Here's what went on over here, and why I understand a fair bit about it.

To start with, I taught in the public school system as a trained teacher in the early 1980's. Therefore I had a copy of the curriculum guidelines in a thick binder, and knew at least the K - 6 part inside out. Curriculum guidelines are what traces the knowledge that should be acquired at each age level. For example, addition and subtraction as concept and skill up to 10 in grade 1, expanding to double digit numbers with regrouping and introducing multiplication in grade 2. We were trained to identify goals, and create lesson plans in which we set out how we would teach it, how students would practice the skill, and how we would assess it. A superintendent of schools assessing my teaching taught me about creating "matrices" for the year.

Later I homeschooled after researching alternatives, and various teaching approaches out there. Because I homeschooled, I kept abreast of the curriculum guidelines, always making sure my children learned at least what was being taught in the school system, so that they could integrate at any time, which eventually they did. So again I was on top of it.

I was also tutoring kids who were in the school system, and my new profession also connected me to education in other countries as well as in this country.

We got a new provincial government, and I think that had an outside concern (industry) do research. They reformed our health system (closed hospitals), social security system, and education system. They got rid of gr. 13 and also closed schools. Think of the $$$ that were saved by both moves. At that point students I tutored were telling me of rushing to classes so that they could sit in a chair instead of the floor. I guess at some point the furniture problem got solved. whistle

The old curriculum guidelines had never been published. This new government published what it was doing, which impressed the public, but I recognized the material from before.

When grade 13 was removed, every grade was effectively one year behind, and teachers had to scramble. The gr. 4 teacher had to give her kids gr. 4 and gr. 5 material, as if gr. 4 had been taught. The grade 11 & 12 "university stream" math was deemed unteachable and teachers advised to avoid it. ( We were lucky that we were always a grade ahead anyway, so it did not affect my children.) Also, not all subjects were available in all schools anymore. If you were in a blue collar district they were likely to teach lower level science, and if you wanted to apply to university, you could not get your prerequisites. You also could not transfer to another school, because with the school closures, we now had a shortage of schools.

One result of this was that full-time students had to also attend night school. There were two in the city. One of my sons did night school while in grade 12, doing insane hours since night school is condensed. He'd be awake round the clock some days just to catch up, and he is a fast learner. I remember all the cars.

Since one of my children homeschooled up to gr. 11, I was also involved in the new textbooks, consulting with principals, and learning how these books were produced. There was a choice of two of them for math. and physics. The one we chose was chosen by only a few of the schools, and kids that I tutored preferred that one when they came to see it. Re: tutoring - I saw the fallout of the reform, since I tutored the kids.

When this reform started, there were big political things going on. The teachers protested what was happening, and a huge public smear campaign against teachers (and doctors, and nurses) was launched. You couldn't turn on the radio or t.v. without getting negative images and sarcasm against teachers, doctors, and nurses. One day someone switched to a U.S. channel where there was a commercial with an actress playing a teacher, at her desk, selling some "educational product". My first reaction was to flinch, expecting a smear campaign - then it was "Oh yes, teachers are usually respected and this is the U.S., where teachers are not vilified." My own reaction shocked me.

School principals were given a new status so that they could not side with teachers. A new organization was formed, and I lost my teacher certification because I couldn't come up with the annual fee. Apparently money makes you qualified.

The one good thing they did were the calculators. The research company found out that industries wanted employees to know how to use a fancy scientific calculator, so that calculator became mandatory, and learning how to use it became part of the math curriculum. It's in the house somewhere gathering dust, but that calculator was fun.


Edited by keystring (03/05/13 09:26 AM)