Ignored or coddled?

I am always reluctant to wade into areas where I have limited knowledge but I am trying to understand this broader link between ‘pride of place’ and economic development – or lack thereof. 

So like most folks, I suspect, when I read this I was initially angered.   The National Art Gallery purchases 400 pieces of art over a three year period and not a single piece from New Brunswick.    Only one piece from all of Atlantic Canada made the cut according to this article.

Is New Brunswick marginalized and irrelevant – even in relation to our size?  Does it matter?

But then there is the broader narrative about no New Brunswickers making the Olympics,  New Brunswickers always underperforming relative to size in the music biz and a dozen other examples.  I have written in the past about the topic of ‘excellence’ and if it is important to promote it in a place such as this.

The small province argument gets thrown back whenever a discussion like this takes place – but even relative to size, we still tend to underperform.  Good old Matt Stairs is hanging in there but other than that….

There has got to be a right way to marry these issues of the drive for equality and the need to strive for excellence.  

Maybe we need to set a baseline of equality and then support excellence above than – and I’m not just talking about arts and sports.   Think about entrepreneurship too and other aspects of our society. 

It’s a ramble here to be sure but think about the pride that Monctonians felt when they hosted a relatively trivial CFL game last year.    As a culture, we need symbols – we need to feel that this place can produce world – class – fill in the blank.  It helps reinforce this pride of place idea and I think that will be even more importatnt in the coming years.

I realize this topic is well outside the band of normal discussion here but I think it matters.

27 thoughts on “Ignored or coddled?

  1. How much of this do you think is a result of an anti-elitist mentality in the province? When was the last time an institution was created in this province to take those at the very top of the bell curve, and transform them into the future pioneers of the province?

    This may seem like a trivial example, but I look back to my time in middle school and high school where I managed to place high regionally in math competitions simply on natural talent, with an immense amount of frustration. I had no support whatsoever to push me above that. The fact that I placed 3rd in Atlantic Canada was ‘good enough’ for some kid from Miramichi – forget that I wouldn’t have placed in the top 500 in the country. It wasn’t that these people were any smarter, it was that they simply knew facts and formulae at that age that I didn’t as a result of their education, and that for half the questions I read on these tests I wouldn’t learn the basic theory to until 2 or three years later. How does that do anything but train a person to feel inferior?

    We should be taking our top talent, embracing they elite status, and giving them an expanded set of expectations and access to the necessary knowledge and support to reach those expectations. Currently, all that we do is accept them as an outlier and continue to focus on trying to be ‘fair’ to the other students in the classroom. It’s complete nonsense.

    Each year we continue to produce more and more people who are perfectly content working for somebody else and accepting that innovation is always something that comes from the outside. If you train the entire population to think that ‘finding a job’ is what you do with a university education, and for ‘some reason’ jobs are magically appearing in the province, how could you expect them not to leave? The solution isn’t to try to incentivize young people to stay here, it is to embrace to best, and let them create the jobs and the creative environment that will make New Brunswick a mecca for outside talent, and a home to the talent that is already here. But that will never happen as long as we continue to average out our population as we have.

  2. The title needs more jam-I don’t think coddled is the opposite of ignored. But art is a business and I just had the thought that Mr. Campbell would probably maybe reach a larger audience and really fire up readers IF the blog were about art. Because I think this one story sums up the whole federal-provincial relationship (though I think David would be crucified if he dared suggest-‘we need to bring big name artists into New Brunswick”:)

    I did some research before commenting, and this is definitely a big subject, and has a lot to do with economic development. Art is a business. Art is promotion. Forget what you’ve heard about Munk hanging his paintings in the woods, no artist does that anymore. They HYPE. And New Brunswickers have never been big on hyping themselves. NB is the Canada of Canada. I remember a friend who wanted to do a documentary on “New Brunswick’s inferiority complex”, which ironically died because he thought it would be a failure! That does play into when Mr. Campbell talks about NB selling itself-the norm MAY be what he’s heard often-NB officials saying “why would anybody want to come here?”

