Our son, Casey, has autism, a neuro-developmental disorder that is often characterized by rigid and repetitive behaviours, difficulty with social communication and uneven intellectual development, among many other challenges. Regular participation in an integrated public school has not always been easy for him.
In the past I've explained the psychological, sociological, cultural, political and evolutionary basis for human behaviour but, given recent events, I no longer believe that that's enough. My students, in the face of revent world events, want to know one thing in particular: they want to know why it's so hard for people to get along with other people.
Millennials are now the largest generation in the Canadian workforce, and within the next few years will begin to get real responsibility and influence in shaping our country's future. With the school year now behind us, it's a great time to think about what the future holds for education in Canada and how millennial attitudes will shape this future.
More than twice as many kids are driven to school these days compared to 25 years ago, and that's having an impact on everyone. In a study released April 5 by Metrolinx, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area's transportation planning agency, researchers found a decline among youth in the use of physically active modes of transportation to commute to school over a 25-year period. And this has huge implications for the future of Toronto.
The BC Liberal government cites declining enrollment for both schools closures and constant cuts to overall funding. They blame school boards for mismanaging their money, constantly insisting they just need to cut the low hanging fruit. They blame teachers for asking for too much with their salaries and class size demands, despite the fact that we have some of the lowest paid teachers and highest class sizes in Canada.
Dear Teens: I wish that schools nurtured your creativity instead of punishing it. I wish that you were given time each day to allow your ideas to gestate. And I fervently wish that public schools were funded as a priority so that you had all the tools you needed to show us what we cannot see. It's no wonder that many of you are tired. I would be exhausted every day if I had to adjust and adapt to a new environment every hour as you do in schools.
There is general belief that Islamic schools are religious educational bodies, and the kind of courses taught is based on Islamic theology. This is a false understanding. It is important to note that the majority of these schools are either don't or only partially receive subventions from provincial authorities.
The backlash against Ontario's new health curriculum has left many people confused. Is it radical? Are fundamental parental and religious rights being undermined? All parents want to protect their children, but opponents of sex education are inadvertently doing the opposite. Denying children accurate and inclusive information about their bodies, human relationships and sexuality is not protective; it is irresponsible. Without such information, children are unable to care for themselves and grow into healthy and responsible adults.
Most students can manage their diabetes independently or with minimal support, and they can fully participate in school activities, including gym, field trips and celebrations. However, some, especially very young children with type 1 diabetes, may need trained personnel to help administer insulin, monitor blood sugar levels or supervise food intake and activity. Students with diabetes may also need flexibility in school rules to prevent low or high blood sugar, and, in some cases, may also need help with recognizing "lows" and "highs."
B.C.'s Charter for Public Education is a public owned document, which stands as a testament to everything we as a community want and expect from our public school system. It is a document long forgotten somewhere between the never ending war against our public schools, funding cuts and dragged out court cases.
The curriculum is aimed at preparing kids to navigate the complicated interpersonal and sexual situations in today's hyper-sexualized world. But opponents have latched on to a number of provisions. It should be clearly understood that the new curriculum is not a "How to Manual" and that the state is not promoting a particular relationship structure. Ultimately, the government must do a better job of convincing some parents that it is responding to the changing realities. All stakeholders must feel that at least some of their concerns are heard and validated.
"It is with sadness that we will have to decline the birthday party invitation for your son," one mother wrote me, "as such short notice was given." I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Again. You see, my son Casey has autism, and I had been busily planning all the arrangements for his seventh birthday party for weeks. I wanted to tell her, in earnest, that I had tried, I really tried, to get it right this time.
Under the new curriculum, nay-saying parents have the option of pulling their kids out of sex-ed class. But should they? As a fellow parent of three children in the Ontario public education system, I say no. You can pull your kids out of sex-ed. And maybe one day you will also pull them out of classes that teach about climate change and evolution. Perhaps you don't trust the teacher who might be gay and so you find a way to pull your kids out of his or her class. You are teaching your kids to run from what they fear and instill in them hatred of others. Isn't it better to arm them with knowledge, teach them to respect differences and then trust them?
Canadian teachers love their students and want only the best for them. Our teachers work very hard and conscientiously, but often their best efforts are thwarted by a system that fails to give them adequate training, assigns them to teach subjects they aren't qualified to teach, micromanages their teaching methods and materials, and largely ignores their input. Canadian teachers are not getting the support they need and deserve. But it doesn't have to be this way. Here's how four other countries support their teachers' professionalism and give them a voice.
Something is amiss in Canada. A 2014 UNICEF report compared the health and development of children in Canada with 28 other wealthy nations. In spite of being a G8 country, Canada's children rank number 17th, a status that has not budged in the last 10 years. The question is, why are these problems still so widespread?