• Why has academic freedom become a sticking point in the college strike?

    Administrators have the final say on grading and whether a student will pass or fail. Not only does this impact the quality of education being offered, it could impact students’ ability to perform in the profession for which they are being trained, and, the reputation of the program and the college… If administrators and instructors collaborate about what goes into a course, what resources are used, how a course is taught and how a student demonstrates learning, education improves.

  • Don’t let Ontario’s college system suffocate itself

    … the union rightly stressed the plight of precarious workers — contract teachers who form the vast majority of staff at Ontario’s 24 colleges. OPSEU reminded us that piecework professors are the dirty little secret of the province’s sprawling educational-industrial complex… Shortchanged by provincial funding, today’s colleges make up the difference by exploiting instructors while expanding into the terrain of universities.

  • Equal outcomes have replaced equality of opportunity

    No one would argue that discrimination has magically ceased to exist, or that we have reached a perfectly fair and just society. We never will. But the argument that equal outcomes are the one true measure of equality is corrosive. It means we’re doomed to see people through the prism of race and gender instead of talent and achievement. It means that people who refuse to reverse discriminate will be perceived as racist… Maybe you think it’s fine to rectify past injustices with fresh ones. Maybe you think diversity matters more than excellence. In that case, you’re going to make a very fine university administrator.

  • Ontario College Educators Are on Strike for Their Students

    Colleges are what they are today because senior college administrators want them that way. They want more precarious labour, less academic freedom, more online courses, fewer full-time faculty members, and a more obedient and docile staff and student body. Such ambitions may be good for businesses, though I rather doubt it. But I know with certainty that they are antithetical to institutions of higher learning and will quickly erode a school’s quality and standards…

  • 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.