Reckless rhetoric is no way to debate public policy

The basic presumption of democracy requires us to try to understand one another rather than calling opponents murderers

Reckless rhetoric is no way to debate public policyDennis Raphael, a professor of health policy and management at York University in Toronto, recently penned an opinion piece that represents a low point for discourse about public policy in Canada. Raphael describes the policies of the new Conservative government in Ontario, and specifically the decision not to increase the minimum wage next year, as “social…

Turning the sex ed clock back to 1998 puts our youth at risk

LGBTQ youth face additional mental health pressures associated with stigma and discrimination

Turning the sex ed clock back to 1998 puts our youth at riskIt’s now widely known that the Ontario Ministry of Education will be reverting to the 2010 sex education curriculum to teach youth – despite widespread criticism. Worse, youth in Grades 7 and 8 will actually be taught the 1998 sex ed curriculum. In 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton got in trouble over Monica Lewinsky and…

How can we discuss sex ed without talking about marriage?

Marriage understands shared existence, including the economic, spiritual, social and sexual aspects of our lives

How can we discuss sex ed without talking about marriage?With the Ontario government’s public consultations on a new sex-ed curriculum well underway, we should recognize that both the old and new versions of the document suffer from the same fatal flaw. Neither makes any effort to educate about marriage – in fact, the word is never mentioned – as a significant social institution. The…

We can’t put a price on free speech

Universities should defend unpopular speech, not politicians who use funding as leverage

We can’t put a price on free speechLike a soundtrack on endless repeat, universities have come around again to the one about free speech. It’s an old song. The chorus goes something like, “Universities must support freedom of expression.” It’s not the catchiest tune but like the national anthem, it’s a song to sing with heart. One person who sings loudly and…

Classroom surveillance and sex ed in Ontario

Is this the kind of workplace we want to create for teachers, where any remark might be taken as either perverse or oppressive?

Classroom surveillance and sex ed in OntarioIn Ontario, sex education remains one of those writhing cans of worms that nobody wanted opened and nobody can close. The centre of the squirming mess is a debate over whether sex ed – and by extension, sexual morality – is a private or public concern. Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives won the last Ontario election,…

Ontario should look to B.C. as a model for education reform

The province needs to remove religious schools from the public system while introducing partial funding for independent schools

Ontario should look to B.C. as a model for education reformProfessors from Western University recently renewed calls for the Ontario government to change the way kindergarten-to-Grade-12 education is delivered. Most Ontarians live in areas served by four distinct public school boards – English public, English Catholic, French public and French Catholic. If you live in Penetanguishene on the Georgian Bay, a fifth school board operates…

The trashy state of Ontario schools will only get worse

If schools look like internment campus, we shouldn’t be surprised if students try to escape

The trashy state of Ontario schools will only get worseOntario politics is never as interesting as when a Ford plows through the legislature and smashes everything. Since taking office as Ontario’s premier a month ago, Doug Ford has dumped a controversial sex ed curriculum, cut cap and trade, and promised to cull the number of councillors in Toronto’s city council. These decisions brought foam…

Education reform must be on the table in Ontario

The delivery and financing of education could produce better results for students and their families while saving money

Education reform must be on the table in OntarioBy Jason Clemens and Sazid Hasan Fraser Institute As the new Ontario government begins to fully grasp the enormity of the task it faces to return the province to prosperity, education reform must be front and centre. The need to balance the budget while introducing tax relief to make the province more competitive and attractive…

Why Ontario’s controversial sex-ed curriculum had to go

The process of drafting the Liberal curriculum looked, smelled and felt politicized at its very core

Why Ontario’s controversial sex-ed curriculum had to goOntario Premier Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservative government announced last week that the controversial sex-ed curriculum, rolled out in 2015 by the previous Liberal government, would be repealed. It’s a good decision. Elementary schools will revert back to the old sex-ed curriculum in the fall, and parents will be consulted and provide recommendations to…

Carving out space for free and risky creative thought

Principled principals like the late Bob McNutt ensure that students get the education they need and deserve

Carving out space for free and risky creative thoughtDespite his hectic schedule – and the razzing we gave him nearly every week – he always returned my calls. He was Bob McNutt, principal of Erindale College, now the University of Toronto Mississauga, and I was a student journalist with the campus newspaper. McNutt’s earnestness in returning our calls, even on weekends, and providing…

Ontario can learn from B.C.’s education model

Independent schools deliver higher student test scores at lower costs to taxpayers

Ontario can learn from B.C.’s education modelWith another school year ending, it’s a good time to reflect on kindergarten-to-Grade-12 education in Ontario. As the second largest area of provincial expenditure, it can’t escape review as incoming premier Doug Ford’s new government plans to rein in spending. Fortunately one only needs to look to British Columbia for an example of how independent…

Remembering memorization, the cornerstone of learning

Students must develop mastery over technique before they can experiment, if the experiment is to have any shape or meaning

Remembering memorization, the cornerstone of learningThe smartest man I’ve ever met had a mind like a high-definition camera. Everything he viewed played on his mind with crystal clarity. He memorized the baseball statistics in the morning paper. A guilty pleasure, he said. He also had a library of poetry memorized. When he lectured, he pulled references, allusions and lines from…

Looking back to gain perspective on higher education

Time to abandon the factory-model, cheap-labour practices of colleges; time to push back against thoughtcrime; and to celebrate Precilla Veigas

Looking back to gain perspective on higher educationThe new year asks us to look back before we can move forward. For post-secondary educators in Ontario, two problems of the last year deserve careful reflection as we enter 2018. The disastrous college strike sits at the top of the list. In October, part-time instructors at Ontario’s 24 public colleges went on strike to…

Real education reform long overdue in Ontario

But the Progressive Conservatives promise nothing more than a disappointing package that ensures education status quo in the province

Real education reform long overdue in OntarioBy Angela MacLeod and Jason Clemens The Fraser Institute The Ontario Progressive Conservatives’ recently-released election platform shows they’ve opted for the status quo in kindergarten-to-Grade-12 education. That’s unfortunate, because the province’s education system is in dire need of reform. The platform the Opposition PCs offered as they prepare for next year’s provincial election contains almost no substantive…

When speech isn’t free, society pays a high price

A recent incident at the University provides a glimpse of what the future may hold for Canadian post-secondary education – and it ain’t pretty

When speech isn’t free, society pays a high priceAt one time, universities respected free speech and the exchange of different ideas. Intellectual discourse and thought-provoking debates were viewed as healthy, vibrant and treasured. Unfortunately, speech isn’t nearly as free on today’s university campuses. Intolerance of opposing philosophies, and hurt feelings among the hordes of special interest groups, have come to define modern institutions…