Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ontario Ministry of Education Top Down Interference

The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next. 
Abraham Lincoln 

In the U.S. there is a fear of Agenda 21 which posits a globalization of common ideas and constructs that are being insinuated into school curriculum.  These ideas are in the main about sustainable development and shared common goals. UNESCO's aims are admirable at least at first, but not if it means mandating rules and methodologies to make students into corporate citizens.  The aims of schools are to foster many individual goals, not to create worker bees that will run mindlessly in consensus groups and corporate goal centred group thinkers.  That's why the corporate speak of Laurel Broten and her 'toolkit' grated on my sensibilities. 

schools are preparing students for global citizenship. We are no longer
nation states like Canada with our own values, but are being
subsumed into a harper government construct of buzzwords

So much money is being spent on standardized tests, the curriculum has manuals on how to teach, what to teach and teachers are merely deliverers.  When's the last time you heard about consequences for cheating or failing to hand in assignments on time?  Well that's all part of this 'teaching for success' strategy that seems to follow along into later years when there are not consequences for failure to do the right thing as it should be done. 

Notice how Peter Kent lets polluters break rules simply because it's expedient to do so.  It isn't fair, right or decent but it serves the 'net value' of the bottom line.  B.C. river diversions are in disarray with fish dying because hydro projects are run without the required oversights.  How does this rampant plundering relate back to education, sustainable development?  Look at all the global development that is agreed upon to develop similar mega projects run by corporations that control the agenda of governments.  Everyone seems to be on the same page, working in common consensus to vandalize for maximum profits. 

There are no outliers because it seems what was learned is a corporate consensus to conform.

curriculum is being rewritten to use corporate terms and ideas
to deliver a consensus of opinion on norms, values and attitudes.
That's what will be tested in standardized tests and what will
be rewarded in corporate citizenship in the global market.

 Let teachers teach
Published on Tuesday January 22, 2013
 Letters: Toronto Star
standardized tests cost of $30 million to $50 million per year
Re: Finland’s lessons for educators, Opinion,Jan. 22 Benjamin Gillies is right. It is disappointing that we hear so little about how our pupils fare when measured against other countries. Finland, with its policy of no competition, no top-down approach to education, and where teachers choose how to spend their time and resources as they require, is tops. Finland doesn't believe in standardized tests (at a cost of $30 million to $50 million per year). We learn that in Finland, teachers are respected “as much as the country's doctors.” Finland produces well-rounded and productive adults who don't graduate just because the bar has been lowered to make it look like students are succeeding. And Finland accomplishes all this with a poverty rate 10 per cent lower than ours, and an education system costing 13 per cent less than ours. As Albert Einstein once said, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” The lesson here? Ontario Ministry of Education, get out of the way. Stop filling teachers’ days with endless assessing and let teachers teach.
          K. Johnson, Burlington 

The above letter says what you'd hear in the staff rooms in schools.  Teachers see no benefit in the duplication of curriculum laid on from manuals that makes students into worker bees who will operate as little mindless robots seeing no wrong in a world that always did need creative thinking and problem solving by some independent thinkers willing to go rogue.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Water Levels on Georgian Bay Dangerously Low

Beausoleil Island on Georgian Bay Near Honey Harbour
Water levels on the very rock filled bottom of Georgian Bay are dropping drastically this past fall and making dock approaches hazardous if not downright impossible.

If you've ever canoed this stretch, you'll see pike and bass in the spring mating amongst the reeds.  They're so big and floppy, you can almost catch them by hand.

But if water levels continue to stay low, the breeding grounds for small fry will be all dried up and that will be the end of their spawning for the season. 

What caused the water to fall so much is the drain from the St Clair river and lake that was dug out by the U.S. army and which just pours out fresh water into the St. Lawrence and out to sea.  It wasn't until the Georgian Bay Cottager's Association hired their own engineering firm to investigate that the truth finally came out.  Compounded by dry summers, little snowfall and later winter season starts the historical levels are giving dire warnings. 

What can be done to minimize damage to fishing stock renewals is monitoring marsh levels on both sides of the lake and agreements between Canada and the U.S. to work together on the environmental health of our shared fresh water.