Saturday, May 4, 2013

What the Temporary Foreign Worker scam says about Canada's education system

In the first place, it says Canada's education system isn't graduating students that Canadian employers want to hire.

While viewed in isolation that statement may be true, my common cause with Fraser Institute and C.D. Howe types pretty much ends there.

While Canadian high school students consistently score well on international tests, few outside the education establishment are aware that huge swaths of students, those streamed into "basic" or "essential" or "locally developed" programs, never participate in the tests.

Those students are the victims of the self-esteem obsession that has guided Canadian education for the past thirty years or so.

The kids who come from backgrounds that are more affluent, more educated, more motivated, have the resources available to overcome this self-esteem obsession.

They have books in the house and parents who encourage them to read.

The kids who don't have that, have a system that tells them reading is redundant, that "viewing is reading," and that their feelings are paramount.

As long as those kids feel good about themselves, everything is hunky-dory.

So after ten or fifteen years being told how great they are, these students graduate into a world where they quickly discover that feeling good about themselves doesn't translate into employable skills.

Canada graduates huge numbers of youths who are functionally illiterate and struggle to do math at a grade two level.

But they feel really good about themselves, at least until they realize how unemployable they are.

Then they are stymied, because that other pillar of the Canadian system, having critical thinking skills, turns out to be as ephemeral as their self-esteem.

There are tens of thousands of unemployed youths in Alberta, the province that needs to import tens of thousands of Temporary Foreign Workers to man the counter at the local Tim Hortons.

If Alberta youth had the slightest grasp of what "critical thinking" means they would be organizing, demonstrating, and raising hell...

At least if all that "critical thinking" bullshit in the mission statements and curriculum overviews of their high schools was anything other than jargon designed to hide the fact that the system is failing them.

If "critical thinking" were a bona fide part of their education, they'd be picketing and boycotting those fast food joints until the wages offered could provide an acceptable Canadian standard of living.

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