Transcription – English – Irvin Studin

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06. Irvin Studin.mp4: this mp4 video file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Irvin Studin:
I'm Irvin Studin . I'm chair of the World Wide Commission to educate all kids post pandemic and president of the Institute for 21st Century Questions. I also edited a magazine called Global Brief. Sonya asked me to speak about the crisis in education, which, in my humble view, my humble submission to the hearing is the major human catastrophe of the pandemic period by far. I think people don't realize what's befallen our kids. From a systems perspective, from a numbers perspective across the country. Indeed, around the world. What happened is that in March of 2020, the world saw the largest mimicked. Policy and administrative action, human history. And I'm talking about the closing of the schools in most of the countries of the world on all continents. What we didn't realize is that as soon as you shutter the schools, even for a day, catastrophe befalls the kids. So what we have is we coined the term called third bucket kids. Third bucket kids refers to. The first bucket was by contrast with the first bucket that is physical in school. The classical experience that we all had growing up. Virtual school to which we imagine most kids pivoted, at least in the advanced countries once school closed. And then third bucket, which is, let me be clear, no school at all. I'm not talking about fetishism, about home schooling and Aristotelian Aristotelian tutoring. I'm talking about no school at all. The Dickensian Oliver Twist condition around the world. Half a billion children were ousted into the third bucket.

Irvin Studin:
Once the school shuttered and once they shuttered serially for prolonged periods, half a billion. That's the size of the European Union. In Canada, we estimated last fall that the Commission I launched under the aegis of our institute, up to 200,000 kids in the third bucket in the fall of 2021. We do not know the exact numbers today. But I want to be clear. These kids are no school at all and they do not necessarily return when the schools reopen, as we imagine. These kids in all cases will do far more poorly than their educated or properly educated counterparts. They can have been in senior kindergarten, grade five, grade nine, grade 12. They were in our malls, on our in our parks and our hockey arenas. Two years ago, we did this to them. How does this happen? As soon as you close the doors, a certain proportion of the population has no access to internet. Very high in South Asia or parts of Africa and in Canada. Non-negligible 1 to 6% depending on the area and growing over time. That's the basic internet ouster. And in certain indigenous communities, up to 50% with unstable devices, unstable access, then you have abusive homes, then you have homes in which there is no mastery of English or French either amongst the kids or with the parents. Then you have children with all sorts of disabilities, learning disabilities. You have COVID freeze. We have reports on the commission. We we started a commission that now covers 60 countries of kids in British Columbia just sitting in the basements because the parents were frozen of fear through COVID and they didn't want to send their kids out.

Irvin Studin:
So they weren't being educated, for all practical intents and purposes, the most dangerous category. And this was where I believe there was a proper commission of policy crimes in respect of education. When the schools closed, when this problem was already manifest, that is, we made it clear to to decision makers never to close the schools, the most pathological cases in the middle and high school category, when children and I should emphasize these are often very good students and normal children, they're not necessarily poor and they're not truants. Children in high school who are told that schools are closed indefinitely or who are online for prolonged periods, have zero exit costs from education. The exit costs is simply a matter of turning off the zoom room and going out into the ether. If you tell the children that the schools are closed indefinitely in their mental condition, that's the state of life. And there's no school to which to return. So in April of 2021 in Ontario, which controls 20% of the national student population, that's 2 million out of five. The schools were closed under the imprimatur of indefinite closure. That was the articulation of the premier of the day. For a high school student. That's it. So many of them would have defected to the third bucket in permanently at that point because there was no return proposition, apparently.

Irvin Studin:
These kids would go in grade eight, grade nine, they would go into the ether. No one would know that they've exited because everything is online. No one is searching for them at the very moment when they're young. Narcissism requires that someone be interested in their condition. And then there's no return proposition because no one is aware that they've even exited. So we imagine we'd just open the schools and kids will come back. But the kids have been out of school for two years. They should be in grade ten, but he's in a grade eight condition. That's it. In many cases, unless there's a bespoke choreography of return to which I'll to which I'll return. These kids will do miserably in the post-pandemic world, which is far crueler, economically more fastidious. And doesn't need them. They don't need uneducated or undereducated kids in a far harsher climate. The contrary is true. We need very educated kids, kids who are properly educated, who can fend for themselves in far crueler conditions. That's how a smart country behaves. So the third bucket catastrophe is the most pathological form of the education crisis. It is the one that offended me personally most, and it took me a long time to accept. And I wish to be clear because when I say the kids are out of school in our Canadian mentality, we can't imagine what that means. What do you mean? They're out of school. They're coming back, right? They're being homeschooled.

