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May, 2015

  1. Discovery Math — Students Feel Stupid

    May 27, 2015 by Tunya

    “Math Sense” Makes You Feel Stupid — Oh, The Irony !

    Not just students feel stupid; parents trying to help with homework are made to feel stupid also. Two generations. What’s the game plan?

    Isn’t education supposed to make you feel capable? Not dumbed down? Not feeling stupid?

    And, let’s remember Daisy’s book — Seven Myths about Education — saying that much of 21st Century Learning is really about pushing an ideological bias into schools. These self-appointed 21st C reformers see their methods as a corrective to right wing and elitist culture. Really?

    Who can find the best description of what the New Utopia would look like if 21st C initiatives in Canada and Common Core in the US were fully implemented? What is the vision?

    Nonetheless: Here is a Report that should stop the Discovery Learning in Math in its tracks. See: Decline of Canadian students’ math skills the fault of ‘discovery learning’: C.D. Howe Institute


    – Canada fell out of the top 10 countries for math in 2012.

    – the curriculum balance should be tilted in favour of direct instructional methods, recommending an 80/20 split as a rule of thumb.

    – elementary school teachers in training should be required to take two semester-long courses at university in math with the aim of deepening their grasp of the concepts they will be teaching.

    – Provinces should also consider making elementary teachers-to-be write a test in that same content before they’re licensed.

    The comments are worth reading.

  2. Teacher “training” seriously challenged

    May 18, 2015 by Tunya


    I’m going to go out on a limb, and am open to corrections, but here are my views about a SOURCE of much of the education problems we discuss in Canada.

    1 The problem is with the Deans of Faculties of Education in Canada and their over-arching Manifesto — Accord On Initial Teacher Education

    2 All 50 Faculties of Education in Canada have signed this Accord.

    3 Developed in 2006, this is how the Accord is described in an abstract of an article by Alice Collins and Rob Tierney (then Dean of UBC Ed Faculty):

    The twelve principles advance values and ideals about the teacher as professional, life long learner and social activist; about the power of teaching and learning; about values of respect, inclusion, globalization and diversity; about collaboration with educational and public communities; and about strong content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge.

    4 Principle #3 states:

    An effective initial teacher education program encourages teachers to assume a social and political leadership role.

    5 All 50 faculties include in their mandated or suggested reading materials — Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire.

    6 All 50 faculties do NOT teach how to teach phonics — an essential teaching skill in the tool kit of primary teachers.

    7 One in four Canadians is functionally illiterate.

    8 Rob Tierney, after a stint in Australian academe is back at UBC in the Language Division of the faculty. He is decrying the high burnout rate of teachers — 30% leave within 5 years. He suggests social workers “to help build better relationships between the teachers and the community they serve.”

    My Conclusion:

    a) Again — as is customary in a defensive education system — the blame on burn-out or anything else educational is placed on everything except the teaching “profession” itself and its trainers!

    b) There is far too much time spent on theory, philosophy and social activism instead of teaching the essential student learning skills of reading, arithmetic and writing that are the fundamental building blocks toward academic and aptitude development.

    c) There is much that is irrefutably known about good teaching (Hattie, Willingham, Lemov, etc.) that can be applied universally and today (as it is in many independent schools).

    d) What will drive meaningful education reform — presently in the grip of progressive, constructivist philosophy (which is not a science) — is NOT the system reforming itself (impossible) but for consumers, bolstered with choices and funding following the student, to become more informed and assertive of their sovereign rights.

    e) Seriously, urgently, review how 50 teacher training faculties in Canada contribute to or hinder our well-being. Add Myth #8 to Daisy Christodoulou’s Seven Myths About Education — Teacher training prepares teachers for teaching.

    The 7 myths are:

    1. Facts prevent understanding
    2. Teacher-led instruction is passive
    3. The 21st century fundamentally changes everything
    4. You can always just look it up
    5. We should teach transferable skills
    6. Projects and activities are the best way to learn
    7. Teaching knowledge is indoctrination

  3. biology trumps everything – educrats, etc.

    May 12, 2015 by Tunya

    BIOLOGY Trumps Everything: Teacher Unions, Marxists, Academics, Passionate Education Leaders, Textbook Publishers, Snake-oil Salesmen, Education Gurus & Charlatans, Misled Politicians, Unemployed PhDs, Social Engineers, Totalitarians, Teacher Trainers, Political Junkies, etc., etc.

    Watch this video from Ontario showing the mixed ethnicity of parents protesting the new, untested, soon-to-be imposed without consent or consultation, SEX EDUCATION —

    The Parent Veto is an awesome thing and is constantly under attack by usurpers of parental primacy in education. In 2011 when a surge of votes propelled Alison Redford to instant Premiership of Alberta it was claimed that promises to the teacher establishment was the key to her success. It was easy for her to quickly find $107Million in extra education funding and to scrap Gr 3 & 6 standardized tests. The third demand, abolish the parent veto, was never accomplished due to parent backlash.

    The parent veto doesn’t have to be written into law or legislation. It is there as a biological right in the Free Western World.

    As the American 2016 Presidential election machine gears up watch for the family rights backlash against the views of the leading Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton. Her statement that education is a “non-family enterprise” encapsulates the welfare state mentality perfectly and will “enjoy” a well deserved backlash from all stripes on the political spectrum.

    The empowerment bestowed on parent protests against imposed, flawed, developmentally inappropriate, sex education is a signal that the sleeping giant of family rights in education is awakening.

    Even now, sophisticated preemptive programs are being assembled by education establishments to mount “leadership training” programs to cut parents off at the pass!

    By careful reading between the lines we see yet another barrier, an enforcement layer (trained leaders), being mounted to continue keeping sovereign parents at bay while shifts and “transformations” are being inflicted on children.

    Yes, parental priorities about their children’s reading and math and knowledge, etc. will also rise up from the general dumbing-down so presently evident in public schools. The sex education protests are a taste of future parent sovereignty asserting its own place.

    [To SQE, Huff Post, FB, and below to ISC 20150512]

    Yet One More Layer For Assured Transformation — Education Adjusters

    Thanks, Robin, for the link to the CCSSO Revised. What sent me into "orbit" was the visual imagery that popped into my head about "adjustments" — screws tightening !
    The yet-to-be trained "leaders" will “make adjustments as necessary” or appropriate for the "well-adjusted" student. I had to respond to a Canadian story on Huff Post and wove in this link — hope you don't mind my long comment below:

  4. Schools as tools

    May 5, 2015 by Tunya

    Schools As Tools For Coerced Cultural Change

    In the binary scheme of things educational, there are TWO main visions of how schools should be run. One is the progressive view held by most in the organized government education establishment and includes those all the way from teacher training to teacher unions. The other view is the traditional view held by many parents who see the older ways as effective and respectful of the parental role in guidance and decision-making about schooling.

    The Ontario protest against the new sex curriculum by so many parents, to the extent of withdrawing their children from schools, is not a new issue in Canada about the parental role.

    In 2011 when Alison Redford became premier of Alberta it was claimed that she obtained her surge of votes when promises were made to the teacher union for 3 things — immediate restoration of $107 million to education funds, scrapping standardized tests for Gr 3 & 6, and repeal of the parental veto.

    Amazingly, the first two were quickly accomplished but parents across the province seriously protested the third item. The parent veto still stands.

    What is important to note is that the third is a cultural change item and has nothing to do with the issues of school funding and testing which do affect teachers. It is the ideology of the progressive establishment intruding into curriculum content that was challenged by parents.

    Similarly, it is the ideological agenda of the progressive establishment which is currently being challenged by these parent protests in Ontario.

    Thankfully, the parents are standing up for the integrity of their children’s minds and development and for their own role in overseeing values questions.

    Of all the professions we have in society it is the teaching profession over which parents should be most vigilant. To twist the mind is to twist the child and the adult in the long term.

    It’s in the Bible and I have seen teachers on the Internet acknowledge at rare times their respect for the injunction: Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1, NIV Study Bible)

    Here’s another interesting quote for parents to be aware of and it’s from Israel. Much as the nation desires a national curriculum it does allow home education for this exception: “The Ministry of Education will grant a child exemption from mandatory schooling and permit home school if the parents have a core value system that differs from the local school.”

    Thankfully we are seeing awakened parents becoming aware and assertive about cultural changes being engineered without their consent.

  5. Manifesto for education ?

    May 4, 2015 by Tunya

    PERSPECTIVE NEEDED — Policy, Philosophy, Practical Economics

    After viewing this presentation one might just think differently about questions that trouble us.

    Without quibbling about small details, this graphic (not sure what its TITLE is) could, hopefully, pull us out of our privileged navel-gazing to consider our issues against a broader perspective.

    POLICY — In nation states, who does policy?

    In democratic settings is it the elected representative politicians, the dynamics of catering to influential vested lobbies, strong central control vs subsidiary local decision-making or other forms of problem-solving that should provide the governing mechanisms?

    PHILOSOPHY — Do social norms arise from belief systems or practical daily realities?

    Where do values that fuel action come from? Live and let live or . . . ? Do they need to be entrenched and declared in Constitutions and Charters of Human Rights and Freedoms?

    PRACTICAL ECONOMICS — Do the notions of truth and science inform decisions? On a binary continuum do things veer to the objective or the subjective?

    In the field of education it is so heartening to see so-called “research” being seriously questioned. Increasingly we are seeing an emphasis — a movement — on “evidence-based” indicators in choosing methods, approaches and policies — very different from mission statements about “changing the world”. Once goals are agreed upon it’s the demonstrable results that matter when proven standard practices are followed.

    [NOTE: GRATITUDE FOR LITERACY — At this stage, and after viewing the above-recommended presentation, we should be so grateful that we are enabled through reading to grapple with the complexities of the day and the uncertain futures ahead. For the sake of posterity we ought become humble pioneers — based on knowledge we know and learn from history and the written word — in developing guiding principles for the current and future eras.]