    Just for fun I looked at about half the artists they were featuring at the NAG, and they were almost ALL ‘conceptual artists’. Meaning, they took something weird and made a weird shape so that critics could spend hours imparting their own opinion of the world through the piece.

    New Brunswick is short on conceptual art. New Brunswick is a ‘company town’. Can you even imagine some of these shows in St. John? Maybe in Fredericton or Moncton or Sackville where there’s at least a small supply of, as Charles Leblanc constantly tirades-‘snobs’.

    The other problem, I hate to say, may be political. In the newspaper article did you notice that ALL the artists mentioned were francophone? I’m not really surprised, the french have always had a grander opinion of art than the english. Hopefully this will make people angrier-angry enough to put art at center stage. Here in Ontario I know people who take ‘Film’ in HIGH SCHOOL. But to play devil’s advocate-quick, name five pieces of NB art you’ve seen in the last DECADE. I’ve seen lots of ‘folk art’, and thats where the rub comes in, because the NAG doesn’t consider that ‘art’. But I looked at what they call art, and there definitely should be a place for NB artists-otherwise, I hate to tell them, but its not the ‘NATIONAL Gallery’.

    But there is something to be said for the fact that the big ‘art’ news in the province never has to do with ‘art’. You’ll never find a mention of an NB artist at the Irving rags, but when Gene Simmons has a hamburger in Ontario its in the paper. There is virtually never a mention of a gallery opening or NB artist ever, but just the hint that maybe U2 might be playing in Moncton this summer has three stories in a week. That doesn’t help.

  3. Sorry to say, I think the above explains WHY there may be an ‘anti elitist’ mentality. The idea that artists are somehow ‘genius’, or that those who do good in math are ‘gifted’ or that entrepreneurs are to be coddled and put above the crowd is preposterous. Bill Gates couldn’t get through university or run a business until Steve Jobs helped him out. Lazaridis here at RIM didn’t get past second year of computer science. And Einstein couldn’t get a faculty position.

    It is quite oftener the ‘outsiders’ that make an entrepreneurial and social impact. You think JD Irving was a ‘genius’? We probably never would have heard of Isaac Newton if it hadn’t beaten up a kid in primary school which gave him the confidence to go against the wishes of all his peers and run the family farm instead of going to cambridge.

    I agree with the above that it is about pushing people, but to say that it is about picking CERTAIN people and pushing them as the ‘best and brightest’ is absurd. You can find a ‘Rain Man’ with certain gifts-that doesn’t mean they’ll know how to run a company, or even WANT to run a company. That’s why I say that hopefully this will make enough people angry that they will start looking at their society differently. You can see that politically people are just starting to wake up, but it really takes something OUTSIDE politics to really motivate people, maybe because people are so jaded about politics. But it takes something like art or sports for people to really mobilize around (or selling public institutions:)

    This isn’t COMPLETELY the fault of the National Gallery, because as they say, they should be LOOKING a lot harder, and not just paying attention to artists who happen to have a good manager.

  4. For those interested in the facts, the Telegraph Journal has a weekly section, Salon, on arts in New Brunswick highlighting New Brunswick art galleries and artists. Here is the latest version: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/salon/

    The Daily Gleaner has a reporter assigned to a weekly column on art openings. There are several excellent galleries in New Brunswick who go out of their way to feature and support New Brunswick artists. Additionally, our Provincial Art Gallery, the Beaverbrook, often has exhibits that feature New Brunswick artists, including conceptual art. This story highlights an example:

    So, rather than criticizing our reporting, our galleries or our artists, our energies should be directed towards educating the National galleries about the wealth of talent in New Brunswick.

  5. And by the way, Bill Gates had an SAT score of 1590, and that university that he ‘dropped out of’ was Harvard. Sergey Brin also ‘dropped out’ of Stanford when his business (Google) started to take off. Mark Zuckerberg also got an almost perfect SAT score and ‘dropped out’ of Harvard to start Facebook. These aren’t coincidences.

