Yet another Surrey murder, the Premiers deficit threat and why I support FSA tests.

Yet another shooting death in Surrey hit the news this morning.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/02/03/bc-surrey-shooting.html

http://www.theprovince.com/news/shot+death+Surrey/1246008/story.html

At least it was in Whalley and not down the street from me, but I’m sure that is of no comfort to the neighbours who lived in the area of the crime.  Watt’s up these days  in Surrey ? Seems to be no end in sight for my fellow Surrey residents, and I think it’s safe to say there is likely a fairly large percentage of  people who are carrying weapons of one kind of another in my fair city. God forbid you flip the wrong person the bird around here. You might end up dead.

What will it take for the mayor to take this seriously?  I don’t want to hear about any more questionable statistics, and I don’t want to hear about how she thinks it is the media’s fault for perpetuating this horrible feeling of fear, that she maintains residents don’t have. It simply is not true. Very few incidents happen in her Cloverdale neighbourhood, or in the South Surrey area where almost all councillors reside.

Gunfights in the middle of the day, a targeted hit in a residential neighbourhood, another shooting in an apartment block where families live and work and children play. We do not have the number of RCMP needed to take care of business here, that is  shamefully clear, and the reputation that Surrey has been working hard to shed has quickly gone down the tubes.  I can’t even fault people for thinking this way, because  honestly- lately I feel like I should be carrying “protection” when I go out.

Talk to some of the residents who have bought into those highrises in Whalley and you will hear how they feel duped because they thought the area was going to get better. And I laugh because a damn good portion of their evils were just pushed down the King George corridor to Newton and area.  This requires something  more concrete than flowers on the boulevards, and more than school children’s pride -inspiring projects. This requires strict attention to every aspect of criminal behavior in our city, starting at graffiti and petty theft/vandalism, to the more serious drug trafficking, production and murder.

Abbotsford Police chief  Bob Rich is trying a rather unique approach to handle his cities problems, by telling local businesses to refuse service to local gangsters and their families….. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/02/03/bc-refuse-gangsters-service-abbotsford.html

Hmm….. you go, Bob. And while this type of action might work if EVERYONE stands up at once and does it, more than likely it is going to lead to retaliatory violence and destruction taken against those very same business owners. And then what comes  of it? The police are supposed to be the ones to protect us, not ask us for help in handling their issues. The better move might have been to urge everyone to get their provincial and federal politicians asses moving and rehab our sentencing and penalties within the criminal justice system.

Watching Premier Gordon Campbell  last night, talk about how he is now forced to run a deficit after denouncing them for so long, I think no one could fail to notice how he succinctly pointed out that education and health care would be the areas of target should he try and run a balanced budget.  Nice one premier – get the people back in line with the fear of more cuts to two areas of our provincial system that have already been stressed under your leadership. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/02/02/bc-financial-update-campbell-hansen.html

http://www.theprovince.com/news/deficit+reach+billions+Campbell/1247275/story.html

Funny how there was no talk about cutting back on all these 2010 expenditures, or tolling the Sea to Sky to reduce expenditures and increase revenue( can you say cash cow ? ), or handing in his own expense account. I mean, of course we all have to do our part here, but I don’t think we can count on the Premier taking transit anytime soon… Perhaps the premier might want to look at it from the average taxpayers viewpoint. We are getting screwed over no matter how you look at it, or how you add the figures up. BC assessments might have been frozen, but property taxes are going up in almost every city. These Olympic projects still all have to be paid for, don’t they, so whose pocket does it all come out of in the end?

Yours  and mine, my friends – yours and mine.

After tons of time and money spent- I’m sure – BC  teachers have been told that they must administer the Foundation Skills Assessment tests they have been fighting to scrap. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/02/02/bc-teachers-fsa-bctf-labour.html

I have no doubt Irene Lanzinger will be beaking off about this for some time to come, but I think this is good news and let me tell you why I support the administration of the tests.

I have 4 kids, aged 17,15,4 and 7 months. One is graduating highschool this year, and one is entering kindergarten. In my many years dealing with teachers in the education system, things have changed drastically- and in my opinion- not for the better. While there are many wonderful educators still around, there are also some teachers out there who aren’t teaching because they love educating  and inspiring young minds, but because they like having so much time off. Hence, there is a lot of resentment for extra -curricular “duties”, as well as accountability.

Teachers never used to have computerized report cards, they were all handwritten with exceptional comments and insight offered to parents. We knew what our kids learned and didn’t learn because the teachers kept us in the loop, and alternatively, it was exceptionally easy to spot the teacher that wasn’t up to par. Teachers helped kids after school to get ahead and didn’t mind putting in what was required to get the job done.

All that has changed, and I see it all the time. Teachers out that door at 3pm like someone lit a fire under their ass. Teachers who don’t even comment on report cards. Teachers that resent any queries from parents and avoid answering questions if at all possible.

These tests not only tell us how our kids measure up, they tell us how our teachers measure up too. That’s not a bad thing in my eyes. Is there any job accountability currently? Not really. Am I worried about kids allegedly stressing out about these tests in particular? Nope ,no at all. Kids need a bit of competition skills and they need to learn how to deal with it. Too often we stress the ” everybody wins” theme in schools and its not producing a generation of kids who have no idea of what it means to strive for the best.  It is all in how this test – as with anything else- presented, and this excuse bites on the part of the teachers. Present it to the kids as if its a problem for you, and you are going to have a problem. Present it as if its no big deal, and you’ll get the usual whiners but no real objections.

If it were true they hate seeing kids stress out, then they would be objecting to all tests – not just this one.

Its time we stood up for more accountability on the part of the adults we entrust our children to for a good portion of their young lives. As parents its our both our responsibility and our duty to ensure our children have the best possible education, and I for one, welcome the opportunity to see how my children, their educators and their schools measure up.

Oh great…. sounds like the Police chopper  hovering around over head again…. time to install some bomb deploying capability on that thing so they can handle these idiots once and for all.