Grumpy’s Pissed Again: Jerry Agar has got it all wrong!


stop-bill-115-wimagesCAYSTR6BRADIObroadMic-003-003-001-003Grumpy’s Pissed Again: Jerry Agar has got it all wrong!

This week when commenting about the current conflict in education, Jerry Agar, (Sun Media, CFRB Radio) said that education/government is not like private business or manufacturing because it doesn’t produce anything. He said because there are no profits, unions shouldn’t be required by teachers because people in education they are “being paid with taxpayer’s money”.

Basically he was saying education is not producing profits, so there are no earned financial resources to share. Today he went on to say schools should be run like a business by business managers. I shudder to think what that would be like.

Here’s what a pissed off Grumpy has to say about that

AN OPEN LETTER TO JERRY AGAR

Well, Mr. Agar, I beg to differ with your view that education does not produce anything. Education produces tremendous profits: profits we all benefit from.

Mr. Agar, education is a very profitable endeavor. It produces free thinking citizens who have learned to distinguish between bovine excrement and the truth. It produces citizens that can read, write, calculate and participate in and work for the greater good of society. It produces our doctors, lawyers, professors, teachers and talk show hosts. And for your information, it produces people who are employable and who pay the taxes from which we all reap benefits.

As William Haloupek suggests, “Education raises our social consciousness. It makes life more meaningful. It makes better citizens. It’s an investment in our future that is repaid many times over. It repays all of us–not just the ones who get the diplomas.”

The State of Arizona, in a report on higher education concluded that, “Educated workers make a net positive contribution to government budgets, and they help to raise the wages of all workers in an area.”

Milton Friedman’s position on the role of government in schooling:

“A stable and democratic society is impossible without widespread acceptance of some common set of values and without a minimum degree of literacy and knowledge on the part of most citizens. Education contributes to both. In consequence, the gain from the education of a child accrues not only to the child or to his parents but to other members of the society; the education of my child contributes to other people’s welfare by promoting a stable and democratic society.” (Friedman, 1955)

W. Craig Riddell, Department of Economics, University of British Columbia writes that “the value of the social benefits of education appears to be similar in size to the private market returns to education from higher lifetime earnings. Thus the benefits of education are considerable, and any decisions regarding public support for education should take these social and non-market benefits into account.”

http://www.utoronto.ca/president/04conference/downloads/Riddell.pdf

I guess you are unaware that the 190 000 teachers in Ontario pay one hell of a lot of those Ontario taxes. I’d say more than their fair share. That’s because most hold two or more degrees, have taken additional qualification courses, and have worked their way up through a grid taking as many as 12 years to get where they are financially. My wife paid $14 000 in income tax last year. Multiply that times 190 000 teachers and that’s a $2 600 000 000 (2.6 BILLION) discount off the published cost of education.

Why?

Because, teachers are paid with tax dollars, and they return a good portion of those very same tax dollars back into the coffers of the Province of Ontario.

Mr. Agar, Education is a key that allows people to move up in the world, seek better jobs, and succeed in life. Education is one factor that affects job positions people hold, advance in their further career, the income they make, the taxes tey pay and the title they hold. The more educated a person is, the more prestige and power that person holds.

If producing educated people isn’t profitable then I don’t know what is.

I suggest that corporate profits, taxed at a mere 10% in Ontario (about the lowest in Canada), contribute little to our society. Producing widgets is far less important than producing productive citizens as well as those educated skilled workers and/or professionals that drive this Provinces economy.

I suppose you were home schooled and learned to be a broadcaster doing a correspondence course. I guess you were never mentored, encouraged, motivated or taught. You’ve done pretty well to be self-educated.

And, considering you only work three hours a day, that’s a pretty good gig. But getting minimum wage (because you have no formal education) for only 15 hours a week must make it difficult for you to make ends meet.

And, with all those commercials and breaks I bet you only work 45 minutes or less in an hour. No wonder you didn’t get into teaching. You have it pretty soft over there at good old CFRB! I wonder why you would bother to point fingers at hard working teachers though.

I think you get my point. If you don’t, may I suggest an advanced course in logic and reasoning? Even better – walk a mile in a teacher’s shoes.

Mr. Agar, the production values and the profits made from education are immeasurable. I remember learning about “Value added through manufacture” in economic geography a way back when. That’s when the process of milling and fabrication adds to the value of a product from that upon which it was valued as a raw material.

I say, value added through education is far more important than dollar values added through manufacture, don’t you. Taking a four year old and developing him/her as a useful, functioning participant in society 20 + years later is the kind of “Value added” I want to promote.

The development of people should be far more important than the development of “things”. And, when push comes to shove, educated people produce taxes at levels where society thrives and all citizens benefit.

Really, Mr. Agar, all of us profit from a good education: individuals, groups and society as a whole. A strong education system assures that this happens. Funding that system well and respecting those that do the job is an essential precondition for success.

Investing in education pays huge dividends for society.

So, when you make remarks about education not being profitable you are way out of line and sadly misinformed.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories. And to render them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree.”

“Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.”
Sadly, in Ontario, this is not the case.

Thank goodness teachers (the educated ones) are fighting for all of our liberties in their battle with Laurel Broten and the Liberal led attack on democratic process. It is unfortunate that you and others sling the arrows that make this noble quest more treacherous and difficult.

Remember, Mr. Agar, “Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.” You are what you are today because your teacher/mentors/instructors prepared you for being a decent talk show host.

So, Jerry, when you are at your next tea party put some sugar in your cup and please spread this message. It’s alright to be conservative but it’s dead wrong to spew misinformation and vitriol.

You know, sometimes I feel a bit like Abe Lincoln who said, “Teach the children so that it will not be necessary to teach the adults.”

I guess I’m trying to teach adults NOW!

And do you know what? In my experience, teaching adult’s common sense is a whole lot more difficult than teaching kids how to spell, read, write and do simple calculations.

All the Best,

Grumpy

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