Re. "BCTF and the indoctrination of our children" (BC Views, The Tri-City News, March 7).
I have to admit, I was almost fooled by Tom Fletcher's column last Wednesday. When I read how outraged he was by the way B.C. teachers are indoctrinating our young people into the philosophy of the left and how the teachers are all liars, I thought it was just Tom being his usual outspoken, reactionary, closed-minded self.
It didn't seem to make sense that he totally accepted the government's facts and figures as truth and totally rejected the BC Teachers' Federation data as lies while complaining that students were being fed a "North Korean-style system of indoctrination."
Shouldn't a responsible journalist take a more even-handed approach? Then I realized that he was taking a page from the BCTF and teaching by example, providing an excellent demonstration of what indoctrination looks like.
For instance, by accepting the government's assessment that teacher demands would cost $2 billion and denouncing the BCTF claim that it would be more like half a billion, he was demonstrating the need to loudly and consistently deny the claim of any opposition. By calling the teachers liars, he was showing how necessary it is to denounce not just the content but the character of the other side.
Classic stuff, and it looked like he really meant it, but he didn't fool me for long. The big clue came when he said we should Google "study: class size doesn't matter."
I did and guess what I found? A website's link to a Washington Post story on a Tennessee study on 35 charter school classrooms that sort of indicated that class size was not as big an influence on academic success as previously thought.
But right under that link was another called "drwilda-battle-of-the-studies-does-class-size-matter" and it makes it very clear that reducing class sizes has been "proven to increase student achievement through rigourous randomized experiments." And this by the Institute of Education Studies, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, no less.
I never would have discovered that if I hadn't followed Tom's instruction.
So kudos to Mr. Fletcher for demonstrating not only the true meaning of indoctrination but also how to combat it: Don't just listen to the raving blowhards, find the information for yourself.