Recommended Reading – Thursday March 8th, 2012

Mar 8, 2012 by

Our school systems are so last century (The Globe and Mail)

“Our schools are run like a bunch of factories from the early industrial age. They have rigid work rules, negotiated for the benefit of management and labour (but not the parents or the kids). Seniority reigns, everyone has job security for life, and a distant, top-heavy bureaucracy decrees exactly what gets taught and how. Students of wildly varying talents proceed in lockstep down the assembly line until the system spits them out.

Teachers, meantime, scramble to find textbooks for the kids as our bloated ministries of education crank out mountains of bumf that dictate everything from curriculum standards, learning objectives and approved teaching materials to anti-bullying policies, diversity initiatives and the very latest schemes to raise test scores.” (Click here for the rest of the article)

Cut Deep, Cut Hard  (Gods of the Copybook)

“Times change. 2012 is not 1999. Exactly. The voters of Canada have seen another thirteen years of big government waste and inefficiency in action. Federally we’ve had the long-gun registry. Provincially the cesspools of eHealth and Ornge. Waiting lists for health care get longer and longer, whatever the Ministry of Health might officially report.

Something else has changed since the 1990s, the voters themselves. The apathetic youth of the Rae-Harris decade are now overtaxed and overworked thirty-something parents. This is an important yet infrequently commented upon change. The typical voter in the 1990s had memories of the spend-a-thons of the Sixties and Seventies. The Bob was just promising more of the good stuff and so got elected.

To those poor suckers born after about 1980 the Sixties are that halcyon time the boomers never shut up about. Yeah, sure it was fun. Now guess who gets stuck with the bill? Thanks Dad. The post-1980 generation, I will refrain from using silly letter denominations, has also grown up in the new media environment. They’re not used to believing stuff just because the CBC and Toronto Star told them so. Nor are they especially deferential to their teachers, whom they regard as overpaid babysitters.”  (Click here for the rest of the article)

Put The Kids to Work  (Whiskey and Gunpowder)

“I was reading a wonderful set of small biographies of Gilded Age entrepreneurs and took note of something we all know once we think about it. These men and women worked in productive labor from an early age.

They universally credit these early work experiments for instilling an ethic to stick to the job, be alert to opportunities, and feel that sense of accomplishment that comes from the exercise of stamina. They don’t typically talk about school. They talk about the barges they steered, the rocks they hauled, the mines they dug, the rivers they navigated. Their work was their main teacher.

This was hardly unusual. All through the 18th and 19th century, all kids worked. This was not at the expense of academics. Kids still learned to read, write, and do math. Work was something that they did in addition to schooling and part of schooling. So it has been through all of human history. The idea that a healthy kid of 14-years old would do nothing but sit in a desk for 7 hours every day, and then play video games and chat on Facebook the rest of the time, would be unthinkable.” (Click here for the rest of the article)


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