Thursday, June 04, 2009

Alberta Bill 44, Who Cares? Parents.

Around the water cooler, the discussion was Bill 44.

The controversial law enshrines in Human Rights legislation a parent's right to withdraw their child from certain teachings in the public school system.


You might have to understand Alberta's school system to understand that parents already have free choice in the type of school they enroll their children in.

Parents have a wide range of options to choose from within the public education system: public schools, separate schools, francophone schools, charter schools — as well as alternative programs and virtual programs offered by school boards — and home education. They may also choose to send their children to private schools. The Alberta government supports choice in education to ensure student and community needs are met.


Those of us standing around the cooler, couldn't quite understand why Bill 44 was needed. We had already specifically chosen the schools our kids go to, using our requirements. Mine are in a Catholic school, another has her daughter in a special needs school, and another had her boy in a Polish school. We were all happy with the job the schools were doing. So, we could not see what the big deal was about, until we started talking about the Human Rights Commission, then the real discussion began.

Having read Ezra's blog, I was the most up on what the HRC's had been up to, and the example about the McDonald's employee who now isn't required to wash her hands was a big eye opener. People had a vague idea that the HRC's had been up to no good, they just had a feeling that they were getting out of control, some concrete examples really opened up their eyes.

You see, what Bill 44 does, is gives back the power to the parent. I don't see any situation where I would want to specifically take my kids out of a class, but I like knowing that I could if as a parent I thought I needed to. Power to the parents, not some bureaucrat developing curriculum, not some teacher with an agenda.

My kids want to be pulled out of their math classes, not going to happen boys!

21 comments:

Right On said...

I grew up in Alberta and now live in Ontario. Alberta is the Texas of Canada. This is meant as a compliment. Freedom of the individual is cherished more in Alberta than any other province. All I need to do is to is look at Alberta's flat provincial tax structure to know this.

My daughter is in grade one. I know two things. If I want her to be educated, I can't rely solely on the school system. It isn't good enough. And two, I will be de-educating her on some of the things taught in school. I will de-educate her about what is taught about the evils of capitalism and freedom.

Good for you Alberta. Enshrine and solidify parental rights. Alberta is Canada's paradise. But why does paradise have to be so cold?

Right On

Skinny Dipper said...

To Right On,

I will agree that educating a child takes place both inside and outside the school system.

As a teacher who has taught students in grade-one, I have taught capitalism to them.

"remember to capitalize the beginning of sentences and place a period, question mark, or exclamation mark at the end"

Bec said...

I am in favour of this as well but do not see that it will be used or abused.

There have been many times over the course of my kids education that I felt the teacher's had taken a topic way to far and instilled THEIR theories and morals into the issue.

I think any concerns that teachers have is baseless and can be eliminated by just getting together with parents and being a teaching TEAM.

Blame Crash said...

I too agree with this law.
Most of the people who are outraged by this law are the same ones that this law is intended to protect us from. These people believe that we’re all the property of the government and that we have no right to question how the left wing supremacists run our society because this is their “world” and their “reality” and we’re all bit players in it.

Eskimo said...

Unfortunately the public school system has been dumbed-down to such a degree it's high time the parents are offered more control over what might be taught in the classroom.

In addition to sex and religion (which I have no probelem being subject matters in the classroom), I'd also reserved the right to pull my child out of class should the teacher start pushing thier Marxist dogma too aggressively.

This, in fact, has happened in my son's class. From the global warming bandwagon to anti (conservative) government statements by the teachers. I told him not to fear the imtimidation of a lower mark should he decide to go against the grain of the teacher, just back up your opinion with facts and remind the teacher that if you're going to screw with his marks to promote his or her political agenda, this better be a hill he or she is prepared to die on.

A few years back around the last time the teachers were looking at striking, our school council, which were basically lapdogs for the Alberta Teachers' Union wanted to send home anti-government propoganda in the kid's school agendas. This idea was quickly shelved when two of us (who usually sat quiet during the meetings) said that we would send a letter to Ralph Klien's constituency office requesting any left over campaign yard signs and we'd include those along with the ATA crap in the kid's backpacks. Strange, but from then on the school council wasn't 'political' anymore.

Alberta teachers have been pretty quiet lately and this Bill was brought in at a good time. Now that the province has picked up the tab for the unfunded liability of the teachers' pension, the union guaranteed labour peace for a few years anyway. Mark my words, the minute this timeline expires there will be strike votes o'plenty and suddenly we'll be hearing the tired, worn out dronings of how bad the education system is, that our kids aren't 'safe' in school and life on erath will cease to exist unless we pay teachers more money.

liberal supporter said...

and the example about the McDonald's employee who now isn't required to wash her hands was a big eye opener.
Too bad it isn't true. Nobody is allowed to handle food in any restaurant without hand washing. Nobody. The choices were to fire her or transfer her to a job that already does not require hand washing. Allowing her to have a job that requires handwashing but not requiring her to do the handwashing was not one of the options.

