It’s report card season. How should parents respond to their students grades? [Updated]

It’s report card season. Just how useful are report cards? How should parents respond to their students grades? What kind of questions can or should parents ask teachers about the assessment of their students’ performance? Should parents reward their students for good grades?

Sandra Mathison, an expert on evaluation and co-director of Institute for Critical Education Studies, offers advice on these and other issues in the UBC News Experts Spotlight.

Listen for Dr. Mathison’s comments on report cards today on Vancouver radio (News 1130 and CBC Vancouver’s On The Coast) and television (Global News BC1)

Listen to the podcast of Dr. Mathison’s comments on CBC’s On the Coast, with Stephen Quinn.

From The Province: Don’t overreact when it comes to school report cards: Expert

From Yahoo News: Don’t reward good report cards: UBC professor

From E-Valuation: Reporting Evaluation Results ~ The Case of School Report Cards

Symposium: Public Engagement and the Politics of Evidence in an Age of Neoliberalism and Audit Culture #highered #criticaled #caut #aaup

Public Engagement and the Politics of Evidence in an Age of Neoliberalism and Audit Culture

July 23-25, 2015

Faculty of Education, University of Regina

This symposium will examine accelerating trends in higher education: neoliberalism, the politics of evidence, and the audit culture. In an age in which value is often equated with accountancy, we will examine the place in the academy for public intellectualism, community-engagement, Indigenous epistemologies, and how the impact of our scholarship is, and ought to be, justly assessed. Invited presenters will provoke lively discussion, but going beyond discussion, and blurring the lines between presenter and audience member, participants will be invited to engage actively with other presenter/participants in attendance for the purpose of effecting changes at their home institutions. Opportunities will be available for reconsidering and strategizing academic issues such as faculty criteria documents, measurement rankings, traditional impact factors, and other academic matters affected by the politics of austerity, neoliberalism, and new management technologies. Action will also be encouraged through submissions to a special issue of in education (the University of Regina Faculty of Education’s journal), potentially collaborating on an edited book, TED-style dissemination videos, producing a list of recommendations, developing examples of inclusive faculty criteria documents, possibly developing a community impact factor as an alternative to journal impact factor metrics, and further actions as collectively discussed at the symposium.

Questions to be explored include:

  • What counts as scholarship and why?
  • How do we achieve accountability in an age of accountancy?
  • How do we measure research impact, (i.e., journal impact factor vs community and policy impact)?
  • Impact for whom?
  • Who and how do we determine whose evidence and what research is legitimate?
  • What can be done? How do we effect change to university practices?

CFP: Marx, Engels and the Critique of Academic Labor #ices #criticaltheory #criticalpedagogy #frankfurtschool

Call for Papers
Marx, Engels and the Critique of Academic Labor

Special Issue of Workplace
Guest Editors: Karen Gregory & Joss Winn

Articles in Workplace have repeatedly called for increased collective organisation in opposition to a disturbing trajectory: individual autonomy is decreasing, contractual conditions are worsening, individual mental health issues are rising, and academic work is being intensified. Despite our theoretical advances and concerted practical efforts to resist these conditions, the gains of the 20th century labor movement are diminishing and the history of the university appears to be on a determinate course. To date, this course is often spoken of in the language of “crisis.”

While crisis may indeed point us toward the contemporary social experience of work and study within the university, we suggest that there is one response to the transformation of the university that has yet to be adequately explored: A thoroughgoing and reflexive critique of academic labor and its ensuing forms of value. By this, we mean a negative critique of academic labor and its role in the political economy of capitalism; one which focuses on understanding the basic character of ‘labor’ in capitalism as a historically specific social form. Beyond the framework of crisis, what productive, definite social relations are actively resituating the university and its labor within the demands, proliferations, and contradictions of capital?

We aim to produce a negative critique of academic labor that not only makes transparent these social relations, but repositions academic labor within a new conversation of possibility.

We are calling for papers that acknowledge the foundational work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for labor theory and engage closely and critically with the critique of political economy. Marx regarded his discovery of the dual character of labor in capitalism (i.e. concrete and abstract) as one of his most important achievements and “the pivot on which a clear comprehension of political economy turns.” With this in mind, we seek contributions that employ Marx’s and Engels’ critical categories of labor, value, the commodity, capital, etc. in reflexive ways which illuminate the role and character of academic labor today and how its existing form might be, according to Marx, abolished, transcended and overcome (aufheben).

