Edmonton Police Bullying High School Students

What a shame knowing High School students are the target of Edmonton Police Services. They target the student who look different from those wearing name brand clothing. The police would not dare touch one of the students driving a new model vehicle. Police are trained to leave anyone alone as long as they have the look of a TV celebrity. Cookie cutter people are on the police must not touch list.

The police decide in late September and early October who they will bully all year. Perhaps there is a quota that needs filling to get a badge of courage. Great courage tossing a 16-year-old into the office in handcuffs, without a charge, for an entire day. Gather up a few more for the special operation to obtain access to cell phones without a reason.

What is on their phone is none of your damn business.

Edmonton police have been doing this in Edmonton High Schools for some time. Police with a deadly weapon snug to their side going after 16-17 year old students. When you continuously bully a young person they will eventually break. Are you proud knowing you destroyed an entire school year by having students expelled?

Why don’t you get your head out of the student’s asses and clean up the scum hanging out in the parks? There might be too many of them even though you’re the person with the gun. That gun must make you feel tough enough to take down a student in school. Not tough enough to take down the thousands of gang rats hanging around downtown Edmonton.

Great Police Work

You didn’t like the photo on a student’s cell phone and had the student expelled. Another had enough pot, in the locker, for a joint. Expelled from school for the entire month of April only weeks before final exams. Great Job! You ought to get a reward from the ego maniac mayor of Edmonton. The mayor is dumb while the police actions are dumber.

Students over 16 no longer have any rights according to Edmonton police. High School students can be strip searched, harassed into giving the police a cell phone password, put in handcuffs for hours, tossed in a room alone for hours, have their locker examined without them being there (police put what they want in the locker without a witness), no parent, no warrant or lawyer because you do not have a crime.

In other words the police make up a crime and make a criminal out of High School students. They would never touch the gangs in Edmonton selling hard-core drugs. It is so easy to target and bully a High School student trying to finish grade 12.

Fill up the court rooms with High School students and leave the drug gangs alone is your idea of justice. They sell any drug you can name in front of Edmonton City Hall.

Here we have lots of examples of younger people doing something, other than filling up park benches, having the rug pulled out from under them by bully cops. If it were my choice I would fire any police officer who acts as slippery slime to High School students.

The sad part is that you, the police, know what you are doing is unlawful and wrong.

How to think about Vladimir Putin

President Putin with the elected representatives, turned the economy of Russia around, to give Russia back to the people of Russia. The middle class appeared by 2004 and continues to increase to this day. Over 30% of the Russian population is now middle class while the west sinks into poverty. Unemployment is very low so Russia is being careful on immigration. Very little of what he and the elected Duma and Senate have done is told to the western audience. While the west continues to spend trillions on war Russia built a rapid rail system between Moscow and St. Petersburg. A nine hour trip now takes under three environmentally friendly hours.

Source: How to think about Vladimir Putin

The Word You are Seeking is Equality

romantrade-1

The age of Empire ended with the decline of the Roman Empire between 400 to 700 C.E. (Common Era)

The vast trade routes of Rome extended to China, India, Africa and Europe. An Empire expands into unknown territories and the Roman Empire did so over more than a 1500 years.

There was but one Rome: no other city,  either of ancient or modern times, has ever rivaled this astonishing metropolis in the grandeur of magnitude; and not many—if we except the cities of Greece, none at all—in the grandeur of architectural display.

Among empires: the Persians,  the Spanish, French and British cannot but be admired as prodigious growths out of so small a stem. There was but one Rome: no other city, as we are satisfied by the collation of many facts, either of ancient or modern times, has ever rivaled Rome. The earth had its prerogative city and that city was Rome.

Power is measured by resistance. Upon such a scale, if it were applied with skill, the relations of greatness in Rome to the greatest of all that has gone before her, and has yet come after her, would first be adequately revealed. Since that era no land, no part and parcel of the Roman empire, has ever risen into strength and opulence, except where unusual artificial industry has availed to counteract the tendencies of nature.” Thomas de Quincey

How is Your World?

Do you wonder how long it will take for the populist media to mention unemployment or under-employment? Did you receive an increase in pay from your employer during the past two years? Have you noticed how the food industry has reduced the size of the package and increased the cost of food?