What else did you lie to the people around the water cooler about? Does your employer know you are engaging in political organizing on company time?

So under Bill 44, I could send my kids to Catholic school, but have them excused from religion class? Science class of course, would not be a problem, since the Roman Catholic church accepts mainstream science, such as the theory of evolution, the theory of climate change, along with the theory of gravity.

Eskimo said...

The McDonald's employee was awarded damages because the human rights kangaroo court thought McDonald's should have bent over backwards for her and that thier hand washing policy was too strict. She was awarded damages because her feelings were hurt.

http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/decisions/2007/pdf/aug/324_Datt_v_McDonalds_Restaurants_(No_3)_2007_BCHRT_324.pdf

Eskimo said...

Watch out there Hunter, L.S. is going to tattle on you. As if he/she never stood around the cooler at his/her (government funded) job talking with the other latte drinkers about how much fun they had at the die-in or pro-Palestinian/Tamil rally they attended over the weekend.

Personally I have no problem with the theory of evolution or the theory of climate change being taught in school so long as the school also recognizes that notwithstanding these theories, other opinions, theories and ways of life exist.

Progressives like to extoll the virtues of developing 'critical thinking skills' in the minds of our children, so how 'bout it L.S., go ahead and play 'An Inconvenient Truth' in class for the umpteenth time, just give equal time to the so-called 'deniers'.

If you want to receive a true education, examine all evidence, opinions and data and come to your own conclusions. Hang out with those who share your opinions. Go to the die-in (or Church) together.

What scares the progressives the most is that they love to preach freedom of speech, equality and the like, so long as it's only their voice that's heard.

liberal supporter said...

The McDonald's employee was awarded damages because the human rights kangaroo court thought McDonald's should have bent over backwards for her and that thier hand washing policy was too strict.
That is a biased and sarcastic version of the ruling, but is true in the essential fact. The tribunal ruled that McDonalds did not try hard enough to find her some other work.

However, no ruling was made that the policy was too "strict". The laws regarding people handling food for the public are already very strict, and with good reason.

At least you are not alleging that she can now handle food without hand washing.

She was awarded damages because her feelings were hurt.
That is a lie.

East of Eden said...

Well, LS - I tend to believer Ezra Levant's account in his book. That aside - that person around whom the issue centers is more at fault than anybody else in this situation. Instead of spending two years trying to find alternate employment, she went to the HRC. That, in my opinion, is disgraceful. No human rights were violated. And you know what? What did it gain her?

liberal supporter said...

Watch out there Hunter, L.S. is going to tattle on you.
Baloney. I do not know where Hunter works, nor do I care.

As if he/she never stood around the cooler at his/her (government funded) job talking with the other latte drinkers about how much fun they had at the die-in or pro-Palestinian/Tamil rally they attended over the weekend.
Your stereotyping is breathtaking. And inaccurate. It is "he" in case that is important to you.

Personally I have no problem with the theory of evolution or the theory of climate change being taught in school so long as the school also recognizes that notwithstanding these theories, other opinions, theories and ways of life exist.
They do. Religion is taught in many schools. Even science classes recognize other theories. Many theories are brought up to illustrate how the scientific method constantly tries to get better answers to how things work. For example, instead of praying that the sun will rise tomorrow, science allows us to understand that it will happen without us having to plead to a deity. Science even allows us to predict when it will rise.

Progressives like to extoll the virtues of developing 'critical thinking skills' in the minds of our children,
Finally, a true statement.

so how 'bout it L.S., go ahead and play 'An Inconvenient Truth' in class for the umpteenth time, just give equal time to the so-called 'deniers'.
I am not a school teacher, so I won't be playing movies in class. When religion class gives equal time to astrology, then what you call "deniers" can have equal time. I think the deniers would be better given time in political science class, actually.

If you want to receive a true education, examine all evidence, opinions and data and come to your own conclusions.
True, but in a school setting, there is not sufficient time to examine all "opinion" about scientific matters. Do we need a flat earth seminar, or only use flat earth to illustrate that theories change? Watching departing ships in the distance disappear from the waterline on up until only the crows nest is visible is a good indicator that the earth curves. But this would not be obvious to people in a land locked country. That's about as far as science class usually goes in discussing the flat earth theory.

Hang out with those who share your opinions. Go to the die-in (or Church) together.
That's why I come here where the opinions are different.

What scares the progressives the most is that they love to preach freedom of speech, equality and the like, so long as it's only their voice that's heard.
If I may say this respectfully, I believe your "equal time" doctrine is amply demonstrated in lefties and righties, who both have many who preach freedom of speech but only for themselves as you describe above.

hunter said...

So under Bill 44, I could send my kids to Catholic school, but have them excused from religion class?

