Dr. Suess and irony

I know this appears at the end of an older thread, but I think it warrants a separate discussion. The school district has gone to great lengths to ban political messaging from classrooms. On principle, I agree with the intention, so long as it is applied consistently, and for the right reasons. The most “infamous” example in local history is the case of Yertle the Turtle (by Dr. Suess) being branded political and banned. The story made international news, and caused considerable embarrassment for the district. So what are we to make of today’s events? Christy Clark, in the middle of political campaigning, is allowed by the district to enter a public school (Port Edward), and in the most delicious of ironies, proceeds to read Dr. Suess’ “Cat in the Hat” to the captive students. Here’s the link:

thenorthernview.com/breaking … 16901.html

Make of it what you will, but does it not raise the question: Why would the board allow this to happen, clearly a political event involving and affecting students, and at the same time make such a fuss about the Yertle the Turtle event? Does it make a difference which political message one is sending? Should it?

Thanks for moving the discussion into a separate thread…I think that it is crucially important, especially considering an additional story that has appeared in today’s Northern Connector (front page). It appears that the School Board, if not in turmoil, is certainly in a state of confusion…unsure of who they are serving and who they are protecting. It would be nice if we could have a clear, concise and focussed statement from the School Board supporting the needs of our students rather than a specific political agenda (and subsequently actions that indicate they are willing to live up to their statement). Shouldn’t the academic and social needs of the students be more important than a political and succession ‘agenda’’? Many current board members stated that they were running on a platform of accountability…so start being accountable!

I see a very clear distinction between a teacher making a political statement and the leader of our province entering a classroom. Did she just visit and read them a book or did she campaign to the students? A teacher is paid to teach, a Premier is paid to govern and part of that is reaching out to the people.

Would there be people yelling and screaming and pointing fingers if it was a NDP representative coming to the Port Edward School to read? I doubt it.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with the premier of the province entering a school and reaching out to the people.

It is slightly different here, however, as she is not reaching out to the people as the premier, she is reaching out to the people during a campaign to continue being premier. The event, no matter how you slice it, is political. But even that is not a problem - at least for me. I am sure Adrian Dix will be given the same opportunity. I certainly have no problem with the premier and the leader of the opposition entering a school and even discussing an issue or two.

It is the irony that I find amusing. On the one hand, the school district has told teachers that a certain Dr. Seuss quote is too political and that the wearing of tshirts with the charter of rights on the back is too political, yet there is no need to insulate students from political events during a highly political election campaign. And on top of that, of all the children’s books that the politician could have chosen, she chose one by Dr. Seuss.

This would be a great example for teaching the definition of irony in an English class. Ironically, the teacher could get into trouble for doing so.

Does the district have any power to tell a political party that they can’t come into a public school?

On one hand you have someone like Christy Clark coming into a public school and reading to a class. I suppose the district could tell her that they didn’t feel it was politically correct for her to be coming into classrooms during campaigning. She is a guest however. Maybe she doesn’t come back… maybe she takes offense and doesn’t say anything… maybe she understands.

On the other hand you have people who work in your buildings that are under your employment that are doing things that you feel are too political… or send the wrong message. You as a board tell those individuals that are stirring the “political pot” (usually the same people in each instance) and that it really has no place in the classroom. (i.e. Charter of Rights shirts while the rest of British Columbia teachers just wears black shirts (whoever said Rupert doesn’t take it to new levels)). What happens? The entire fucking world explodes.

Yup. Seems like the same situation in both cases…

Imagination land time. I wear my toque to work and want to wear it while I am working. My boss doesn’t like that idea because it is against the dress code policy. What do I do?

I think that the simple act of choosing a Dr. Seuss book for a photo op can be attributed to one of the following reasons:

-The kids chose the book. In this case, maybe someone in the entourage who knew about the Yertle story should have told the news people not to film at this point.

-The premier chose the book and was unaware of the Yertle story. This would show how totally oblivious she is (or her handlers are) about news from this area

-The premier chose the book and was aware of the Yertle story. This would just be a slap in the face of teachers.

Whatever the reason, this was very insensitive situation, whether it was an oversight or a planned thing.

At least language arts teachers in the area now have a fantastic example of irony to use in their classroom. I wonder if the school board will find this too political?

The idea that some people can equate the Yertle protest with Clark reading a story book is so far fetched, I can’t believe reasonable people would even consider it. So childish, and to think that is the mentality people will take into the polling station.

