RSS Feed

April, 2014

  1. Is “citizenship’ teaching like a new religion?

    April 29, 2014 by Tunya


    The original documents on Common Core always had three Cs — Career, College and Citizenship Readiness.

    The BIG QUESTION is — Why was “citizenship” dropped from much of the narrative when it is really THE MAIN AGENDA of all these 21st C Learning projects?

    It’s been dropped, I surmise, because it was taking on an appearance, a perception, of “proselytizing”, and we know that’s WRONG. Public education is supposed to be secular — free of religion — at least in Western developed democratic nations.

    So, Marxism (a political ideology acting like a religion), Social Emotional Learning, spirituality, and even the totalitarian “oneness” of certain established faiths are minimized while banging away at College and Career Readiness.

    Yet, OBEDIENCE, mass obedience to one central command system — a New World Order — is still the assumption governing these high level conferences, their reports, etc. “Sustainability “ just happens to be the most acceptable excuse around with which to align formation and compliance with a rent-seeking society — citizens enslaved to public-centric jobs, services, and a dumbed-down Grade 6 education. Why Grade 6? Because that’s the target level of slick propaganda. Because Dummies books are at that level. And, because Grade 6 can be monitored and tracked through technology — all our games, phones, assessments . . . Somewhere it was established that a Grade 6 level would be most pliable and manageable! A small, educated elite can thus manage a two-tier populace.

    What’s the quality of life in an unfree world? How can one be free when all is programmed? Figuratively, and biblically, why was the Tower of Babel split asunder into many languages and many nations? Doesn’t that make sense, today, when biological, economic, and psychological survival demands diversity and choice? “What shall we do?” I, for one, am seeking counter-measures to this mixmaster education transformation now being engineered.

    So, I have a story to tell. Remember how our blog author feels so excluded from all these high level conferences? Well, I got invited to one, and can still register before tomorrow. Here is the item.

    EdSource symposium to tackle ‘seminal’ public school reforms (about public ed reforms in California, in partnership with California State PTA — to bring everyone up-to-date with Common Core implementation).

    Now, here’s the clincher, the keystone to make this conference really, really credible. One of the main speakers is Michael Fullan and here is how he’s described:

    “ . . .school reform expert Michael Fullan, the former dean at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto who is credited with leading a whole scale transformation of the Ontario, Canada school system. He’ll keynote a session on what it will take to reform education in California.”

    Now, I’m from Canada, and a professor in a teacher education faculty asked me a question to something I had written. Now, professors, are in a privileged level of knowledge about things educational, and he said, to this effect: “ I didn’t know Ontario was on board for 21st Century Learning, along with Alberta and British Columbia. Where can I find out about this?”

    I pointed him to a document, APRIL, 2014, The Ontario Report is called — Achieving Excellence – A Renewed Vision for Education in Ontario, April 2014

    The irony of this Ontario exercise and this announcement and report is that it’s all PRO FORMA — an accomplished fact. Without real public knowledge or involvement Ontario has a new transformative education plan laid out.

    A 1976 OECD report on Canadian education said Canada’s public consultations are largely “pro forma “ exercises, — done as a formality, perfunctory.

    This’s how most of 21st Century Learning projects — world-wide — seem to be going. Does anyone feel “used”?

    [published as a comment to Invisible Serfs Collar blog of 28 Apr 2014]

  2. Proper Professional Development Needed

    April 24, 2014 by Tunya

    Proper Professional Development Needed for the “Transformation” Plan

    At the BCTF AGM this March I heard President Jim Iker say that Professional Development would be a major undertaking in the next year for the union. He said the Ministry of Education has designated a new position of Superintendent of Professional Development, but so far (as of Mar 15) had not hired anyone.

    Frankly, from what I’m seeing and hearing we are poorly prepared in BC for the proposed “Transformation” to “Personalized Learning” of the BC Ed Plan. I’m even wondering how far the Consultation has come along. I have not seen any notices or invitations for the public to be involved. How far along is the so-called shift?

    I note that Nova Scotia today has announced a public Review of education and is asking the public for responses. Why haven't we been invited to feed-back about BC’s radical curricular changes?

    From the massive changes and shifts proposed the regular 6 professional development days per year will certainly not be sufficient to prepare teachers. If there is ill-prepared or botched implementation this could possibly result in harm to students.

    Is part of McKay’s new assignment perhaps to help in transitioning to “transformation”? Certainly professional development should not be an exclusive responsibility of the BCTF!


    [posted in Surrey Now on story of  Mike McKay, ex supt Surrey, hired by Ministry of Education ]

  3. Education Takeover — Where To Start ?

    April 23, 2014 by Tunya

    Education Takeover — Where To Start?

    I don’t use the word “takeover” lightly.  Yes, it also has these other tones of meaning — invasion, conquest, penetration, capture . . .

    I had my “awakening” one year ago when an Education Ministry Official told a small group of parents — one month before our provincial election that the “transformation” of BC education (being planned for several years already) was a go ahead, regardless of which political party would win the election (May 13, 2013).  “It’s international!” we were told.

    I was astonished because we had left, right, and center parties running.  How could it be that the public and an elected government would have no say in this radical “transformation” called Personalized Learning?

