No homework but better educated

11 Sept 14
Letters Editor,
The Hamilton Spectator

Dear Lee:

Concerning the article “”Homework ban a courageous school move”, today’s Spec:

For generations, top performing education systems (Alberta, Finland, Singapore) have not needed homework. We personally, schooled in Alberta long ago, cannot recall doing homework in primary grades. Yet we found ourselves, upon moving here, better educated than average Ontarians, thanks not us but to the Alberta system. This superiority has been recognized for generations by the likes of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. But many, perhaps most, Ontario senior educators will reject, sometimes angrily, any suggestion that Ontario should study Alberta or Singapore.

There is little question that the need for homework arises in no small measure from the grossly inefficient, error-prone, expensive “Constructivist” curriculum model used in schools here.

The “Constructivist” model requires students to “develop” and “discover” principles and rules for arithmetic and other subjects that were well documented as much as thousands of years ago. They must reinvent, not the wheel, but one-quarter of one spoke of it, using a chipped spokeshave. Homework, again inefficiently and expensively, is expected to fill in the rest. One bad result of many is students in tears because they cannot do their homework, and parents who, unable to help, can only stand by anxiously.

Constructivism does not work. Educators who have not learned this need to be educated about education.

Cheers,

Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
2252 Joyce St.,
Burlington, ON L&R 2B5
905 634 9538

“Constructivist” education does not work

11 Sept 14
Letters Editor,
The Hamilton Spectator

Dear Lee:

Concerning the article “”Homework ban a courageous school move”, today’s Spec:

For generations, top performing education systems (Alberta, Finland, Singapore) have not needed homework. We personally, schooled in Alberta long ago, cannot recall doing homework in primary grades. Yet we found ourselves, upon moving here, better educated than average Ontarians, thanks not us but to the Alberta system. This superiority has been recognized for generations by the likes of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. But many, perhaps most, Ontario senior educators will reject, sometimes angrily, any suggestion that Ontario should study Alberta or Singapore.

There is little question that the need for homework arises in no small measure from the grossly inefficient, error-prone, expensive “Constructivist” curriculum model used in schools here.

The “Constructivist” model requires students to “develop” and “discover” principles and rules for arithmetic and other subjects that were well documented as much as thousands of years ago. They must reinvent, not the wheel, but one-quarter of one spoke of it. Homework, again inefficiently and expensively, is expected to fill in the rest. One bad result of many is students in tears because they cannot do their homework and parents who, unable to help, can only stand by anxiously.

Constructivism does not work. Educators who have not learned this need to be educated about education.

Cheers,

Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
2252 Joyce St.,
Burlington, ON L7R 2V5
905 634 9538

Educators’ hidden agenda

Filename SpcReSmallSchoolsSept14

Date: 5 Sept 14

By: Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,

2252 Joyce St.,

Burlington, ON L7R 2B5

905 634 9538

For: Letters, The Spec

Re: “Seven public Trustee candidates … “ today’s “Local”

242 words

Good day, Lee.

The seven Trustee candidates that have banded together are clearly alarmed at an opaque and arbitrary process of school closures in Hamilton.

Their concern is well founded. It is by no means clear that “bigger is better”.

A small study in Burlington found that small schools both are less expensive per student and yield better test results per dollar of cost than large schools.

An Internet search pops-up several studies supporting small schools. Example: ‘ (and the Burlington study) found that the benefits of “small” taper off around 500-600. “1,000 is the absolute upper limit for high schools and 500 is the absolute upper limit for K-8 or K-6 elementary schools” to quote one such research result. Most sources, along with Burlington, suggest that 300-400 is an optimum size. 2,000 becomes “a monstrosity”.

Ms. Warry-Poljanski makes a key point: “Trustees should be spokespeople to the Board, [instead of for the Board]”. Right-on; but any citizen who tries to suggest improvements to the Education system finds that many Education staffers do not welcome citizen (eg Board) “interference”, and seem to be operating under the hidden agenda that says, “We’ll be here after you’re gone. We know best and you don’t. Just raise the money and go away.”

There is a groundswell of citizens no longer willing to go away, and we wish the seven candidates well in their plan to have the system responding to the people rather than the other way around in matters like school closings.

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