Category Archives: Education

On the latest report card “innovation”

There is a renewed push in BC to remove letter grades from report cards. The front line of this struggle is currently in Squamish. Here is my response to the local newspaper’s story on this issue. ___________ The push against letter grades is, of course, not new. It’s just the latest salvo from the Romantics who brought […]

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Reflections on BC’s proposed English 10-12 curriculum

As someone who has taught for 24 years in the BC public education system, I am somewhat bewildered by the new curriculum proposals for English 10 to 12. First, the lack of a Communications stream is a serious mistake. I am glad that some of the language that initially justified the removal of Communications is not […]

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My response to Michael Fordham’s excellent post, “Is traditionalism [in education] right-wing?”

Here is my response to Michael Fordham’s excellent post, “Is traditionalism right-wing?“ ______________ Thank you, Michael, for a thoughtful and well-reasoned piece. Your point about conservatism as conservation is an important one: it is not connected to political beliefs or policies, just as pedagogy and political beliefs are not equivalent. Gramsci teaches us that, clearly. […]

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Some comments on the Supreme Court education decision

On Thursday, November 10, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a decision from the bench only 20 minutes after final arguments in the long standing dispute between the BC government and the BCTF. Here is my contribution to Vaughn Palmer’s first article on the teachers’ victory: ______________ Can you imagine if a new BC government […]

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Choice and flexibility: some thoughts on the new curriculum

The latest drafts of the grades 10-12 English and social studies curricula and the recent announcement of BC’s new graduation requirements confirm what many secondary teachers have feared: the continued (and perhaps accelerated) slide towards a consumer-oriented education system that offers little accountability. Let’s start with the new curricula. [Because I am a secondary humanities teacher, […]

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Is a teacher’s knowledge tacit or just uncomfortable?

The following is a response to a post by Carl Hendrick, an educator who writes about education theory and practice. ………………… I enjoyed another thought-provoking and thoughtful post, Carl! In terms of tacit knowledge, however, I don’t believe that most of what we know is tacit. I think, in fact, that much of what we […]

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The Politics of Curriculum

Tonight a parent on social media asked if teachers were concerned about the BCTF’s collaboration with the government regarding BC’s new curriculum. Here’s my response: As a secondary teacher, I can tell you that many, many teachers disagree fundamentally with the direction of this new curriculum. We don’t feel there has been much substantive input, […]

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The Basic #BCEd Statistics

The debate over public education in British Columbia is often a heated struggle of ideologies and partisan beliefs. Thankfully, Statistics Canada has published some helpful data in a publication called “Summary Elementary and Secondary School Indicators for Canada, the Provinces and Territories, 2006/2007 to 2010/2011”. [Unfortunately, no newer comparative evidence exists, but the publication is due to be updated next […]

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Reforming BC’s Scholarship Program?

The BC government recently stopped accepting online submissions to its review of the BC scholarship program, but I had a chance to reply before it closed. The rationale for the review was well stocked with the 21st century jargon that Ministry of Education apparatchiks so adore: British Columbia has one of the best education systems in the world. […]

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The Phoniness of BC’s Teacher “Surplus” [Updated]

By 2008, an anticipated shortage of teachers in BC had disappeared. In a National Post article, the change seemed almost inexplicable: “My sense is that there are more teachers than we need in a couple of subject areas,” said Marie Crowther, registrar for the B.C. College of Teachers. “Overall the anticipated shortage hasn’t materialized and from my […]

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