Contributions:

  1. A variety of forms and approaches, demonstrating a close engagement with Marx’s theory and method: Theoretical critiques, case studies, historical analyses, (auto-)ethnographies, essays, and narratives are all welcome. Contributors from all academic disciplines are encouraged.
  2. Any reasonable length will be considered. Where appropriate they should adopt a consistent style (e.g. Chicago, Harvard, MLA, APA).
  3. Will be Refereed.
  4. Contributions and questions should be sent to:

Joss Winn (jwinn@lincoln.ac.uk) and Karen Gregory (kgregory@ccny.cuny.edu)

Learn more about the new UBC MEd in Critical Pedagogy & Education Activism

Next information session:
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
BC Teachers’ Federation
4:00 – 5:30pm
100 – 550 West 6th Ave.
Vancouver

Application deadline: January 23, 2015
Program begins: July 2015
CPEA PosterDownload poster PDF
More Information: pdce.educ.ubc.ca/CPEA

Philae lands on comet #esarosetta #notimpressed #yathink #whadayathink

Yathink if we can land a probe on a comet we can end child poverty in the world?

Electric-Rock (06)

Yep, they finally put a machine on a rock. A moving rock. In space. Hurtling through space at 34,000 miles per hour. A machine on a rock 317 million miles away. How could you miss? The rock is 2.5 miles wide.

Research stories: A graduate forum #hwl #yreUBC #UBC #bced

RESEARCH STORIES: A GRADUATE FORUM

 How We Learn Media and Technology (across the lifespan)
Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
University of British Columbia

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
10:00-11:30     Scarfe 1209
Year of Research in Education event

GIRLS DESIGNING GAMES, MEDIA, ROBOTS, SELVES, AND CULTURE
Paula (PJ) MacDowell
University of British Columbia

This research involved 30 co-researchers, girls aged 10–13, who were recruited into 101 Technology Fun, a series of intensive research camps offering learning labs in game design, video production, and robotics. Utilizing design-based and participatory techniques, including artifact production, mindscripting, and storymaking, this research examines how girls, through their artifact making and designerly practices, story themselves and express their understandings of technology. Highlighting the importance for girls’ voices to be recognized and given influence in research concerning their lives and learning circumstances, findings focus on the catalytic or generative artifacts and “little stories” that reveal how a team of girls analyze their experiences of girlhood-in-interaction-with technology.

MIGRANT MEXICAN YOUTH IN THE PACIFIC NORTWEST
Mike D. Boyer
Boise State University

 What are the stories of migrant, undocumented Mexican youth, as they struggle with language and acculturation in the English-speaking rural Northwest? As Michael Boyer describes, his own study of a set of such stories takes as its starting point narratives written and illustrated by students in his grade 7-12 ESL classroom some 10 years ago. Of course, these stories subsequently diverge as they continue to the present, and as these former students, now adults, connect back to their earlier experiences and reflect on the relation of these experiences to the present. The collection and investigation of these stories, new and old, and their relationship to past realities and future possibilities offers startling insights into the experiences of those othered and marginalized as “immigrant Hispanic children” in America. At the same time, it also entails the creative combination or a range of narratological, political and cultural categories and modes of analysis.

DESIGNING THINGS, PRACTICES AND CONCERN FOR THE GOOD LIFE
Yu-Ling Lee
University of British Columbia

 This research examines the complex relationship between design, the sacred and online learning, framed by matters of concern. It is the culmination of a yearlong ethnographic research project in the lives of Christian undergraduate students in Vancouver. Focal concerns in the form of things and practices have disclosive power if they are designed for the good life. The task of the designer, then, is to purposefully move away from matters of fact towards matters of concern. The interviews were open-ended and based on a loosely structured set of questions about faith background, Internet usage, online spiritual experiences, and other factors. Conversations and participant observations were then analyzed as matters of concern.

#Workplace preprints available #criticaled #highered #ices

Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
Preprints Available

CFP for iPopU #edstudies #occupyed #criticaled #ices #ipopu

CFP: iPopU

Topdown 100 Innorenovations 
Special Issue of Workplace (iPopU2015

iPopU is cataloguing its mold-breaking outside-the-box ‘you won’t find these on the shelf of brick and mortar’ innorenovations. So this is a chance for U to contribute to the iPopU Topdown 100 countdown. See the Innovation in Evaluation nomination for No. 11 in iPopU’s Topdown 100.