You don't need Bill 44 for that.
Way back over 30 years ago, students in Catholic schools were allowed to be excused from religion classes in the Catholic schools. Many parents send their children to the Catholic schools because they offer a superior education and the Catholic schools will accept them, at least they do here in Alberta.

Catholic schools do teach evolution, so will public schools teach creationism? My oldest son is learning about Buddism right now, do public schools teach about Christianity or any other religions?

liberal supporter said...

Way back over 30 years ago, students in Catholic schools were allowed to be excused from religion classes in the Catholic schools.
I thought that was the case. I think there would be quite a bit of social pressure to stay in them if you are actually a Roman Catholic though. Public schools have also allowed one to be excused from religion class.

Many parents send their children to the Catholic schools because they offer a superior education and the Catholic schools will accept them, at least they do here in Alberta.
I think it is not universally superior, but generally the outcomes are better. I believe some of this comes from the fact you have to choose to send your kids there, it's not the default so you'll get more involved parents. Plus I understand they can send kids back to the public system if they wish.

Catholic schools do teach evolution, so will public schools teach creationism?
No. The separate schools teach science in science class. Since public schools often have no religion classes at all, they won't be teaching creationism. Usually when it is called "creationism" it is in the context of teaching it in science classes. In religion classes, especially when studying other faiths, the origins stories will usually be covered. In religion, the point of the creation story is not to answer "how", as it would be in science, but "why". Why did God create us? The creation stories are usually sufficient backdrop simply to point out God created us, not how it was done. They provide context to the real question addressed by religion, which is "why".

My oldest son is learning about Buddism right now, do public schools teach about Christianity or any other religions?
We had Christianity in grade school in religion class. Though the separate schools teach about Buddhism and other more distant faiths, I don't think they cover Protestantism, which the public schools did. Mostly religion class was geared to morality, so for example, we would study Jesus' parables, for the message being given.

Alberta Girl said...

"That is a lie"
Um LS - no it's not.

Whatever happened to employees following the rules of the job or face losing that job. Why is it that employees have the right to run to the HRC if they don't like the rules.

That LS is the difference between you and I, you believe that a person should have the right to tell the employer how to run the company; I believe that the employer has the right to set the rules of employment. If you don't like those rules - you can go and find another job.

To say it another way LS - let's say you own a restaurant and you need to hire a restaurant server. Because the law states that every server must wash their hands, you hire servers knowing that they would understand that. You post signs and you make sure the employees are told.

You hire one person and after a few weeks you find out that person does not wash their hands. After reminding them; they still refuse. You tell them that they cannot work in your restaurant unless they follow those rules. They refuse.

What would you do. LS - remember YOU are the boss - you have invested your life savings into this business.

Alberta Girl said...

"http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/04/02/enough%E2%80%99s-enough/"

Hey LS - read this if you don't think this was about hurt feelings and making money off the system.

Not to sound prejudicial but isn't it interesting to find out the name of this "employee".

liberal supporter said...

"That is a lie"
Um LS - no it's not
.
Um AG - yes it is.

Whatever happened to employees following the rules of the job or face losing that job. Why is it that employees have the right to run to the HRC if they don't like the rules.
I didn't know they had that right. Do you have a source for that assertion? It might be interesting, but it is irrelevant to this case.

That LS is the difference between you and I, you believe that a person should have the right to tell the employer how to run the company; I believe that the employer has the right to set the rules of employment. If you don't like those rules - you can go and find another job.
Back to the old "this is the difference between you and me", followed by something pretty commonly held, then trying to force it to fit the situation under discussion.

Where did you come up with the assertion that I believe an employee should have the right to tell the employer how to run the company? Not from anything here, surely? Do you consider it "employee telling the employer how to run the company" if the employee tells the employer to follow safe procedures and not break the law? If an employer operates equipment with the safety guards removed, should the employee simply work someplace else if they don't like it? Does this illegal situation constitute a trade secret? If the employee quit and then called the safety authorities, could the employer sue for revealing proprietary information, such as the fact they are breaking the law?

To say it another way LS - let's say you own a restaurant and you need to hire a restaurant server. Because the law states that every server must wash their hands, you hire servers knowing that they would understand that. You post signs and you make sure the employees are told.

You hire one person and after a few weeks you find out that person does not wash their hands. After reminding them; they still refuse. You tell them that they cannot work in your restaurant unless they follow those rules. They refuse.

What would you do. LS - remember YOU are the boss - you have invested your life savings into this business
.
It is pretty obvious that the employee would be fired, except I would fire them the first time they didn't wash their hands. Plus it would not take me weeks to find out.

What is your point? That example does not describe the situation with the McDonalds employee at all.

Alberta Girl said...

Really LS - you went right around a circle there didn't you.

