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Spending, Budgets, Taxes and my approach

Education may be important but we are spending far more than other countries and getting less for our money. I intend to question everything. Nothing is a sacred cow that cannot be examined against what others are doing. Hamiltonians pay too much in taxes and half your taxes go toward Education. There are four main areas of overspending. We are being held to ransom with our children as hostage. People are depending on trustees to protect them but trustees are just going with the flow.

Take technology. This is the big change from when my generation went through. There is big money here, not only in puchasing, which the budget shows, but in teacher's time, which the budget does not separate out. Peoples' brains stop working because we are told ten times a day how necessary technology is. As an engineer, I can appreciate this but ask yourself how many kids actually enter technology (computer) careers. Very few. More are needed of course, but wasting the most expensive resources on the most reluctant kids is not the answer. We are also browbeaten into thinking every kid needs to know how to operate a computer and therefore we have to have a computer for every kid, etc. This is illogic that only benefits vendors. Nobody operates a computer, even you, unless you are a geek. Only geeks operate computers. What you and I do is operate programs or applications like word processing, spreadsheeting, browsers and mail. The problem with trying to teach kids how to operate applications is a) every program is different, b) every program will change before they leave school, and every company has its own software preferences. I defy you to find a child past grade 9 or 10 who cannot handle basic programs, even if their family does not own a computer. There is no need for the school to spend money this way EXCEPT for one group.

The situation is exactly like cars in the early years. The only students who studied cars were aspiring auto mechanics, engineers, etc. Schools did not buy cars for every classroom. Nobody needed to know how cars worked, and they figured out how to operate them on their own. Just because some older folk have not learned how to send email, do not assume that kids are generally in the same boat. This is not a task schools need to worry about, despite what everybody says!

The one skill that is needed is knowing how to TYPE. Period. That does not require a $1000 computer, only an old typewriter!

The one exception is geeks. The education system must expose all children to computers but NOT the usual applications, only computer PROGRAMMING. We need to identify the geeks among us who will become our software wizards. The schools hardly do this at all.

Asking students to do their work on a computer is also a big mistake. First, they forget how to write. Hello, pens and pencils are still used and the notion that an educated person should be unable to write legibly (& spell correctly) is nonsense, doctor prescriptions notwithstanding. Spell check is not a substitute. Secondly, this penalizes those in poverty, which we must avoid doing. Thirdly, we all know how computer glitches slow us down, how printer ink 'out' prevents kids from handing in their work on time. When the time comes they will figure things out. Have more faith in the kids.

The biggest area of overspending is gold plated salaries and pensions. No politician has had the guts to tackle this, and these are way out of whack with the average taxPAYER. This is huge. I'm not sure the taxpayers are fed up enough to vote a complete change in their representatives, especially in heavily unionized Ward 4. The second biggest drain on your pocket is that the system is far too top heavy. Much of this is due to the necessity of responding to the stream of unnecessary edicts from Queens Park. So you need to change Ward 4 thinking about sending an unending stream of NDP politicians to Queens Park. They just love the teachers union.

Other provinces have made headway in opening up the education system to local control by principals, allowing choice, vouchers, charter schools, reducing bureaucracy, all of which allows budgets to be trimmed without jeopardising educational standards. Indeed, scores go up. Ontario's unions have stymied every effort at making needed change. It's up to you to decide if you like spending more money than you need to for inferior results. China is catching up - can we afford not to get out of our rut?

Choosing your Trustee

You might have noticed that I have no signs up. Other than paying the registration fee this is a low cost effort to give you a choice that is quite distinct from the other candidates and one reflective of the same frugal attitude I hope to bring to the job. You should check out the incumbent here. If you click on a few trustees's names on the Trustee Page, you will notice how many committees each sit on as an indication of how much effort your incumbent is expending on your behalf. Quite shocking. But I'm under no illusions. The first name on the ballot will probably be elected by apathetic voters, (not you - you're reading this page!!!) but this candidate doesn't even live in Ward 4!!. The political class has rigged the system for their benefit, not yours. I will put forward a motion to put an end to this as well as to limit Trustees to a maximum of one term. One might argue for two terms but, no, the essence in a job like this is to carry the will of the people. Bureaucrats are supposed to carry expertise in running schools so the argument that politicians need to be experts is bogus. But they will always tell you this once they are in!

There you have it. You have an incumbent who appears to do squat, a non resident trying to head the list, a nice competitor who leans, I'm sure, well left of me. I will make no apology for being so fed up, I feel like I'm probably a little right of Attilla the Hun. The system needs purging, but hey, if you don't agree, feel free to make my life easier by not having to battle with all the leftie, politically correct, radical elites who run the system now. I sort of doubt that Hamilton, and this Ward in particular is up to facing the tidal wave of negative consequences that is just about upon us. I have been preparing my own future to avoid being sideswiped by the inflationary, high interest, high oil price future we will have to adapt to. Most candidates have no idea what is coming at us and how all our ideas will have to change in the next few decades. I do. Chose wisely. Good luck.

PS. The other reason for no signs is that in this age of Internet, I now feel it is up to citizens to research their candidates. Most either don't care or just let newspapers or boob toob do their thinking for them. Not my problem. I'll be a monkey's uncle if I'm going to put my family in hock to put up signs that say nothing of my ideas. If that's what persuades folks, they'll get the government they deserve. Which is the status quo. More than just trusteeship is at stake.











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Updated Oct 2010
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