Telling Tales out of School
with Nick Martin
Some people still stink in the Brandon School Division.
But time is running out for those people, generally considered to be primarily younger teenaged boys, who swim in a pool of Axe products before going to school.
BSD’s scent-free policy has been delayed this fall, school board chair Mark Sefton told me, because the board has been bogged down with personnel vacancies and other pressing policy decisions.
"We’ve pushed back full implementation to September" from Jan. 1, 2014, because there hasn’t been enough time for consultation, Sefton said.
While not entirely aimed at Axe users — or, more properly, abusers — the policy aims at anyone in a school using scented products which cause chemical or allergic reactions, or just plain annoyance and irritation, for other students and staff.
"There’s a surprising number of 15-year-old boys who support the idea," Sefton said. "It interferes with their learning and cincentration. They sit in a small stuffy classroom with people who have overscented themselves."
Sefton received one anonymous email from someone accusing trustees of banning students from using soap and shampoo on a daily basis.
No such thing, said Sefton.
As for non-anonymous comments, "There hasn’t been any pushback at all."
12/4/2013 3:42 PM
In keeping with my being ever helpful to the University of Winnipeg — OK, OK, except for those 219 times — I’m doing my bit to help UW out of a pickle.
Seems this Lloyd Axworthy fellow is going to retire, and UW figures it needs a successor as president. So I’ll do my best to help find a new prez.
You might want to polish up your resumes out there, remember to only put down true facts and degrees you realy earned and papers you really wrote — because they have ways of checking these things out — and if you’re one of our anonymous troll commenters, maybe have someone check over your grammar and spelling, and encourage you to put your name on it. But I digress.
I see it’s a full-time job, and how often do you see that these days?
There’s no mention in the job posting about a downtown parking spot — be a tough negotiator on that one — or of moving into the president’s house on Oak Street. Hmm, maybe I should watch for signs outside the house. Nor do I see anything in there about a PhD being required.
There is, it goes without saying, specific mention of being able to go out and hunt up money, especially in non-traditional ways.
Speaking of which, given how UW has been using vacancy management to balance the budget in recent years, do you really need to pay a leader, in a collective, collegial, academic organization?
Anyhow, from today’s Academica Top Ten, in which I found a link to Academica Careers, here’s the job posting:
University of Winnipeg - President and Vice-Chancellor
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Posted On: Nov. 27, 2013
Category: Executive Management
About the Employer
Acclaimed for academic excellence in liberal education and a commitment to indigenous education, community engagement and quality teaching and research, the University of Winnipeg has doubled its enrolment in eight years. Access and inclusion are hallmarks of the institution. Students have discovered a place where passion for learning and making a difference inspire them to realize their potential in an environment that makes them feel at home.
The University offers over 2,400 courses in more than 50 areas of study, a growing graduate program, is home to 7 Canada Research Chairs, 3 Chancellor’s Research Chairs and also has an established and vibrant collegiate. With more than 10,000 full- and part-time students and a loyal and connected alumni population of 40,000 and growing, the University will look to you to articulate and achieve the collective goals of the students, faculty, graduates and community. Through your stewardship and advocacy, the institution will continue to strive for excellence in teaching, research and service that contribute to brighter futures for its students and the community.
As President and Vice-Chancellor, you will work with a talented Board, an active Foundation and accomplished faculty and staff to enhance and lead a strategic plan that allows the University to continue its evolution. The University has celebrated its 100th convocation; your leadership will nourish continued growth in the spirit and passion that have defined the institution. You will be a visible and vocal champion and partner on campus, with governments, businesses, and diverse communities across the province and beyond. Administratively, you will encourage dialogue and collaboration among faculty, staff and students while seeking out funding through traditional and innovative channels.
In addition to your academic credentials, you are a proven leader who consistently earns respect and support from stakeholders. Whether in academia, government, or the wider community, you are comfortable in the public eye and in leading a complex organization. This is your opportunity to make an impact on the future.
To explore this opportunity further, contact 403-410-6700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To be considered for this position, submit your CV and related information at www.odgersberndtson.ca/en/careers/12000.
Don’t forget to mention you found this opportunity via Academica Careers
12/2/2013 9:08 PM
So, will the world end for Manitoba public education at 11 a.m. Paris time on Tuesday?