It is irony.

I can’t speak for everybody, but I am not blaming Christy Clark for going into a school and reading a storybook (although the choice turns out to be pretty funny). I am not blaming the school district for allowing her access to a public school. I think it is great that children are given an opportunity to see and hear politicians. I doubt that Clark said anything overtly partisan, and I am sure Adrian Dix will be given a similar opportunity if he so chooses when he comes to Rupert.

But it is still irony.

We - kids included - do not live in a bubble. The school district has said that a Dr. Seuss quote (by itself without biased commentary from a teacher) could be seen as too political. The school district has said that the wearing of a tshirt with the charter of rights on the back - again the simple listing of the charter without biased commentary from a teacher - is too political, that students need to be, I think the word was, “insulated” from politicking.

Yet it is OK for kids to be used in a situation - a photo op during a political campaign - to make a politician look good. And please, I am not suggesting that Clark should have been denied access to the school. Photo ops are time honored.

But it is still irony. You can’t say on the one hand that we want our children to be insulated from a tshirt that simply lists the charter of rights because in someone’s eyes that is too political and at the same time allow politicians into the school where children are used as props for a political purpose.

Now wouldn’t it be ironic if yesterday’s photo were used by the BCTF to help them win a court case about the banning of the shirts.

Yes, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote unless they think like you.

Yes, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote unless they think like you.[/quote]

This is what makes democracy a wonderful thing. Everyone has the freedom to vote for the candidate that they think is the one that will best represent them in Victoria.

Sir Ryan,
Exactly what part of the Charter of Rights do you believe should not be displayed to students?

Premier Clark reads Yertyl the Turtle author, Dr. Suess in the Port Ed school. Who set this up and who is laughing the hardest? Did the NDP, or the teachers; or Johanna Larson, who is both a teacher and NDPer, arrange this? Certainly Clark’s own Liberals wouldn’t set up such an educational faux pas would they?

From a Liberal point of view, couldn’t she have read Robert Munch, or a Franklin story, anything but Dr. Suess , the freedom of speech guy? Doesn’t the Premier have one advisor who could have told her a Dr. Suess book is a touchy subject in School District 52?

Ms. Clark is out of touch with citizens and she has her own people to thank for that.

[quote=“windchime”] Doesn’t the Premier have one advisor who could have told her a Dr. Suess book is a touchy subject in School District 52?

Ms. Clark is out of touch with citizens and she has her own people to thank for that.[/quote]

It isn’t a touchy subject in SD 52. It is a childrens book for crying out loud. It was the very juvenile behavior of a few teachers that turned a childrens story into a political statement.

[quote=“crazy Horse”]

[quote=“windchime”] Doesn’t the Premier have one advisor who could have told her a Dr. Suess book is a touchy subject in School District 52?

Ms. Clark is out of touch with citizens and she has her own people to thank for that.[/quote]

It isn’t a touchy subject in SD 52. It is a childrens book for crying out loud. It was the very juvenile behavior of a few teachers that turned a childrens story into a political statement.[/quote]

Well it is a touchy subject in SD52. But it wasn’t the juvenile behaviour of a few teachers that turned a children’s story into a political statement. It was the SD that said the quote

I know, up on top you are seeing great sights,
But down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.

was too political.

I will leave it to somebody else who remembers all the details to correct me but I believe the quotation was for a sign in a car in a school parking lot. Other quotations were considered acceptable.

But that is not the issue in this thread. And I hate to repeat myself and I don’t want to put words in the mouth of the original poster, but we are dealing with consistency of stated policy.

The school district stated that the Yertle quotation could be considered too political.
The school district stated that the wearing of a tshirt with the charter of rights listed on the back was too political.

In both cases the words were not editorialized in any way to specifically link them to the teachers’ complaints. (If they were, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.) They were words for anybody to read and interpret.

In any case, the school district believed that the children were somehow being used in political affairs. That students needed to be insulated.

Now you can argue all you want that the school district was correct. You can believe all you want that the wearing of a tshirt with the charter of rights listed on the back is somehow more political than the wearing of a black tshirt which was deemed acceptable. Both were worn for the same reason and both could interpreted in whatever way the observer wanted to think. You and I can agree to disagree on that past decision.

But surely you must see the irony in children not being protected from the campaigning of highly political politicians.

And let me be very clear again. I have no problem with Christy Clark or any other politician coming into the schools. In this case, Christy Clark is a total innocent. I don’t even care what book she read. If she purposely selected a Suess book to stick it to teachers, I doubt that she lost any votes, but I am guessing again, that the choice was totally innocent. Clark and the visit to the school is not the issue.

The issue is how consistently do we apply policy. If it is OK for a politician to use the school as a backdrop for political campaigning, that kids don’t need to be insulated from that, then why is it not OK for them to read simple quotations from Dr. Seuss or the Charter of Rights?

It was certainly ironic however I think there is a big difference between a political leader being partisan in a school setting and a teacher. I will leave it to others to whether or not the Dr. Suess quote crossed the line.

In a recent post I suggested that the School Board was having some issues and seemed to be facing some difficulties around the budget etc. and that it’s focus re: political messaging is confused – allowing any political party to use a school and students as a backdrop for campaigning is inconsistent its’ prior decisions.

On this board, and elsewhere, there has been a lot of discussion about the teacher displaying the Yertle the Turtle quote in the classroom: it never happened.

theglobeandmail.com/news/bri … le4102658/


huffingtonpost.ca/2012/04/25 … 51745.html

The quote was banned by the School Board representative and nowhere can I find an authenticated reference to the teacher (or any other teacher) actually displaying it in the classroom.

It also appears that the issue of displaying the Charter of Rights quote actually took place at a separate time.

Although I don’t have a link, it is my understanding that the Charter of Rights t-shirt was worn in other school districts (Maple Ridge, Mission, and Fernie) at the same time without consequence.

In both cases the School District made a decision about political messaging and children that seems inconsistent with what happened last week. The School Board appears to be applying it’s original intent to - protect children from political messaging - in an inconsistent manner. (There is a clear difference, I think, between campaigning in a classroom and visiting a classroom in the role of a government official).

It appears that the School Board continues to be inconsistent and unclear in it’s motives – what does that say about education in this district.

PS – Sir Ryan – still waiting for an answer to my questions:

Exactly what part of the Charter of Rights do you believe should not be displayed to students?

My most humblest of apologies Chien22 - I work multiple jobs and am a full time student. I can’t be at the beck and call of every person on Hackingthemainframe that makes a request of me. After a night shift I should be sleeping or reading and yet… here I am. What does that say about education? or the economy? or the province?

You have an interesting way of manipulating words to suit your needs. If I had a problem with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms being displayed to students, then I wouldn’t have participated in classroom exercises in Law, Socials and English in high school now would I? What my issue was with the whole ordeal was how the charter was being used and displayed to the kids in that circumstance. If it was being used in the classroom as part of the curriculum then sure, educate away. It wasn’t, and that was my issue.

Maybe I am biased because I was sent home in high school for wearing a shirt with one of the popular beer labels on it to school. Despite my best protests, it wasn’t going to fly with the staff - I had to either remove/change the shirt or go home and change. Now that I am older and maybe a little wiser I can look back and understand the reasoning behind their decision.

The rest of the province discusses and decides to wear black shirts to silently mourn. Prince Rupert, being that little kid in the crowd starved for attention decides to take it up another level and wear shirts adorned with the charter to bring attention back to us. It did its job, as once again the limelight was back on our little town. Was it needed? Could we not silently mourn with jet black shirts like the rest?

If you do have that link of other places wearing the same shirt, that’d be swell. I don’t remember seeing any photos or references of other districts though, not even in the BCTF articles. But maybe I missed those details with big “PRINCE RUPERT” labels all over everything.

I hope this answers your question, Chien22. I strive for nothing more then to provide for the community of hackingthemainframe.com.

Thank you for responding Sir Ryan. I understand now that you have no objection of the Charter of Rights being displayed. But you have argued in favour of a ban of it being displayed. Now I am confused.

Welcome to my world. Full of trying to get my point across while being sleep deprived. Lets see if I can get it right this time.

Teach kids about the charter of rights in the classroom. It is part of the curriculum in some classes.

Don’t use it to further your goals during a silent mourning by the BC Teachers where no one else uses it and then claim it is educational. Unless the educational purpose is “if things aren’t going your way, stir up the shit - that’ll make things better”. If that is the educational purpose… then I don’t know.

Or something like that. Twist away my friend!