Monday, July 14, 2014

Well To Be Honest, Math Was Never One Of My Best Subjects In School ...

I get VERY tired about hearing how much independent schools are hurting the public school system, because they take financial resource away.
For those who have refused to believe this is untrue, or are being brainwashed by partisan comments from the BCTF and its partners, here are the FACTS:
Grants To Independent Schools:
The district operating grant consists of the per-pupil base allocation plus supplementary amounts added to produce the per-student district operating grant amount. Supplementary amounts are included for unique student needs (including learning disabilities, learning assistance, speech and language services, mild intellectual disabilities, English Language Learning, aboriginal education, and adult education programs), enrolment decline (greater than one percent per year), salary differentials, transportation and housing, and unique geographic factors. The supplementary factors account for the difference in school district operating grant amounts.

The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) eligible students enrolled in an independent school is a key component to calculating school grants. A full grant is paid for each full-time student who is enrolled for a minimum of 600 hours from July 1 to May 15 of the school year. Partial grants are paid for eligible partial students who receive less than 600 hours of instruction.

The designated percentages are as follows:

Group 1 = 50 percent of the local district's per-student grant amountGroup 2 = 35 percent of the local district's per-student grant amount


In others words, each student in private education, provides an additional 50% of their grants TOO the public school system. Parents of students in private schools, are in fact SUBSIDIZING students in public education.

And before anyone jumps all over private schools for being elitist, the vast majority have demographics as mixed as any public school, and parents that are, by and large, everyday hard working people that live in the same neighbourhoods as everyone else.
Well I did have a discussion about this with some folks on Twitter, and of course I got responses not favourable to what had to say. Here are just a few of the responses I received:
@AlanForseth I am also curious about why you assert private school receipt of $$ from public purse isn't a subsidy? 
Private education, despite govt contribution , is not available to all regardless of income
access to benefit of my tax contribution should be progressively weighted to those with less than me
my opinion on my own tax dollars. Should only be spent on that which benefits all, to which all have access
If you choose private nobody's forcing you. Pay full shot. Anything else to me is a subsidy
It's unfair for public $ to subsidize classrooms of 18-20 in private system when govt won't bargain CSC in public schools
Here are just a few of the responses I posted back (with apologies for the misspells but Twitter only gives you 140 characters including spaces):
How is getting only 50% of /student funding a subsidy. Students in private schools support public system to tune of Millions of $s 
Approx $8,100 / student in public education, while +/- $4,000 per student in private education. I CAN do the math & its clear 2 me
Paid same taxs yet when my kids asked 2B in private skool, how was receiving 50% LESS of the / student funding a subsidy
Bull Crap! Everyday working parents with students in privat schools have 50% of student grant handed over 2 support public schools
Parents pay same taxes, but they get 50%. Rest of taxes paid goes to SUBSIDIZE public education.
And one of mine final thoughts was:
We all have opinions on where taxes $ shud be spent, & think we'd agree lots wasted. Can't agree on this tho - thnx 4 exchange :)
What's my final thoughts on this? Well to be honest, Math was never one of my best subjects in school, but I have had to learn math for business, I in my opinion, I am pretty good at what I need to calculate.
No matter how others want to spin it, the Per Student payment for children in private
education is 50% of what it is for students in public schools (approximately $4,000 vs. $8,000). And, adding the roughly 76,000 students currently in private schools to the public school system would cost the government an additional Three Hundred and Four Million dollars per year (76,000 students times $4,000 each)!
AND ... most families with children in private school ARE NOT rich elitist people. They are everyday working families that chose to allocate the money the earn to have their children in private schools. They come from the ever shrinking lower and middle middle-class.
Enough!!! Leave these poor people alone. And ... let them continue to subsidize those who are in the public school system.
I'm Alan Forseth in Kamloops, with the thoughts of one conservative.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sadly, Another Candidate Has Been Denied Due Process, And The Right To Let Their Name Stand

Recently, I wrote a blog post regarding Justin Trudeau blocking people who held specific Christian beliefs from even having the chance to run to become candidates for the federal Liberal Party in the next general election.
I received a number of personal comments back, and most of them simply said it was his right to do so. One individual, who I greatly respect, said to me ... “The only people impinged by Trudeau's move are Liberal members and the Liberal Party is a PRIVATE organization well able to discriminate how and where it wishes ... Where will that end? Soon such policies backfire and those arguing for such draconian measures soon find themselves victims of similar moves.”  


Let me be clear, my point was that he was disallowing members of the Liberal Party from 'choosing' the person they felt best represented what they wished to see in a candidate. The fact he was 'well able to discriminate how and where he wishes', had nothing to do with it.