  6. ” Bill Gates couldn’t get through university or run a business until Steve Jobs helped him out. Lazaridis here at RIM didn’t get past second year of computer science. And Einstein couldn’t get a faculty position. ”

    In the interests of accuracy:

    Gates had parents wealthy enough to send him to a private school that, luckily, had a workstation connected to a local computer mainframe. Gates learned that he loved computing and founded his own business. Jobs had nothing to do with it. Seems to me Gates is a great example of someone who had talent and had that talent nurtured, exactly what Ryan Brideau is talking about.

    Laziridis (who famously won a prize when he was in middle school for reading every science text in the local library in Windsor) dropped out of uni (he did not fail and was just a few months from graduation) after his company received a $500,000 contract from GM. That contract was based on computer pgms Laziridis had already written while a student, and that contract provided Laziridis and his partners with the resources needed to set up RIM. Seriously, why stay in school if someone offers you lots of bucks to do what you love doing?

    Einstein did get a faculty position eventually. In those days, it was much harder to get a faculty position than today, and, after his schooling, was probably lucky to get the job that gave him the time to work on his grand theories.

    If NBers paid as much attention to those who excelled in math as to those who can chase a puck around, we might be better off.

  7. I did some research before commenting, and this is definitely a big subject, and has a lot to do with economic development. Art is a business. Art is promotion.

    mikel, Sackville, NB is the closest place where there is a singular approach of art as a means for ED. Also, see Alec Bruce for a formal speech on this subject. He’s a big believer in this stuff.

  8. “The Daily Gleaner has a reporter assigned to a weekly column on art openings.”

    By point of comparison, the Gleaner has 3 or 4 sports ‘writers’.

  9. For Anon, there is a big difference between having an arts section and pushing arts as a culture. I agree about pushing the art scene onto the NAG, but there is also a push that has to happen on the culture. When art is relegated to the back pages of a newspaper where most people ignore it, thats not really pushing the scene. As for artist’s, what you’ll usually find is that if there is a specific story related to an artist you’ll find a story, but only ONE article-and then that artist is forgotten. However, if there is a big sports event, it will be front page. Heck, often if some seniors are having a bridge tournament it will be front page. And that doesn’t even get into music. Of course there is the point that there is only so much that Irving can do.

    For Ryan, you misunderstand, I think EVERY person deserves to have their gifts nurtured. As I know that that doesn’t go on in NB any more than anywhere else in Canada (except maybe Montessori schools), then obviously its not what is wrong with the province’s mentality-although I’d argue against a province having only ONE mentality.

  10. There are many reasons why government should support the arts; they’re just not artistic ones.

  11. I meant Paul Allen, not Steve Jobs. My point was that you don’t know WHO is going to become the next Zuckerburg (especially since Facebook is lowbrow programming and there was never any corporate intent in the first place). The anecdote may not be true, but its still a fitting story that Einstein failed Math. That he could find a faculty position LATER is irrelevant. He often stated that the best education he could get was to work in the patent office and see everything that came through.
    All Bill Gates showed was a proclivity towards programming..so what? You think that other students should be shafted in a class because one student seems more interested? That person is going to be more interested no matter what-that kid is going to play guitar if thats what he loves whether his parents or teachers approve or not. I certainly wasn’t commenting on their intelligence, some of the brightest people I know dropped out of school, thats particularly true of business school. Today if you happen to love math, you have no excuse to blame the school system for ‘slowing you down’ because the internet is filled with everything you could ever imagine.
    There is a difference here though because I am referring to the above example about public education. I’m not talking about social norms that have the DG with 4 sports reporters. Artists in particular often come from troubled lives, so ANY person that states enough interest to put a piece of work forward should be encouraged. And thats not being elitist because I have a pretty broad view of ‘art’. Each year we attend the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair which has exhibits from all over canada-price winning chickens and ducks and jam, and butter sculptures, you name it. And I regularly go looking for an NB presence, but rarely find even one. Yet PEI has a HUGE presence at the fair. NB has quite a rich tradition in fairs and exhibitions, yet you virtually never hear anything about them.
    But like I said, EVERY student and person should have their skills developed. Maybe if there were more attention paid to Bill Gates when he routinely used his programming skills to book himself more computer time and change classes around, then perhaps there wouldn’t be such a history of anti-competitive behaviour on the part of Microsoft.

