Re: Education is a mess, (letters, Chilliwack Progress).
I would be curious to know when Phil Mante attended school. When I grew up, accountability for educational achievement was shared between teachers, students, and parents. In many cases, it still is! However, beyond this, there is little comparison between the system in which I attended school, and the environment in which I currently teach.
In my day, elementary students regularly failed grades (sometimes repeatedly), with little thought of what this meant to their future or their self esteem. My own school was “streamed.” It had a top, middle, and bottom class for each grade, and it didn’t take us long for us to discover where we had landed. The “strap” was prevalent, teachers spanked students in front of their classes, slammed rulers on desks, grabbed children by their ears, and yelled to their hearts’ content, with no fear of reprisals from the “Teacher Regulation Branch.” Special needs students had special classes. We only saw them at recess.
I think Mr. Mante needs to go back and experience elementary education in the 21st century. Few of us want to return to the systems of the past; yet, surprisingly, essential educational goals can still be attained within the “mess” that Mr. Mante describes. Despite large class sizes, unlimited numbers of special needs students, huge cuts to learning assistance, ESL, speech-language pathologists, psycho-educational testing, school counsellors, and teacher-librarians, teachers still care, and will always do so. We work hard to instruct our children to compose letters that have a point (main idea), augmented by relevant supporting details.
Much of the correspondence that is currently sent to local newspapers by adults, unfortunately lacks this basic structure.
In addition to this, Chillwack’s elementary educators would never allow their students to publish letters that contained queries such as: “How’s about a modest proposal?”
My solution: How about some further language arts instruction?