That’s when the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development releases a 564-page report that only a statistician could love, on the unbelievably extensive and exhaustive analysis of tests in math, reading and science written last year by 510,000 randomly-chosen students aged 15 in 65 countries and economies (Hong Kong, Macau and Shanghai are in there as individual participants).
Has it really been three years since the last PISA report? Since all that wailing and gnashing of teeth?
Canada by and large does well, while Manitoba not so much. Canadian kids have been ranking in or near the top 10 in previous tests, though right-wing ideologues don’t accept being better than 90 per cent of the world on a regular basis is a good sign; Manitoba kids have regularly scored better than countries such as the U.S., Russia and Great Britain, but, and this is a huge but, that has everyone on edge heading into Tuesday morning. In 2009, Manitoba kids fell from the middle of the pack to almost the bottom among Canadian provinces.
Depending often on the ideology of the person doing the analyzing, our performances have been evidence that we have a good education system or we’re failing to provide our children a quality education.
Given the bizarre embargo on the official release that prevents most eastern and central time zone newspapers from publishing until Wednesday — 4 a.m. Tuesday our time — you’ll have to go to our website at that appalling hour to read what’s in the report. Be warned, our approach will be parochial — you’ll have to go to the report to find details about Estonia or Uruguay or Qatar, or about performances by regional jurisdictions within Italy, Brazil or Australia.
The link will be in the web story.
Meanwhile, I’ve already asked the major players — I hate the word stakeholder — in Manitoba to be ready to analyze and comment for Wednesday’s newspaper edition.
As a shortcut, here’s a list of answers from previous PISA test stories; I'm paraphrasing, don't have time to get the exact wording from 2003 and 2006 and 2009 tests. See if you can match the comment with the NDP, opposition Tories, teachers’ union or trustees association:
A. We did kind of sort of OK, if you throw out a bunch of the insignificant statistical differences in the scores that are maybe clustered together a bit, and allow that fudging the numbers that way could have made us higher rather than lower
B. Evil NDP is making our kids stupid
C. We could do far better if we had more money and more teachers and more shiny new technology, and no one whining about taxes
D. Imagine how much worse we would have scored in the 1990s under Gary Filmon.
11/28/2013 8:53 PM
That was an interesting little ceremony that Canadian Mennonite University held this week, Tuition Freedom Day.
It’s the day on which students’ tuition stops covering the costs of their education during the fiscal year, and other revenue takes over.
CMU referred to the major "donors" as government, churches, and individuals.
When I made inquiries, CMU allowed as how maybe it should be calling the government a "funder" instead of a donor.
Um, yeah, I would think so.
The province provides $4.093 million a year, which is hardly chump change.
Anyhow, CMU’s annual report lists tuition and fees as the largest portion of revenue, about $500,000 more than government grants. General donations are $1.5 million, and there’s an additional $2.9 million from rentals, meals, and various sales and services. Strikes me that that last is serious coin in an overall budget, for a school without a high-powered research network.
U of M and U of W don’t conduct such tuition-freedom days, but I reckon that if they did, they’d come earlier in the fiscal year. Maybe a lot earlier. And the provincial grants cover quite a bit more money than the tuition fees — U of M’s annual report has the province at 52 per cent, tuition at 17 per cent of overall revenues.
Maybe I should take some time with the public university budgets to do the math on when tuition freedom day would occur... which would guarantee one thing: emails from the Canadian Federation of Students arguing for lower tuition than the current tuition that’s government-capped and third-lowest in the country.
But I digress.
Under its deal with the province, CMU must charge higher tuition — in practical terms, more dollars for a credit hour — than the public universities, in order to get public money.
CMU only gets government donations — darn, had me going there, let’s try again — only gets public operating grants, because the Filmon Tories approved it in the late '90s just before losing office. Same with the Bible colleges — the Tories gave annual public funding to Steinbach Bible College, Providence University College, and Booth University College.
The NDP gave some thought to removing that funding early in their tenure, but decided it was too much grief.
If and when the Tories sit down with me and discuss their education platform, as I requested recently, one of the things I’ll be asking about will be their plans for government support for private schools.
About Nick Martin
Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.
He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.
Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.
Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.
Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.
Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.
Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.
A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.
Blogs that Nick Martin follows:
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