Editorial—No Interest in Shoulds

No getting around it, this is definitely a late issue this week.  For that, I apologize.  This week has been a mess for various reasons.  But I wasn’t too worried early on because I knew I could pull it together and get everything sorted out on Friday.  Except on Friday our little dog, the one we had to put down, came home in her very appropriate, very tasteful and sympathetic new packaging.

And it broke me.

I’m a “grown-ass man” as they say, and this kind of thing shouldn’t happen right?  It was only a pet, after all.  Sure, maybe a manly tear or two and a maudlin evening, drink in hand, but that’s about the extent of the effects, right?  That’s all it should be?

Instead, I’ve been wildly unfocussed and unproductive.  Have you had that experience where you’re reading your textbook, you finish a couple of paragraphs, or pages, or chapters, and then suddenly realize you have absolutely no idea what you just read?  Not just confused about the meaning, but simply no concept of what those words that you just spent the last several minutes of your life concentrating on even said. That’s been my life with practically everything for the last 32 hours or so.

So, reality, as it turns out, has no interest in what “should” be.

Case in point, the Alberta government recently announced some additional funding for low-income students.  A total of fifteen million dollars will be made available over the next three years, with bursaries of $5,000 available for 1,000 students each year.   Supposed student advocacy groups in Alberta, such as the Council of Alberta University Students and the Alberta Students’ Executive Council have been quick to line up and kiss the proffered ring at being given less than 15% of the funds taken away from post-secondary education in 2021 alone, to be doled out over the next three years.

Alberta currently has over 200,000 post-secondary students.  Less than half a percent of them will receive any of this “New Beginnings” funding.  And that half percent will be drawn from only those that are in programs that the government has determined are “high-demand” areas, or in other words, areas that are likely not to be in high demand in three years time as companies will have already moved to fill their gaps, one way or another.

This is the problem with the government attempting to pick winners and losers, especially in education where there’s almost always a multi-year delay before funding turns out a graduate.

Of course, I suppose we should certainly be grateful that, given the almost nine billion additional dollars Alberta is receiving in oil royalties this year, a price set largely in the blood of people in the Ukraine, that the AB government has seen fit to provide less than three percent of that in total additional funding to the post-secondary system after having cut it by over 30% over the first years of their term.

I just wish the student groups weren’t so quick to praise getting  funding that “should” have been there in the first place.  But as I said, reality has no interest in “should”s.

Enjoy the read!