Tag Archives: education

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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Filed under Blogging, Commentaries, Education

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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“My wife is a lazy-liar” post.

As we near the end of this K-11 school year, as a Commissioner, I would send out a special thanks along with this tidbit of humour.

I first saw this post on a friend’s FB timeline – she is a teacher and she posted it on her husband’s timeline. I found it to be very funny, but so much I know resonates.  My own wife has returned to early childhood education, and I get to say things at 9pm in the late evening like, “Oh – you’re cutting out walruses – it’s ‘W’ week already?  It seems like only yesterday we were cutting out butterflies!”

It’s a fun read, and it’s also a real glimpse into the reality of today’s teachers. They really do all of those ‘crazy’ things in there.

http://smithdeville.com/2014/06/06/my-wife-is-a-lazy-liar/

THANK YOU, and enjoy the next 3 months that you have off.  Or maybe just the same time-off that most people enjoy – teachers are in school long after the kids are off and they’re back long before they arrive. And teachers, by nature, will likely spend some summertime ‘leisure time’ reading books and papers that boils down to professional development.

Thank you,

Truly,

Steve

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Filed under Commentaries, Education, Redistribution

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

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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

 

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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

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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

 

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Filed under Commentaries, Education