Comparing an employer forcing employees to work in unsafe conditions vs. an employer going above and beyond to help an employee who has a rash on their hands.

Did this employee not know that working at McDonalds would mean she had to wash her hands - Did she not know she had a problem with this. Why would she apply for a job that required this. Seems a bit suspicious to me.

Did you read the McLean's article, LS.

Did you see how McDonalds bent over backwards to help the woman out, LS.

Did you note how the woman decided to go to the HRC rather than a court of law? Guess she knew which side of the bread the butter was on, huh.

Eskimo said...

Save your breath Alberta Girl. It's written right in the judgement that the worker's feelings were hurt and compensatory money was awarded. Follow my earlier link and look for keywords such as 'injury', 'dignity' and 'self-respect'.

Good grief and to think that it used to be considered shameful to have dirty hands. Unfoprtunately the whole concept of shame vanished years ago what with the advent of this whole politically correct concept of no hurt feelings, everyone gets a turn, we won't keep score socialist mentality.

liberal supporter said...

Really LS - you went right around a circle there didn't you.
No, I didn't. I illustrated the logical ramifications of your statements.

Comparing an employer forcing employees to work in unsafe conditions vs. an employer going above and beyond to help an employee who has a rash on their hands.
No, I didn't. You claimed that I support employees telling employers how to run their businesses. You said if they don't like it, they should quit. In the context of rules like hand washing, your claim about what I think employees should be able to do was false. Therefore I wanted to explore how inflexible you are in this view, by asking if you would disapprove of employees telling their employers to follow the law, such as in safety questions.

Did this employee not know that working at McDonalds would mean she had to wash her hands - Did she not know she had a problem with this. Why would she apply for a job that required this. Seems a bit suspicious to me.
She had been employed by McDonalds for 23 years. I doubt she had a problem for the first 15 or 20 of those years. Her condition developed over that time. Throughout the MacLeans article and here, you continue to insinuate that she just doesn't feel like washing her hands, as if she is some slob, when the situation is that hand washing became painful due to a skin condition.

Your suspicions in this regard are typical, and unfounded.

Did you read the McLean's article, LS.
Yes. It was a real eye opener all right. I see now the source of many of the discussion patterns I see on this blog. It has similarities to posts here, in the sneering phrasing, the taking words out of context, the casting aspersions on the character of any and all who disagree, and the incessant pretense of being persecuted.

However, if you read the actual ruling, some of the statements in the MacLeans article are simply false. For example, it states "According to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, a kitchen worker’s self-respect trumps a company’s commitment to cleanliness". That is untrue.

Did you see how McDonalds bent over backwards to help the woman out, LS.
The ruling was that they did not do enough. In the ruling, for example, it is stated that the first time McDonalds actually talked with her was to dismiss her.

Did you note how the woman decided to go to the HRC rather than a court of law? Guess she knew which side of the bread the butter was on, huh.
That's the same projection seen in the McLeans article. Somehow she is a bad person because she used a particular part of the current system?

You can cast aspersions on her character all day, but you can't change the fact that the requirements for hand washing of food service workers are not changed, are not weakened and are unaffected by this case.

Alberta Girl said...

"It has similarities to posts here, in the sneering phrasing, the taking words out of context, the casting aspersions on the character of any and all who disagree, and the incessant pretense of being persecuted."

You should know LS - that is EXACTLY how you sound!!!

"You can cast aspersions on her character all day, but you can't change the fact that the requirements for hand washing of food service workers are not changed, are not weakened and are unaffected by this case"

What is weakened, LS, is the rights of employers when employees decide after 23 years and disability payments to take that employer to the HRC because their feelings were hurt. Good God LS - if this woman was a good employee, she could have gotten a job, with references from Mcdonalds, somwhere where her hands wouldn't take the abuse of the handwashing that McDonald's requires.

What is so hard to understand about this LS!

Eskimo said...

OK, here it is in black and white, right from the published decision of the kangaroo court:

IN THE MATTER OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS CODE
R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 210 (as amended)
AND IN THE MATTER of a complaint before
the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal
B E T W E E N:
Beena Datt
COMPLAINANT
A N D:
McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited
RESPONDENT

Section 37(2)(d)(iii) – Injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect
[283] In her initial Statement of Remedy, Ms. Datt sought $9,000 for compensation for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect. During the course of the hearing the Tribunal released its decision in Toivanen v. Electronic Arts (Canada) (No. 2), 2006 BCHRT 396. After considering this decision, Ms. Datt revised her request and sought the sum of $25,000 in compensation.

[293] In my view, Ms. Datt is entitled to a significant award for the injury to her dignity feelings and self-respect. I consider an award in the amount of $25,000 to be appropriate in the circumstances of this case.

[294] McDonald’s is ordered to pay to Ms. Datt the sum of $25,000 for compensation to her injury, dignity and self-respect.