When the media writes a story about food or price increases they use the term average price. Average is taking all of the prices over a time frame and dividing it. Only the median price or cost lets you see how many dollars are removed from your budget to cover the increase. It is deceit on the part of the media to leave out the details.

The Truth or Not is in the Wording

Some believe we are in an age of information made simple with electronic devices. I would agree we have improved on a rapidly moving technology. How many people look at their mobile device and think of it as a hand-held computer? Here is the result of a search for the most favored apps being used from the Google Play store.

popgames-2

It doesn’t appear as though many people are using a dictionary in that group. We certainly have no desire to ruin their day by teaching them to understand the meaning of words. Let’s look at another group from Google Play rated as the most used apps.

popsocial-1

This group definitely sees no need to learn how to spell or understand composition. Say what you want to say in a myriad of characters and gain fans, friends and followers. Whatever you do keep it short and use one syllable words since very few people read or know how to read an article. The trick to raising your totals on most of these most used website apps is by posting a nude or semi-nude photo.

When you get into an argument with a know-it-all you can get rid of the person with a quick photo such as the one below. The person in this case retorted with “that’s not Moscow..!!” For over 15 years and counting Russia bolted forward while the populist media kept silent. Moscow became a financial hub bringing with it good paying employment, massive reconstruction, a space program second to no one and a rising middle class.

moscow8

The sanctions placed on Russia go far beyond the Ukraine or Crimea. They were meant to slow down the billions of dollars flowing into Russia as a sound investment. There was a slight pause by investors for almost three or so months.

The Facts Please

Let’s be reasonable with the knowledge the cold war ended when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989. Followed closely by the wall in Berlin the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) began to unravel. Each of the former states within the USSR, including Russia, began to feel freedom for the first time since 1917. (some countries were pulled into the Soviet sphere after WW II)

A marvelous writer wrote an article from an American perspective about the cold war. I re-blogged it a few weeks ago. As the communist Soviet Union came undone I was happy there were no longer Russian boggy men waiting to take my life. Now as the years pass I realize it was all a fabrication of lies to instill fear rather than peace in my life. For whatever reason, the US and its’ NATO allies, need an enemy to create a society for the very wealthy. As for the rest of us there are food banks, poverty, drugs and some food stamps.

We are not Equal in the Eyes of the Wealthiest

This article began by saying a few words about the Roman Empire. Seldom seen in the movies or documentaries are the lives of the slaves. We see the brave Senators while hearing the words of the largest land owners. They are in fact the same people. Rome was built on the backs of the slaves in the same way many western nations were built. A woman had no rights being considered unequal in the eyes of the men who wrote the rules. Simply read the biblical words men wrote on how a proper slave may be worthy of salvation. Why do you allow anyone to fill you with fear by placing themselves in the lofty position over you?

The media moguls should know when the cold war ended the so-called leader of the free world vanished too. Isn’t it odd the media repeats the free world lie while articles about our environment disappear? Follow the money trail whenever you read, listen to, or watch their trail of fear, lies and lack of imagination.

Enjoy Life

“The international community should have learned from the past lessons. The historical parallels in this case are undeniable. Unwillingness to join forces against Nazism in the 20th century cost us millions of lives in the bloodiest world war in human history. If they expected a nervous or hysterical reaction from us, if they wanted to see us become a danger to ourselves as much as to the world, they won’t get it. They won’t get any response meant for show or even for immediate political gain. They won’t get it..”  Vladimir Putin Dec. 2, 2016

They didn’t get it nor do they understand.

Thank you for the Music – Freddie was our Friend too

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handle with care: American System a co-worker of God – Op-Edge

US President Barack Obama made his eighth – and final – address to the United Nations General Assembly this week. What a relief, not to be subjected to any more florid speeches filled with vacuous, psychopathic lies.

In his address, Obama referred to a host of wars, flash-points and security problems. He mentioned Ukraine, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock, tensions in the South China Sea, North Korea’s nuclear weapons, alleged Iranian nuclear ambitions, Middle East instability, racism, sectarianism, fundamentalism and ISIL terrorism.

