Sunday, December 19, 2004

Pot, meet Kettle

Being a parent was never a goal of mine. Having children was for other people and not moi. I was so decidedly anti-children for years and years that my Mother took to calling my dog her granddaughter. No one was more surprised than I when I was blessed with 3 children. No one was more surprised than I when I came to the realization that I loved being a mother. Who would have thought that one of my chief regrets would be that I did not start having my children when I was younger and that I should have had more than three? Who would have known that I should have married that fighter pilot I loved to distraction; but who I ultimately rejected because he wanted to have at least six children and wanted to start right away?

There are downsides to parenting but the joys decidedly outweigh the negatives. Though when I read things like the Ontario Liberals wanting to introduce "character education" I am left to speculate how long before the state decides that parents are a failed institution and legislates us out of existence?

The Windsor Star reports:

"Premier Dalton McGuinty plans to put respect on the curriculum in Ontario schools in a bid to teach children "from the four corners of the world" a common set of values. McGuinty said the introduction of character education -- to teach respect, honesty, fairness and responsibility"

The whole arrogance of it leaves me just flabbergasted. The McGirlieman Fiberals think that they can design an educational character curriculum to teach elementary and secondary school student’s respect, honesty, fairness and responsibility. What’s next? Saddam teaching conflict resolution skills? What happens when 26% of the students fail the character educational component – will the Fiberals dumb-down the curriculum a la mathematics?

(tipped off by Neale News)


Nathan said...

I completely disagree with you. Citizenship, should be, and used to be--in the days of the Red Ensign, too!--taught in public schools. My grandfather remembers his "citizenship" classes. Here in South Korea, the children take "Morality" classes. If a society cares about itself and the people in it, it will consider education more than the teaching of mathematics. From a holistic perspective, there's no separating, anyways: in English, Social Studies, and Drama classes across the nation students are engaging in discussion of the issues that inform our society. Finally, some immigrant groups (well, one immigrant group), don't/doesn't assimilate very well, and this group desperately needs to be taught Canadian values. I simply can't believe that you or anyone else would be opposed to the teaching in public schools of good, wholesome values. I would argue that this is a repudiation of the more recent approach wherein schools have become morally bankrupt--with sometimes frightening results. I remember my school days well.

Nathan said...

I guess I shouldn't say that schools have become morally bankrupt. Most of my teachers managed to model good values as best they could. However, one or two P.E. teachers did nothing to stop the sometimes vicious bullying that happened in the changerooms. Also, I remember high school children telling each other and our teachers that nobody could tell them to respect each other, because "that's religion." I would say, based on my school experience as a student, that parents have failed as an institution, and that individual parents have failed their children individually. (I'm sure you didn't fail your kids, however.) That's why we have things like social services (which are, however, too often incompetent), sex-ed classes, and even grade school itself. Hmm, maybe my grandfather said "civics" classes; he was born in Canada. It was a long time ago when we talked about that.

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Nathan, I think that you missed my point, no doubt it is my fault for not expressing myself clearly enough. The province liberals have broken many, many campaign promises...basic ones. I fail to understand how that group can effectively design "character education" classes teaching the values of honesty etc when their political actions have shown them to be so balantly dishonest to the electorate.

I wouldn't disagree with "citizenship" classes but character education leaves me gasping for air. Here's a thought, what are my rights as a parent when I violently disagree with their cirriculum? What happens to the children who fail the character education classes - do you lower the standard a la the math cirriculum as is currently being done for the math program?

Let's take your example of "sex-ed" - the Last Amazon had a public health nurse come into her sex-ed class to teach it in elementary school. The public health nurse drew diagrams on the blackboard of the various positions homosexual males can take during the sex act - now when one student asked to be shown the positions that heterosexuals can take was ignored and then when he persisted he was removed from the class for disturbing it. Welcome to sex-ed in 90's. Now I fail to see the value in teaching sexual positioning for either homosexuals or heterosexuals. As a parent, I have absolutely no say in what is taught in sex ed and no recourse when I disagree. Sure call the principal and register your protest but the damage is done. I somehow doubt that when the sex-ed course was originally designed for entry in the cirriculum that my daughter experience was what the designers of the cirriculum had in mind but nonetheless that is how it played out.

The Tiger said...

With issues like that, the trouble is that no matter what the curricula specify, people like that teacher will teach what they like, and in a way that isn't very agreeable.

But hey, there'll be people on the other side. Maybe. :-)

I think that the idea of trying to teach some moral values is a good one. The idea that schools should stay out of it is what helped create the problem in the first place. Now, as to whether McGuinty's Liberals are the ones who can do it -- not sure. But, again, it'll be the teachers on the ground who implement it.

Nathan said...

Hi again, Kate,

Well, we may have to agree to disagree. I'd probably agree with you about the Ontario Liberals, although since I left UofT I haven't followed politics there that closely. My point would be that the teaching of values, whether one set or another, is going ahead on a daily basis already. The only question is how deliberately and how widely it will be done, and with how much variation. I don't think your kids will be scarred by depictions of gay sex; our culture flaunts its sexuality anyway, so they'd be exposed to it sooner or later. And in my case I have no problem with the idea of gay sex either, but that's my personal value. I'm grateful for my own "Life Skills" classes, which covered topics like STD's, how to put on a condom (important, in today's world), in addition to topics like bullying and dealing with grief at the loss of a loved one. In any case, I don't think you can separate the teaching of values from the daily actions involved in teaching, and I think that a good dose of some deliberately taught values like respect for others, honesty, perseverance, etc. is much needed in today's schools. That's all I'll say on the matter, I think. Cheers, Nathan.