Change needed to education

Education as we know it needs a change in direction to meet 21st century educational needs. Because of a global awakening and technological advancement, the old style of education that many of today’s parents and grandparents experienced, isn’t enough now. There needs to be a realization that we no longer live the way that we used to. Our educational philosophy may be outdated. We should no longer teach the way that we may have been taught. It seems that, for some reason, we seem to be stuck in our old ways. Although these old ways may seem safe and comfortable, perhaps a new way would offer a better alternative and better results.

Education as we know it needs a change in direction to meet 21st century educational needs. Because of a global awakening and technological advancement, the old style of education that many of today’s parents and grandparents experienced, isn’t enough now. There needs to be a realization that we no longer live the way that we used to. Our educational philosophy may be outdated. We should no longer teach the way that we may have been taught. It seems that, for some reason, we seem to be stuck in our old ways. Although these old ways may seem safe and comfortable, perhaps a new way would offer a better alternative and better results.

I can just imagine some of the thoughts on this. People might say something to the effect that the education that I got was good enough for me so why can’t it serve the needs of today’s students. The argument might be made that students of today are no different from what we were. That might be partly true. However, they experience the world differently from what we did.

Think about this experiential idea through compare and contrast. When we were students, our generation watched TV and got limited information through structured scheduling. In contrast, today’s students have access to information through the use of computers when they want it, where they want it, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. There is a mainstay here, though.

Today’s students want and need what we had, and that is socialization and friendship. These needs have not changed. However, the way that these are obtained and fostered is quite different from our experience with them.

Today’s students communicate in a much more sophisticated and efficient way. There is the Net with its Facebook and Twitter, cell phones with texting, search engines that they can use instead of the old-fashioned snail-mail and word-of-mouth methods that we used. Overall, communication may be the key here. It’s about time that we started listening. Right now, we need to start teaching them with the relevant skills that will help them succeed now and for life in the future. One key part of this “toolbox” should be lifeskills. We cannot and should not be resistant to change or we could be left behind in this ever-changing world.

If we are to meet our student’s expectations, if we are to engage them, if we are to remain relevant to them and if we want them to learn from us, we may need to start learning from them.

Ron Barillaro

Penticton

RDOS should revisit decision

Re: Twin Lakes golf resort development. Do the citizens/taxpayers of the South Okanagan valley really deserve yet another developer’s offloading efforts, err… application to have the RDOS (read: taxpayers) eventually take over responsibility for a water supply and wastewater management infrastructure on a golf course? This development will be at least 10 kilometres from any town site or replenishable water supply of any description. It makes no good sense and I surely don’t want it.

Suki Sekhon, the most recent owner/developer of the Twin Lakes Golf Resort, is creating a housing subdivision development which calls for a full-scale wastewater treatment facility similar to one installed in the Cowichan Valley Regional District. This waste treatment facility will be state of the art, however, it is to be situated squarely on top of the aquifer which it will drain while trying to supply domestic water for a demanding 400 homes. It is proposed to use the resultant treated gray water to irrigate the thirsty Twin Lakes golf course. It is Mr. Sekhon’s vision to supply domestic water taken from the aquifer 400 or more feet below to 400 homes on the high, dry rock bluffs overlooking the golf course, and to recoup and treat the gray water specifically for golf course irrigation. This gray water will most certainly need further aquifer water to perform this and will deplete an already over-allocated water resource underground.

The developer states that when 400 new homes on the golf course property are hooked in to this proposed system, it can then be further exploited by hooking in the larger area residents of the Twin Lake, Grand Oro Road, Trout Lake, and perhaps even Sheep Creek and Toy Creek roads. I imagine this would have the proposed system running at a capacity, that makes it more economically viable in the long term.

When considering the alternative proposal process which the citizens of Penticton have been forced to monitor heroically to avoid being unduly exposed to debt to finance another developer’s dream, perhaps a cautionary warning should be sounded to the people of the valley. These developers are deeply engaged in housing developments on a rocky hillside with no viable alternate water source other than pumping it up from below. The taxpayers, represented in these deals by the politicians they elected, are being hung out to dry unless they can stop the process via civil plebiscite action resulting in referendum.

Deeper and less productive wells are the topic on lips around the valley and the world today, and it is no crime to preserve areas which are ecologically sensitive. As we become more aware, it is our responsibility to sound warning to others when we see it. There is a growing need to preserve and conserve precious groundwater.

If, as the developer has stated, this is a long-term project requiring 10 or 20 years to complete, then we who live here already will be subject to extremely protracted timeframes of construction. This will impact us all negatively due to the blasting, dust, noise, traffic and general interruptions of idyllic rural lifestyle so that one man and his companies will exploit what couldn’t be more inappropriate land upon which to situate this development and wastewater treatment.