In front of the world, Obama had the audacity to blame Russia of attempting to recover lost glory through force by purportedly threatening Ukraine, the Baltic region and Europe.

“After all, the people of Ukraine did not take to the streets because of some plot imposed from abroad,” claimed Obama, in a breathtaking denial of how the US and European Union actually destabilized the country in 2013-2014, leading to a CIA-backed coup d’état and an ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.

In virtually every conflict cited by Obama it can be factually counter-posed that US intervention has played a critical role in unleashing hostilities and tensions with a death toll exceeding millions of victims. Yet all he would admit, with astounding understatement, was that the US has “made our share of mistakes” over the past 25 years since the end of the Cold War.

US spends Trillions on War rather than Infrastructure, Environment and Health. The world remembers and ask why: Vietnam, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria and 65 intrusions on other nations?

We don’t have space or patience to rebut every one of the falsehoods spouted by Obama at the UN. But let’s take a few.

Syria’s tragic civil war is not due to a sectarian regime abusing its power, as he makes out. The nearly six-year war is the result of US-led efforts to destabilize a pluralist Arab democracy for regime change towards a puppet willing to serve American hegemonic “core interests” in the region. This criminal US objective is in violation of international law, including Washington’s covert support for proxy terrorist insurgents.

Obama deplores fundamentalism and the rise of medieval ISIL terrorism without a hint of shame that seven decades of US strategic collusion with the medieval fundamentalist Saudi dictatorship has spawned ISIL and other Islamist terror networks.

(Finian Cunningham worked for 20 years as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV)

Read entire article: Source: Handle with care: American psycho system a ‘co-worker of God’ — RT Op-Edge

Top 10 Acceptable Western Conspiracy Theories

The label conspiracy theorist is used by Western Establishment gatekeepers as a means of shutting down debate and smearing those who have the temerity to challenge elite-friendly narratives.

So here are the top ten acceptable Western establishment conspiracy theories. If you peddle them you won’t be labelled a crank or nut-job, but be hailed as an expert who may even be deserving of a column in a serious newspaper like the Washington Post, or the London Times. And who knows, you might even get a lucrative $offer$ from a top publishing house to write a book about conspiracy theories.

1. Iraq has WMDs which Threaten the World!

The most deadly conspiracy theory of them all – one which led to an illegal invasion and the destruction of a sovereign state and the deaths of up to 1m people. But the people who promoted it paid no professional penalty. Thirteen years on, the punditocracy in the US and UK is still dominated by those who assured us Saddam had WMDs (and also that the secular, cigar-smoking Sound of Music lover had links to al-Qaeda). Remember that the next time you see a smug, self-regarding member of the neocon elite journos club loftily accuse someone they regard as their social and intellectual inferior of being a conspiracy theorist. (mushroom clouds)

2. Iran’s Developing Nukes!

Since the early 90s we’ve been told the Islamic Republic is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons, or has already got them. The claims made repeatedly over the past 25 years by Israeli PM Netanyahu have been echoed by the same bunch of uber-hawks who pushed conspiracy theory 1. If you assert, without any evidence that say, Zambia is on the brink of developing nukes, you’ll be called a nutcase. But if you assert, without any evidence, that Iran is doing the same, then you’ll greatly increase your chances of being invited as an expert into the studios of Fox News or Newsnight.

( Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. )

Read and Recognize the other 8 from source: Top 10 ‘acceptable’ Western Establishment conspiracy theories — RT Op-Edge

 Climate Solutions – World Urban Farms

A dis-used office in The Hague has been revamped as a sprawling rooftop greenhouse, with a fish farm operating on the floor below. Are we entering a new age of urban agriculture?

Mark Durno, the 31-year-old Scot in charge of the operation, believes commercial urban farms serve a need: people want high-quality food from a transparent, local source. “In the next five or even 15 years, this will be a niche of the niche,” admits Durno. “But it links into the circular economy: we have empty rooftops and empty industrial buildings. In The Hague, 15% of buildings are empty. Let’s fill them with produce.”