Contributions to the iPopU Topdown 100 for Workplace should be about 500-1,500 words in length and yield to iPopU style. Submit all iPopU Topdown 100 innorenovations via the Workplace OJS.

#iPopU innovation in evaluation #occupyed #edstudies #criticaled

iPopU
Innovation in Evaluation

Mayor of iPopU
Edutainum Infinitum

Facebook-thumbs-up

Let’s face it: Evaluation is silly. Reviews of programs and units in universities in this day and age are even sillier. Units put the Unit in Unitversity, so what’s to review? No one really believes the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education when they boast in the naval-gazing Self-Study Guide that “undertaking a self-study is a major enterprise” or “self-study cannot be done well under rushed conditions.” Says who? These academic proverbs sell booklets with a wink wink and a chuckle.

That is the gist of the administrative genius of a major innovation in evaluation at iPopU. We drilled down to what is the core of the Review process and then inventoried trends to find that the Rating widget solves every problem of evaluation.

There are three types of evaluations, Conformative, Normative, and Summative, or what I’m told is better known in the field nowadays as Corporative, and the Rating widget solves all three at once. Yes, I hear you nodding, quite the little workhorse that Rating widget!

Yet, it took iPopU to repurpose it to the depth work of admin.

When we announced that it was time for Reviews, the yawning started and then came the dragging of the heels, for years. Check, we hear you when you say evaluations never change anything. Check, we hear you when you say you have better things to do. Check, we hear you when you say self-studies can be completed by a grad student or staff member with a Fillitin app on their phones. Check, we hear you when you say accreditation is a carry-over make-work relic of the medieval scholiastics. Check, we see you when you ask there must be a better way.

In one School, we have fourteen senior administrators who are already bumping into each other. Assigning a few to oversee a Review just adds to this. Remember, a bustling administrative office is like hot air when heated with a fan, electrons expand and collide with each other. In the old days, we dragged out Reviews for years, from one to the next, thinking that the best review was the prolonged review. We had two Associate Deans of the Office of Review. When we reviewed our 65 programs some time ago, comic relief faculty lovingly referred to this as a three-ring circus and then posted it on iPopUtube as a keystone cops episode. So we made admin offices bigger to avoid that. But, I listen to you wondering, are these admins underworked? I answer to that, better to have many than few. Am I right?

So iPopU introvated and in 2013 did all Reviews with the Rating widget.

Read More: iPopU: Innovation in Evaluation

New #UBC Grad Program in Critical Pedagogy & Education Activism #bctf #bced #bcpoli #yreubc #occupyed

NEW MASTERS PROGRAM IN THE INSTITUTE FOR CRITICAL EDUCATION STUDIES
CRITICAL PEDAGOGY AND EDUCATION ACTIVISM
BEGINS JULY 2015

APPLY NOW!

The new UBC Masters Program in Critical Pedagogy and Education Activism (Curriculum Studies) has the goal of bringing about positive change in schools and education. This cohort addresses issues such as environmentalism, equity and social justice, and private versus public education funding debates and facilitates activism across curriculum and evaluation within the schools and critical analysis and activism in communities and the media. The cohort is organized around three core themes: solidarity, engagement, and critical analysis and research.

BCTFRallySignJune2014

The new UBC M.Ed. in Critical Pedagogy and Education Activism (Curriculum Studies) is a cohort program in which participants attend courses together in a central location. It supports participation in face-to-face, hybrid (blended), and online activism and learning.

A Perfect Opportunity

  • Earn your Master’s degree in 2 years (part-time)
  • Enjoy the benefits of collaborative study and coalition building
  • Channel your activism inside and outside school (K-12)
  • Sharpen your knowledge of critical practices and skill with media and technology

Petrina and Ross on the #BCTF and @BCLiberals #ubc #yreubc #criticaled #bced

FALL RESEARCH CONVERSATION in EDCP

Discussants: Stephen Petrina and Wayne Ross
Scarfe 310
November 4, 2014
12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Light lunch and gathering Noon to 12:30 pm
Year of Research in Education event

This research conversation will focus on
The Legacy of the B. C. Teachers – Government Impasse

Two questions for discussion might well be:

  • What fundamental problems remain after a “settlement” has been reached? Should these problems affect the curriculum and pedagogy of courses in the UBC Teacher Education program?
  • To this department conversation we encourage faculty to bring with them one or two of their degree candidates, those having written comprehensive exams or in the process of so doing.

