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Education still on the burner

Editorial

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As we head into another new year, and even new decade, education is still at the forefront in the Province of Ontario and, closer to home, the Blue Water District School Board (BWDSB)

There have been several issues raised by concerned parents surrounding the BWDSB over the last couple of years - among them, the attempted elimination of Rotary Education in the elementary school system and the perceived lack of accountability by a huge amalgamated school board coupled with unleashed spending.

 It is not just a 'disgruntled few' that are raising the issues.  These are concerned and frustrated parents who care about the education of their children in a system that doesn't seem to share that care.

It's a system that is money-based and that seems to be more concerned about 'homogenizing' education rather than raising expectations for students.  The 'no child shall fail' mentality does not give those students a hand-up who need it.  It doesn't give them expectations that they have to work to reach.

Instead, 'homogenization' of students provides a way out ... a way out of learning, a way out of setting and achieving goals and for many, a way out of  lives that will never be reached.

At the same time, homogenizing education or making it the same for everyone, not only does not raise some up the scale of achievement, it drags those at the top down the scale.  It is a system that relies on numbers - numbers with no human beings attached to them.

Education in the province of Ontario, sadly, has become about something other than students.  It is about trying to figure out ways to save money so that it can go into another pot, it's about downloading formulae to regional boards to force them to conform to 'standards' - standards that are implemented across the province regardless of individual requirements, such as geography, and even student needs.

More locally, there have been some changes made in the Bluewater school district however, it is difficult to ascertain what, if any, will have direct results on the education of students. For instance, why was it felt to be necessary to hold a 'retreat'  for the  BWDSB Trustees?

The Director is also about to go through an evaluation.  It will be her second since 2005 when she was hired.  Although a director is accountable to the Trustees, who are required to conduct an annual evaluation, the Trustees have opted to bring in a paid outside consultant to 'facilitate' the evaluation.  According to sources, the consultant in this case is a former peer of the current director, in that the consultant is also a former Director of a Board of Education.

There was a time when schools were supported by the local tax base.  What was accumulated in a school region stayed in that region.  There were textbooks for each student.

Education, like health, has undergone a fundamental change - amalgamation.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010