The thoughts below are based on my experience working as mechanical engineer for 15 years, my experience as a high school science and physics teacher, my interest in professional development, and my study of problem based learning and how to educate competent, useful and resourceful students. Science K - 9 In general I’m very pleased with the draft K - 9 curriculum. I had sent feedback and ideas about the new curriculum before the drafts were published.
Inspired by a post by Keith Rispin, I’ve been thinking about BYOD and the more I think about it, the more frustrated I get. I can’t help think just how far off the mark the MoE is with their BC edplan and BYOD. Having studied technology in education for a couple of years, where we theorized on mobile devices and endeavoured to design learning environments and activities that could incorporate them, it is clear that the path forward with BYOD is severely limited.
Having looked at the academic and social/political issues around year round schooling, I think it is also appropriate to discuss some personal issues with year round schooling. To do this, let’s suppose we were to agree that all the academic and political issues around year round schooling are neutral: there are no academic gains or losses, and no differences in financials. The question, then, is how personal opinions and preferences play into it.
In my previous post, I looked at some of the research and academic arguments around year round schooling. In today’s post, I want to comment on some of the social issues around year round schooling and how it might affect our communities. I was born in a small town in BC, and growing up I had a healthy relationship with the outdoors. I have hiked many trails and kilometers in the Rockies, the Purcells and West Coast Range.
This is the first part in a 3 part series that I’m writing on what I believe are the reasons to stay away from year-round schooling in British Columbia. Through various initiatives, such as the BC Education Plan and local interest by school boards, we have the beginnings of a shift from our traditional September to June school calendar to a “year round” calendar. The specifics of how a year round calendar would work are not set, and the BC Ministry of Education has passed legislation that makes it easier for each school district to set their own calendar.
On this past Wednesday’s show of BC Almanac, Niels Veldhuis from the Fraser Institute was the guest and he was speaking about merit pay for teachers (if the CBC link is broken, leave a comment and I can probably post a new link). Once again I was infuriated by the Fraser Institute’s interest in this topic. There are so many flaws with the argument that it makes my head spin. I think Veldhuis’ main points were as follows:
Shortly after I put up my previous post I came across a discussion about merit pay for teachers on CBC’s The Sunday Edition. The discussion was between Peter Cowley, who I have blogged about before, and Ben Levin, a former deputy Minister of Education in Manitoba and Ontario. Peter Cowley seemed much more reserved in this interview than in the previous one that I had heard. The fact is that both Cowley and Levin seemed to agree on all issues other than whether governments should move forward with merit pay (and their respective support for unions in general).