October 6, 2014
By Robert Green | Published October 2 by Ricochet.media
Many Canadians are aware of the fact that Canada’s 1876 Indian Act, which stated that “The aborigines are to be kept in a condition of tutelage and treated as wards or children of the State”, was studied by South Africa’s apartheid regime and served as the inspiration for many of its policies.
Because the information gathering missions to Canada by South African officials occurred way back in the 1940’s, we can safely acknowledge and openly discuss this fact as a dark and shameful chapter of our history without having to look too closely at our present. Yes we served as a model for apartheid but that was a different time, we tell ourselves.
However an examination of Canada’s treatment of its First Nations reveals that parallels with apartheid era South Africa continue right up to present day. Nowhere is this more true than with respect to Canada’s policies regarding First Nations education.
In 1953 the apartheid regime passed one of its most overtly racist laws, entitled the Bantu Education Act. The act’s aim was to place all black schools, which had been run by the church, under the control of the state. As the government saw blacks as little more than “hewers of wood and drawers of water” it was quite open about the fact that education for blacks would be both separate and unequal. The injustices caused by this act would later be recognized as one of the principal causes of the Soweto uprising.
The education system created by the Bantu Education Act had three principal characteristics: 1) Massive gaps in funding between black and white schools; 2) Colonial control over curriculum and school management; 3) Significant differences in the level of training and experience of teachers in the black and white school systems.
Though Canada’s contemporary policies with respect to First Nations education do not go nearly as far as South Africa’s overtly racist policies, each of the above characteristics are clearly present.
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April 20, 2014
By Ben Sichel | Published Jan 2 2014 by no need to raise your hand
Have you heard of Teach For Canada? It’s a new project spearheaded by Nova Scotian Kyle Hill, a Rhodes scholar and business consultant; and Vancouver-born Adam Goldenberg, former speechwriter for Michael Ignatieff and fellow at Yale law school.
Hill and Goldenberg want to address “educational inequality” in Canada, i.e. “[f]unding gaps, infrastructure deficiencies, and rapid teacher turnover” in rural and Aboriginal communities. Their solution? A program that would send university graduates (from any degree program) to work as schoolteachers for two years in these communities. Hill and Goldenberg hope to attract “some of Canada’s top graduates – our country’s future leaders” to their program, who would take their places in classrooms following a summer-long training period.
Teach for Canada takes its name from Teach for America (TFA), the U.S. program which for the past 23 years has sent bright-eyed young college grads into some of America’s toughest inner-city schools; schools where students tend to score lower than average on standardized tests and thus ostensibly need a dose of extra energy to succeed.
TFA, though, has become a lightning rod for controversy in the climate of the “education reform” wars in the U.S. Just maybe, critics note, sending people with no experience in education except a short summer training program into some of the U.S.’s toughest, most down-and-out neighbourhoods is not such a great idea, especially if these young, relatively inexpensive teachers take the place of more experienced teachers during a round of layoffs.
Read more: http://noneedtoraiseyourhand.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/teach-for-canada-can-only-make-things-worse/
January 28, 2014
By Grant Frost | Published January 15, 2014 by frostededucation
Does Teach for Canada seriously expect that sending untrained University Graduates into First Nations classrooms is going to result in anything other than a complete trainwreck?
The schools of Canada’s Aboriginal communities are often staffed with young, energetic, recent graduates who are actually trained teachers. Although each may tell stories of small individual differences made in the lives of individual children, the collective gains of the non-First Nations system in improving the overall well being of First Nations students in this country remains a National shame. But suggesting that placing less qualified and more poorly trained people in classrooms will help the issue could be considered a laughable suggestion.
Except that no one should be laughing.
What arrogance on the part of TFC assumes, for some reason, that yet another well meaning group of Southerners is going to be the saviour of Canada’s Aboriginal people? What possible rationale can they be using to justify their notion that they can prepare people in one summer to understand the complexities of First Nations life? On what planet does living in a community for two years (TFC’s suggested contract length for it’s recruits) make them become “part of the community”, one of the “different ways” the TFC’s graduates will improve education? Finally, what possible insight into First Nations education could be offered by two business consultants, a speech writer, and a lawyer, the current vocations of TFC’s board of directors?
Read more: http://frostededucation.com/2014/01/15/teach-for-canada-a-word-to-the-wise-from-someone-who-has-been-there/
December 7, 2013
An abridged version of this article focusing exclusively on Teach for Canada was published in The Two Row Times
By Robert Green
Following the founding of the Bad-Ass Teachers (BATs) association last spring I wrote an article explaining why America’s teachers are going badass and why Canada’s need to consider doing the same. The point of this article was to alert Canadian teachers and the public-at-large to the fact that the same corporate education reform agenda that has been so disastrous for the US education system can increasingly be seen to be at work in education policies across Canada.
So it was a pleasure last weekend to receive an invitation to the Canada Bad-Ass Teachers association (CanBATs) Facebook Group.
Interestingly this group was founded by the same teachers that founded the American BATs group.
So why would a group of American teachers want to create a Badass Teachers Association for Canadian teachers? BATs founder Dr. Mark Naisson explained the initiative as follows:
Corporate education reform is a global movement and the resistance to it must be global. The toxic array of policies we have been deluged with in the United States- increased testing in all subjects and all grades; attacks on teachers unions; rating of teachers based on student test scores; preference to non unionized charter schools over regular public schools; substitution of poorly trained teacher temps from elite colleges for veteran teachers- is spreading to every portion of the English speaking world, along with the corporate profiteering that always accompanies these policies. Every form of resistance to these policies; every hard won victory for teaching and learning; encourages more resistance. Our movement must be worldwide to be effective. Hence the Badass Teachers Association, which has organizations in all 50 states in the US, is proud to form a Canadian wing.
The first few articles posted in the CanBATs group speak to the increasingly international reach of the corporate education reform described by Naisson.
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