Modern technology has helped make urban farming a viable prospect. At UrbanFarmers, the shimmery tilapia swim in 28 tanks. Baby fish, farmed in nearby Eindhoven, come in on one side, fed by an automated system; across the room are tanks for the bigger fish.

In another vat of water, bacteria convert waste ammonia from fish excrement into nitrates to fertilize the plants on the roof above. Meanwhile, the plants – which are grown without soil – purify the fish water. This closed system, known as aquaponics, has been used for centuries.

“With industrialization, that connection between agriculture and the city was taken away,” says Jan Willem van der Schans, a researcher in urban food systems at the Landbouw Economisch Instituut (LEI). (link goes to English version)

“Food can be grown anywhere and sent anywhere else. UrbanFarmers is an example of cities reconnecting with food. Consumers feel alienated from global food chains, want food from a transparent source, and they see that quality can be better if it grows close to home.”

Van der Schans wonders, however, if urban farms can find commercial success. “UrbanFarmers has to come up with products that you can’t buy in supermarkets, something special that has a higher nutritional value, otherwise I think they will have a hard time,” he says. “They really have to pick those vegetables that have a special quality if you harvest them immediately, like soft tomatoes like coeur de boeuf that should fall apart if you carry them 10 meters (approx 30′).”

In New York, the growers on the rooftops came up with many varieties of clean food. The number of food-producing farms and gardens in New York City has grown from approximately 700 to 900 over the last two years.

Read: Greenhouse in the sky: inside Europe’s biggest urban farm | Cities | The Guardian

Read: New York City Five Borough Urban Farm Agriculture Development. Website has photos, videos, graphs and numerous other ongoing urban projects.

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Our Leaders are Depressing

What do we get when we vote these miserable bastards to office?

We expect the politicians to act in a civilized manner. We are bored of your pathetic attempts to pour propaganda down our throats. Promises you made to us and every citizen on this planet are expected to be kept. Did our families beat that minion Hitler so you could be proud Nazi supporters? Why are you backing a Nazi regime where there was a democratically elected leader? Nice play Shakespeare try it again. Our families built the United Nations so you would have an open forum to work out differences. Too arrogant to admit you are wrong yet always ready for photo-ops.

You have deliberately created a delirious sense of hate and terror to enable more weapons of destruction. Where is your sense of decency? Your words yes we can and real change are meaningless. You have hit us with a blizzard of media half truths and outright lies.

Why are you sitting on your brain? Did you shove your head so far up your ass you are blinded by the dark side. Have you developed a speech problem? Do you require our assistance in showing you how to speak to another person over a disagreement? We do it every day of the year. Perhaps your use of verbs, nouns and adjectives needs some refreshing.

The big boys behind the military have conned you into believing they have solutions. They do not know how to dream of creating a world with everyone living in variations of peace. Why do your very wealthy friends horde trillions in paper dollars? Power is an illusion for the delusional mind. History is cluttered with those who wanted power over the citizens of this planet. Please share your memories of a wealthy historical character.

Tell your wealthy friends to release their trillions into the economy. We will thank them for their generosity, if, you do not kill us with more taxes.

You disgust me with your blithering remarks about nuclear weapons. We lived through the years of the bomb once. Once is enough. I could not imagine any of you jerks being in charge during those years. We had real leaders who were willing and able to speak to the other side. There is a difference between intelligence and being sleazy.

You have lost the capacity to speak an honest word.

It is pretentious of you to believe good jobs, a decent living and family can are created by building weapons of death. Did we have a day without war during the last 100 years?

When you were not looking the dreamers created millions of high paying jobs in the space program. Today your wealthy friends cannot figure out how to get a rocket off the ground. Yet you still believe the military creates steady employment. I know you are a slow learner so this was written with very few big words.

How did you forget the promises you made to the citizens of this planet?

You are so neurotic you depress me.

Listen to the children

“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet.

We all breathe the same air.

We all cherish our children’s future.

And we are all mortal.” President John F. Kennedy

What If the Rich Didn’t Control Canada’s Media?

Get lost hedge funds and oily advertisers, The Tyee is reader-funded.

It’s that vision that motivated me, 12 years ago, to found The Tyee. People said real journalism was too expensive to be reader-supported. And that no readers would provide money to a website they could read for free. People said I was naive and, yes, deluded. Some days I was tempted to agree.