    EVERY person is a potential artist, and a person who fails math this year could be an award winning mathematician someday-you never know. In fact history is replete with people who didn’t find their vocation until late in life. Heck, Dostoyesvsky was an drunken epileptic who was a compulsive gambler yet churned out several of the most challenging novels western civilization has seen. And I’ve checked around, David Richards books aren’t even taught in the NB public educational system. We had to read ‘Each Mans Son’ which was a horribly depressing tale of violence from Cape Breton, so nobody can tell me NONE of Adams books are suitable.

  12. 1) That story about Einstein is a myth. His brain was slow to develop at an early age, but as he grew older he was taken under the wing of a mentor that introduced him to mathematics and physics – exactly what I’m recommending, only on a larger scale. Once his gifts were supported, well, the rest is history.

    2) The internet is not a substitute for guided learning of advanced topics, and of helping to grow a person’s level of confidence in performing at that national or international stage. That takes people with experience.

    3) Many of the public classes are already considered difficult by most of the students in them – there is no unfairness there. What is unfair is that students who are performing at a higher level are operating well below their potential and in the process are developing inferiority complexes having grown up in a otherwise wonderful province.

    3) I read two David Adams Richards books in my grade 11 class, and have read many since. I was the only person I knew who actually admitted to enjoying them.

  13. “EVERY person is a potential artist, and a person who fails math this year could be an award winning mathematician someday-you never know.”

    Not sure about that; many people have talent in particular areas and that talent tends to shine thru. The point Brideau was trying to make, IMHO, is that talent should be supported. Not just hockey talent, but talent and excellence in maths and science. We don’t do that here.

    “I meant Paul Allen, not Steve Jobs.”
    “The anecdote may not be true”

    Either way, your statement was incorrect. And the rest of your post studiously misses the points others have raised.

  14. Your interpretation doesn’t seem correct. What he said was that “We should be taking our top talent, embracing they elite status”

    “Embracing elite status” is simply replacing one problem with another. This blog is specifically about ARTS, its you guys who are turning it into an argument about math and science. Ok, we get it, you feel slighted that you didn’t get the adulation that jocks did, there’s a point where you have to get over it. Ryan is saying the ‘elite’ should be different, Richard is saying that the ‘elite’ should include a couple more groups. I’m saying that EVERY person is unique and just because one SEEMS to do better in school is no reason for ‘elite status’. You might think you’re special because you got an A in physics, but you still may end up a low wage tech.

    That’s fine if you think that, but there is really no rationale behind it. David has posted before that ‘cultural’ industries account for more growth in jobs than science and/or math. Guess what, you don’t need to be a genius to draw a picture. You don’t need to be ‘elite’ to pick up a video camera and develop a documentary on a pertinent issue that may affect society. You don’t need to be a genius to organize a school production of Godspell, or whatever. And if you’ve ever seen ‘conceptual art’, which frankly I don’t get, but you don’t need to have any kind of intellectual ‘skill’-you just have to have the inspiration and the desire.

    As for Einstein, I said it was probably anecdotal,but it still makes the point. In his case, he states that he was far ahead in most of his classes and did much of the work on his own. If a student is ahead in public school, where is the evidence they are ‘held back’? If they need ‘guidance from people with experience’ then math texts from every grade are available online. There are forums for virtually every topic out there known to man where you can get help and ask questions. If you are so inclined you could be doing quantum mechanics in grade 10.

    When I look at the canadian educational system, and the NB one in particular, a big problem I don’t see is “gee, those poor kids that are getting good marks in maths and sciences….what WILL become of them?”

    In contrast, there aren’t even ANY arts courses even offered in most high schools. We’re talking about ARTS here guys, not science. So I’ll just add to Richards “Not just hockey talent, not just maths and science….but ALL talent, specifically artistic talent”. I think we all agree though, that the ‘system’ needs to do better.

