Rhetoric 101: If you can’t win the argument, attempt to change the subject.

 

In a response made in yesterday’s Royal Gazette by Education Minister Randy Horton, rather than address the concerns raised with sound logic and reason, he resorts to changing the subject.  Unfortunately, Minister Horton’s attempt to chastise those asking the hard questions as somehow detracting from the accomplishments of those who graduated does not make sense.  The issue isn’t those who graduated, it is all of those who didn’t graduate who will remain disadvantaged.

“[The media is] placing far too much emphasis on what they consider are ‘the numbers’,” suggests Minister Horton.

It is not as if ‘the numbers’ were magically pulled from the air, they were provided by the Ministry itself.  How can he honestly and truly accept that we should all be blind to seeing that there is more to the picture than his cherry picked numbers.  Is Minister Horton willing to sacrifice our children in favor of political gain?

“The graduation rate is in no way inflated”

This is Minister Horton’s defense.  If by graduation rate he means the overall number of students, then indeed he is correct.  The hard numbers are consistent and they indicate that there is not a great deal of variation between the number of graduates last year and the number of graduates this year.  This is where you can compare the 48% announced last year vs. the 80% this year and think, does that make sense?  This when the actual number of graduates has stayed nearly the same?

What indeed is of great concern is the severe deflation of enrollment rates.  This is something which is of tremendous importance to the future of our children and should be discussed rationally and openly, not covered up or dissuaded as an issue to be dealt with in 2009.  The issue is important today and not having done the due diligence of collecting the right numbers is not an adequate excuse for those students who have been left disadvantaged.  Yet, rather than address this, Minister Horton changes the subject.

“I am disappointed by those who have tried to minimise the accomplishments of the class of 2007” suggests Minister Horton.

While no doubt many congratulations should be offered to the hard work of those responsible for the students who did pass, those who didn’t have been done a grave disservice and should not be swept under the rug and forgotten.

It is incredibly disappointing to watch Minister Horton minimize the damage that is being done to the future of our disadvantaged youth.   Their potential to survive in Bermuda’s workforce, to enjoy Bermuda’s prosperity and garner the benefits of the proposed racial equity law are being extremely limited.  

When you look at the percentage of students who make up the public school system, the majority are black.  If half of those are giving up on the school system and dropping out, that is a large percentage of our youth who will forever remain disadvantaged.  How can a government who proclaims itself interested in helping right racial inequity so easily sweep so many disadvantaged youths under the carpet in an obvious attempt to save face politically?

Rather than address the concerns raised with sound logic and reason, Minister Horton resorts to changing the subject.  Unfortunately, Minister Horton’s attempt to chastise those asking the hard questions as somehow detracting from the accomplishments of those who graduated does not make sense.  While those who graduated are deserving of congratulations, those who didn’t shouldn’t be sacrificed like pawns in a game of political chess.

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2 thoughts on “Rhetoric 101: If you can’t win the argument, attempt to change the subject.

  1. I see where your going with Dennis and thanks for making it simple for us to understand.
    In 2017 if three people graduate out of four enrolled, thats 75% right.
    Were being hoodwinked but thaks for guarding the gate.
    I think some here may get mighy drift.

  2. Seriously Denis, if you keep writing posts such as this which are spot on, I’m not sure what the rest of us will have to talk about. 😉

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