Well it seems that it is now the turn of the federal NDP, as a Facebook post from Paul Manly in the riding of Nainaimo – Ladysmith outlined. Here is just the first part of what he had to say:

Dear Friends and Supporters

I would like to thank you all for your support and encouragement for my bid for the nomination to be the NDP candidate for the new federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith. It is with regret that I write to tell you that the federal NDP has refused to allow me to stand as a candidate.

The local riding executive approved my candidacy for the nomination but the NDP National ...Director, Ann McGrath, has not approved me and the federal NDP executive will not let me stand as a candidate. 
I have done nothing illegal or immoral, nothing that I am embarrassed about or which breaks the NDP constitution. The reason my candidacy is being blocked is political ... 
Sadly, another candidate has been denied due process, and the right to let their name stand ... but more importantly, for constituents and NDP members, THEY have been denied the right to decide for themselves, who they wish to represent them.
As I mentioned, I have been critical of Baby Trudeau for this same injustice ... and will be equally critical of the Conservatives when and if the same happens.
Democracy is not, and should not be what the brass of a political party decide ... it should be the membership that has the opportunity to make these kinds of decisions.
I'm Alan Forseth in Kamloops, with the thoughts of one conservative.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

“Is there really NO class size limits anymore?”

In an opinion piece, “A Letter To B.C. Parents, From A StrikingTeacher” posted to the Huffington Post on Sunday June 30th, a teacher states:
"Dear parents, I believe that my employer shouldn't be able to load up my classroom without limits and expect that I'm going to provide a good service for your child. It's just not... humanly possible."

As I read that, I said to myself, “Is there really NO class size limits anymore?”

Now for those who aren't aware, I am in my late 50's, and so I remember classes when I went to school, when there were 30 to 32 students in a classroom ... and just one teacher, no assistants. Even with that many kids in the classroom, I honestly don't recall there being an issue with the teachers having the ability to spend time with us, nor for us to learn.
So back to the letter; would you agree it appears that the teacher is implying there are now no limit to class sizes?
Well nothing can be further from the truth as BC Teachers Federation President Jim Iker himself stated on January 27th of this year, in the Vancouver Sun ... and I quote;
" ... in 2002, kindergarten class sizes were capped at 20 students, while Grades 1 to 3 were capped at 22. Today, those limits are 22 and 24, so each primary class will have to go down by two students. In 2002, class sizes for Grades 4 to 12 were negotiated by each school district ... " 
As to the question of whether or not we need more teachers, well that same story in the Vancouver Sun went on to say:
"The total number of students in the province has also changed since 2002 ... this year, there are 558,985 students attending public schools in B.C. In 2002, there were 621,200 students." 
I guess my point in all of this is ... I wish the BCTF, and 'some' of its' members, would just stick to the facts, and not make them up as they go. 
Furthermore to that teacher, who ends her letter to BC parents with the following:
Dear parents, this strike has put your family (and mine) through the wringer -- I get that -- but somehow you are still with us in support. I acknowledge your sacrifices and inconveniences... I honk for you!” 

I want you to know that 'Yes' this strike is putting parents of school age children through the wringer ... 'Yes' I appreciate the work you put in teaching our children ... but 'No', I don't support your demands ... and finally, don't bother with the symbolic honking of the horn to me; it's just going to make me more annoyed at this whole situation.

The sad fact is that this action by the BCTF will impact everyone involved ... teachers, administration, support staff, parents, and especially students ... and the younger they are, the more trauma they will suffer.

The longer this goes on, there will be more negativity felt towards teachers. In fact, I believe the actions of the BCTF will have long-term negative results which will last for many many years. 

I'm Alan Forseth in Kamloops, with the thoughts of one conservative.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What a coward ... what a two-faced babble mouthed clown

Some of you may have already read this editorial, in the June 21st edition of the National Post, by Rex Murphy.  The opinion piece was entitled, “In Justin Trudeau’s world, Christians need not apply”.  ( 

This of course is just my opinion, but Trudeau deserves to be soundly rebuked by every Canadian that believes in the democratic rights of ALL Canadians.  The great golden boy Justin Trudeau --- the defender of the Charter of so-called Rights and Freedoms – is himself now telling card-carrying Liberal Party members, to take a hike and stuff their democratic rights in the crapper.

With his not to be questioned dictate, democracy to Justin Trudeau is from hereafter to be as follows … vote and do as I say; period, full stop.  No independent thought, or discussion, will be allowed.

Trudeau recently said he admired the Communist Chinese government, and you may remember news stories, with segments such as the following from the CBC late last year:

Liberal leader was asked which nation he admired most. He responded: "There's a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime."

That statement was upsetting for people who say they were wrongly imprisoned or tortured by the Chinese government for speaking out for democracy.

"Can I use the word 'foolish'"? said one member of the Federation for a Democratic China, characterizing Trudeau's words. The political group advocates for the democratization of China …

Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair also reacted with surprise to the Liberal leader's words, calling it "a bit silly" to laud China rather than to praise democratic values.