Irvin Studin:
What about their family? I wish to be. Definitely clear out of school. No school at all. Compulsory schooling collapsed. These kids were left to fend for themselves. So the response through the commission we started, which has leading Canadians across the country over 60 countries, lessons learned, including from countries that did not have this catastrophe, is that we must over the summer and we should have done it a long time ago, go door to door across the country, community to community to find these kids and bring them back by the hand to their appropriate grade level and have a bespoke choreography of return and curricular terms and extracurricular terms. Many of them will be upstanding citizens, some Nobel Prize winners among them. But if we leave them to their own devices, having ousted them and I mean deliberately ousted them, we leave them to early death on the numbers, miserable condition and a huge we await a huge underclass five, ten years from now of patently uneducated or undereducated Canadians that will destabilize Canada for any foreseeable future. And we've done this. So it's unacceptable. That's the third bucket in the second bucket and first bucket that is virtual and physical school. Never again should we close the schools. Bottom line. Not even for a day. Not even on a snowy day. The schools stay open. It's my bottom line. We're working on an international treaty to ensure that schools that all countries never closed schools unless. Unless the Russians are at the gates do not close the schools.

Irvin Studin:
It's that existential. But in the second and first bucket, we have huge backlog and learning loss amongst everyone who's been putatively in school. These are unacceptable learning losses that can be caught up. They need to be caught up through energy, energy, energy, not zombified schools where we're pretending to be safe and and going through this theater. That is, in my view, at this point, absurd. We need to add extra years where necessary. We need to make sure the kids are prepared for tomorrow. So it's not just a matter of saying we've opened the schools. School is back to normal. It's abnormal in all senses. The final point I wish to speak about in respect of collapsed childhoods, the boxing and boxing out you were talking about. I'm not here to speak specifically about vaccination. I have no religion on vaccination. What happened to young people in respect of the vaccination mania that took hold of the country over the last year and a half is that there's a conspicuous category of young people who were boxed into perverse social situations. They were pressured to take a vaccine that had conspicuous indicators of possible harm for them. I'm talking about young males with myocarditis risk. These are on Ontario Public Health and Canada Public Health, public statistics. And if they refuse to take it, they were boxed out of activities that would have been plainly accessible on any good Canadian day. You want to be a soccer player, you play soccer.

Irvin Studin:
I played very high level soccer, but today I would have been boxed out or I would have been boxed in to assume an unacceptable risk with a smile. So please assume this risk. There's no particular benefit to you, but you must do so. It is. It is the rule. While we've lifted the mandates punitively, there's a wild west of vaccination and masking, but particularly in vaccination that is still perverse. Across the country, the decision makers forgot that once you lift the vaccine, you have to go institution to institution and say stop. But they've continued proprio motu and are continuing to actually press on this particular demographic that is conspicuously vulnerable, a perverse pressure simply to act. So these boxed out kids continue and you imagine in the context of collapsed education. Now you're. Boxing them in, boxing them out to access even the extracurricular stuff. And this continues this is continuing through the summer. And to me, it's an unacceptable perversion of of what is a proper Canadian childhood. So children have suffered the most by far. Education has been the most collapsed system. And for a bright tomorrow, it is our number one priority by far to reconstitute and provide energy to these collapsed institutions, to find these kids, to catch up on education, and then to free the gates, to open up the gates to to Canadian children so they can enjoy the childhoods that I think most of us loved in Canada. Thanks very much.

Trish Wood:
Okay. I'm going to add to the panel. But I didn't I'm just bursting to ask you a question. How about everything you just said? And that is how much of this was predictable? Had they thought about what they were doing when they instituted the policy? I mean, should they have known? It clear to me there's going to be harm. So how much of it should they have known when the instituted the policy?

Irvin Studin:
I think most countries around the world close the schools at the start. Lowest hanging fruit. And they can be they can have been forgiven the original mistake thereafter, it was unforgivable. The second round of closures and every round of closures thereafter was a policy crime. And if you ever I'd beseech the panel, I beseech colleagues and citizens across if you ever hear anyone. Egging people on to close schools or applauding it. That must be castigated with the greatest fervor. It is a manifest policy crime once I'm done. If I go to my grave and say that. He, through his efforts, at least, made clear that the rest of the 21st century will never see schools closed again because we've consigned half a billion children to misery. In India, for instance, there are 200,000,003rd bucket kids. At least it can be a top physics student in grade 12. Once you close a school, Savita in Mumbai would have gone to her village and been married off. That's a foreign dynamic to us. Nay, it's the same thing here. Just in slightly different colours and contours. Right. You go to the you go into the workforce after grade eight. Grade nine, because there's no schools. The school collapsed. It really did collapse. I saw it in my own kids. But to understand the third bucket, you have to really scratch. Am I seeing what I'm seeing? It took me three months to accept what I was seeing, and it still taking me two years to explain in our Canadian mindset what happened.