But I don’t feel that way today.

I believe that The Tyee can continue to pay for hard-hitting reporting and employ a top notch staff, because there is no point in creating independent media if it deprives skilled, committed journalists of paid work.

Read More Source: What If the Rich Didn’t Control Canada’s Media? | The Tyee

We created Islamic Extremism: Those Blaming Islam for ISIS would have Supported Osama bin Laden in the ’80s

Gore Vidal famously referred to the USA as the United States of Amnesia. The late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai put it a little more delicately, quipping, “One of the delightful things about Americans is that they have absolutely no historical memory.”

The U.S. was by no means the only one to pursue such a strategy. Echoing the U.S. policy in Afghanistan, Israel in fact supported Hamas — now its sworn arch-enemy — when the Islamist group was first forming in the 1980s. Israel backed Hamas’ militant founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in order to undermine the secular socialist resistance of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” a former Israeli government official told the Wall Street Journal in a 2009 article titled “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas.”

This Cold War strategy ended up being successful: After the fall of the USSR, the secular socialist groups that dominated the resistance movements of the Middle East were replaced by Islamic extremists ones that had previously been supported by the West.

It is not a coincidence that most of the secular countries in the history of the Middle East have been socialist of some sort. In contrast, the most reactionary countries — the countries where women are not granted equal rights and where the rule of law is based on Sharia — have frequently tended to be close Western allies. Why? The West was much, much more interested in preserving capitalism than it was in allowing secularism, gender equality and relative economic equality to flourish under socialism.

Source: We created Islamic extremism: Those blaming Islam for ISIS would have supported Osama bin Laden in the ’80s – Salon.com

How we prepare our Children for Their Tomorrow

(not our yesterday)

 This is a Critical Time in Education

Guest Commentary by David Hancock

DaveHancock-1Education – assisting our children to find their passion, their gifts and their purpose – there really is no nobler purpose – and there really is nothing which more people have opinions on – informed and uniformed. I always said Education was the most difficult of portfolios – everyone has an opinion – and we are all experts because we all went through it 40 years ago. And therein lies the challenge! There has been copious research on brain development, there have been huge leaps forward in the creation of knowledge, there have been and continue to be fundamental shifts in technology, communication and access to information as well as computing and research power. And it continues!

 How are we to as Daniel Pink put it “Educate our children for their future and not for our past”!

That really is the essential question. No one has ever challenged the premise that our children need unconditional education in literacy and numeracy skills. We have not abandoned the basics. I tire of the political rhetoric that comes around every ten years it seems calling for a return to rote learning so that our children can learn the basics. I see the Edmonton Journal Editorial Board, is getting in on that today, and of course David Staples was beating that drum a few years ago.

We truly need to take the discussion to a higher level – the topic of Inspiring Education was and is very relevant – what knowledge, skills and attributes do citizens need to be considered educated over the next 30 years. That is not a static question! That is a continually and rapidly developing and possibly changing discussion as knowledge development and technology change what we know and how we use it.

To get to that higher level we do need to focus somewhat on the basics – it is important that our children are literate and able to work with numbers. But we truly need to understand, and stop confusing, the difference between curriculum and pedagogy and work toward ensuring that our teachers are well equipped with all the tools, the pedagogical skills they need to assist every child to achieve the curricular outcomes and to maximize potential. That means not saddling teachers with expected methodologies but enabling them to use the right methodology for individual student success. In that area I can say I have always known teachers to be creative and inventive in achieving student outcomes. My mother – long before people started talking about gaming technology as a teaching tool – had students at the back of the classroom playing ring toss and other games which motivated them to learn to add – and other basic arithmetic skills. Some of us had to sit at our desks and memorize – but for others that wouldn’t work so she did something that would work for them. My brother-in-law was a CTS teacher in construction technology, he talks of students who came to him totally depressed and feeling dumb, who learned complex math they needed for construction without even suspecting they were doing it.