  15. Actually, I want to apologize a bit because I never thought that through. There obviously is an ‘elite’ of artists in NB, those who get gallery shows, etc., and we are talking about them not getting national attention. Elite is a bad word, but maybe we’re stuck with it. At the public school level, my point is that you want to have an ‘elite’ forum for virtually every group, or every kid (there’s no reason why ANY kid should have an ‘inferiority complex’ from public school). Every kid should be part of an ‘elite’ in whatever happens to interest them. And because of the nature of the economy, there is no knowing which elite forum is going to churn out the most ROI. One of the biggest ROI’s I know of is Andrew Alexander who funded Second City in Toronto. This almost single handedly built the comedy of SCTV and contributed hugely to Toronto being a film centre. In NB, there may be lots of artists, but there aren’t the business people who know how to capitalize on it.

    I remember reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and one passage always stuck in my mind where the guy is getting a part welded. He watches the guy do it, and sees him do it so well that it truly is a ‘work of art’. Of course we live in a society that sees such things as ridiculous, and even when complimented the welder in the story thinks its ridiculous. Anybody that knows about welding though, knows that its very true, its a skill that done well transforms into art.

    And for ‘elite’, when I was in school the kids who took things like shop and technical training were considered almost the dumbest of the dumb, partly no doubt because they were almost guaranteed jobs. But woodworking, welding, and all those things are now an integral part of art. If ALL the subjects taught in the school were elevated to the point that sports possess, then there would be an ‘elite’ in so many disciplines that every student would be part of one. That’s not the scenario I gathered from Ryan and Richard, but if that was their point then I agree and apologize for misconstruing it.
    The beauty of art is that it is all encompassing, and there is relatively no stigma. In science people tend to focus on grades and testing. Talent DOES tend to ‘shine through’, but in a lot of different ways. Many artists are not appreciated in their own time, and many are outsiders whose art clashes heavily with public norms of the time. We live in a society where if you want to get the public riled, you just tell them how many tax dollars ‘subsidized’ an artist.

    For Ryan’s point, OK, I concede that you foster those kids in math. But right now there is so little emphasis on maths and sciences, that I would say resources should go FIRST to those who struggle with it.

    And actually, when I was in school it WAS as Ryan said. In chemistry we had eight lab groups. The smartest kids were ‘encouraged’ by always being put together in lab group one. Those kids were always noted also for spending their lunch hours with the chemistry teachers. There WAS that ‘elitism’ that had teachers favouring kids they liked. Unfortunately, teachers are bad judges of long term success and this meant neglecting all the other kids. That has changed, and I’m glad it has. It took my sister DECADES to get over her hatred of science to the point where in her forties she finally went to school to learn how to be an x-ray technician. She was the only student in the state of Maine to get almost perfect marks in all of her science courses.

  16. “Ryan is saying the ‘elite’ should be different, Richard is saying that the ‘elite’ should include a couple more groups.”

    No that is not what either of us is saying. We are saying that talent should be recognized and nurtured. That isn’t elitism, its common sense to encourage those who are highly talented in one area or another. Here we worship hockey and nurture hockey talent – most everything else gets left behind. We have limited resources, so those resources in education should be used to develop the talent most likely to be of benefit to the area. That’s not hockey, but it’s hockey that gets the money. Many parents hopes their kid will be an NHLer, but we’d be better off if they hoped the kids would be neuroscientists or software developers. If those pursuits got more nurturing, we’d be more likely to benefit economically.

    “If a student is ahead in public school, where is the evidence they are ‘held back’?”

    How much press or attention is rec’d by chess champions or school science champions, compared to the local HS hockey team? Fact is without encouragement or support, enthusiasm often drops off quickly. I know plenty of people with artistic talent who chose, at a young age, to pursue other areas? Why? No one supported or recognized their talent.

    ” “gee, those poor kids that are getting good marks in maths and sciences….what WILL become of them?” ”

    That is your problem, I agree. What becomes of them is that they leave NB, if they have any sense. God knows, going to the local uni is a mistake, although for many, that is probably all that is affordable.

