Wouldn’t it be nice…

… if elected leadership spent its time reflecting on articles like this instead of wasting so much time on … balderdash.

Truly,

Steve

2 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Education

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

The common core

The words “common core” are being somewhat villainized in educational circles these days. And sadly, I think it’s justifiable.

Wikipedia defines the common core as:

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is an education initiative in the United States that details what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers(CCSSO) and seeks to establish consistent education standards across the states as well as ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing courses at two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.[1]

It makes sense to have standards. It makes sense to measure against these standards. It makes particular sense to have a common standard for ELA and math. But. How is this really manifesting itself in education today?

Have a look at this video where comedian Louis CK speaks to the common core in an appearance on David Letterman:

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/louis-c-k-continues-going-after-common-core-on-letterman/

It’s funny, and it’s not. Louis CK also posted a number of pics of the homework his kids are doing. Check them out here:

http://www.mediaite.com/online/comedian-louis-c-k-goes-off-on-common-core/

One tweet in particular kinda sums it up:

My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!

We really have to be careful as education continues to evolve. Standards are good. Assessment is good.  But…  it’s easy to see how quickly it can all go off the rails.

There’s an election coming in school boards across the province of Quebec. Education matters. And like it or not, school boards and their Councils of Commissioners have a key role to play. Make sure you are electing the people you think will support positive educational leadership; people who can support a real vision of 21st century learning and the people who understand that they are accountable to the public at large. It’s important to get out and vote.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Education

7 Ways to Transform Education by 2030

I don ‘t think any of what is in this article is “new”, but I am also not sure that we have made much progress in getting there, so, I thought it would be good to look at these real simple point-form goals.

  1. Change the focus from rote learning – the memorization of specific facts and figures – to the development of lifelong learners who are able to think critically and solve problems.
  2. Encourage learning through cross-disciplinary and collaborative projects that are relevant and useful to their community.
  3. Create an environment where students work in fluid groupings that combine students of different ages, different abilities and different interests.
  4. Shift the role of the teacher from “chalk-and-talk” orators to curators of learning, helping students grow their knowledge and skills.
  5. Measure learning progress using qualitative assessments of a student’s skills and competencies, rather than using high-stakes examinations.
  6. Ensure that all groups – teachers, parents, governments and students – have a seat at the table when building the framework for learning.
  7. Empower students and teachers to experiment with new ideas in an environment where they can fail safely and develop confidence to take risks.

Thinking critically and solving problems. Teachers as “curators of learning”, actually teaching; being the infamous “guide at the side”.

Measuring learning qualitatively.

The full article can be found here.

There’s an election coming in school boards across the province of Quebec. Education matters. And like it or not, school boards and their Councils of Commissioners have a key role to play. Make sure you are electing the people you think will support positive educational leadership; people who can support a real vision of 21st century learning and the people who understand that they are accountable to the public at large. It’s important to get out and vote.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentaries, Education

Preparing students for jobs that have not yet been created?

From the Action Canada website:

Education systems in most industrial societies have historically focused on the direct instruction of facts and methods. However, this model of information delivery has changed substantially as a result of new technologies that enable unprecedented access to knowledge and information. In this context, the role for education systems is no longer as dispensers of knowledge, but rather facilitators of learning. In order to ensure that Canadians are resilient in the face of rapid change, education systems must be adapted to “prepare students for jobs that have not yet been created, technologies that have not yet been invented and problems that we don’t yet know will arise.” To do so requires a paradigm shift in which teaching students answers gives way to teaching them how to ask the right questions, evaluate information critically, and communicate effectively.

Read the full report here.

Does the Ministry of Education understand and support this? Do our school boards? Do our schools?

I know we have a lot of people in our board who understand. But are we giving them all the tools they need to deliver on this massive change? Something to work on and move forward this last year of my mandate.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Education

Virtual Field Trips

Google has been amazing with its offers for Education. The fact that they have given so much has also pushed others to up their game – Microsoft now has Office 365 free for students, in order to compete with Google Apps for Education.

But with Google+, Google has an offer beyond everyone else.  And they’ve upped it yet again – check out Google’s Virtual Field Trips:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDwEjqkgwyI

Neat stuff.

Truly,

Steve

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentaries, Education

The state of this province

On Tous le Monde en Parle last night, PQ Minister Réjean Hébert showed his great concern that patients in hospitals should be free from the worry of their Doctor or Nurse wearing a hijab.

The idea that *this* is his priority, when Quebec hospitals and healthcare in general is in such a poor state? It’s pathetic. Time for an election and time to kick these sad clowns out.

“Those ostentatious symbols create a distance, and they could cause certain problems in the relationship between the nurse, the doctor and the patient, and that’s what should be avoided,” he said.

Read the story on The Montreal Gazette here.

Personally, I’m interested in educated, highly competent people who care about their patients. The idea that this government is actually concerned about their religion, or what they wear? 

Holy crap, this is ignorance beyond compare.

Aha! This is why the keep cutting money from education! Long term effort to expand their base! Keep ’em ignorant! I get it now…  they’re brilliant. Uh huh.

Truly,

Steve

Leave a comment

Filed under Commentaries