Tag Archives: Students

Sandra Mathison explains how #VSB39 firing by #BCED Minister is political and partisan #bcpoli #UBCeduc ##UBCBEd2017 #ubc

Sandra Mathison, The Globe and Mail, October 19, 2016–  Education Minister Mike Bernier fired the Vancouver School Board on Monday morning, a shocking move illustrating how very differently the public and the politicians see the role of school boards. On the one hand the public sees school boards as advocates for their community and their schools. On the other hand the government sees school boards as technocrats appropriately constrained by the B.C. School Act to manage school districts.

Citizens go to the polls in an election year and vote for school trustees who will manage the school district, but voters also expect advocacy for the district, schools and children. The public does not see itself as simply electing bureaucrats; they elect champions. Greater parental involvement in schools was established in the 1970s and 80s with the creation of parent advisory committees giving members of the public every reason to believe their voices matter. With control vested in the politicians and educational bureaucracy of the moment, school trustee advocacy for well-funded, appropriate education is framed in relation to the current provincial party (the B.C. Liberals) and educational leadership (Minister of Education Bernier).

As shocking as firing the Vancouver School Board is, the provincial government’s action reflects a historical pattern of centralized education governance that has become ever more acute. By law, school boards are subordinate to the provincial government and charged with managing the budget and implementing the curriculum and standards set by the ministry. This change is not recent and began as early as the 1970s although escalated dramatically with Socred changes to school governance in the 1980s.

Firing school boards is draconian but it has happened before in British Columbia. In 1985, the Socreds fired both the Vancouver and Cowichan trustees for submitting needs-based budgets rather than complying with government-set spending limits. Provincial governments have made other changes to school boards that have outraged the electorate, such as the NDP’s 1995 plan to centralize schools and reduce the number of school boards from 75 to 37 (a plan only partly implemented and a reduction in the number of school districts to the current 60).

Even though firing a school board in B.C. is legal within a centralized education system, it is unmistakably a political act. The BC Liberals have been in an antagonistic relationship with local education authorities and other education constituencies such as the BC Teachers’ Federation for years. Firing the VSB trustees is a political move, but it is also a bureaucratic move that fosters the centralization of educational decision-making. It is easy to see this as merely a partisan move, rather than one that is both political and partisan.

Mr. Bernier accused the VSB trustees of spending too much time on advocacy and too little time on following the rules. Many Vancouver parents accuse the B.C. Liberals of flouting democracy for political ends.

This dramatic situation in Vancouver raises the question: Are school boards necessary? The answer has to be yes.

Read More: The Globe and Mail

Vancouver’s polar opposites in funding K-12 v University #ubc #vsb39 #ubceduc #bced

UBC's Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre

UBC’s Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre

Stephen Petrina & E. Wayne Ross, Vancouver Observer, October 7, 2016– Vancouver, the city of disparities, is faced with polar opposites in its educational system.

The contrast between K-12 schools and the university in Vancouver could not be more stark: The schools sinking in debt with rapidly declining enrolments and empty seats versus the university swimming in cash and bloating quotas to force excessive enrolments beyond capacity.

With central offices just 7km or 12 minutes apart, the two operate as if in different hemispheres or eras: the schools laying off teachers and planning to close buildings versus the university given a quota for preparing about 650 teachers for a glutted market with few to no jobs on the remote horizon in the largest city of the province.

There is a gateway from grade 12 in high school to grade 13 in the university but from a finance perspective there appears an unbreachable wall between village and castle.

Pundits and researchers are nonetheless mistaken in believing that the Vancouver schools’ current $22m shortfall is disconnected from the university’s $36m real estate windfall this past year.

The schools are begging for funds from the Liberals, who, after saying no to K-12, turn around to say yes to grades 13-24 and pour money into the University of British Columbia, no questions asked.

There may be two ministries in government, Education and Advanced Education; there is but one tax-funded bank account.

Read More: Vancouver Observer

#Marx, Engels and the Critique of Academic Labor: New issue of Workplace #ubcnews #UBCeduc #criticaleducation

Marx, Engels and the Critique of Academic Labor

Special Issue of Workplace
Edited by
Karen Lynn Gregory & Joss Winn

Articles in Workplace have repeatedly called for increased collective organisation in opposition to a disturbing trajectory in the contemporary 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. 

Table of Contents

  • Marx, Engels and the Critique of Academic Labor
    Karen Lynn Gregory, Joss Winn
  • Towards an Orthodox Marxian Reading of Subsumption(s) of Academic Labour under Capital
    Krystian Szadkowski
  • Re-engineering Higher Education: The Subsumption of Academic Labour and the Exploitation of Anxiety
    Richard Hall, Kate Bowles
  • Taxi Professors: Academic Labour in Chile, a Critical-Practical Response to the Politics of Worker Identity
    Elisabeth Simbürger, Mike Neary
  • Marxism and Open Access in the Humanities: Turning Academic Labor against Itself
    David Golumbia
  • Labour in the Academic Borderlands: Unveiling the Tyranny of Neoliberal Policies
    Antonia Darder, Tom G. Griffiths
  • Jobless Higher Ed: Revisited, An Interview with Stanley Aronowitz
    Stanley Aronowitz, Karen Lynn Gregory

Special issue: Educate. Agitate. Organize: New and Not-So-New Teacher Movements #highered #bced #criticaled

We are thrilled to launch this Special Issue of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labour:

Educate. Agitate. Organize: New and Not-So-New Teacher Movements

Special Issue of Workplace
Edited by
Mark Stern, Amy E. Brown & Khuram Hussain

Table of Contents

  • Forward: The Systemic Cycle of Brokenness
    • Tamara Anderson
  • Introduction to the Special Issue: Educate. Agitate. Organize: New and Not-So-New Teacher Movements
    • Mark Stern, Amy E. Brown, Khuram Hussain
  • Articles
  • Principles to Practice: Philadelphia Educators Putting Social Movement Unionism into Action
    • Rhiannon M Maton
  • Teaching amidst Precarity: Philadelphia’s Teachers, Neighborhood Schools and the Public Education Crisis
    • Julia Ann McWilliams
  • Inquiry, Policy, and Teacher Communities: Counter Mandates and Teacher Resistance in an Urban School District
    • Katherine Crawford-Garrett, Kathleen Riley
  • More than a Score: Neoliberalism, Testing & Teacher Evaluations
    • Megan E Behrent
  • Resistance to Indiana’s Neoliberal Education Policies: How Glenda Ritz Won
    • Jose Ivan Martinez, Jeffery L. Cantrell, Jayne Beilke
  • “We Need to Grab Power Where We Can”: Teacher Activists’ Responses to Policies of Privatization and the Assault on Teachers in Chicago
    • Sophia Rodriguez
  • The Paradoxes, Perils, and Possibilities of Teacher Resistance in a Right-to-Work State
    • Christina Convertino
  • Place-Based Education in Detroit: A Critical History of The James & Grace Lee Boggs School
    • Christina Van Houten
  • Voices from the Ground
  • Feeling Like a Movement: Visual Cultures of Educational Resistance
    • Erica R. Meiners, Therese Quinn
  • Construir Y No Destruir (Build and Do Not Destroy): Tucson Resisting
    • Anita Fernández
  • Existential Philosophy as Attitude and Pedagogy for Self and Student Liberation
    • Sheryl Joy Lieb
  • Epilogue
  • No Sermons in Stone (Bernstein) + Left Behind (Austinxc04)
    • Richard Bernstein, Austinxc04

Thanks for the continued interest in and support of our journals, Critical Education and Workplace, and our ICES and Workplace blogs. And please keep the manuscripts and ideas rolling in!

Sandra Mathison, Stephen Petrina & E. Wayne Ross, co-Directors
Institute for Critical Education Studies

E. Wayne Ross on The Courage of Hopelessness: Democratic Education in the Age of Empire #ubc100 #highered #bced


E. Wayne Ross
University of British Columbia
Friday, January 15th, 2016  12:30-2:00 p.m.
Scarfe Room 310

In this talk I argue there is a disconnect between the rhetoric and reality of democracy in North America that subverts traditional approaches to democratic education. The tropes that have historically dominated the discourse on democracy and democratic education now amount to selling students (and ourselves) a lie about history and contemporary life. Our challenge is to re-imagine our roles as educators and find ways to create opportunities for students to create meaningful personal understandings of the world. Education is not about showing life to people, but bringing them to life. The aim is not getting students to listen to convincing lectures by experts, but getting them to speak for themselves in order to achieve, or at least strive for an equal degree of participation and a more democratic, equitable, and justice future. This requires a new mindset, something I call dangerous citizenship.

Short Bio:
E. Wayne Ross is Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at UBC. He has written and edited numerous books including: Critical Theories, Radical Pedagogies and Social Education (Sense, 2010); The Social Studies Curriculum: Purposes, Problems and Possibilities (4th Ed., SUNY Press, 2014) and Working for Social Justice Inside and Outside the Classroom (Peter Lang, 2016). He also edits the journals Critical Education, Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, and Cultural Logic.

1 in 5 BC children live in poverty #bced #bcpoli

Early Edition, CBC News, November 24, 2015–A B.C. children’s advocacy group says the provincial government is failing the province’s youngest and poorest residents, with one of every five children living in poverty.

In a report published Tuesday, the First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition makes 21 recommendations to help reduce the child poverty rate to seven per cent or less by 2020 — including raising the minimum wage and welfare rates and adopting a $10-per-day childcare plan.

“It’s neglect to allow thousands of children to languish in poverty in this province when we know what would help and what will help,” said Adrienne Montani, provincial coordinator for First Call.

Vulnerable groups

Poverty for children is especially dire in urban regions, with half of all B.C. youngsters in poverty living in Metro Vancouver, according to First Call’s report. However, children in rural regions are in trouble too. The report says more than one in two children on B.C.’s Central Coast live in poverty.

Single-parent families are also at a much greater risk of poverty, with 50.3 per cent of children from those families living in poverty, while only 13 per cent of children from two-parent families live in poverty, the report says.

Little improvement

The percentage of B.C. children living in poverty has barely changed since last year’s report from the same group. That report found 20.6 per cent of B.C. children in 2012 were living in poverty. In the report released Tuesday using 2013 data, First Call found that number to be 20.4 per cent [1 in 5 B.C. children are living in poverty].

“[The change] is so minute it’s hard to measure. We’re still talking about thousands of children in poverty in this province,” said Montani.

The national poverty rate for children according to the report is 19 per cent.

Montani says she wants to see the provincial government work on the issue of child poverty with a sense of urgency.

“I really don’t understand why B.C. is the last province in the country not to have a provincial poverty plan.”

Read More or Listen: CBC News

New Workplace Issue: Reforming Academic #Labor, Resisting Imposition, K12 and #HigherEd

New Workplace Issue #25

Reforming Academic Labor, Resisting Imposition, K12 and Higher Education

Workplace and Critical Education are published by the Institute for Critical Education Studies. Please consider participating as author or reviewer. Thank you.

New Workplace Issue: Academic Bullying & Mobbing #academicfreedom #ubc #aaup

New Workplace Issue #24

Academic Bullying & Mobbing

Workplace and Critical Education are published by the Institute for Critical Education Studies. Please consider participating as author or reviewer. Thank you.

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?

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


 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

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.

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.

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.

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



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.


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

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


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


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.


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


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


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


“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?”