  17. “We are saying that talent should be recognized and nurtured”

    No, Ryan WASN”T saying that, it was Ryan that used the term ‘elite’, not me (or you). He was saying that class resources should be used to spur these ‘elites’ and not worry about ‘fairness’ (his term) in the classroom. Obviously, I am not arguing that talent shouldn’t be recognized or nurtured-depending of course on what is recognized as ‘talent’.

    I don’t entirely agree with that account though. How many kids read the paper? My ‘little brother’ was taught how to program a game for his Wii, and all his friends now think he’s a god. Video games is what kids care about, its ADULTS that care about sports, and usually the most messed up kids end up being the kids whose parents deluded them with dreams of grandeur that come crashing down. So now you are saying that should be done with kids who like chess as well? But more likely your saying that ALL things should be in moderation, and I quite agree.

    I do agree with the analysis of the media bias, to be more fair, it would include all kinds of sports. We can measure that reaction with the fact that all that coverage hasn’t seemed to help get kids INTERESTED in sports, we have a fat generation coming along.

    I also agree that saying the Gleaner ‘supports’ arts because it has an arts section-which is mostly ads, is like saying that CBC supports science because it has ‘Quirks and Quorks’ on saturdays. Here though, Irving may say they’re doing all they can, but the biggest failing is that Irving is so anti competitive that no new voices can even come along, as HERE did for a short while.

    But like I said, we agree about the ‘support’ aspect. The accounting world is full of drummers with dashed dreams. And its still the case that most canadian musicians head down south to make any kind of name. Every kid should be supported no matter if their ‘talent’ is playing video games (which are extremely complex nowadays) or science or whatever. I agree with the focus on science, but thats a different discussion, we’re talking about arts here. The problem seems to be that kids are simply not supported if their interest lies outside the curriculum, and having just watched last year’s documentary on Rush, thats something that has been the case for a LONG time.

    The question is, how do you go about changing that? What policies can you implement? I do feel bad that I hijacked this thread when it rightfully should have been maritimers yelling at the National Art Gallery for getting slighted. So I did at least go through the trouble to email a complaint to them, and contacted the CBC show ‘Q’, and suggested it as a topic for the show. But since that show is centred in Toronto, they may have the same feelings as the NAG.

  18. For the record Mikel, I was responding to your comment:
    “You’ll never find a mention of an NB artist at the Irving rags”

    My earlier comment about the weekly section and columns was merely trying to set the facts straight. Regarding the newspapers, I don’t have data on the number of reporters assigned, or quantity of advertizing surrounding the stories, but in an ironic twist on this discussion, here is today’s front-page story about an aspiring artist making the Canada Games Team because of her artistic talent:

    Thanks for following up with the NAG where our efforts should be focused.

  19. Yes, actually thats the post I was referring to feeling guilty about. I’ve done more research myself, and while its very true that Irving doesn’t play up the arts like it does sports, it is at least present and my comment was too flip. My chief beef with Irving was when it bought out HERE, which had a very lively arts scene.

    I also noticed the above article….but is it a focus on the artist or the sport?:)

    Either way, there IS an arts scene at at least some level, certainly enough to warrant more notice by the NAG, and I referenced both the above article and the one David referenced in several emails to several CBC shows and the NAG. The blog should now proceed with angry tirades against elitist centrists who think there is nothing further east than QC:)

    And I didn’t say it earlier, but its good to see at least some schools are teaching David Adams Richards. Someday I hope to see some maritime writers not quite so melancholy-and whose idea of ‘salvation’ isn’t moving out of the maritimes.

  20. “No, Ryan WASN”T saying that, it was Ryan that used the term ‘elite’”

    Go back and read his post and think about it. You have it wrong. And in fact you contradict yourself. You can’t have it both ways – either you nurture the talent (which means giving them more resources in a resource-limited environment) or you pretent that everyone isi equal. Equal opportunity to excel is one thing – pretending that everyone is equally excelling is another.

  21. Dude, give it up. When RYAN tells me what he meant then I’ll rethink it. You are misunderstanding what I mean. I’m saying give EACH person the arena to excel in, and make all the arena’s equal. The means giving art the same level as sports, the same level as technology, the same level as science, the same level as history, the same level as individual skills (plumbing, carpentry, electrical, etc.). And on and on.

