• College students and striking faculty face same challenges with precarious work

    In this strike, we are not neutral. We support our faculty… We know the reality of precarious work… Delivering quality education is difficult when you’re working from one four-month contract to the next, have few or no benefits, and aren’t given adequate time to prepare for the courses you’re teaching. Yet these are the working conditions of contract instructors at our colleges, who now make up more than 70 per cent of all faculty.

  • Government should expand student placements into social sector

    If the government expanded the new $73 million Student Work-Integrated Learning program to all students it could help tackle Canada’s most intractable social problems — such as homelessness, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, affordable housing, social cohesion and intercultural understanding… most CSL [community service-learning] students and community partners are excluded from government support under the program.

  • Universities should make people think, not spare them from discomfort

    If you can’t speak freely, you’ll quickly lose the ability to think clearly. Your ideas will be built on a pile of assumptions you’ve never examined for yourself and may thus be unable to defend from radical challenges. You will be unable to test an original thought for fear that it might be labeled an offensive one… the real crux of [the] case for free speech: Not that it’s necessary for democracy (strictly speaking, it isn’t), but because it’s our salvation from intellectual mediocrity and social ossification.

  • Either invest or face more turmoil at Ontario’s colleges and universities

    Canada has actually cut its public funding since 2008, and now we rank in the bottom half of advanced economies, spending well below what Denmark, Norway, and Sweden invest in their public post-secondary teaching, research, and innovation. The picture is the same in Ontario, where the provincial government has reduced public funding for universities and colleges and now ranks last in public per-student funding in Canada.

  • College strikes a symptom of broken business model

    … an inordinate number of teachers are part-timers with partial loads who are paid an hourly wage that doesn’t cover time spent marking papers or preparing lectures. They don’t know from one semester to the next who or what they’ll be teaching… The dirty little secret of higher education is that working conditions have hit rock bottom. OPSEU, the union representing college teachers, wants half of teaching staff hired as full-timers. That hardly seems excessive.

  • If Wynne’s Liberals were committed to equality, they’d help fund independent schools

    Ontario should treat all schools equitably… we’re left with a divided system of education: a Catholic board that’s publicly-funded as a result of the special protections it’s afforded under the constitution, and no funding for other independent faith-based schools. A 1999 UN Human Rights Committee report classified this system as discriminatory.

  • Let’s focus on education, not university rankings

    Universities wishing to move up the rankings should spend money on expensive amenities and hire top-dollar faculty (Nobel Prize winners are the best for rankings) who will rarely teach. To pay for all this, universities will likely need to increase tuition fees. Moving up in the rankings also requires a shift in resource allocation to marketing, issues management (keep bad news out of the public eye) and products and consulting services offered by rankers.

  • Ontario doesn’t need another Francophone university. Why is Wynne promising one?

    … the truth is, there is no Francophone access problem; Francophones are already very well served… A 2013 review by the government’s own higher-education agency, HEQCO, notes that students from French-language school boards are slightly more likely to attend university (24.6 per cent) than students from English boards (22.6 per cent).

  • Dyslexic kids in Canada deserve better

    In Ontario alone, more than 40,000 children are waiting for assessment out of 250,000 who struggle with dyslexia. Tragically, assessment and intervention will come far too late for this group’s learning development. It is a “wait-and-fail” disaster. Of children with learning disabilities, 80-85 per cent of them are believed to be dyslexic… A University of Toronto study reveals that a dyslexic child is five times more likely to be physically abused than the average child… Not only is the situation a living tragedy, it also has monumental costs to our country.

  • How a Canadian experimental program helped one child with autism speak

    Known as the Social ABCs, the program teaches parents strategies to help toddlers with ASD to talk or vocalize in more meaningful ways and to smile more with their caregivers… The 12-week intervention… uses objects that grab a child’s attention and motivates them to verbally interact with their parents… Researchers also saw increased verbal responses to parental prompts and gains in their functional language, as well as how often they initiated a verbal connection on their own