Our public education system is about to collapse


Commentary

School board elections are currently taking place in four provinces: Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island. Trustee elections are usually a sleepy affair, but in Ontario the situation is quite different.

This is because a significant number of trustee candidates are running on so-called “anti-wake” platforms. Tired of schools imposing critical racial theories and gender ideologies on their students, these candidates want to rid the education system of these ideological perspectives.

Anti-Awakening candidates, as expected, have received considerable backlash from proponents on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum.

The clash created a toxic environment in which both sides accused the other of acting viciously. Debates over issues of personal identity such as race and gender often generate far more heat than light. It’s hard to have a rational argument with someone who thinks they’re trying to destroy their very identity.

Sadly, this toxicity pervades the wider public education system. Communities tend to fall apart when people with different views lose the ability to interact respectfully with each other. If we allow our public education system to blend into competing echo chambers, things will get exponentially worse.

It is essential to prevent this from happening. There are two important things we can do to restore trust in public education.

The first thing we need to do is give parents more choices about the type of education their children receive, including the ability to access other education options. In other words, we need to ensure that education funding follows students.

We must remember that parents are the primary educators of their children. This means that you have the right to choose the educational program that best fits your values. It doesn’t matter if your children are educated in a public school, independent school, charter school, or home school, as long as the basic curriculum requirements are met.

Unfortunately, only five Canadian provinces partially fund private schools. This means that parents in her other five states (such as Ontario) do not receive support from their state governments and must pay all their tuition fees themselves.

To make matters worse, only Alberta allows charter schools. As a result, many parents with limited income are forced to keep their children in the public system, even though they would like other options.

It makes little sense to impose a one-size-fits-all approach on a diverse population. Giving parents more choice is a great way to reduce pressure on the public education system. Keeping students in public schools when they don’t want to go is not a viable strategy.

Just as a person who wants to travel has the right to choose a plane, train, or car, parents have the right to choose the type of education that is best for their child, as long as they can reach their destination safely. must be

The second thing we need to do is to give greater importance to the academic foundation within the public education system. Nearly everyone agrees that students need to read well, understand science, and learn how to solve basic math problems. So let’s make sure these core subjects are properly taught in every school.

For example, when learning to read, there are two important things that schools must do. It is about teaching phonics so students can pronounce words, and providing a broad knowledge base to help students understand their words. reading.

If a student doesn’t learn how to read at school, what happens at school hardly matters.

Similarly, there is plenty of evidence that students should memorize basic math facts (such as multiplication tables) and learn to use standard algorithms. The more time public schools spend on these academic foundations, the less time they will be distracted by discussions of critical race theory and gender ideology.

Our public education system is on the brink of serious collapse. We must take immediate action to prevent this from happening. Providing parents with more choice and focusing on academic fundamentals goes a long way toward increasing confidence in public education.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

Michael Zwargstra

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Michael Zwaagstra is a public high school teacher, Senior Fellow at the Frontier Center for Public Policy, and the author of The Sage on Stage: A Common Sense Reflection on Teaching and Learning.