Writing the Prince George Educational Pot Boiler

A friend of mine who is a teacher in School District 57, Prince George (my old stomping grounds) drew my attention to this article last week, but it got pushed aside by hotter news items. As it deserves. However, Daphne Bramham of the Vancouver Sun picked it up this week, so I don’t feel too bad about posting it now. This report came from Northern Capital News, which seems to be the blog of the reporter, Andrew Kurjata. Credit to Mr. Kurjata for his exhaustive research, but I don’t suggest you subject yourself to the mind-numbing inevitability of the full report. He merely reveals the facts: all of them. I would write a novel, but it’s so full of stereotypes nobody would believe it.

The Back-Cover Blurb:

The latest news out of the Prince George and District School Board reveals a mess of truly epic proportions. There hasn’t been such a communication mix-up since the downfall of the Tower of Babel Project 4000 years ago.

It starts as a one-issue conflict, but it’s pretty obvious from Mr. Kurjata’s tale that the systemic disfunction extends far beyond the way First Nations students are being treated.

The Inciting Incident:

Most of the problem started a few years ago, when a single-issue bloc on the board decided to relabel Kelly Road High School with a First Nations name. Which is about as red-flag-to-a-bull as you can get in a right-wing town like Prince George, especially in as redneck an area as Kelly Road. Saner heads eventually prevailed with a double-barrelled name, but the ball was now rolling.

Plot Summary: (in reverse chronological order in case you get bored and want to jump ahead)

Recently, we have the firing of a District Superintendent, followed closely by the resignations of two elected Board members (whose letters of resignation were ‘shared’ in the media of course)

Preceded by a former Superintendent suing the board

Plus a spat with the union over meeting procedures

Minus any contact between the present (acting) Chairwoman of the Board and local media for several months

Throw in a review by two provincial-appointed Special Advisors, who discovered (who’d have thought it?) systemic racism

And a broadening of the brush to sweep in the safety of LGBTQ+ community

A “woke” agenda, (Not sure whose) which fits in there somewhere

A public meeting opening with a prayer of undefined origin (oh, the horror of it!)

I could go on, but if you’re masochistic enough to want more, hit the hotlink above.

The Main Action (or lack of same):

Kurjata’s report (and presumably the events it covers) descends into a welter of accusations and counterclaims, all of them couched in so much inclusive and humanistic polit speak that you can’t tell who’s a rampant irate First Nations warrior, who’s a raging redneck, or who’s in the LGBTQ+ camp. I don’t think the characters in the story can tell either. You really need a program to keep them straight.

The Theme:

This whole thing is reminiscent of the nasty old days of COVID social media, when everybody was seething with cabin fever and taking it out on everybody else. But this isn’t trolls on Twitter. It’s the people we elect (and the people they hire) to take care of our children’s educations.

The Denouement:

As far as the general public is concerned, the main effect of it all has been to stop livestreaming board meetings. Seen from my angle, this is a bunch who realize they’re acting like idiots and don’t want the public to know.

The Deus Ex Machina Ending:

There is, however, a solution, upon which Ms. Bramham and I are agreed. In situations like this, the Minister of Education has the power to remove the whole board and replace them with an interim administrator until new elections can be held.

Honourable Rachna Singh, over to you…

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