Alberta’s independent schools provide needed choice, value

Despite activist claims, most independent schools in Alberta are not bastions for the rich, but they do fill a critical education niche

Alberta’s independent schools provide needed choice, valueBy Angela MacLeod and Sasha Parvani The Fraser Institute In Alberta, school choice is under attack. Alongside several teacher unions and associations, groups such as Public Interest Alberta and SOS Alberta want to reduce the choices available for families outside the public education system by pressuring the government to eliminate provincial funding for independent schools. SOS…

The fallacy of modern post-secondary education

In the pay-for-play model, students accrue crippling debts to pay for an education. They want what they pay for – even if they didn't earn it

The fallacy of modern post-secondary educationLast week, a teacher friend forwarded me a letter one of his students had sent asking him to re-mark an assignment she had failed. Her reasoning was clear: She needed the grade. His reasoning for giving her the failing grade was equally clear: She didn’t follow the instructions and she didn’t understand the material. Plus,…

A minibus ramble through Scottish Highland history

As our minibus pulled to a stop, I felt suddenly that my grandmother’s love of the Highland landscape was surrounding us all

A minibus ramble through Scottish Highland historyI count myself lucky to have had a Scottish grandmother. She was a Graham of Montrose, and came from humble beginnings. I remember her describing something called a byre, and explaining that her mother lived in a crofter’s house with the cattle. From the moment I learned this, I have wanted to travel to northern…

Raphael Lemkin: the man who coined the word genocide

Lemkin lobbied tirelessly for the United Nations to adopt a definition of the word genocide

Raphael Lemkin: the man who coined the word genocideI recently asked my Grade 12 students if Raphael Lemkin, the man who coined the term “genocide”, was a great man. What I got in response from my students was quite thought provoking. Everyone seemed to agree that Lemkin was a noble man with a noble cause. He was a Polish Jew, born in 1900.…

What Betsy DeVos could learn about school choice from Ontario

Unfortunately, the U.S. Education Secretary would have to visit the past to find truly innovative approaches to school choice

What Betsy DeVos could learn about school choice from OntarioBetsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s Education Secretary, is charged with promoting school choice. She was about to visit Ontario recently but her visit was cancelled. One cannot but wonder if DeVos’ advisors learned of how Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal party clawed its way to power by smothering a truly innovative school choice program in its cradle.…

The hardships of Orkney link to Canada’s early days

Displaced from their homes, many citizens of the Orkney islands ended up in Canada working for the Hudson Bay Company

The hardships of Orkney link to Canada’s early daysThe Standing Stones of Stenness on Mainland, the main Scottish island of Orkney, date back to approximately 3,100 BC. Stonehenge, to put the Orkneys in time perspective as a Neolithic parent to western Europe, was constructed from 3,000 to 2,000 BC. What was it about these outpost islands that attracted the earliest agriculturalists to their…

The peculiar cult of Che Guevara

Guevara’s primary political instinct was totalitarian, with a propensity to violence

The peculiar cult of Che GuevaraIreland has just issued a postage stamp commemorating Che Guevara. Featuring the ubiquitous two-tone portrait created by Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, the stamp marks the 50th anniversary of Guevara’s death on October 9, 1967. The postal service’s rationale is that Guevara had Irish ancestry and that Fitzpatrick’s artwork “appears on t-shirts, posters, badges and clothing…

Kudos to Toronto, but independent schools still face discrimination

Subjecting parents choosing such schools for their children to extra costs is discriminatory

Kudos to Toronto, but independent schools still face discriminationBy Derek J. Allison Deani Neven Van Pelt and Beth Green Cardus You could call it a step forward in fairness for Canadians who send their kids to independent schools. The Toronto Board of Health recently recommended the extension of its student nutrition programs to qualified independent schools. That means more than 300 independent schools…

Remembering teachers: the bad and the good

Bad teachers leave a mark. But good teachers can cut through the bad and leave a life-long impression

Remembering teachers: the bad and the goodIn my job, I read student work nearly every day. It’s one of the pleasures of the job. Please don’t read sarcasm into that last line. Reading a new writer’s work is a pleasure. As a reader, I get to see what’s on the mind of students. As a teacher, I get to comment on…

The no-zero policy finally gets a failing grade

But dumping the misguided practice in Newfoundland and Labrador schools is just the beginning – much more reform is needed

The no-zero policy finally gets a failing gradeThe long-standing no-zero policy in Newfoundland and Labrador schools is no more. The chief executive officer of the English School District recently announced that teachers are once again free to deduct marks for late work and assign marks of zero when work doesn’t come in at all. This is a significant step forward, not only…
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