New math doesn’t add up but can something be done?

Saskatchewan's new education minister wants a back-to-basics approach to math instruction that would give students much-needed skills

New math doesn’t add up but can something be done?After enduring years of fuzzy math, Saskatchewan parents may finally have cause for hope. Not only did the provincial government’s latest throne speech acknowledge that Saskatchewan students have the worst math skills in the country, it pledged to address the problem with a “common-sense” plan that focuses on the basics. That’s good news for parents…

The no-zero policy finally gets a failing grade

But dumping the misguided practice in Newfoundland and Labrador schools is just the beginning – much more reform is needed

The no-zero policy finally gets a failing gradeThe long-standing no-zero policy in Newfoundland and Labrador schools is no more. The chief executive officer of the English School District recently announced that teachers are once again free to deduct marks for late work and assign marks of zero when work doesn’t come in at all. This is a significant step forward, not only…

Manitoba’s flagship university is failing students

What can be done about it?

Manitoba’s flagship university is failing studentsDear Ian Wishart, Manitoba Minister of Education and Training: As someone who has taught history at the University of Manitoba for 25 years, I’m deeply interested in learning more about your government’s plans for post-secondary education in the province. Having read both the mandate that the premier gave you on May 3, 2016, as you…

Back to school, back to uncontrolled government spending

Canadian education spending facts belie misguided perceptions about public school funding

Back to school, back to uncontrolled government spendingBy Angela MacLeod and Joel Emes The Fraser Institute Back to school is an expensive time for Canadian families. Whether it’s new shoes, school supplies, a bus pass or a new computer, families often take a closer look at their budgets to account for the extra spending. It’s also a good time to take a closer…

Content knowledge is the foundation of quality education

Content-rich instruction is key to reading comprehension and critical thinking, and it empowers disadvantaged students

Content knowledge is the foundation of quality educationContent-rich instruction may not be as flashy as some of the educational alternatives but it’s a whole lot more effective. Educators have long debated the importance of specific content knowledge in the curriculum. Progressive educators generally favour a non-content-specific learning process. Traditional educators say all students should master a defined body of knowledge. The 21st century…

High grades for Canadian students, high praise for their teachers

Canadian students’ results in literacy, mathematics and science are among the best in the world. What drives our schools to be so good?

High grades for Canadian students, high praise for their teachersA recent BBC article called Canada “an education superpower.” It referred to the fact that, in recent years, Canadian students’ results in literacy, mathematics and science are among the best in the world. We’re in the same echelon as countries like Finland and Singapore. The article drew primarily from results of the Programme for International…

Federal support won’t help independent schools or education

Greater federal involvement could fundamentally reshape our decentralized approach to education policy, lead to policy homogeneity and hurt student performance

Federal support won’t help independent schools or educationBy Ben Eisen and Angela MacLeod The Fraser Institute Now that Andrew Scheer is leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, there’s heightened interest in his policy ideas, including his plan to provide tax deductions of up to $4,000 per student for families with children in independent schools. Although Scheer is correct to spotlight the burden that…

Lose the blackboard, embrace technology, so our economy can keep up

Canada can't embrace the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century unless our education system embraces new teaching technologies

Lose the blackboard, embrace technology, so our economy can keep upShifting Canada from an economy based on natural resources to one based on human resources will take time and investment, but it's essential. Starting with furs and fish, then timber, minerals and petroleum, Canada has prospered thanks to our abundant natural resources. But in recent years, governments have recognized that change is necessary and have pledged to…

There’s no critical thinking without a base of knowledge

21st century learning advocates fail to recognize that critical thinking cannot take place when you know nothing about a subject

There’s no critical thinking without a base of knowledgeThe recent presidential election campaign was one of the worst in U.S. history. As the two candidates slugged it out, neither showed much interest in intelligent engagement. In many ways, it was a campaign of ignorance. Fortunately, there is a remedy for ignorance – promote knowledge. Knowledge is powerful because it combats ignorance. It is…

Canada needs to put its education spending to better use

A disproportionate amount of money is spent on education, but our results are mixed and we are falling behind many other countries

Canada needs to put its education spending to better useCanadians don't get full value for the money they spend on education – and it's a great deal of money. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), made up of 35-member countries committed to democracy and world trade, has just released a report on the state of global education. Comparing the outcomes of Canadian…