978-0-7710-8681-6 / 0771086814

Failing Our Kids: How We Are Ruining Our Public Schools

by Ungerleider, Charles

Publisher:McClelland & Stewart



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About the book:

Subtitled "How We Are Ruining Our Public Schools," this study of Canadian education, by a former teacher at the high school and university level and former deputy minister of education in British Columbia, is not as negative as title and subtitle suggest. The author believes that Canadian schools have generally succeeded in educating the population, noting the high level of literacy. But he believes schools, teachers, governments, and parents could do much more to make Canadian schools the ultimate force for cohesion in a society fragmented by political, cultural, and linguistic pressures. Ungerleider takes a wide-ranging and thorough view of Canadian education, exploring a number of subjects including poverty's affect on schooling, special needs students, unions, the drive for choice in education, the failure of leadership, and so on. At times, he overstates and repeats the obvious, such as the truism that Canadians place a high value on education. While his focus is British Columbia, which is understandable considering his background, he makes an honest attempt to cover Ontario as well. Perhaps one of his most intriguing points is that schooling today is "bland and inoffensive.... Education necessarily involves uncertainty and controversy." There is certainly controversy aplenty around education today, as the author so clearly details, but little enough in the classroom itself where, he points out, parents and community groups resist the introduction of controversial ideas. --Mark Frutkin

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