Hosted by Wm. Doll and Donna Trueit

Tobey Steeves on #BCTF and #BCed v @BCLiberals shock doctrine #Bcpoli #criticaled

BRITISH COLUMBIA OBSTRUCTS THE SHOCK DOCTRINE: STRUGGLE, SOLIDARITY, AND POPULAR RESISTANCE

Tobey Steeves, October 26, 2014, Workplace– The 2014/2015 school year had a rocky start in British Columbia, Canada, where teachers and the ruling government have been locked in a contest over the future of public education in the province. Teachers finished the 2013/2014 school year locked out and on strike, and neither the teachers nor the government appeared willing to concede defeat. This clash between public and private values offers meaningful lessons for friends of public education.

The struggle over maintaining public services is not unique to British Columbia (BC), of course, and Naomi Klein’s (2007) notion of shock doctrines provides a lens for understanding how and why public services around the world have been attacked and subverted via [manufactured] ‘crises’. In The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Klein argues that shocks and disasters can disrupt societies’ “ruling narratives” and can – if given half a chance – be turned into opportunities for profit-grabbing and corporate re-structuring. Klein provides numerous examples from around the world to show that shock doctrines have been managed and cultivated in order to create “orchestrated raids on the public sphere” (p. 26). Klein’s analysis can be extended to BC, where the provincial government has nurtured the spread of privatized education – at the expense of public schools.

I have previously argued that the shock doctrine is alive and well in BC, and involves a broad attack on teachers and the “tacit re-imagining of public education as a vehicle for private profit as well as the intentional re-direction of public resources to redistribute the burden of risk, access, and service to favour private profits over public need” (Steeves, 2014, p. 10). This includes preferential resourcing for private schools in BC, a push to direct public resources away from the provision of learning opportunities and toward a concern with extracting profit, and the systematic commodification of BC’s curriculum. To update and supplement this analysis, I would like to: (i) elaborate on the contexts that compelled BC’s teachers into rejecting shock therapy and to mount a full-scale strike, (ii) outline some of the impediments to (re)solving the bargaining impasse between teachers and the provincial government, (iii) describe key features of the collective agreement that bridged the impasse between teachers and the provincial government, and (iv) highlight some of the tactics that were used to challenge shock therapy and to cultivate shock resistance in BC

Download: BRITISH COLUMBIA OBSTRUCTS THE SHOCK DOCTRINE

Read More: Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

Gomez & Murillo on Teacher Education: Demands from the Boundaries #criticaled #highered #ubc

Teacher Education: Demands from the Boundaries

Héctor Gómez Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez (Santiago, Chile)

Fernando Murillo Universidad Alberto Hurtado and Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez (Santiago, Chile) UBC PhD Student

Tuesday October 14, 2015 Noon – 1:00pm UBC Scarfe 1209

[See link to presentation slides below]

Gómez and Murillo will discuss their new book Formacion docente: demandas desde la frontera [Teacher Education: Demands from the Boundaries], a collection of essays that gives voice to perspectives and approaches frequently absent from traditional practices, but are fundamental to the transformative possibilities of teacher education.

The essays are situated within a postcolonial perspective in dialogue with queer theory, inviting a rethinking of current discursive practices around the curriculum of teacher education, asking – among other things – Where do these discourses and practices come from? What gives them legitimacy?, What effects do they have? as a way to problematize the ways in which the curriculum of teacher education is responsible of signifying, appropriating and reproducing identitarian configurations, as well as problematize ways of thinking that discipline and configure certain modalities of life projects through their formative action.

About the speakers

b7f9c854db0e8f7594606c6ffebce8d9Héctor Gómez: Bachelor in Education – Teacher of History and Social Sciences, Master of Arts in Education and Curriculum. Professor and researcher at the Faculty of Education of Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez. Head of the Curriculum Unit at Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez in Santiago, Chile.

s200_fernando.murilloFernando Murillo: Bachelor in Education – Teacher of English as a Foreign Language, Master of Arts in Education and Curriculum, UBC PhD student. Former curriculum advisor and policy maker for the Ministry of Interior, Government of Chile. Professor and curriculum advisor at Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, Universidad Alberto Hurtado and Universidad Católica Silva Henríquez in Santiago, Chile.

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Gomez & Murillo PPTTeacher Ed Demands from the  Boundaries

Malala Yousafzai #Nobel Peace Prize co-winner #youth

Malala w UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Malala w UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (Photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

CBC, October 10, 2014– Children’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan says she is honoured to share this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with India’s Kailash Satyarthi, whose work also involves protecting the interests of young people.

“I’m proud that I’m the first Pakistani and first the young woman, or the first young person, who is getting this award,” Yousafzai, 17, told journalists in Birmingham, England, where she now lives after Norwegian Nobel Committee chair Thorbjørn Jagland announced the honour in Oslo.

She was at school when the announcement was made Friday. Yousafzai is the youngest winner of a Nobel Prize. The previous youngest laureate was British scientist William Lawrence Bragg, who won for physics in 1915 at age 25.

As for the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Yousafzai eclipses Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman, who won in 2011 at 32.

Yousafzai and Satyarthi are being honoured for “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education,” the committee said.

The committee said it “regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.”

Read More: CBC

BC Liberals neglecting child poverty, Aboriginal children, youth mental health #bced #bcpoli

Representative for Children and Youth, News Release, October 9, 2014– The provincial government must step up its commitment to helping British Columbia’s most vulnerable children and youth by following through on recommendations, Representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said today as she released her Office’s latest report.

Not Fully Invested: A Follow-up Report on the Representative’s Past Recommendations to Help Vulnerable Children in B.C. shows that while 72 per cent of the Office’s recommendations between 2008 and 2013 have been acted upon, a number of the most important ones have been ignored. Those unfulfilled include key recommendations made by the Representative to the B.C. government as a whole to improve the lives of Aboriginal children, those living in situations of poverty and domestic violence and those in need of mental health services.

“It’s very disappointing, because these recommendations are the ones that require the greatest leadership and commitment from the provincial government and they have been largely ignored,” Turpel-Lafond said. “Considering that the well-being of our most vulnerable children and youth is at stake, I expect more from government and I think most British Columbians do as well.”

The Representative’s Office, an independent expert oversight body, made a total of 148 recommendations during the course of releasing 22 reports between 2008 and 2013. This report, the first to track progress made toward fulfilling cumulative recommendations made by the Office, shows that 72 per cent of the total recommendations have been substantially or fully implemented. Generally, recommendations made to public bodies – predominantly to the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) – to address policy, standards, procedures and compliance, have been implemented.

However, of the nine recommendations made to the B.C. government as a whole – the ones requiring the greatest cross-ministry involvement and organization – seven have been largely disregarded. Among these is a call for a provincial strategy and action plan to address child poverty, a call to establish a Minister of State for Mental Health to provide the necessary leadership and accountability on this file, a call for a strong and well-resourced provincial domestic violence plan and the establishment of domestic violence courts in B.C., and a call for a viable strategy to ensure that Aboriginal children and families receive equal supports and services to their non-Aboriginal counterparts.

Many of the Representative’s recommendations have focused on strengthening quality assurance and outcomes reporting by MCFD. However, this report also finds that MCFD’s ability to measure its own performance and publicly report on whether it is achieving results has remained inconsistent and inadequate – yet another sign of a gap in government leadership in this area.

The Representative notes that during the time period these recommendations were made, MCFD’s annual budget was reduced by $100 million in real dollars when inflation is taken into account. Sufficient investment in children and families is important in both a financial and a leadership sense.

“We do not make these recommendations lightly. Each of our reports requires months and sometimes years of research, file reviews, data analysis, interviews with workers in the field and interviews with family members and young people,” Turpel-Lafond said. “While the government is not compelled by legislation to follow our recommendations, to do so shows commitment and makes good sense.

“It is clear that the Province does not yet have a plan that focuses on children across government, nor any comprehensive, focused and accountable approach to ensure that the next generation will be able to reach their full potential. Considering what is at stake, government can and should do better.”

Download Not Fully Invested: A Follow-up Report on the Representative’s Past Recommendations to Help Vulnerable Children in B.C.

Talks called off, #HongKongStudents moving strikes to secondary school #scholarism

AL-hk-0910ePhoto: Reuters

 Straits Times, Hong Kong Reuters, October 9, 2014– The Hong Kong government on Thursday called off talks with pro-democracy student leaders after they threatened an expansion of protests, dealing a blow to attempts to ease tensions that have seen tens of thousands take to the streets to demand free elections and for leader Leung Chun Ying to resign.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, the city’s No 2 government official, was speaking on the eve of planned talks with student leaders after protests paralysed the city.

“Students’ call for an expansion of an uncooperative movement has shaken the trust of the basis of our talks and it will be impossible to have a constructive dialogue,” Ms Lam said.

Hong Kong’s Justice Department handed the investigation of a US$6.4 million (S$8 million) business payout to Mr Leung to prosecutors on Thursday as political fallout grows from the mass protests in the Chinese-controlled city.

The latest development on Thursday came after student protesters said they would not retreat from their barricades and threatened more secondary school strikes if the government does not meet their demands for democracy, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

“Without a just explanation and concrete ideas of how to settle the current dispute, Hong Kong people will not retreat. And there’s no reason for anyone to ask us to retreat. Therefore the Occupy movement must be ongoing,” said Mr Alex Chow, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Students.

He warned that the protests will continue until the government has responded to their demands and provides substantial solutions to ease political tensions, according to the SCMP.

Joshua Wong, convenor of student activist group Scholarism, threatened a new wave of class boycott in secondary schools if the government fails to meet their core demands, including the retraction of Beijing’s restrictive framework on universal suffrage and the resignation of Mr Leung.

Read more: Straits Times

 

Gen ’97 the youth of #HongKongStudents #scholarism

hong-kong-democracy-protest

Yoichi Shimatsu, New American Media, October 3, 2014– Hong Kong – On both sides of the barricades blocking this city’s streets, media pundits from New York and Beijing assert that the protests in Hong Kong arise from demands for greater autonomy. Completely unnoticed is a major demographic shift in the region’s population, which is redefining the issues that motivate the younger generation to shut down this global financial center.

The leadership and activist numbers are coming from Generation ’97, young people born during the 1997 handover of the then-British Crown colony to Chinese sovereignty. These youngsters, most still in the secondary level (high school), are finding themselves at the forefront of a populist struggle for electoral rights. They are motivated by anxieties about local identity and a consequent need for better representation, reflecting attitudes that differ subtly but significantly from the traditional opposition parties.

Leadership of the democracy movement was suddenly thrust onto this youth cohort before the protests, when a corruption scandal broke involving the controversial publisher of the Apple Daily press paying illegal contributions to politicians in the opposition parties. The Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation turned up examples of pocketing of unreported donations for personal gain. This corruption further taints the image of a pan-democratic alliance that was already divided by rivalries and unexplained dropouts prior to the street protests.

Underlying the youth movement’s strategy of civil disobedience is a deepening distrust of their pre-1997 elders in both camps, who operate in a political culture of “deal-making” and an elitist obsession with property and wealth, regardless of political affiliation. What the young radicals confronting tear gas and riot police reject is the selling out of Hong Kong’s unique way of life to the highest bidder, whether wealthy businessmen from China or globalist financial corporations.

In contrast with the figureheads of the opposition parties, these youth are not aligned with Britain or the United States, but are battling instead for their own Hong Kong as the last bastion of Cantonese culture. For that goal, the ever-increasing ranks of post-1997 youth realize the vital importance of equal voting rights to chose leaders who will represent the people of Hong Kong, especially the poor and disadvantaged, and not just its wealthy elite.

A manga antihero

The most charismatic figure to emerge from the youth movement is Joshua Wong, one of four student leaders of Scholarism, a political front of high school students and college freshmen. The Gen ’97 teen activists with Scholarism are the driving force behind the street protests, overshadowing the Occupy Central organizers and their seniors in the Federation of Hong Kong University Students.

These secondary schoolchildren are prepared to cast away university admission and promising careers — unimaginable sacrifices in this upwardly mobile society that cherishes education above all — in their commitment to political rights. By making the unthinkable break with traditional values in a conformist urban society, the rebellious youth have shocked anxious parents, unionized workers and the lower middle class of this Cantonese-speaking city into worried support with food donations, cash, praise and admiration. The example of teenagers holding out against tear gas has convinced many formerly passive residents to take a stand on the streets.