The development proposal shows an open waste treatment pond directly atop the aquifer. To date, that is about the most foolish idea I’ve ever witnessed in my life. I hope the voice of reason is loud enough to be heard over development sounds.

The RDOS must revisit if not rescind the Twin Lakes area aquifer as an area for development and growth. It just makes sense.

Stephen Brown

Kaleden

Horse racing’s dirty secret

I attended the first of the Penticton Museum’s Brown Bag lecture series on Jan. 18 and would like to extend a thank you to the museum and to Cass Robinson, who spoke about the race horse industry in British Columbia.

Cass gave a very impartial look inside the world of horse racing, revealing things even I did not know about. While Cass obviously loves horses, she spoke very candidly about the flaws of the race horse world to not only the horses but to the men and women who ride these horses to the finish line. Most people are totally unaware of the way jockeys are treated in the outdated weight restrictions they face in order to qualify to enter a race. The weight assigned for the Kentucky Derby is 126 pounds total, which includes the jockey’s body weight, his clothing and the horse’s saddle and tack. No wonder they wear silks. To meet these unbelievably low weight rules, the average jockey weighs between 108 and 118 pounds. Here is a quote from a website called Jockeys Room

“To stay light means one has to keep the calories down. Often jockeys eat no more than a piece of toast and a few cups of tea throughout the day. It is common for jockeys to indulge in vomiting to control their weight.”

In a recent HBO film titled Jockey, retired jockey Randy Romero, who is awaiting liver and kidney transplants due to damage from bulimia, comes clean about the dangerous weight-control methods jockeys engage in. The film shows the square toilet bowls installed at some famous racetracks, toilets designed specifically for jockeys to use for vomiting.

Cass also talked about the drugs that race horses are given, sometimes to make them run faster and sometimes to make them run slower. Add to this a device called a “bug, machine, joint or jigger”, which is illegal but is used to shock the horse to force them to run faster, and one gets to get a very clear picture of what goes on behind the scenes on a race track.

Cass also talked about how horses are raced before their knees are fully developed and the low percentage of two-year-olds that make it to be a three-year-old racer due to physical breakdown caused by the stress on the horse’s joints.

What Cass did not speak about was where the race horses go after their racing careers are over. Most go to slaughter, even the ones that have earned their owners big money. It is estimated that thoroughbreds and quarter horses make up the bulk of the 125,000 horses that were slaughtered in Canada in 2010. This does not include the horses that were sent to Mexico for slaughter.

Unfortunately when you watch a sporting event like the Kentucky Derby, bet on a race, or visit a local track, these are the industry practices you support.

Theresa Nolet

Penticton

Police not appreciated

I watched on TV the funeral service for Sgt. Ryan Russell of the Toronto Police Force. I am moved to compare the huge numbers of people (not just officers) who came out in support, to the few recently in Kelowna calling for the demise of the RCMP (and possibly law and order).

As a previous writer said “one bad apple” etc., and this is so true. What happened in Kelowna was very bad, but thankfully no one died in that incident and more thankfully, the authorities will deal with that in a suitable manner, discipline and preferably dismiss the officer involved. There are still hundreds of “good guys” in police forces all over the world, protecting us and maintaining law and order and we should be grateful for their dedication.

Maybe I am somewhat emotionally involved, as there is not a day goes by that I do not think of my beloved grand-daughter who after university, gave up a comfortable job in a bank to become a police officer. And this bright shining girl, 25 years old, is now a fully fledged policewoman in a large city in U.K. And in her short spell of service, she has already encountered sudden violent death, a motorway (freeway) “pile-up” and security duty for an alleged terrorist attack, which most young women would never encounter in a lifetime. But according to her, the best was undertaking crossing warden duty at a school, when she helped the children to build a snowman (probably not appreciated by a senior officer).

So please let us all be grateful for and support the good forces we have, and not be too hasty to condemn them all.

Maybe lessons will have been learned from certain recent incidents.

Marjorie M. Montgomery

Penticton

Equal justice for all

Most people will agree the RCMP are one great police force and Canada can be very proud of them.

Unfortunately the problem will never go away until the bad police apples face justice with the same laws applied to non-badge-toting ordinary criminals,

Until the scales of justice are proven to be equal for all, I will put my trust in the highway truck scales.

Kash Heed, the former cop and B.C. solicitor general, is now being investigated by — you may guess by whom. If your answer is more cops, you could perhaps win a prize.

Ted Azyan

Osoyoos