Trudeau was praising a government known for being a basic dictatorship.  Well it now seems this ‘silly’ and ‘foolish’ leader of a federal political party is now taking a page from their totalitarian playbook of the Chinese Communist Party; NO dissent will be allowed.

What's wrong mini-Pierre; are you afraid to give Liberal Party members the right to choose who they wish to represent them? Are you afraid to let Canadians exercise their democratic rights? 

What a coward ... what a two-faced babble mouthed clown.

Democracy means allowing Canadians to vote for who they want to vote for, NOT who you select for them to vote for!

The next federal election cannot come soon enough, when Canadians can hopefully banish this so-called second-coming of Trudeaumania, to the scrap heap where he belongs.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Now before anyone says I am teacher bashing, I am NOT

WOW … it’s a long time since I’ve been here, but I’m back today.
BC classrooms now empty in dispute
between BCTF and the BC government
I thought I would do a little exercise with regards to wages and salaries in BC, and try putting teacher’s pay in perspective. I have had to do what I believe to be a fairly accurate calculation on an hourly wage for teachers (as noted in my calculations below), but any teachers / friends are welcome to correct me.
Let’s start with Statistics Canada, which states the ‘average’ teacher’s salary in BC is $64,131 per year.
I then went to the BC Stats website to look at a long list of wages and salaries in BC  Here are a number of professional, career, and industrial careers … and the hourly wage paid.  The numbers quoted below are for the most frequently page wage (not the lowest or highest).  Pease note I am not saying these jobs are equal to what a teacher does, only that most have a combination that includes a combination (any or all) of the following … training / education, responsibility for safety, professionalism, and legal obligations.
Community and Social Service Worker: $18.83
Post-Secondary Teaching and Research Assistant:  $22.08
Automotive Service Technician / Truck and Bus Mechanics: $25.67
Welders and Related Machine Operators: $27.91
Electrician: $27.03
Financial Auditors and Accountants: $29.32
Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic: $30.85
Computer Programmer and Information Systems Managers:  $30.92
Insurance, Real Estate and Financial Brokerage ‘Managers’: $36.32
Registered Nurses: $36.59
Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management: $36.73
Business Development Officers: $37.91
Senior Managers (Goods Production, Utilities, Transportation, and Construction): $39.49

And now … back to BC teachers:

52 weeks – 8 weeks off for Summer = 44 weeks
44 weeks – 3 (Christmas, Spring Break, Easter) = 41 weeks
41 weeks multiplied by 5 work days per week = 205 days
205 days – 3 stats (BC Day, May Day, and Remembrance Day – others already in above days not worked) = 202

Again, this is just a ballpark figure, so the figure of 202 days worked per year is my calculation based on the above.  Please note it also does not include the non-instruction days off which used to be called Professional Development days)

Let’s say the teaching / classroom time per day is 6 hours; from there let’s add 45 minutes on the front end (at school) for prep, and 45 at the end (at school) to wrap-up the day – we now have 7.5 hours per day.  I’m just guessing, but for each day ‘worked’ I’m going to add another 1.5 hours at home for prep and marking; we now have 9 hours per day.

202 instructional days times 9 hours per day equals a total of 1818 hours worked.

The average salary, paid to BC teachers, of $64,131 divided by 1818 equals $35.27 per hour … that seems not bad to me given the above noted salaries, and before the current salary offer is added in to the equation. 

Now before anyone says I am teacher bashing, I am NOT.  I am simply saying that the salary they receive, is a good one.  In other words, the raise being offered by the BC Government is more than generous!

The government is NOT off the hook however; more money does need to go into classrooms so there can be better services delivered to students … especially those with special needs.  That is NOT however something I believe is a part of contract negotiations, that is something that each of us as parents need to demand of government.

These just my thoughts … what do you think?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Today I am the Scout Troop leader, and every Scout night, I measure my actions by the way my scout leader taught me

It seems to me that BC Conservative Party leadership candidate Dan Brooks, really has a way of connecting with people.  I have seem it through my own interactions with him ... and in observing him speaking with, and listening to, others.

The other day I had a recent letter passed to me by an old acquaintance of Dan's.  I think it speaks to the character of who Dan is ... how, if elected, he will lead the BC Conservative Party ... and from there show the leadership needed to govern our province, when elected to the legislature, with our team of BC Conservative MLA's.

Have a read, and see what you think:

As a young man in the Scouts Canada program I experienced first hand the great out doors of Beautiful British Columbia. From the seat of a canoe and under the shoulder straps of my first back pack I learned to enjoy nature and recognize the testimony it presents of the beauty of life.

But Scouts, believe it or nor,  wasn’t always so pleasant.

Putting several teenage boys together in a classroom or out in the wild can be quite hectic, and even dangerous. Dan Brooks knew how to take those – so called – difficult years of a boys life and mold them into the “bar” of his life.