Joshua, 17, shows a precocious understanding of the complexities of Hong Kong politics, and yet remains adamant in remaining an outsider to the establishment. His strong commitment to street agitation is not based on an alpha male image from kung fu movies. To the contrary, the slim teenager is modest and soft spoken, while succinct in explaining his viewpoints. A Bruce Lee-style bowl cut touches his wide-set almond eyes, which are exactly like those of maverick antiheroes in Japanese comics known as manga. This lad is clearly the role model for young people across East Asia, who are disaffected by traditional career paths, choose a variety of lifestyles and are tuned in to social media.

“I admit it’s annoying to hear nothing but Mandarin in the metro instead of Cantonese,” he says, “but I am not a right-winger who makes comments against visiting mainlanders.” His statement should come as a surprise to the National People’s Congress in Beijing, whose worst nightmare is the electoral victory of an anti-China secessionist figure. Out of these gut-level fears, the NPC voted unanimously to require all nominees to gain its approval before the 2017 election of a new Chief Executive, the highest position in Hong Kong.

In contrast to the leaders of the opposition parties, or Hong Kongers who emigrated to Canada or Britain before 1997, Scholarism members simply do not have any personal memory of UK rule, and therefore hold no attachment to the British lifestyle that the last royal governor Chris Patton mistakenly referred to as “the Hong Kong way of life.” Gen ’97 accepts the “one country, two systems” formula as a fact of life. It is the only political order they have ever known.

“The relationship between Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China cannot be amended at this late stage,” Joshua explains. “There is no other road than ‘one country, two systems’.” By the same token, he adds, “Under that formula, our first priority is equality for all residents, and this means greater equality in the electoral system. We cannot let our common future be determined by a 1,200-member election committee instead of by the 7 million people of Hong Kong.”

Read More: Truthout

If you have a job, thank a #bced teacher #bctf #bcpoli

BCEDRally

If you have a job, if you want a job, thank a teacher. And those of us who work in British Columbia truly are indebted to the teachers. Not in some academic way; rather, we are indebted for the BC teachers’ / BCTF’s stand for workers’ rights, for fair bargaining rights, for the right to call into question the failures of employers and governments.

If you don’t have a job, and more and more do not, thank the government and your local elected economist. The economy continues to fail and labour discontent is increasing for good reasons.

This particular teachers’ strike is over but more labour unrest is on the horizon in BC. Who’s next?

Nurses, doctors, postsecondary educators and workers at major Crown corporations including B.C. Hydro and the Insurance Corp. of B.C. are some of the public-sector workers who have not yet accepted the government’s standard offer of 5.5-per-cent wage increases over five years.

The public sector contracts that are still up in the air represent half of the workers, but they include some of the most expensive contracts, accounting for two-thirds of the government’s $21-billion wage bill this year.

That creates significant uncertainty for a B.C. budget that remains balanced on a razor’s edge…

Contract Status of BCPSECRead More: Justine Hunter, Globe & Mail

Tentative contract for #BCed teachers #bctf #bcpoli

CBC, September 16, 2014– A tentative deal has been reached in the months-long B.C. public school teachers’ strike, but the final details still have to be worked out, mediator Vince Ready confirmed this morning.

 The breakthrough in negotiations between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association comes on the fourth day of marathon talks at a Richmond, B.C., hotel.

  • No details about the deal will be released before it is finalized, said Ready, who emerged from the hotel to confirm the tentative deal shortly after 4 a.m. PT.

The BCTF first tweeted that a tentative deal had been reached around 3:50 a.m. A few minutes later, Ready told reporters both sides would be meeting again later Tuesday to finalize the details.

Read More: CBC

#BCed teachers vote 99.4% to binding arbitration #ubc #bcpoli

FINALvote-result

“It’s time Government makes at least one move,” BCTF President Jim Iker pleaded as he announced that an overwhelming 99.4% of teachers voted “Yes to binding arbitration” today to end the strike.

The BC Government remains entrenched, with the Minister of Finance Mike de Jong flippantly commenting on the CBC this morning that “the only people bound in binding arbitration are the tax payers.” Ah, the dreaded bogey of the tax hike…

Like de Jong, the BC Minister of Education Peter Fassbender has been faced squarely looking into the past. Or most would say stuck in the past. Again, nearly every blog has to end this way: As NDP Leader John Horgan put it at the BC Fed-BCTF Rally on Friday: “Mr. Fassbender I say you failed at negotiation, you don’t understand mediation, you couldn’t spell arbitration, so how about resignation?”