Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

may day message from the frontlines

I found this comment by Kim Solga in response to Margaret Wente's despicable rant about the Quebec student protestors and thought I should post it here. I am not linking to the Wente column because it is so hateful but you can find it over at the Globe and Mail.

Kim made her comment at 5:01 AM on May 1, 2012. And it seems like a perfect May Day post. Thank you Kim! Happy May Day everybody.

I looked up Kim Solga and found these links - this and this. Not sure if this is the same Kim Solga or not but it looks like a good match.

Update: I emailed Kim and it is the Kim in the links. She sent me a lovely reply. She is a good ally in the Please Wake Up Brigade.

And here are those good words randomly tucked away amongst almost 1200 other comments:
I'm constantly amazed at how easily many who comment miss the larger picture of columns like these. C'mon, everyone - think critically about this story!

Are Quebec's students spoiled brats? I have no idea - I don't know any of them. The media image isn't pretty, but, then, the media isn't a public service - it's a for-profit industry in this country. For-profit industries are not generally kind to those invested in not-for-profit ideals.

Are all these students Arts and Humanities majors? Again, I doubt it - there's no census-taker in the crowd, and Stephen Harper has certainly assured StatsCan will be unavailable for comment - but it's very easy to make blind and frequently wholly inaccurate assumptions about demographics.

Every one of us who has graduated from a Canadian university has benefitted - and rightly so - from subsidized schooling. Whether you are successful or not is a matter of many factors - including how our culture, at any given moment, has chosen (or been pushed, by a mix of government and private interests) to value certain kinds of "knowledge" over others. Right now, we're encouraged to believe that only science and business grads will get jobs later, because that's the "real" knowledge that "matters". In fact, smart students across the disciplinary spectrum will find work, because the industries thriving the most right now are those that are creative and adaptive. Just take a look at Apple, famous not just for great computers but also for hiring a lot of very different kinds of people with a wide variety of skills.

As for the rest of us? Sorry, Ms Wente, but we are in fact victims of neoliberal capital's power to pull the wool over our eyes. We're oddly back to the same aggravated discourse about winners and losers, science and business vs everything else that we were having in 2007-08, before the bottom fell out of the markets. Why have the consequences of that fall-out adversely affected the middle classes, and not those far higher up the food chain? And why are we not angrier about it?

Perhaps we're all too busy trying to blame Quebec's postsecondary students for a much, much larger problem.
Update 2: Erika Shaker has another excellent response to Lady Wente over on Rabble.

Monday, April 30, 2012

all sizzle...

Wendell writes on his blog about another industry-driven approach to adult literacy: "with due respect"
"There's a myth that Business is a vital stakeholder in literacy; that Business supports adult literacy work, though it naturally wants us to spend conservatively. But there is no such thing as Business. There are only business people. Some of them are friends of literacy. Some of them are not."
Food for thought.