On more than one occasion in my adult life I have found myself asking; “If this were scouts, would I be giving up?”

Three lessons – in particular – have always stuck with me and pushed me to stretch myself to greater heights.

The first; Respect, and we never forgot it. Second; Chap stick, thank goodness we had it. And third; “Your going to do it, your going to like it, and your going to be happy.”

On Dan’s first scout night as our newly called leader, he taught us to respect ourselves, girls and women, your parents and leaders, and the out doors. The second scout meeting he taught the same principal. The third meeting, once again; we learned respect. Every meeting and scout camp there after we learned to respect.

I still find myself naturally opening doors for women, looking some one in the eye when they are speaking to me, listening when being spoken to or taught, having something of value to add, and reporting back. A habit developed as a boy.

Second; chap stick. It’s a long, involved story of which I urge you to ask Dan about yourself, but for me the memory and life lesson was behind the funny experience. It happened on a cold winter night in the shoulder deep snow between home and Kennedy lakes.  The younger scouts stayed at home lake while Dan and the rest of us broke our own trail and headed for Kennedy – a distance of approximately 8 km’s. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I have enough Drama in my life right now, and I don't really need to add any fuel to the fire

Greetings friends ... I have been a little on the busy side lately, and not able to write as often as I'd like to on the Conservative Thoughts blog.  I just recently had a conversation the other day however, and thought that it would be worthwhile sharing it with you.

I sent out an email blast last week, about stops that BC Conservative Party leadership candidate Dan Brooks would be making.  This is that conversation, which may strike a cord with you -- I know it will with some.

This is an exciting time for our party, as we move forward to a new and brighter future.

Part of that of course is the current campaign now underway to elect the next leader of OUR party.

I am pleased to let you know that BC Conservative Party leadership candidate Dan Brooks will be making stops in ___ xyz city ___ on ___ November 123 ___.

I am contacting you today to see if you will be able to get together and meet with Dan ... and ask any questions you may have about him and the future of the BC Conservative Party.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I looking forward to hearing from you  ... alan

Here is an edited version of the response I received back:


I don't think I will be attending. I have enough Drama in my life right now, and I don't really need to add any fuel to the fire.  

Thank-you for the invite, and please keep me updated with Party news.

I wish you and Dan all the best in rebuilding the Party.


Scott __ abc ___

Well I let that discourage me for a bit, but then I said to myself, 'He hasn't said he's given up on the party ... only that he's had enough of all the turmoil'.  So, I decided to take a chance (maybe a risk), and send a reply back:

Thanks Scott ... I appreciate your follow-up, and the sincerity of your comments about the party.

I do not say this with any disrespect ... it is just an observation that I think 'may' be close to hitting the mark.  I think perhaps you are likely like some others in the party; demoralized and discouraged, and wondering, "Do I really want to do this again?"

I feel comfortable in making this observation because it is a place I too have been.

Until this years AGM, I was a Regional Director with the Party for three years.  I got to experience first hand the cancer that was creating a storm of dissent within the party; it was not a place, or a time, that I would wish on anyone. Despite that I (and others) hung in because we believed there must be a true conservative voice in BC -- not a watered down version represented by Christy Clark and the BC Liberals.

I also volunteered as the campaign manager for our Kamloops South Thompson candidate in the May general election.  There were too few of us on our team, but those we had, put in a huge effort to do the work of many -- again because we believed there had to be a true conservative option for people to vote for. Sadly the damage done by the dissidents in our party, had eroded the support we had been gaining, and as you know, we elected no members to the legislature in May.

At that point my discouragement was pretty much complete, and I was close to throwing in the towel.  Then Dan Brooks stepped forward and said he was seeking to lead the BC Conservatives. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone want to do that?"

I had the opportunity to meet and speak with him on several occasions, and every time I did, I heard him speak with power and passion about conservatism ... I heard him speak bout empowering the grassroots ... and making sure that BC Conservatives never again go through the kind of infighting that took place last year.

Personally, I would like to do more than keep you
'updated with Party news' ... and while I appreciate that you wish Dan 'all the best in rebuilding the Party' ... we need all hands on deck for that to happen.

I ask for you to give one hour of your time, and see if Dan makes you a believer that we can indeed create a party that the people of BC can support, starting first of all by governing ourselves in a way that can give others the confidence they'll need to come on board with us.

Its one hour of your time ... but I can't think of a better way to spend it.  You'll see and hear first hand from Dan -- get your own impression of him -- and see for yourself the passion that he has to make our province a better place for all British Columbians.

Thank you for letting me share a few of my thoughts with you ... and I hope you'll join Dan in ___ xyz city
... alan

Okay, so maybe I took a little risk in sending that, but again, I thought it was worth it, and apparently it was because Scott did send an email back to me: