Dear Teacher: You called after me today. I was frustrated. Angry. Tired and lonely. And I didn't want to hear someone tell me for the bazillionth time all that I had done wrong. Tell me how I had been a bully. A bad boy. The truth is: I know. I know I am a bully. I have a hard time making friends because I'm different. But you took the time.
First, the PISA standing of Canadian students has been dropping over the years, both in terms of raw scores, and also in terms of comparative scores. Our students are getting lower marks than they did in the past -- at a time when a number of other countries are dramatically improving their scores and rocketing past Canada.
In a new global report conducted by Plan entitled Hear Our Voices, we spoke with more than 7,000 adolescent girls and boys from 11 countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. We wanted to learn more about what issues and concerns adolescent girls faced and how boys felt about those issues too.
Last spring, I joined my daughter Journey's fifth grade class as a volunteer on her field trip. I had the pleasure of watching a classmate approach Journey who was taking photos of a museum exhibit. The classmate suggested she turn off the camera flash; he was concerned that it could trigger one of her seizures. I was overcome with pride and appreciation for the caring, supportive community we have created in partnership with the school administration.
A rule that has an unclear or ridiculous purpose is, on its face, unfair. A rule that cannot possibly achieve its purpose is pointless. A rule that has more negative than positive effects is unfair and undemocratic. Discipline or punishment that does not address the behaviour it purports to correct is tyrannical.
On October 11, 2014, the world will celebrate International Day of the Girl Child. Adolescent girls are among the world's most vulnerable populations, and face a slew of unique and very real challenges. The international community needs to recognize that an empowered woman is the most effective catalyst for sustainable change, and it starts when they are teenagers. Protecting young women from violence increases their odds of completing school, and pursuing a successful and meaningful career!
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many students and parents are about to have their first holiday meal together since post-secondary school began about six weeks ago. For students, it has been a crash course in time and money management, and one thing is almost certain: there's never enough of either. This Thanksgiving, parents and students should carve out some time to talk finances and revisit the budget to determine if spending is on track.
The Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) has become the most underused, yet indispensable tax shelters designed to make post secondary education more accessible to children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, many of us don't use the RESP and if we do, we typically don't maximize the benefits available.
When the students at Kisaruni All-Girls Secondary School in rural Kenya had the opportunity to set their school hours, they pushed the limits. The girls begin their studies each morning at 4:45 a.m. and end at 10 p.m., with classroom instruction from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The grumbling resentment toward schoolwork that typifies the North American high-school experience seemed, well, positively lame, compared to the Kenyan girls' fierce dedication to learning.
In the dead of winter, minus 40 degree winds whistled through gaps around doors and windows of the decrepit portables that made up the entirety of their school. Until this month, that was life in elementary school in Attawapiskat. After a 14-year wait, children in the remote northern Ontario First Nations community have a real school again.
Optimism resides in Nigeria, despite the potential horrors of Ebola's global spread. Why so? As of September 23, the Centers for Disease Control has 21 confirmed cases with eight deaths in Nigeria from Ebola. That number is low. This is, in part, because childhood education is essential to the rising Nigerian economy.
The number of foreign students has doubled since even 2000. Some 265,000 go to Canada, over 200,000 to Australia, and more than 420,000 to the UK. While the American empire may be in decline, its universities still hold a great allure for the youth of the world for their academic leadership, freedom to explore and create and share, and their inviting and equitable atmosphere.