 Lets not let the Tiger moms and journalists, with the superficial political endorsements of those looking for niche supporters, drive our system backward! There is a reason so many adults hate math and are worse at it than kids graduating today. We have a great public school system which is very effective for most students and which has progressed, adapted to changing times but which has always focused on the basic facts that strong curricular outcomes and expectations coupled with excellence in teaching are truly what makes a system successful for students. We also have choice for those who have a different view.

 Alberta has been and is recognized internationally, as a leader in public education, but we’ve not been considered number one. If we are looking at PISA scores or those types of testing and gnashing our teeth over math scores – yes we should be concerned and yes we should try to analyze how to improve. Let us not miss the real story those results have been telling us for years. We could actually be number one, not that it should necessarily be our goal, if we closed the gap! What keeps us lower in the standings, is that we have such a broad range of success, not that we have too few at the top. It is important, not because we need the bragging rights of being number one, but because we need to ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to succeed. We cannot afford the loss of human potential, the social cost of failure and the cost of social failure. It is not the curriculum that matters in that regard. The curriculum is not the problem. Yes continue to update and modernize. Yes lets develop the skill sets necessary to succeed in tomorrows world. Yes lets continue to put excellence in teaching at the top of our agenda so that teachers have the knowledge and pedagogical skills to help every student succeed at learning. Let us acknowledge that is not where we have the biggest problem.

If every student is to succeed, it has to happen in the school, but not just in the classroom. I have long championed the concept of school community collaboration. I am here to give one more shout out to improvement of our public education system by ensuring that we understand our true goal. Every child must have a safe, caring and respectful environment in which to grow and find his or her passions, abilities and talents. Children come with an innate desire to learn. As Sir Ken Robinson has pointed out – we sometimes take the desire to learn out of the child by the way we do education. But we also have compelling evidence that we can create the environment for every child to learn.

Our children today live in a complex world. They have significant challenges. Far too many live in poverty. Not only financial poverty, where to live, what and when to eat, which of course significantly interferes with the ability to learn. It is also emotional poverty, which can occur at any financial level, and our young people need to know that someone cares about them.

Of course I know that our schools cannot be everything to everyone. We always put the burden on education when we want change in society. The school is always asked to do more, meaning teachers are asked to do more, and they feel overburdened!

 We truly do need to change the focus a little, and some are doing it very well already, to actually put caring about the kids first and foremost, from the moment they arrive till long after they leave. It doesn’t need to be an additional burden, when done well, it can make all the jobs easier.

We have had a good start with the Mental Health Capacity Building Projects but we need to expand that process across all of our School Boards and all of our schools. A teacher often has the strongest relationship with a child outside the home. A teacher can identify, if they are paying attention, when there are changes in attitude, behavior, work habits, results but they are often not best equipped to do something about it.

A school which makes that type of relationship and data important and takes action on it can save a child. But they need partners. Drug, alcohol and mental health issues (the students or their family’s) are not education issues until you realize how many of our students are not succeeding because of them. If our goal is to have every student succeed at learning to their potential and to increase the number of students graduating high school and transitioning to post secondary how are these not education issues? We have models of success where we have paired counselors from AHS with a school for ready access, counseling, and referral on a timely basis. We can demonstrate where having a partnership with the YMCA, bringing counseling back, connecting with the Family Centre and other community resources supply the talent that is needed to reach kids, to help families.

We know the stories about how a teacher has made a difference in a student’s life. One of my favourites is that of a young lady who spoke at the annual meeting of JACC a school and social agency organization. There is much to be learned from her story. She had been in I think she said, 17 foster homes before she found her forever home, having tried undoubtedly too many times to rebuild her natural family. Every time she was taken from her natural family she had to change schools information was not shared. The one time she went back to the same school, in grade three, everyone thought she had died and were shocked to see her. But in grade six a teacher instead of yelling at her and punishing her, talked to her, asked her about herself, what was in her life that she couldn’t be at school on time and missed school. When he realized she was taking care of her younger siblings, getting them up and out to school because her parents were drunk, that she was often making sure they ate, that teacher helped. Little things that didn’t embarrass her or make her stand out, a new coat for winter, some food and mostly someone to talk with. That caring teacher changed her life.

