Opinion

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LarryMiller-regDear Editor,

I write to you today in response to a letter written by Mr. David McLaren on the Owen Sound Hub website on July 20th, 2015 and in the Owen Sound Sun Times on July 24th, 2015. In his letter Mr. McLaren makes many falsified assertions about the intentions of the current Government in relation to the negotiations surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This letter serves to correct this misinformation and unsubstantiated fearmongering by presenting the facts about free trade and Canada's system of supply management.

 

To begin, Mr. McLaren makes the assertion at the beginning of his article that trade agreements are somehow not in line with Canada's national interest. With one in every 5 jobs and 60% of Canada's national wealth directly linked to Canadian exports, I would say that these agreements

are 100% in line with our national interest.

tpp-feature-by David McLaren

I was at a meeting in Sauble Beach a year or so ago. Larry Miller was there and said, publicly, that what was being discussed should be brought into the open so everyone could see what it was. I thought that made a lot of sense, so I went over to Larry and said so.

Then, just to tease him I said, "Does this mean we get to see what's in the Canada-European Trade Agreement."

"No," he said. "Besides, you guys don't like trade, anyway."

Well, I thought that was a pretty good comeback so I laughed. But I also said, "That's not true, we just don't like secret trade agreements."

For the record, I also don't like trade agreements that promote corporate investments over national interests.

Now there's yet another trade agreement in the works—

Trudeau TRC Love-feature-by Kimberley Love

Last month, after six aching years and the testimony of more than 7,000 survivors, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report on the residential school system that forcibly separated aboriginal children from their families and created an indelible moral stain on the Canadian experience.

The stories of the residential schools – their purpose and what happened at them – are shocking to modern Canadians for three reasons. Firstly, they are recent: the last school closed its doors in 1996. Secondly and sadly, the school system was actually born from a hopelessly misdirected effort to "help" the children. And finally, these events all happened close to home, wherever you live in Canada.

I am not aboriginal. I grew up in a fair-skinned, freckled family in a community where everyone was fair-skinned. We knew absolutely nothing about the First Nations communities and families nearby. We never thought about the peoples who had inhabited the land that we now tilled. Our notion of local history was based on white settlement. Our communities, our culture and our school systems were all thoroughly colonized.

But here's what I find disturbing about the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

schoolboard-featThe Hub is pleased to offer this, the last of a thought-provoking three-part series on education from the perspective of a current local teacher.  Follow the links to Part One and Part Two.
With two months to go before school begins again, negotiations with teachers continuing, a new leader of the Opposition, and three years to go before both a school board and a provincial election, it may be the perfect opportunity to step back and give the education system some real consideration. Send us your take on the subject at owensoundhub.org.

 

-by John Fearnall

#7 on my list of Top 10 ways to immediately improve education:
Let teachers, with input (questions) from their students decide what to teach.
I know some won't believe this, but good teachers are the only thing that is keeping the system going as it is. And they know their students better than anyone else in the system. So let teachers decide what to teach. Rather than relying on a curriculum that is fairly useless (you can find all the documents here,) at the start of the year give teachers time to sit down and decide what needs to be taught where and how. When teachers are engaged and interested in what they are teaching, everything else falls into place.

 

#8 on my list of Top 10 ways to immediately improve education:

schoolboard-regThe Hub is pleased to offer the second part of a thought-provoking three-part series on education from the perspective of a current local teacher. Part One can be found here.
With two months to go before school begins again, negotiations with teachers continuing, a new leader of the Opposition, and three years to go before both a school board and a provincial election, it may be the perfect opportunity to step back and give the education system some real consideration. Send us your take on the subject at owensoundhub.org.

 

-by John Fearnall

#4 on my list of Top 10 ways to immediately improve education:
Eliminate the adversarial system.
How we say/do something has as much or more of an impact than what we say/do. Because of this, we must eliminate, or at least try to reduce the conflict in our school system. Everywhere I turn, there is conflict: Ministry vs. Board; Board vs. Federation; Board vs School; Admin vs. Teacher; Public vs Teacher; Teacher vs. Student; Teacher vs. Teacher; Student vs. Student.
If we are going improve education we must ...

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