    I researched and found this was indeed part of a global effort, related to the Common Core in the US and 21st Century Learning under various names in other places.  So far, it’s a go-ahead in BC, Alberta and Ontario.

    Some features of this international shift are:  quiet implementation; parents and public and everyday teachers not consulted; shift from content and knowledge to competencies that include collaboration, inquiry-based learning and critical thinking; cross curricular themes such as sustainability and social justice embedded into most subjects; social/emotional emphasis in classrooms. 

    While some people have become concerned because the methods of implementation themselves are suspect and foreign to our democratic expectations, it’s emerged that Math is becoming a flashpoint for gathering alarm.  Math is not a “soft” “abstract” subject easily sabotaged and it is here where parents and some educators are starting to challenge this “transformation” by stealth.

    This is no small-time politics.  Even the UN with its Agenda 21 is mixed in.  It is seen as indispensable that “human (which may include spiritual) development should be integrated in all disciplines”.  (Ch.36)

    I wish I could recommend one place to start.  Of course, the Internet will provide both pros and cons for the topics I’ve touched upon.

    This cartoon will help us understand the Big Shift

    To Edmonton Journal


  4. Matthew Effect Is A Concern

    April 22, 2014 by Tunya

    Matthew Effect Is A Concern

    Look up Matthew Effect on the Internet. Basically it refers to the observed result 
    that children who fail to read at grade level start slipping — not only in the skill of reading but also in other respects, demonstrating diminished love of reading, diminished love of learning as a whole, diminished self-esteem, etc.

    In other words, they become “disabled” and incrementally become “more disabled” due to poor reading ability or poor or absent teaching of reading skills. In medicine this 
    acquired disorder is called an iatrogenic outcome, induced by the treatment — an infection, complication of treatment, etc.

    What a coincidence.

    I’m from Canada and a friend just happened to be in Las Vegas when this story broke. This is what she wrote:

    “You know, if a Martian were to visit Clark County and try to find out what to do about the board's poor literacy results, it would probably take the Martian about an hour to learn that additional spending and trying harder haven't worked elsewhere, while abolishing Balanced Literacy and instituting systematic phonics has worked elsewhere. One has to wonder why these truths elude the new superintendent of the Clark County School District.”

    Well, your superintendent certainly has it right about the Grade Three turnaround point: “We know students have to be successful by the end of third grade.”

    The news story goes on: “Skorkowsky set one overarching goal that must be met by students, even though the details of getting there remain unclear. All children must show grade-level reading skills by the end of third grade, the pivotal point where students transition from learning to read to now reading to learn. “

    What about pinpointing the problem closer to the Reading Program? Why not consider systematic phonics in elementary years instead of Balanced Literacy? Will this upset the “consultants” in Head Office?


    [published Apr 22, 2014 on Las Vegas Review-Journal ]

  5. Cowardice Allows Alberta To Slide In School Scores

    April 16, 2014 by Tunya

    History Of Alberta Education Illustrates A Slide To Cowardice

    [This post is in response to Michael Zwaagstra column in Calgary Herald ]

    Alberta education, notably the choice, charter and school-based management model, has been written up in Economics textbooks. Noted is that competition not only enabled innovation but also resulted in measurable positive results for the whole system — all schools demonstrated improved scores.

    For 4 decades Alberta was noted for highest scores in Canada as well as in international reports. Serious slippage in ratings, however, was seen in the last round of international reports.

    Internationally, teacher unions are renowned for solidarity with each other and with left wing politics — equality, fraternity, but NOT liberty. I had read that ATA (Alberta Teachers’ Assoc) had been sponsoring, or co-sponsoring, gurus in the last 5 years — change-agents, turnaround consultants, the promoter of the Finnish style of education.  This did not bode well for high-achieving Alberta Ed.

    Was the tall poppy to be cut down to size?

    There was the story that Alison Redford was elected to premiership because of an influx of teacher voters to her campaign.  It was said she had made 3 promises — to immediately restore $107 M to education funds (done), scrap standardized testing in Gr 3 & 6 (done), and repeal parental veto to withdraw their children from controversial lessons (not done — opposed by parents).

    Well, the tall poppy has been cut down.  The left campaign has been successful.  Alberta is now more equal than ever. 

    But, parents and some education supporters are rising up to restore some sense to at least the straightforward task of teaching Mathematics. 

    But, we are seeing, Math is no longer clear-cut and up-front.  There are hidden agendas.  A textbook in the field is titled:  “Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice”.  Perhaps this is the personal constructivist preference the Minister of Education is committed to instead of research evidence and the informed preferences of thousands of parents.  Seems like his stance is simple subservience to the establishment and their vested interests.

    Accomplices and cowards, it seems, are running the show.  This episode in Alberta history fully illustrates that while there are clear political masters they are still slaves to a philosophy that is ineffective, dysfunctional and counterproductive.

    Wikipedia reporting is ominous: “Discovery learning, personalized learning and reform mathematics are being implemented by the education ministry, accompanied by much controversy.”

    Who will break away and tell us how this shaping of the Discovery Math agenda happened? Then maybe commonsense can be prevailed upon to give parents at least a choice in the matter.