Don’t judge historic figures without knowledge of our history

Canadian curriculums fail students when it comes to teaching the content necessary to have informed, intelligent debate

Don’t judge historic figures without knowledge of our historyLast fall, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario demanded that Sir John A. Macdonald’s name be stricken from all public schools in the province. More recently, Halifax city council voted to remove the Edward Cornwallis statue that had stood downtown since 1931. Both decisions were vigorously debated and public opinion remains sharply divided. These are…

UCP: go back to school on proposed education reforms

The Alberta party’s proposal to increase funding for independent schools is unlikely to improve education in Alberta

UCP: go back to school on proposed education reformsBy Angela MacLeod and Jason Clemens The Fraser Institute Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) recently released a host of policy proposals in advance of its annual general meeting in May. They included proposed reforms in education that are unlikely to achieve their goals and could make things worse. The proposals presume that Alberta’s kindergarten-to-Grade-12 education system needs…

Are university professors obsolete?

Students of the future won’t be limited to a local institution or faculty member. And much more learning will be less formal and structured

Are university professors obsolete?What future awaits university professors? Do you remember telephone operators, mostly women who worked at switchboards connecting and disconnecting phone calls? Operators have long been replaced by automation and the various voicemail mazes we all struggle through. Did you see that wonderful film Hidden Figures, where “coloured computers” – very smart black women – did,…

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…

Breaching the fine line between teaching and brainwashing

Being a teacher means making sure your students are exposed to more than one perspective

Breaching the fine line between teaching and brainwashingThere’s a fine line between teaching and brainwashing. Teaching informs students about the world around them and helps them become critical thinkers. In contrast, brainwashing provides students with heavily skewed information that leads to one predetermined conclusion. It’s easy to mix these two things up if we aren’t careful. People who work in schools are…

Stop treating universities like they’re retail outlets

Universities should bring young people into the disciplines and rigours of an examined life, into the habits of careful thinking

Stop treating universities like they’re retail outletsWhile at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), I got to know a history teacher who was a passionate and self-proclaimed Marxist. She loved to talk about the inequality and injustices that plagued the city, the province, the country and, well, the cosmos. I asked her one morning if she wouldn’t mind splitting…

Artificial intelligence opens the door to a resurgence in the humanities

The good news about AI’s ascent is that the humanity might be shocked back into universities

Artificial intelligence opens the door to a resurgence in the humanitiesI wouldn’t want to be a prophet. Prophesy’s a tough profession. If not attacked, beaten or burned, the prophet’s ignored, shunned and hated. All for having something important to say. So don’t treat what I have to say about how universities will respond to artificial intelligence, or AI, as prophesy. At issue is how AI…

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…

Giving teachers a voice in crafting a better education system

Considering the emphasis placed on critical thinking in schools, it’s ironic that teacher development minimizes debate and emphasizes conformity

Giving teachers a voice in crafting a better education systemTeaching is a challenging job. Anyone who has spent a few days in a school knows that teachers have a lot of demands placed upon them. Their responsibilities often go far beyond basic classroom instruction. From dealing with disruptive student behaviours to organizing extracurricular activities to supervising hallways and playgrounds, the workload of teachers is…

Down with textbooks, the pre-digested meal of the academic world

To read a textbook is to receive a second- or third-rate experience, and third- and fourth-hand knowledge

Down with textbooks, the pre-digested meal of the academic worldI’m reminded of that old game Telephone we played in grade school. The teacher whispered in the ear of the child beside her and that child passed the message to the next person. By the time the message came back to the teacher, it had been hopelessly, hilariously mangled, either by passing clumsily through so…