Irvin Studin:
Even for decision makers who pooh pooh school closures. It's only a week. 's only a week, Irvin. It's only a week. No, it's not. It's death. So it can have been forgiven the first time after that? No. Many countries, however, look at us like we're Martian. What do you mean? You have 200,000 or you had 300,000 kids in the third bucket last fall? We have zero. You guys are marching? We are marching. They had compulsory school laws that were robust. Ours collapsed to the point where some education minister is not to be named. We're saying who wants to open the schools and we want to open schools. You want to give them clothes? Fine. We'll keep them closed. Medical officer of health. We're being applauded online everywhere. Thanks for closing the schools. And they were upping each other up. Other schools had perfect Internet access. Other other countries and many countries thought more systematically than ours. So they knew that once they closed this bucket, there would be leakage into other buckets and they had to close that off. And finally, in my view, the favorite categories. Many countries said we've been through far worse. Schools stay open. We've been through wars and schools stay open. You know, in Ukraine, the schools in most of the country are back open except on the front lines. Right. Ain't no thing. We keep the schools open unless there are foreign troops at the gates. It's a key lesson.

Trish Wood:
What a national shame. I'll hand it to the panel.

Preston Manning:
Irvin, thank you for this. It's a tragic story. If eventually a national independent inquiry is looked into this whole thing. Would your commission or your group be able to frame some draft terms of reference if if a real investigation is held? There have to be terms of reference and it'll have to be directed to look at some specific things. And one of the things it should look at is what you've talked about. Would you be capable of developing the the terms of reference that direct it to look at the impacts, the specific impacts on on children through the education system? And secondly, to direct it to look at what are the remedial measures to cope with the damage that has been been caused. Surely those would be two things that if there ever is a commission like that set up, it ought to be directed to do you or somebody put together the terms of reference like that.

Irvin Studin:
Thanks for the question. Certainly, I think we have them de facto. We're not, however, in the business of. Reprimanding or punishing or fining guilty parties. It is a total collapse in national thinking that led us to this and a continued collapse in national. We're not able to think beyond the surface level decision making. We're not able to see the consequences of a tweet on systems. So we would be happy to draft that or.

Preston Manning:
Somebody else could push it. But if you could draft the terms of reference. And then the second is a jurisdictional question. Like, as you know, one can according to be an act, education is a provincial responsibility, not a federal responsibility. Was this closed the schools solely a decision made by provincial governments and provincial education ministers? Or was there pressure from Ottawa that this was to be done?

Irvin Studin:
Unfortunately, it is a central question. Preston Ottawa had no. Involvement at all and wish to have no involvement at all in in the school matters. When our commission and I have all sorts of colleagues in order or when our commission pressed to them said this is a catastrophe at your feet, it is in provincial jurisdiction, but it is of manifestly national consequence, because these are our future citizens. And I'm talking about not a few. The numbers are huge. So Ottawa must take a national interest and Ottawa has all sorts of levers. So I'm not here to debate whether Ottawa has a role in education. Ottawa has a role in national calamities. These were decisions taken at the provincial level in most cases by premiers, ministry of Education, Ministers of Health. In my view, perversely, however, medical officers of health who are working properly beyond their ken these were accidental leaders in many cases closing systems online and egging each other on, arbitrary urging and sending kids to very dark places. And they still don't understand sometimes what what they've they've done. But it is such if there is a role for reconstitution of education systems, Ottawa does have a major role. There need to be a rethinking to ensure, for instance, that there is a national duty to educate, not just a right to educate. We have a duty to educate our young youngsters. It's not enough for for Brian in Aurora or or Rebecca in Halifax to say, I have a right to be educate somebody. We have to, as adults, as 21st century Canadians, seeing what what we've done. Yes. What we've done say we have a duty, we have a positive duty to educate our young, to prepare them for for tomorrow. So if the why, as we say in French. But but but but maybe not.

Preston Manning:
So a decision to do this as provincial but like you're saying the remedial measures because of the national consequences of it and the remedial measures have to involve the national government.

Irvin Studin:
100%. And I may add, Preston, that it is a very Canadian tendency to say, let's figure out the number over the next couple of years, number of children who are in the third bucket. And I say let's, let's, but at the same time, let's get going because they're out there and there's a time window in which we must have already found them, beyond which you'll understand a 13, 14 year old who's out of school for two or three years, they're not coming back. Right. And at 12, a ten year old who's out of school for three years because we've been trying to figure out how many people are out of school or what his condition is is an unacceptable stupidity. Why would that ever happen? So we must get out there and talk to people and find these these kids and bring them back.

Trish Wood:
Irvin, thank you so much. What an important presentation. I'm upset. I mean, more than usual, it's I learn more from you about kids than I have in two years of doing my show where we talk about this a lot. So thank you. I must ask you to affirm as well, if you don't mind, that what you're saying is true to the best of your knowledge. Very much. Thanks. Thank you so much.

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