There’s no such thing as bad press?

I read most of the big papers in Canada (or at least scan them for relevant content). Lately, there have been a number of stories about New Brunswick. There were several on the irony of Canada’s only officially bilingual province scrapping early French Immersion and this little ditty in the Globe & Mail entitled “Half of N.B. adults have low literacy skills: report”.

Literacy is certainly a multifaceted problem but there are at least several economic-based contributors to low literacy (at least):

1. The New Brunswick economy has always had a higher than average percentage of jobs that did not require even average levels of literacy. Mining, fishing, forestry, construction, even quite a few service industry jobs do not. In addition, New Brunswick lags behind in ‘new’ economy jobs. I realize the chicken and egg reality of this.

2. Out-migration is coorelated with education levels. People with low literacy are far less mobile than those that have a higher level of education. The recent oil sands migration is the exception to that rule.

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0 Responses to There’s no such thing as bad press?

  1. mikel says:

    Yes, ‘bad press’ is what the maritime section is for…how often does the rest of canada read that Moncton or New Brunswick is ranked as a better place to do business?

    Literacy is a big topic, I’d just like to complete your thought since you didn’t want to say it.

    And thats that YOUR government WANTS poor literacy as an outcome. And again, thats why they fund it at a lower level than any other province. That’s why the Premier has PUBLICLY stated that the educational system needs to be MORE heavily tied into industry needs, and is advancing policies in that direction.

    In other words, literacy is not only a problem that your government doesn’t want to address, it WANTS to make it worse, and is advancing policies it KNOWS will make it worse (the latest EFI changes for example).

  2. Anonymous says:

    And the other headline read,
    BC ,Ontario and Quebec have 9 million illiterate below level 3.
    Well couldn’t you tell?

  3. nbt says:

    And thats that YOUR government WANTS poor literacy as an outcome.

    Wow! That’s just preposterous mikel. The only thing that statement proves is how far out there you are with your ridiculous conspiracy theories. Time to come back to reality soon.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To bolster her argument Wente calls upon an “expert” from the only science potentially more dismal than economics — psychology. Robert Epstein (whom we can assume wasted countless years pursuing a degree that adds little value to productivity or growth) has a new book to flog (The Case Against Adolescence) and a radical new theory — that we need to pare down our education system to get children out into the workforce much earlier and therefore eliminate all of the horrors of adolescence (drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, the obsession with appearance, consumerism).

    Epstein contends that “the modern education system was created in order to supply the factories of the industrial age with a reliable stream of standardized, skilled labour. Today, the Industrial Age is dead, and the factory system is obsolete. The knowledge that people need for most jobs is specialized and changes quickly. But we still educate our kids in the same old way.”

    I wonder who would think that the people are not well controlled.Listening to most people talk is like listening to the morning TV news,being regurgitated.

  5. richard says:

    “To bolster her argument Wente calls …”

    Ah, poor old Wente, footloose and fact-free. She used to be at least entertaining, now she doesn’t even try; cherry-picking her ‘facts’ to suite her preconceptions. One of many journalists in this country who do far more harm than good.

  6. mikel says:

    If it was anybody but NBT saying that then I’d actually maybe consider it seriously. All I said was the conclusion that David was leading up to.

    I could list all the relevant data, but that conclusion is easily justified with one question: name ONE policy ANY NB government has enacted which has lead to higher test scores? The last one would have been the introduction of EFI ages ago (the grade five intensive french was a pilot project, which Lamrock’s plan bears no similarity to)

    There are virtually NONE. Average test scores are very easy to raise, its actually not that hard. I’ve mentioned numerous times the example of Vermont, a state even more rural than NB, that injected massive funds into rural teaching models, teaching assistants, etc., and saw their test scores radically improve. It’s well known that rural students do poorly when bussed to urban schools.

    Like I’ve said numerous times, New Brunswick has the lowest percentage of funding to education of ANY atlantic province, almost ten percentage points under the leader. The did at least finally admit thats a problem and had a modest increase last year (but its still the lowest).

    As David points out, NB is a RESOURCE economy. Irving doesn’t want people with an education, they tend to get uppity and of course if they go to school then they may actually learn about all the horrors out there-like Marx or Trotsky.

    As David repeatedly has shown for YEARS now, outmigration was never even a problem until businesses starting haveing trouble. All the statistics were manipulated and even lousy educational statistics virtually NEVER warranted so much as a mention in the legislature. The government thought everything was absolutely wonderful.

    Had Lamrock not come out with this policy which clearly would only make matters worse-in fact ADMITTED to making matters worse by dumbing down bilingualism to ‘intermediate’ level, then I wouldn’t have said government WANTS poor educational policies. I would have said they simply don’t care, as they’ve shown for decades.

    However, you can look at all the talk about education even just online. Virtually the ONLY defense I’ve heard of Lamrock’s proposal has been ‘its better than nothing’, which of course isn’t true as it assumes that ‘nothing’ is being done. Going back up to the OECD they’ve been griping at Canada for over a decade saying that massive investment needs to be made in R&D and education, governments KNOW this, but governments don’t act to represent the people-they act to represent contributors.

    That’s not ‘out there’ at all, it may be a conclusion you aren’t used to seeing because few people talk about the effects of public policy. If its NOT true, then post ONE piece of data that shows the government really and truly WANTS to improve test scores, because I’ve read through tons of government documents and the only way they are even addressing it is to try to get teachers to tailor their curriculae towards the tests-which has been shown by numerous studies to be an abject failure in the long term.

    Virtually EVERY critic of the government has echoed that call for more funding, more teachers, more resources-none of which have been forthcoming except at a modest level. As I mentioned elsewhere, test scores are LOWEST at rural schools, and the governments ‘answer’ to that- add more private financing and call them ‘community schools’ and hope to god that enough volunteers come along to help students improve.

    It’s easy to determine what a government wants and whose interests it governs-you just look at the legislation. You may not LIKE it, but that’s the reality. Or, instead of making off the cuff insults just ‘use your words’ and prove me wrong.

  7. richard says:

    I don’t believe for a second that the government wants poor literacy results. Nor do the Irvings, unless they are completely stupid.

    Our current government just does not know what to do to improve them. They do not have the money required to inject into the education system, and parents do not (unlike in other provinces) have the extra discretionary income to pay for private tutors. Check out the proportion of students in ON / AB getting after-school tutoring by Sylvan, Oxford, etc and you will be amazed.

    District 18 just announced that their students did better than the national average in some international schievement tests. I’ll District 18 has one of the highest per capita incomes in the province. Want to improve student performance? Grow the economy; put more money in parents pockets.