Obviously that is a one-off – but what if it wasn’t? What if that teacher had school and community resources that could kick into gear? What if that caring was the environment and culture of the school? What if information was truly shared between school, police, social services, health and health professionals in the interest of the child?

The Way IN project in Edmonton Public in Mill Woods showed incredible leadership in this area and it is not unique. As a collaborative team they went above and beyond! When a young student advised the school that she would be moving – again – the school team looked beyond – they cared enough to know that this student had not been successful partially because she was always moving. They discovered the family was being evicted because the home was a mess and the landlord was concerned about his property. A team went to that house and cleaned it thoroughly, arranged for the family to be able to stay, got help for the mom whose health conditions did not allow her to keep things up. That child stayed in one school for a year. That child was able to focus on learning and was successful. That child is not just a statistic in our social system. Was that an appropriate use of educational resources? A child who otherwise would likely be a dropout is now likely completing school – so yes!

Mental Health issues are significant in our schools. They range from dug and alcohol addiction issues, family violence, abandonment, depression, and conditions including diagnosable disorders. Early assistance and intervention on many of them, actually all of them, can make a huge difference to the success of a child and their family. The school is where that first intervention has to happen but the school can’t do it alone. When a school wanted to partner with AHS to have an addictions and mental health counselor, operate in the community from the school and pay a portion of the costs, questions were raised about whether that was an appropriate use of educational dollars. Do you have any idea how many students have benefited and gone on to success as a result of that program? Of course it is appropriate and should be a built-in part of the system.

 We Need two things to be Truly Successful

Of course we need good schools, strong curricular outcomes and excellent professional teachers with continuing professional development. That is the basis of a strong educational system. We need to continue our focus on renewing curriculum, preparing selecting and growing, while retaining excellent teachers.

That is Not Sufficient

We need safe, caring respectful schools! Recent discussions about LGBT policy only serves to demonstrate how much work we have to do in this area. The culture of the school is important. In every school we have to recognize each child while ensuring each child is welcomed, noticed, nourished, protected, valued. Our students come with many diversities, many backgrounds and faiths, abilities and challenges. They are learning about themselves, their sexuality, their capacities. School must be a safe place! School must be a caring and respectful place. School is not about the faith, belief or values of the trustees or the system. The School Act makes it clear – and the new Education Act if anyone ever gets around to proclaiming it, even clearer. School is a safe caring respectful place for our children to learn and grow to their potential. Period!

DSCF6513Hancock

Required Leadership

Principal leadership. The Principal is the most important leadership role in education. The principal sets the culture of the school. And you can tell. When I went into a school as education minister, and I went to many, I knew going in the door the atmosphere of the school. Almost always borne out when the visit was complete. Unfortunately I cannot say it was always great. As much as we need Excellence in Teaching we need Excellence in School Leadership. The selection, education and continuing support of Principals needs much more focus. Educational leadership is important, but as or more important is the ability to set, expect and inspire an attitude of caring, respect and safety. Good work has been done and is being done – but much more is required. Each Principal needs to know that their performance metrics include evaluating their school on its ability to be a safe, caring respectful environment for students!

Secondly we require collaborative partnerships. Schools, principals and teachers cannot do it alone. They are of necessity at the core. They know the kids. They have the relationships necessary to find the way in – but they need other community resources – both government in terms of health, social services and police and community such as the Family Centre, the Y and others. We need to expand the wrap around services model as true collaborative partnerships, grown and supported at the community level., Each of them, sensitive to the needs of the schools and communities they serve, not bureaucracies or standardized.

When we do that children and their families grow stronger. When we do that children are ready to learn. And when we do that teachers can work their magic, with more students getting the math scores, that some people use as a measurement of their abilities. More students will graduate and more students will enjoy being learners not just now but throughout their lives. More students will achieve their potential!

Everyone will be the beneficiary of an even better public education system. Even greater than the great board governed system, the great schools, and great teachers we have today.

David Hancock spoke at the Lt. Gov. Lois E Hole Lecture, at the Public School Boards Association October 22, 2015. Dave’s career in politics began in 1974, then elected to office from March 11, 1997 – September 15, 2014. During a tumultuous time, March 23, 2014 – September 15, 2014, Dave Hancock was the 15th Premier of Alberta.