JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOME BASIC PROBLEMS IN EDUCATION   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

This piece demonstrates the kind of subject matter Ms. Wente should stick to.

She has written many ridiculous – indeed downright dumb and even vicious – columns, especially where international affairs or public policy on human rights are concerned.

But here she offers legitimate considerations.

I suggest it is not just “educational romanticism” that is responsible for the mediocrity and poor performance (for many) of our schools.

It is the American wish-fulfillment dream of everyone being the same, virtually interchangeable in many or most things. It derives from Puritan notions which still drive a lot of attitudes in America.

The notion also seems to be an effort at psychological compensation for the very harsh, and growing, inequalities of every kind in America – the courts, the economy, primary education, higher education, and more.

Unfortunately, these American notions have been seeping into Canada, almost imperceptibly at any time, by osmosis as it were.

Also, the public education establishment is subject to more fads and whims than almost any institution we have. One year, homework is great; another year, homework is an unnecessary burden. One year, there is zero tolerance for violence; another year, there is zero tolerance is gone.

Great sums are wasted on “programs” for ugly matters like bullying, when the only genuine solution is the people on site – teachers and administrators – taking responsibility and actively intervening in their communities, the schools.

The math curriculum is needlessly complex, yet students, even in grade five, do not know the fundamental building block of their times tables.

It is all avoidance of responsibility, buck-passing, and butt-covering, always with plenty of politically-correct words, and it is also, to a considerable extent, a comparatively recent import from the Great Land of Victims All, America.

People certainly are not the same, but they all deserve genuine, meaningful consideration from our schools and other institutions, and for many that means things like good training in trades or even good training in social behaviors. We are not doing the job.

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