Category Archives: Education

Decontenting & the Honour Roll

The following is a letter I submitted to the North Shore News regarding the North Vancouver School Board’s recent decision to eliminate the honour roll.……… This policy should be a clear warning sign for parents about the general drift of BC’s new curriculum. The automobile industry uses the term “decontenting” to describe the gradual reduction […]

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Looming on the horizon: English Studies 12

Of the many changes to British Columbia’s new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum, none may be more problematic than English Studies 12. If all goes according to plan, the BC education system will see the wide-spread adoption of this new course in 2019-2020. In other words, folks, it’s arriving next September. Why is it problematic? […]

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Curriculum must be a teacher’s ally, not a teacher’s foe.

In the spring of 1993, despite working in a temporary five month teaching contract in the lower mainland, I faced the reality that permanent, full-time teaching positions in British Columbia were scarce, so I found myself looking northward. Thus, in September, I started teaching in a small rural school two kilometres from the Alaska border. […]

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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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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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