief is a symbol of a direct relationship between the Sovereign and the members of that regiment,” said Richard Berthelsen, who specializes in the Crown’s relationship to Canada. “It’s not like a patronage. It has a much deeper meaning. It is something that is official and is recognized in the Canadian Forces as having significant importance to history and heritage of that unit.”
“There is nothing stopping a prime minister from making a recommendation, a very strong recommendation, I suppose,” Toffoli told the National Post earlier this week.
The November BBC interview that the Duke of York was hoping would clear his name was generally considered a disaster, leaving many people and organizations scrambling to cut ties with the Prince. Prince Andrew’s own mother, Queen Elizabeth II, even went so far as to cancel her son’s upcoming 60th birthday party.
Editor’s Note: If you need help, or know someone who does, please call Alberta’s Mental Health Helpline: 1-877-303-2642.
According to a source on the scene, there has been a suicide at the Alberta Legislature. The interruption has prompted the Legislature to be delayed, as the Legislature buildings are on lockdown.
“I hate to interrupt, however there is an issue that is important to the assembly,” said speaker Nathan Cooper said to the assembly after being notified by security. “I’d just like to take a five-minute recess. If both members of the assembly want to pop into their respective lounges, I’d be happy to provide an update in a moment.”
Members of the assembly left the chamber at 3:15 p.m, according to a source.
According to a source on the scene, a suicide took place on the steps of The Legislative Assembly of Alberta in Edmonton.
“Both buildings are in lockdown right now. Nobody can come in or out,” said the anonymous source on the scene.
This is a breaking news article and will be updated.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has launched a Title IX investigation against Georgetown University to formally determine if the school’s women-only programs violate Title IX. The OCR, however, has declined to look into the feminist professor whose tweet about Brett Kavanaugh triggered the investigation in the first place.
Title IX—a federal law that threatens to revoke funding for schools found guilty of discriminating “on the basis of sex”—was initially implemented in 1972 to fight for women’s equality in U.S. universities.
Over the past few years, advocates for boys and men have begun challenging the law’s precedents to fight for more resources for male college students. Since 56% of college students are now women, some are arguing that young men are neglected.
Kursat Pekgoz, 31, is one of the key activists who pioneered this approach. In early 2018, Pekgoz filed a federal complaint against the University of Southern California, alleging that USC’s female-only programs discriminate against men.
The complaint—initially dismissed by the San Francisco Office—was reinstated upon Pekgoz’s appeal to the U.S. federal government. This precedent inspired a wave of activism across the nation.
During the Brett Kavanaugh hearing in Sept. 2018, Georgetown Professor C. Christine Fair tweeted that white men who support Kavanaugh deserve “miserable deaths.” Because of this, Pekgoz later wrote the Title IX complaint against Georgetown.
“Look at all the entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement,” tweeted Fair. “All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine.”
Fair’s comments caught Pekgoz’s attention.
“She cannot be expected to teach her male students in a fair manner, and her presence creates a hostile environment against young male students,” Pekgoz wrote in his missive to OCR.
Georgetown has at least 18 programs that violate Title IX, he alleged.
“Georgetown has a very large number of female-only programs, even though women are the majority of students at Georgetown. Christine Fair’s comments supplied an additional incentive to write the complaint,” Pekgoz said by phone Friday.
According to an October 2019 letter, the OCR agreed to investigate numerous Georgetown programs and scholarships to determine if they truly do violate Title IX.
These include the school’s policy of affirmative action hiring for women, seven programs that exclude men, and numerous opportunities and scholarship programs that exclude men, according to the OCR.
But Pekgoz says the letter highlights the OCR’s “hypocrisy.”
Pekgoz notes that the OCR declined to investigate Georgetown’s Women’s Studies Department, based on the claim that Title IX does not allow the OCR to review curricula.
However, the OCR has previously interfered with curricular materials under Title IX before, Pekgoz says. The OCR is also “currently micromanaging” the curricular materials of Middle Eastern Studies under Title VI, a very similar law, Pekgoz argued.
The OCR also declined to investigate Professor Fair, whose tweets triggered the complaint.
“The letter does mention Professor Fair, even though she called for the mass-murder of white men and the desecration of their bodies. OCR’s bureaucrats would have reacted with swift retribution if Fair called for mass-violence against any other ethnic class such as Blacks, Muslims, or Jews” Pekgoz told The Post Millennial.
As I previously reported, Professor Fair also ran a Tumblr blog to doxx men who sent her hate mail. She made 11 full-on doxxing posts (which included full names, addresses, and phone numbers), and hundreds of other partial doxxing posts.
Tumblr de-platformed Fair soon after, citing a violation of the site’s community guidlines against terrorism and harassment. But after Georgetown gave her paid leave for a few months, Professor Fair has resumed teaching at the school.
While Pekgoz wrote the Title IX complaint itself, the National Coalition For Men (NCFM) took charge of filing the complaint against Georgetown University and answering follow-up questions from the OCR.
Harry Crouch, President of NCFM, said that he and his team are hopeful.
“It took a year almost to the day to get a response, but we are very excited that the OCR will investigate significant parts of our complaint. We are hopeful they will rule in our favour, and consequently, Georgetown will become much more male-friendly,” he said.
“We would like to thank Kursat Pekgoz for doing the initial research and draft of this complaint. … We are excited that OCR found sufficient substance to investigate many of our concerns,” he added.
Marc Angelucci—an attorney and NCFM board member—told TPM that the OCR is taking steps in the right direction.
“It’s about time the Department of Education finally looks at discrimination against men. Title IX is not gender-specific. It applies to men too. But the last administration didn’t seem to think so. All we want is fairness and justice,” Angelucci told TPM.
Now that some Georgetown programs are under investigation, it’ll likely take a few months to a year for the OCR to reach a verdict.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen.
The number of Ontario residents requiring food banks while employed has significantly increased over the last three years.
According to a new report by Feed Ontario, formerly the Ontario Association of Food Banks, there has been a 27 percent increase in the number of individuals with employment income accessing food banks over the last three years.
This includes one in every ten Ontarians who have insufficient income to afford a basic standard of living.
The 2019 Hunger Report reveals that more than five hundred thousand individuals accessed a food bank last year, visiting more than three million times. The report furthermore found a growing trend where the number of individuals with employment income still requiring food banks has increased.
“Over the last three years, Ontario’s food banks have seen a 27 percent increase in the number of adults with employment income accessing their services,” says Carolyn Stewart, Executive Director of Feed Ontario. “This tells us that, while these individuals are working in a full or part-time position, they have not been able to secure sufficient income to afford all of their basic necessities each month, like rent, heat, hydro, or food.”
Provincially, Feed Ontario is calling on the Ford government to make significant improvements to Ontario’s social assistance programs, including increases to social assistance rates, an inclusive definition of ‘disability’ under the Ontario Disability Support Program, and the development of a portable housing benefit.
“Feed Ontario believes that its vision of ending poverty and hunger is shared by all levels of government, and that there has never been a greater need for collective action than there is today,” says Stewart. “Through improvements to Ontario’s social assistance programs and government benefits, investments in affordable housing, and the development of quality employment opportunities for Ontarians, we believe that we can reduce poverty while building a future where no one goes hungry.”