I posted this particular editorial for more than just the news itself but also the what is being said in this story as well as which news agency it came from.
First of on the proposed education reform first. When I first heard about Hollande's education reform plans I had no words. In fact it took me a whole day to even try to comprehend how this can happen. I am not going to present the merits of homework here. I would hope that in an O'ist forum it should be fairly self evident (though I will if someone wishes to question it). My problem is with the reasoning.
So essentially because some parents do not see fit to help their kids with structured homework activities they are somehow at blame for the failure of the other kids? How is not giving students homework is going to help those kids that are already falling behind?
Now the French leader plans to do exactly that. arguing that schoolwork should be done at school so that kids who don't have support after hours don't fall behind.
Ah I see now. Somehow educating other people's kids is my responsibility, and apperently society is only as strong as its weakest link.
"An education program is, by definition, a societal program. Work should be done at school rather than at home," Hollande said in a public speech about his plans on Wednesday.
Just the simple reasoning here should give people alarm. Not only I am already taxed to pay for other kids education from all day kindergarden with fully qualified Early Childhood Education specialists (I live in Ontario, Canada), all the way through university (2/3 of the tuition fees in Ontario are subsidized by the government, and a large proprtion of students is on some sort of government assistance or 0% interest loans). But should this type of thinking come to Canada I am also somehow reponsible for other the success of other people's children. I guess the people of France have already gave up their personal property rights. Hopefully in Canada we have a little bit more brains left.
What this article also doesn't mention is also some of the other reform points which are not that much easier to swollow:
- Increasing the number of teachers (which goes along with his idea of a longer school day) - If you cannot justify paying teachers more money, lets invent reasons. I'm sure that will solve it. I wonder how teachers feel about having to work longer days and teach what they used to have kids to themselves. This is a move that is probably supported by the Teacher's Unions but probably hated by many teachers, especially the talented ones
- Reducing the number of students held back each year - If the kids are to dumb to pass a class, lets just lower the bar. God forbid we hurt their little feelings. Ontario sort of did this by setting a goal to increase pass rates. The result was that the goal was met through lower standards as indepant standardized testing scores continued to decline while more students were passing
- Incentives for teachers to work in low-income areas - I have no opinions for either or, don't think it is the right way to raise kid's scores in low income areas
Yes it is homework that makes kids depressed, cause ADD/ADHD and breaks up families. That's right we solved it, homework.
Author and education analyst Alfie Kohn, for instance, argues that children may be carrying anxiety home alongside their textbooks.
It's like I'm reading some horrible charater in one of Rand's novels. I don't even want to justify this with a reasonable argument why this is bad.
"Homework persists because of lack of understanding about understanding."
Yep, there is that typical Progressive school thinking. Kids must socialize rather than study. I mean you will use picnic benches a lot in your life, but hey who ever used time-tables for anything practical, right.
Other parents, like CBC's Anna-Liza Kozmwa, have made the case for picnic tables over times tables.
"I figure that the kids have been shut in a classroom most of the day, and I've been glued to my desk. So if our wretched climate gives us an excuse to play outside, we should grab it, " she wrote in a feature on homework.
This tyes this to my third point. This article comes from the CBC, Canada's version of the PBS. Which is running costing the government over a billion dollars a year. CBC is not most left wing newspaper in Canada (take a look at Toronto Star). But it is still paid by my taxes and my hard work. And yet when Harper even raised the idea of getting rid of the CBC people were protesting and saying portraying him as some evil Dictator trying to control the media and destroy the public sector. Notice this article is isn't even a regular news article but a some kind of Community Blog, which somehow made its way onto the World headlines section. You guys think you have it bad in US with Obama trying to legistlate public health care, try coming to Canada for a few months, you will be thankful Obama is the worst of your trouble. Canada's official opposition (i.e. the second biggest party in parliament) is composed of socialists, communists, anarchists, and fundemental islamists (all quite open about it as well). And even though our current party holds a majority mandate, they are spending as if they are US Democrats (though they are doing some things right on international free trade front and foreign policy).