AGAR: Pleasant, inclusive, mediocre – future of education in Canada

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What does education in Canada mean? Preparing students to solve the problems of the future or to graduate people with limited skills who feel good about themselves?

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Educators are increasingly more concerned with the “trauma” of disagreement, and avoiding the bother of demonstrating skill, than the goal of vigorous, scholarly debate.

Jonathan Kay, writing in Quillette, says that Canadian universities are attacking the very idea of ​​the usefulness of disagreement and debate – what one would think would be the institution’s very purpose – as harmful, even bigoted.

“How does one deal with those who claim that debate itself represents an agony beyond human endurance?” his article asks.

Kay profiles educators who have had their careers derailed for asking questions about what the university has decided is truth. Questioning progressive “truthing,” which is merely one person’s beliefs based on their evaluation of their own experiences and feelings, is not allowed.

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“This phobic attitude toward debate in progressive circles explains why reasoned advocacy aimed at persuading others is increasingly being replaced by one-note sloganeering aimed at fellow travelers.” Kay writes.

The Toronto District School Board currently operates a set of special schools. Each of these high schools has a specialty ranging from arts, science, sports and digital studies to afro-centric studies.

Recently the TSDSB announced they would no longer consider an audition to display talent in the arts to go to an arts school, or a report card that demonstrated proficiency in science to go to a science school.

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It took 12 days to get the board to respond to our request for someone to come on my radio show to explain why their new policy will make education better. They won’t answer questions, which looks disturbingly like what Kay is writing about.

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They sent a statement Monday: “For years, specialized programs and schools have provided amazing opportunities for some, but not all, students. A significant number of students have faced barriers – including admission processes, entrance criteria and geography – to these opportunities. These changes will mean more students across the TDSB will have a fair chance to take part in these programs.

‘As part of the new policy… students would have to demonstrate their interest through a variety of different methods (eg written submissions, performance, etc.) but instead of being based on an already developed talent or previous training, it would be based on an interest / passion for the subject. Students would then be randomly selected from that group. ”

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We aren’t looking for gifted students, we aren’t even bothering to figure out how to help those who couldn’t pass muster in the past, we are just running an arts or science program for anyone who feels like that might be fun .

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Sabrina Maddeaux wrote in the National Post“This is the ludicrous logic that will see a rare publicly-funded avenue for elite training with similarly-skilled and motivated peers downgraded to the equivalent of signing up for free class at a community center.”

In Canada we seem to be reaching for an education system in which we will all get a degree in self-directed fulfillment in a safe place. Pleasant, inclusive, mediocrity is the goal.

Are you going to help your child prepare for the future through critical thinking, vigorous inquiry, and skill? You will need to. Increasingly the Canadian education system will not.

They won’t even try.

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