EDPS 360 (A2) Fall 2013

Author Archive

First Nations Education: Will Rejection of the Latest Initiative Signal the End for Top-Down Devolution?

In Uncategorized on July 27, 2014 at 8:40 am


The mysterious hand of the Canadian Indian Act is still present in First Nations communities, and is particularly evident in the realm of education. Until the late 1960s, schooling for First Nations children and youth was essentially “assimilationist.” “The primary purpose of formal education,” as stated in the report of the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, “was to indoctrinate Aboriginal peoples into a Christian, European world view, thereby ‘civilizing’ them” (Canada 1996, vol. 3, chap. 5, 2). Since the publication of “Indian Control of Indian Education” by the National Indian Brotherhood in 1972, over 40 years ago, policy changes in the form of federal-local education agreements, authorized under SGAs, for the most part have only reinforced the status quo of top-down, albeit partially delegated, federal control over education (Fallon and Paquette 2012, 3).

AtleoandHarperConformity with mainstream society, competition, and preparation for the workforce were…

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Even superprofessors deserve academic freedom.

In Uncategorized on July 10, 2014 at 7:30 am

Ah, the superprofessor. We do have a few if those now, don’t we?


Over on my personal blog, I write a lot about MOOCs. You might say I’m more than a little MOOC-obsessed, but I really am trying to develop other interests. That effort ran aground this week when a Massive Open Online Course at the University of Zurich basically imploded. It’s a confusing story (the Chronicle report on it is here  and the IHE report is here if you want to try to figure it out for yourself), but the best I can tell is that the professor leading that MOOC on “massive learning,” Paul-Olivier Dehaye, deleted its contents while in progress in order to protest the data collection policies of the MOOC provider that sponsored it, Coursera.

Since Dehaye has made no direct statement about his actions, the early reporting (and the Twitter speculation before anything got reported) included a number of other theories. Nevertheless, the definitive explanation for Dehaye’s actions…

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Flunking the Revised SATs — FAIR

In Assessment, Choice, Exams on July 4, 2014 at 9:00 am

I’d like to see some data like this on recent Alberta examinations. If you are familiar, please pass along the information.

Flunking the Revised SATs — FAIR.

P.S. Yes, I’m feeling lazy today, but isn’t that the sun shining out there?

Of High Handed Tactics, Education Reform, and the Ghost of Jim Keegstra

In ATA, Commentary, Current Events on July 3, 2014 at 10:04 am

Another (perhaps) unintentionally inflammatory piece by Paul Simons in today’s Edmonton Journal.

Without going into her argument line by line, I think Paula is barking up the right analytical tree when she takes aim (mixed metaphor…yuck!) at a structural problem. Her structural analysis, however, is far too simple and, worse, is entirely non-empirical.*

Screenshot 2014-07-03 09.56.46

Paula’s column and the Twitter furore began like this last night. Will we ever be free of the Keegstra case? I assume not, and perhaps rightly so.

The point I want to make is this: any purely theoretical argument (here, the ATA has a conflict of interest = system is bad/a “mess”) must stand up to an empirical test. Put simply, does the supposed structural problem compromise real-world teacher review/discipline? ATA voices and others have provided plenty of information demonstrating that the process works quite well. Should we trust this claim out of hand? Of course not, but compare the ATA’s approach to Mr. Lemire’s as presented in Paula’s piece. The call to improve process may have some merit Read the rest of this entry »

Prentice slams teaching task force, promises to repair rift with teachers, union

In ATA, Current Events on June 27, 2014 at 9:16 am

EDMONTON – In a bare-knuckled speech Thursday, Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Jim Prentice said the school shortage in Alberta is “nearing crisis proportions” and pledged to build up to 50 more over five years — in addition to the existing promise to build 50 schools and modernize 70 more.

Prentice slams teaching task force, promises to repair rift with teachers, union.

Edmonton public school board approves record $1-billion budget

In Current Events, EPSB on June 25, 2014 at 9:43 am

EDMONTON – Edmonton Public School trustees voted Tuesday to approve a $1-billion budget for the 2014-15 school year. It’s the biggest budget in the school district’s history. Here are some of the highlights, by the numbers:

$1 billion: the total amount Edmonton Public Schools will spend to keep its 202 public schools running

Edmonton public school board approves record $1-billion budget.

End the Era of the C.E.O. College President – NYTimes.com

In Commentary, Current Events on June 24, 2014 at 10:00 am

When a colleague posted the job ad for the president of the University of Alberta, I joked that we could split the job four ways and she’d still triple her salary. So we applied – with over 50 other academics – in groups of four.We wanted to highlight the gap between the rhetoric of austerity at universities such as the University of Alberta, and the increasing costs of university administrations across North America.

via End the Era of the C.E.O. College President – NYTimes.com.

Opinion: Who would Jesus discriminate against?

In Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Current Events on June 20, 2014 at 8:51 am

This opinion piece provides a very interesting personal take on what it was and is like to live and work from a dissenting position in a religious institution. While the specific problem in this case relates to the religious mission of the Trinity Western University (BC, Canada), the questions it raises around academic freedom and social justice in the academy are very real in all institutions of higher education, as the recent hubbub at the University of Saskatchewan and a variety of US institutions attests.

Have a read of Who would Jesus discriminate against? and let me know your thoughts.

Residential school abuse-claim documents should be destroyed, adjudicator argues

In Residential Schools on June 19, 2014 at 8:27 pm

EDMONTON – Evidence given by residential school abuse survivors in closed-door hearings should never see the light of day, the lawyer in charge of abuse settlement process says.

Dan Shapiro, chief adjudicator of the Independent Assessment Process, says Canada will be courting a potential “privacy disaster” if it doesn’t destroy the 800,000 audio recordings, transcripts and other documents associated with 38,000 claims of sexual abuse, physical abuse and other heinous acts.

Read the full article here: Residential school abuse-claim documents should be destroyed, adjudicator argues.


Reclaiming the civic university | Academic Matters

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2014 at 6:14 am

The Turning Spiral

Since the 1950s, universities have also been seen as places of research that can contribute in the long run to society, especially to our economy, culture, public policy, and health. Over the past 15 or so years, support for university research has expanded enormously just as the system was expanding at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Federal research funding grew fourfold; provincial funding tripled.It is hard to imagine how we might give universities a higher priority and standing. Their central place in a knowledge-based society is acknowledged and secure.Are our universities today civic universities? Certainly a civic university must be publicly supported, and our universities have received major increases in public support.But many people would answer that they are not. There is concern, tending toward deep disquiet, and some would argue a crisis. Our universities and the way we think about them have been changing.Universities are thought of more and…

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