SCHOOL DAZE MAY-2019
1) There are many organizations which wish to improve the educational environment; so why can't this high school teacher of many years with qualifications in the Social Sciences field as well as English not weigh in until his retirement in 2004 after 16 years as a Supply Teacher (a record I believe) in the Ottawa-Carleton School District covering all disciplines.?
2) The word educate means to reach beyond into the unknown not, as appears to be the common consensus, of meeting one's narcissistic goals.
3) Wish to elevate the standard of school achievement?...fail more students. Social promotion or 'credentialism' as it is called rules the day where Universities have to hold remedial courses. I witnessed this phenomenon beginning in the 1980's.
4) 'The problem with you', my Department Head in the Social Sciences in the 1970's whom had a notion of ethics plus background experience in business and as a Union head, is that 'you have standards'. When played out against a backdrop of other teachers, my marks were right on the median: 63%. So where did the phrase 'I was a hard marker' come from? Because individual deals cut by teachers for some students in the 1970's with the full knowledge of the administrators received all the attention and did not affect the over-all rate of class assigned grades. The media added to this misdirection. While my students were writing to 500 word limited assignments, the students of a colleague whom was very popular eclipsing the 4 teachers of Canadian History of the High School with possibly the most background experience in Canadian studies for any high school in terms of student choice. I don't believe there was one course on Canadian studies in the European country she came from but she didn't need it with her 'log cabin' program where students worked under an Old Timer to build one. This is what gained the attention of the myopic media and populous administrators.
5) In the U.S. there are elite public black schools with students from working class families which have maintained their standards and succeed higher than many white schools. Charter schools abound in the U.S. with great differences between schools; usually rural vs cities. The idea that teachers are 'going to make silk purses out of sow's ears' is a myth. The major difference between the U.S. and Canada is that the U.S. is a 'melting pot' of nations while Canada recognizes our bicultural existence between the French and English.
6) The elite in Canada have corralled the highest achieving students with their private school's free scholarship program; a great idea for them as these higher performing students with their corporate jobs will be forever on the hook to financially support the 'old school tie'.
7) The elite have also corralled the French Immersion program in the public schools leaving teachers of core French with a living nightmare.
8) Such as the Fraser Institute wishes Canada to ape the U.S. Charter School System where parents may direct their funds to a charter school. An unmitigated disaster. In brief, the elite want the taxpayer to subsidize their schools. To be sure, these charter schools will not take anyone.
9) The real problem with schools today? They have lost the 'work ethic' explaining why many employers are turning to immigrants which expect to work for a living.
10) The Ford government is right in one regard; scrap the 'discovery process' in math where teachers wait for the students to raise math questions on which they have little knowledge. Complaints in the work placed have arisen due to workers not being able to do 'fractions'.
11) I will dispose of the English program perhaps too briefly as teachers think...'Oh, God, not another term with Romeo & Juliet. It's worse at the University where specialties have Professors 'talking to themselves' unless they keep up with their specialty journals. However poem and short story selections save the day with variety along with the skills in essay writing.
12) As to my own discipline in Canadian History in which I have advanced qualifications; I have many observations noting the nature of our bilingual country (my wife is French Canadian) along with trends reflecting that evolvement; the key one in English Canada in the 1970's where the traditional text labeled CANADA was diversified with such sources as CANADA / CHALLENGE & SURVIVAL in both outlook and content. For example the new parameters permitted me to introduce social history such as Grain by Robert Stead regarding prairie settlement and All Quiet on the Western Front; an antidote to the glorification of war from the traditional texts.
13) The thrust of the traditional English history texts was on World War I (The Great War until WWII) and World War II with this implicit message: good Canadians are always willing to 'stand on guard for thee' should they be called to defend Canada (all troops are told they are defenders as opposed to being aggressors) thus obviating conscription which was highly controversial in QC in 1940 (side-note: my French Canadian grandfather was hidden when the conscription agents came calling). We did not learn anything about provincial politics...still don't if my information is correct. Typical test question: Winston Churchill believed in a) autocracy b) Nazism c) Communism d) democracy with d) being the correct answer. In fact, he believed it to be a terrible form of government but it was superior to the other types in that it saved us from heinous dictatorship...in short, the King is dead, long live the Queen (battles of succession favoured the winning duke but all the soldiers got out of it on either side was more misery for them and their families) English literature favoured Shakespeare whereby Fr. Canadian literature favoured Victor Hugo.
14) The schools of QC were priest-ridden as even the government cow-towed to the Catholic Church in the 40's and 50's. History consisted of the fur-trade (largely French Canadian) and the 'Black Robes' converting the natives. The conquest is told in which the English won out over the French. QC resistance to the U.S. during the civil war is noted as are the Rebellions of Upper & Lower Canada in 1837. Other than memorizing the names of Canada's Prime Ministers, no discussion of government such as a distinction between Federal & Provincial Powers was discussed which was done at great length in English Schools. The rest of the history amounted to the Papacy along with some France inclusions. What changed the scene in QC was the diminishing numbers of priests and nuns who staffed the hospitals as well. Starting in 1960, QC had to compete with the public sector with teachers and nurses at much higher salaries as demanded by the Unions. Today, some provinces are eradicating separate schools including QC along with any symbols or religion. (Interesting fact; B.C. never had a Separate School Program) The Employee's Case case with its $20 million tag is leading to the decimation of School Boards in all provinces.
15) As to the Education dilemma in ON: In the past decade, the educational costs have doubled with teachers salaries accounting for 80% of the increase while student population has remained stable. It is unsustainable. But here is the point. Teachers would gladly take their salary of old if the costs of society remained the same. The problem here is 'stagnating salaries' according to the Unions; the problem here according to me is that all economic systems - whether democratic or otherwise - are unsustainable although it appears that socialism countries run into grief sooner than capitalistic countries. Ask any actuarian. It is not just education; look at any bureaucracy and one can see a similar problem - too many costs for too few resources. So whom will control those resources? Why, us, exclaim the 1% of the wealthiest people through such as our 'charitable' tax-free foundations where we collect exorbitant fees for managing it! As for Ford, in cancelling the carbon tax, he cancelled the money to pay the civil servants hence all his savings will not be devoted to shrinking the debt; rather, he has to pay the workers even if they are in diminished numbers. The welfare roles will swell with the unemployed creating further pressures.
16) There is a moral cost which appears to escape the myopic media as evidenced by the employeescasecanada.ca PLACARD: BEHIND EVERY ECONOMIC COLLAPSE IS A MORAL COLLAPSE. Put briefly, two provinces, ON and B.C. have two outstanding legal cases for which they refuse to give a Hearing Date. As such it would appear that over 50 judges in the past 34 years have sacrificed their reputations along with the credibility of JUSTICE CANADA for nothing. It would seem, under these circumstances, that these worthies are asking... surely we stand for something? Nope. A Registy clerk now rules the judicial roost and over them, there is no control...let's face it, you guys blew it....