    I’m not holding my breath for that, its an ‘ideal’. Where funds are short in, say, a public school classroom I’d actually go the OPPOSITE direction. If some kids excel in science class, by all means tell them to form a club. You don’t need to throw money at them, you can simply say ‘way to go’ and send them on their way. You can tell their parents to support them in X,Y and Z. For science, I wouldn’t even say treat everyone equal, although thats better than what Ryan is suggesting. In sciences, I think science is SO important that its the kids who DON”T excel who need to get resources. Just like in bilingualism its the kids who are having trouble that need the resources, the other kids will be fine.

    That would even go as far as getting the smarter kids to spend some time with the kids having trouble. In fact that would probably be even better for the problems of ‘inferiority complexes’. Take a dorky science stereotype and get him to spend time with a popular girl who may compliment his intelligence and that does FAR more than all the science prizes in the world you can think of.

    You guys seem to be associating notoriety and ‘elitism’ with ‘support’. Kids DO need support, but that comes in all different kinds of ways. Again, thats why I usually push the montessorri educational system, which looks at each individual child, and helps them find their potential. That’s what I mean, Ryan doesn’t seem to mean that, if he does, kudos for being amongst the smarter ‘elite’ who agree and are smart like me-and not the dummies who are just a waste of effort:)

    So there is no contradiction. We have a teacher with 25 students in a physics class. Each student raises their hand to ask a question. Do you say “Oh, give THIS kid more time and compliments because he got better marks and he’s actually further ahead than the other kids so this way we can be sure he’ll excel”.

    I’m saying thats a bad idea. I’d say its BETTER to at least give the kids equal time. But I’d actually recommend saying to the kids doing better “OK, your already ahead, heres a computer and 50 bazillion physics websites, knock yourself out”. Then spend more time with the people having trouble. Better yet, get those kids to tutor the other kids.

    And where funds are short, I absolutely think a ‘science club’ should get as much as a sports team. As should ALL groups. The idea of spending more money on a hockey team to go travel around is repugnant where funds are short. They should get no more money than other groups.

  22. @richard

    Thanks Richard!

    Not to beat a long-dead horse, but I wasn’t talking about using classroom resources. What I had in mind was actually a private-sector funded institution for those of exceptional ability in important areas like art, math, science, writing, and so forth.

    As an example, here is one based in Ontario for entrepreneurs that I am currently a part of: http://www.thenext36.ca/the-program/background.php

    Not a government dime was needed.

  23. THAT certainly wasn’t obvious from the post. If private sources want to start up institutions, nobody is stopping them-go do it today. I’m talking about social norms and expectations-which means government. If you have private funding, then you don’t have ‘limited resources’, all you do is go get more funding and have limitless resources.

    And to beat that horse, I’d point out that there already IS a pseudo private sector institution for those of exceptional abilities in science, art, math, what have you- its called a ‘university’ and a ‘college’. Try getting into the School of Design with a stick man drawing. And try getting into a science program without an 85% GPA.

    And sadly there is already a fairly strong elitism in our society. When I worked as a foreman in landscaping I often got jobs on the basis of my university degree-even though it had nothing to do with the field. But I know of scientists who are every bit as narrow minded and cut off from education as the next person who never went to school. I’m quite familiar with one of the ‘geniuses’ in the plant biology world, revered all over the world. Fortunately, I know him well enough to know that most of that is the same kind of ‘elitism’ that accompanies the art world-nothing to do with intelligence at all, everything to do with show.

  24. I know this is dead but i’d been looking for this book for anybody interested. If you go to TVO’s The Agenda and download the podcast with David Shank, author of “The Genius Within Us All-Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ is Wrong” you’ll find more information on what I’m talking about.

    On the entrepreneurial side, there is also an Agenda podcast with the owner of “Well.ca”, an online pharmaceutical company which now has revenues in the millions. It’s a very interesting podcast with this young entrepreneur who gave up a lucrative job with RIM to start his own online company.

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