This past week, the much lauded TV show Cosmos made its return to the small screen. Back in 1980, I was a 13-year-old immigrant kid, youngest in a busy, working class household of seven people, and attending a Toronto inner city middle school that was not exactly a model of academic excellence. Enter into that world Carl Sagan.
Most low-income parents can't buy expensive homes or afford private schools or tutors or access specialized public schools or home-school. Their children, for the most part, are stuck with their neighbourhood school. If that school doesn't meet their children's needs at some point, those needs just go unmet.
Somewhere along the way, we've adopted some goofy misguided idea that children's psyches are inherently, staggeringly fragile, prone to devastating and irreversible damage from any number of relatively benign phenomena -- like honour rolls, sporting activities where only the winning team gets a trophy, or track and field days with actual competition (oh, the horror!).
Many different organizations and health experts have purposed various solutions to solve the western world's obesity epidemic. But the underlying problem to the obesity epidemic is the current population's lack of connectivity to the soil, the environment and the food supply. If we can reconnect our current population with the food supply and the community, we will create a healthier and brighter future for generations to come.
Ontarian parents who favour one unified school system would be wise to take a look at the education scene in B.C., where some say the teachers' union is more powerful than God. If we didn't have three teachers' unions in Ontario, it is likely that no students would be enjoying extra-curricular activities today.
Ontario high school students are being disproportionately affected by the conflict between the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) and the provincial government. What is most worrying about the conflict between the Ontario teacher's union and the government is the way in which students are being used as pawns by the OSSTF to advance and promote a political message. Students' anger over the loss of extracurricular activities should not be directed towards the government.
Recent trends in education funding in Alberta exhibit some worrying disparities. Charter and private schools currently attract considerably more resources than the poorest of schools in the public system, and they still get public per student funding. This has significant consequences. If we turn classrooms into just another market for ads, is there any reason not to expect that donor and advertising dollars are most likely to flow to the schools and parents who already have the greatest resources?
Not only are we enamored with the ability to send and receive information in a digital format, but our children are equally smitten. I hear more and more parents bemoaning the fact that they're not able to retrieve their iPad or laptop from their young child who is busy surfing the web, watching videos or playing games on the device. Here are the top seven ways that digital technology has affected our children -- the good and the bad.