Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bullying is a horrible thing.

Read this teacher’s approach – it’s a pretty good strategy.

http://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/stop-bullying-strategy

In school, I was both a bully and a victim of bullying – I think this happens a lot.  I would do anything to take back my bullying. And I suspect it would be the same with those who picked on me.

Wouldn’t it be great if we found a way to speed this process up.  It *is* a process – so theoretically, it can be affected.

We need a focus on this in our Board.

Truly,

Steve

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Transparency in government

It must be four, maybe five years ago now, where I first called for Commissioner expense accounts to be posted online for all to see. “Why not?”, I asked…  I certainly don’t feel I have anything to hide. And I don’t really think anyone else in our Council does either.

But no – we still don’t post them.

A glimmer of hope now – maybe a real shift in the culture of governance in Quebec:

“People want to be better informed,” Fournier said.

“Good governance raises the level of confidence of Quebecers in their institutions and allows better participation by Quebecers, organizations, the public, in public debates,” he said.

“It is a completely different approach,” he added, explaining that people have a cynical view of transparency.

(Full article here.)

Well, there’s an election coming for school boards across Quebec. Think about this one when you’re casting your vote. Ask the candidates about their definition of “transparency”.

Truly,

Steve

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

God Forbid someone should go to an English school in Quebec.

Minister Diane De Courcy just issued a press release suggesting that exempting military families from Bill 14 is something akin to the unbelievable abuse of the law used by parents who pay THOUSANDS of dollars to go to a private school so that they can then have access to an English public school.

God Forbid.

God Forbid someone in Quebec should have the right to actually choose what language school their child goes to.

As I type this, I cannot fathom how we have let THIS much happen.  Let alone the idea that this new minority government thinks that they should add to the despicable yet still pathetic abuse that is already perpetrated on the English community of Quebec.  One of the founding peoples of this province.

This is not normal.  This is not acceptable.  In actuality, it runs counter to international law.  Article TWO of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights expressly condemns discrimination based on language.  ARTICLE TWO.  You don’t have to read very much to see that THE WORLD doesn’t accept this.

What is it that these people do not understand?!?

As I said to a bilingual (French first language) friend yesterday, when asked to comment on how *should* French be protected, as we all want it to be in Quebec. I wrote to him:

Focus on the advantages of speaking French. Help people fall in love with the culture. Simply “be” the people and the place where others want to be. Encourage pride in the language and culture and dismiss any idea that it is too weak to survive without laws to protect it. Set an example that others want to emulate.

The example that Diane De Courcy and her gang of language thugs is nothing to emulate.  Our province has become an international laughing stock.  Look up “pastagate” on Google and you’ll see over TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND results.  Yup, that’s what the world thinks when it thinks of Quebec right now.

This is pathetic.  It is not good for Quebec.  It is not good for the French language or our shared culture of Quebec.  It serves nothing but to allow pathetic politicians to pull on the heartstrings of those too ignorant to know better.  This is not how French is going to thrive in Quebec.  This does not elicit pride in the language, the culture or the province.  It elicits contempt.

It truly is pathetic, in every possible way.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Vocational education – an immense need.

It was a funny thing to read, this morning, on CBC’s website:

(Stephen Harper) He says that means starting at the basic education level: “There’s a general feeling there are too many kids getting BAs and not enough welders.”

Measures aimed at promoting apprenticeships will feature prominently in the budget, he says.

Vocational education often has a certain stigma to it.  “Well, he may not get into Cegep, but there’s always Voc Ed.  Sorry.”

That just isn’t the case.  Or it shouldn’t be the case.  And it didn’t used to be this way. Over the last 30 years, the entire focus has been put on getting that Bachelor’s degree.  “High school alone just won’t cut it.”  But what comes after high school? Not everyone gets into Cegep. Not everyone *wants* to get into Cegep.  And not everyone *should* get into Cegep, and especially so when there is a real need for tradespeople.  And not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the kid graduating with a BA in computer science?  Well, that kid working as an undersea welder out in the Maritimes is likely making 4-5 times as much money, with more time off and benefits.

Other countries have sophisticated systems to bring bright young people into trades and professions, but we’ve never really figured it out.

And why haven’t we?  Well, I would ay that the first step is to remove the stigma from the work path in high schools.  Understand that vocational education is not where you go if you can’t succeed in school.  It’s a path that you may choose that leads to a great future, and all the success in the word.  Graduates of Vocational Education, even if they have not managed to pass Sec 4 history and maybe missed a credit in French or English – well, they are our success stories as well, and the MELS needs to recognize that.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Best case against getting rid of school boards I have ever seen.

Over at the BBC, we have a 30 minute documentary on a major scam that has affected some schools in the UK.  It boils down to the decentralizing of some fairly major IT decision back to the school level and away from the professional IT people and their buyers.

Laptops worth 458 pds costing 3033 pds, copiers worth 1512 pds costing 42,000 pds, and multi function copiers worth 10,995 pds costing 174,787 pds.

Are the principals or head teachers placing these orders “stupid”?  Absolutely not.  But a professional director of IT and/or a professional purchasing agent would have known how to recognize and avoid this leasing scam.

Some services being centralized simply make sense.  A single professional is going to make a better purchasing decision than will individual principals whose profession is educational management, and not in purchasing IT – as it should be.

If you have a UK proxy, or a subscription to a BBC mobile app,. the show in question is here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01n2t2f/Panorama_Reading_Writing_and_RipOffs/

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Teacher absences

As parents of students currently in school, my wife and I are often amazed at just how often one of our two boys has a substitute.  We’re probably (hopefully!) exaggerating, but it seems to us that just about every day there’s at least one period that has a sub – sometimes a great sub, but often someone who really has no plan and is apt to put a movie on for them.

We’re talking about grades 9 & 10 here – to me, every period is time that should be spent learning, and watching movies without any teaching context? Not so much, for me.

Anyhow – this weekend I came across the following article – it’s a quick read, and the sentiments we have in this house are echoed.

Teacher absences and their Effect on kids.

I like to see my own sentiments echoed.  🙂

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentaries, Education, Uncategorized