VSHA Master r1 150X75 Humanist Cafe

Topic: Whither Public Education in Canada?


Introduction: Robert Cahn, BSc, MSc, DipEd

Moderator: John Pope

“In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made school boards.” -Mark Twain

Each of us has received some form of education, and most of us (about 80%) went to public (government) schools. What follows are several “talking points” which have arisen in recent times as being somewhat (or very) controversial. There will be additional points on the day of the cafe.

Should students be allowed to “fail” years, subjects or topics? Or do we “push” through all students, or ensure that all students understand the material that is taught each year? As an example what are the likely long-term effects of the “No Child Left Behind” policy in the USA?

What is the difference between phonetics and “whole-word” learning of English? Which is most effective, and why?

How do we weigh the relative importance of various subjects, from English – math – history – geography – …not only in high school but elementary school as well?

Can teachers be paid according to performance? How is teacher performance measured?

Should “intelligent design” be taught in Science classes?

Reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitzmiller_v._Dover_Area_School_District

Should students with (severe) intellectual disabilities be “mixed in” with normal classes?


All welcome.