Canadian Education News

93-year-old is a genuine inspiration for AU education
The Calgary Herald stated that one of Athabasca University’s longest-standing students graduated at the age of 93. She earned a bachelor of general studies. She will receive the qualification on June 8. Her name is Louisa Daley.

Daley emphasized Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, and other great literary figures’ productions in her studies. She earned another bachelor of arts in 1999, but couldn’t help but continue on the path of further higher education through AU.

“I didn’t want to get a degree, I didn’t even think of it,” said Daley. “I just wanted something to do. And I’ve always liked to study all my life and so I just kept on studying?I would be really happy if other seniors would take up studying because it’s fun and it keeps you going,” Daley said.

Layoffs in Catholic school division in Saskatoon
According to The Star Phoenix, there were twelve layoffs for the Catholic school division of Saskatoon, as they eliminated jobs for aboriginal student retention workers. The loss of the jobs came from a $9.7 million cut in the budget.

It is, in part, a reflection of the reduction in funding and the increase in the student enrolments. Diane Boyko, Catholic board chair, said the elimination of the jobs saves $0.7 million while noting the cuts were not an easy choice.

Boyko said, “Is there a risk that some of the students will not have all of the supports they need? Of course there is when you have this kind of a circumstance, but we’re going to do everything that we possibly can to help them.”

Lord’s Prayer in school in question, via human rights complaint
The Edmonton Sun said, “The prospect of spending thousands of dollars on legal fees has prompted a public school division to end daily recitations of the Lord’s Prayer at three of its schools.” This happened because the Pembina school received a query about the legality of the recitation. School administrators put the prayer on hold. The chair of the Pembina school board, Jennifer Tuininga, stated that it is not their business to challenge the Constitution, and felt it was better to spend school board money on teaching and education rather than on fighting courtroom battles over the issue.

The claim is that the Lord’s Prayer is an infringement of religious freedom, and needlessly singles out those students who are not Christian. Attempts at a compromise failed to come to fruition. The prayer was halted at Busby, Dunstable, and North Pembina schools. Each are northwest of Edmonton.

Ontario Links Lack of “soft skills” with Mobile Devices
The Hamilton Spectator reported on the emerging technology in the world today. The “chair of the provincial task force for a high-skilled workforce,” Sean Conway, talked to teachers on the nature of the future workforce.

Conway spoke to the teachers of Hamilton Catholic board during their professional development day, which was at the Bishop Ryan Catholic Ryan Secondary School. He talked about these insights in the report entitled “Building the Workforce of Tomorrow: A Shared Responsibility.” Specifically “I wanted teachers to know how important they are in getting good results so that young people come out of educational institutions with not just academic credentials, but the life skills that are important in getting a good job,” Conway said, “Increasingly, we are concerned with these so-called ’soft skills’ because this generation is growing up with hand-held devices constantly by their sides.”

’Lack of cultural awareness, education and sensitivity’ is reaction to costume party
CBC News: Calgary reported on students at Chinook High School in Lethbridge, Alberta, having a party. The party was a toast to the completion of Grade 12. The celebration was a costume party with cowboys and Indians.

On social media, it prompted a negative reaction. Some students expressed feeling offended by the online posts, while others felt the negative reaction was being overly sensitive. While not a condoned event by the school, some felt that educators need to possibly reflect on their role in its occurrence.

“My immediate reaction to even hearing about something like this is absolute shock and horror, and fear at the lack of education, lack of cultural awareness, lack of sensitivity, lack of the ability to have an equal and appreciative respect in community,” said Many Guns, a professor of Native American studies at the University of Lethbridge.

Alberta Social Studies education curriculum changes seen as a travesty
The Edmonton Journal editorializes, “The rewriting of Alberta’s Social Studies curriculum is turning into an educational travesty. The concept of teaching history is out of style, it seems. In its place is an inappropriate over-emphasis on social change and activism.”

The Social Studies curriculum, as reported by the Edmonton Journal, is failing to widen students’ worldview with the narrowing of focus on concerns expressed through the “modern social justice movement.”

It is said that there is repeated emphasis on First Nations, Francophones, Inuit, and Métis history, as well as the theme of diversity. This over-focus, as well as the possibility of a curriculum that left them out (which this does not), is seen as a travesty because it there is a lack of a linear, complete, comprehensive history of Canada.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is AUSU’s VPFA. He works with various organizations, and runs In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, and In-Sight Publishing.