Fredericton — “Bring your child to work day” offers an opportunity for the province’s young people to be introduced into the workforce and to gain a better understanding of what their parents do for a living. Grade 9 student Bradley Locke turned what is normally a nice day away from classes into a budding career opportunity.
Bradley went to work yesterday with his father, Brian Locke. The elder Locke had worked at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development for the province of New Brunswick for the past 16 years and thought it might be fun for his son to spend the day with him at his office.
“I was really looking forward to the one-on-one time with him,” expressed Locke with mixed emotions. “I hardly ever see him at the house anymore since the divorce, and when he is home he’s usually just playing on his phone or computer or something.”
Bradley knew right away that he could use this day to his advantage. “I thought this might be a chance for me to make some contacts and set up some job potentials for the future. I never would have guessed it would have gone the way it did though,” said the younger Locke with a smile spreading across his pimple-covered face.
The department has been under heavy scrutiny since a report was released early October stating that New Brunswick has among the worst scores in the country in assessments in the 3 key subjects of math, science and reading. New Brunswick ranked 8th in the country, and has shown little improvement from the previous assessments held in 2012. Every 2 years, the government issues standardised tests for Grade 8 students across the country and their results are distributed for comparison.
Brian Locke was called to an emergency meeting yesterday by the department’s minister, Serge Rousselle, shortly after the results were made public. The newly appointed Rousselle was eager to make changes, and saw these low test scores as a great starting point. “We needed to do something,” expressed the new minister. “We don’t want to be left behind, and we want to be able to give the young people of New Brunswick the greatest chance for success in the future. To do so, we need to implement change. We can’t keep repeating ourselves and expect different results.”
During the meeting, Rousselle asked his employees for ideas, but no one had anything constructive to share. “All I was hearing were excuses,” he said.
That’s when Bradley Locke made his move. “I was really nervous to speak, but I figured it was now or never to make my impression,” he recalled. The young Locke proposed that if they really want to improve the way Grade 8 students score, they needed to start thinking like 8th-graders. “I was in the 8th grade last year, so I know how they think,” explained Bradley. “I know how they feel; I know what issues are bothering them in their lives and stuff.” He went on to reveal that adults just don’t get what kids are dealing with these days.
Rousselle was intrigued by the boy’s ideas. “He was the only one in the entire room who had anything the least bit relevant to say. Needless to say, I was more than a little impressed.” Rousselle made quick actions to have the boy hired as the department’s Early Education lead consultant, a position previously held by the boy’s father. “I felt really bad for my dad for sure, but with the economy the way it is, I’d be stupid to turn down such a great offer,” Bradley said, beaming with pride. “I just hope I can do a better job than my dad did so I’ll be able to help our province’s test scores improve.”
“Of course I’m proud of my son,” the elder Locke expressed. “I just don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. My wife left me about a year ago, and now I lose my job to my 14-year-old son. Life doesn’t seem to be on my side right now.”
The Manatee called Mr. Locke this morning with some follow-up questions, but his phone had been disconnected.