Interesting. As a BC educated professional I was unaware of this history lesson by the esteemed mr Killian. Thank you!
Tension between teachers and government isn’t new: it took a half-century for all to learn their roles. First of two.
By Crawford Kilian, 6 Oct 2011, TheTyee.ca
How is Depression-era Premier Simon Fraser Tolmie mixed up in today’s provincial education spats? Just study the history.
“….According to historian Ian D. Parker, in 1931 the Tory government of Simon Fraser Tolmie got an ultimatum from the Vancouver business community: set up a business-named committee to find ways to improve the province’s finances in the face of the Depression. Tolmie agreed, and Vancouver accountant George Kidd chaired the committee. Like the Very Serious Persons in today’s recession, Kidd thought sharp cuts in government spending were the key to renewed prosperity: 25 per cent across the board, with special attention to education.
Kidd wanted to cut teacher salaries by 25 per cent, and abolish B.C. school boards (all 800 of them). He thought most students should leave school after Grade 6 and find jobs. Students aged 14 to 16 should pay half the costs of their education. Those over 16 could pay for it all.
Likewise for teachers, who would have to pay the whole cost of their training. Kidd also wanted to shut UBC down altogether, with scholarships for bright students at schools “elsewhere in the Dominion.”
This was in part a reaction to the Depression, but also to the “progressive” ideas that schools had adopted in the 1920s — ideas like vocational training. Progressives wanted more kids to have more education and a better chance for social mobility. Conservatives like Kidd regarded education as a way to identify a few bright kids who could go on to professional careers. The rest could go straight into the labour pool….” ( Killian)
Al Smith firstname.lastname@example.org @literateowl