Monthly Archives: August 2014

School boards have to make budget choice, says Yves Bolduc

It makes for a good headline, I guess.

But let’s get real for a second here.  We have to “make budget choices”, says our Minister.

At what point do we say, sorry, but there are no more choices to make? We cannot do it?

Don’t we all wish we could say, “yes, let’s cut our family budget by 50%”, and miraculously, we could do so without absolutely destroying our capacity to live?

Come on – it’s enough of this.  You cut you cut and you cut.

Yes, our school board just spent a lot of money on travel.  And thank goodness you have a Council of Commissioners to oversee this – without us, this kind of thing would never even be known about.  And let’s hope that this trip pays for itself, and let’s hope that the Chair did not accept a free trip from a partner we just signed a large agreement with. I don’t have the details yet. But let’s hope.

But beyond all of that, let’s stop just saying, “cut it” when it comes to education, and expect that somehow some miracle money will descend from the heavens and we can simply maintain our cobbled together system that will continue to work.

Pay good people good money to deliver good work.  Require good work.  Invest in education.  Provide the tools.  Stop being so selfish and recognize that the future is what matters most.

Howzabout we do something right?

I’m in.

Truly,

Steve

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What’s the role of a school board for “unschoolers”?

As most of you probably know, I view Home Schooling as not only an absolutely legal alternative, but one that deserves support from the school board itself.  Our mandate given to us in the Education Act is very clear:

207.1. The mission of a school board is to organize, for the benefit of the persons who come under its jurisdiction, the educational services provided for by this Act and by the basic school regulations made by the Government.

The mission of a school board is also to promote and enhance the status of public education within its territory, to see to the quality of educational services and the success of students so that the population may attain a higher level of formal education and qualification, and to contribute, to the extent provided for by law, to the social, cultural and economic development of its region.

2008, c. 29, s. 23.

So – given that the very same education act specifically exempts students being home schooled from attending our schools, our role is simple: support the efforts of the home schooler such that those students too will attain qualifications and contribute to the social, cultural and economic development of our region.

Now, are we doing all we can do for this group? We’ve made progress, but…  we can do an awful lot more.

But what about unschoolers?  Read this recent article in The Gazette to learn more about unschoolers:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Unschooling+Quebec+classes+schedule+tests/10122656/story.html

Certainly the chosen title for the group “unschoolers” may send the wrong message. I don’t think any of these parents are interested in keeping their child ignorant in any way whatsoever. Their approach to education is quite different, and it may not be something you or I understand. But, if at the end of the day these people are developing happy, successful, interested and productive people? Maybe what we need to do is look again at what our role can be here.

How about working together, as a community, and ensuring every child has the tools they need to be successful. And how about allowing for a variety of definitions of the word “successful”.  Most home schoolers do an amazing job – just look at their results.  Unschoolers?  Let’s work together with them to define what success looks like to them.  And let’s focus on the big picture – let’s help our community learn, and each contribute in their own way to the social, cultural and economic development of our region. That’s our role.

Truly,

Steve

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Kids “building benches” against bullying.

I had read something on using a “Buddy Bench” as a means to help kids who are being bullied, and it seemed like a smart idea to me – any time you have a kid-led initiative like this, it’s at least something you need to explore, because it likely speaks very well to the actual need.

Here’s a short video of a young student describing her success with these in a TedX talk:

You can read about other student led initiatives using “buddy benches” with the following links:

http://www.theridgefieldpress.com/30779/buddy-benches-battle-bullying/

http://www.kptv.com/story/25643580/salem-school-using-buddy-bench-to-fight-bullying

Kids leading kids against bullying is a winning situation.

Truly,

Steve

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Filed under Blogging, Education