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Education

Ontario “on the verge of enforcing Critical Race Theory in all schools”

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Bill 67, Racial Equity in the Education System Act, 2021, has passed second reading in the Ontario legislature and at first glance it looks like a great idea.  After all, no one can make a sensible argument ‘for’ racism.  The world is doing its best to move past the ugly reality of racism which has seemingly always plagued societies.  So why are some important and influential Canadian educators and communicators ferociously opposed to Bill 67?

They’ll tell you it’s because they’ve actually read the bill and they know the meaning of the words used over and over again throughout.

If you don’t already know (and most Canadians haven’t looked into this yet) the profound difference between “equality” and “equity”, or the profound difference between “anti-racism” and “non-racism” this presentation is critically important.  In the three days since this video was released, it has already been viewed over 600,000 times..

Here’s the description from host Jordan Peterson

Canadian Bill 67, which purports to be nothing but an “anti-racist” bill, is in fact the most pernicious and dangerous piece of legislation that any Canadian government has attempted to put forward. Dr. Peterson is joined by Barbara Kay, Bruce Pardy and Dr. David M. Haskell. This bill makes C-16 look like child’s play. Barbara Kay is a columnist for the Post Millennial, the Epoch Times, and Western Standard Online. Bruce Pardy is executive director of Rights Probe and professor of law at Queen’s University. Dr. David M. Haskell’s teaching and research focuses on religion in Canada, media in Canada, and religion and media in Canada. He is currently a professor at Wilfrid Laurier.

 

For more on Jordan Peterson

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After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Alberta premier defends new rules on in-person learning, no mask mandates in schools

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By Dean Bennett and Colette Derworiz

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is defending new rules ordering schools to provide in-person learning during the current wave of viral illnesses, saying a clear, measured response is crucial for students and parents.

“We need a normal school environment for our children, and we need to make sure that the classrooms stay open to be able to support our parents,” Smith said at a news conference in Medicine Hat on Friday.

“That’s why we made the decision that we did — to give that clear direction.”

Her comments came a day after she announced regulatory changes saying school boards must provide in-person learning. Schools also can’t require students to wear masks in school or be forced to take classes online.

The changes take effect immediately.

“Anyone is welcome to wear a mask if they feel that that is the right choice for them, but we should not be forcing parents to mask their kids, and we shouldn’t be denying education to kids who turn up without a mask,” Smith said.

She has said mask rules and toggling from online to in-person learning adversely affected the mental health, development and education of students during the COVID-19 pandemic and strained parents scrambling to make child-care arrangements when schools shut down.

That’s over, Smith said.

“We’re just not going to normalize these kind of extreme measures every single respiratory virus season,” she said.

School boards have been asking for more direction as a slew of seasonal respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses, along with some COVID-19 cases, have led to high classroom absentee rates and have jammed children’s hospitals.

In Edmonton, Trisha Estabrooks, board chair for Edmonton Public Schools, said the decision provided the clarity that the board was seeking.

“All Albertans now understand that it’s not within the jurisdiction, and nor should it ever have been within the jurisdiction of individual school boards, to make decisions that belong to health officials,” said Estabrooks.

She said the province has made it clear that any future public health order would supersede the new rules.

The in-person learning change applies to grades 1-12 in all school settings, including public, separate, francophone, public charter and independent schools.

The masking change applies to those same grades and schools, but also to early childhood services.

The Opposition NDP criticized the new rules, saying it’s unrealistic to force schools to be all things to all students while also handling a wave of viral illnesses and not providing additional supports to do it.

Jason Schilling, head of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said the government needs to work with school boards to figure out how to make this work.

“You have schools that are struggling to staff the building, (they) can’t get substitute teachers, teachers are sick, they’re covering each other’s classes, principals are covering the classes,” Schilling said in an interview.

“And then to say if you go online, you are to still offer the same programming in person — we just don’t have the people to do that.”

Wing Li, communications director for public education advocacy organization, Support our Students, said it will be difficult for schools to offer hybrid learning without any additional resources.

“There are no teachers,” Li said in an interview. “Pivoting online was mostly due to staffing shortages, which is worse now three years in.”

Li said online learning is challenging for students but, when temporary and supported, can keep schools and communities safe from spreading illness.

“This is a quite aggressive use of the Education Act to enshrine an ideology,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2022

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Alberta

Alberta education minister says she will listen to top doctor about masks in schools

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By Colette Derworiz and Dean Bennett

Alberta’s education minister says she will take advice from the province’s new chief medical health officer on whether to allow school boards to bring in mask mandates in schools with respiratory illness outbreaks.

The Edmonton public school board has asked Alberta Health and Alberta Education whether it can require masks as schools deal with a wave of viral illnesses that is sending thousands of students home sick and straining hospitals.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was asked about the request multiple times during a news conference about additional mental health supports for students.

“There is not a one-size-fits-all for this situation,” LaGrange said Wednesday.

“We are going to continue to monitor the situation and, of course, we will take guidance from the new chief medical officer of health. Beyond that, we will continue to ensure our schools and our staff members are protected.”

LaGrange said students and staff are welcome to wear masks but “the premier was very clear recently that we do not anticipate having a mask mandate in place.”

Dr. Mark Joffe, who was appointed chief medical officer of health earlier this week, said in a statement later Wednesday that Alberta is seeing an early rise in seasonal infections such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus and COVID-19.

“The province continues to transition back to long-standing practices to manage respiratory infections in general,” he said. “That includes local public health officials notifying schools of outbreaks and giving them advice and support as needed.”

Joffe said Albertans can take simple, daily actions to help prevent the spread by staying up to date on vaccinations, wearing a well-fitting, high-quality mask and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

“Albertans should be supported regardless of their choice to mask or not,” he said.

Premier Danielle Smith has been critical of mask rules in schools, saying they adversely affected the mental health, development and education of students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edmonton school board chair Trisha Estabrooks said Tuesday there are also mental health concerns with the current situation.

“Missing school and being worried about getting sick also have an impact on our children’s mental health,” said Estabrooks.

“A blanket statement of no more mask mandates ever in schools, I believe, is short-sighted. We can’t predict where the next stage of the pandemic will go.”

In Edmonton, Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said parents and school boards are seeking leadership and guidance from Smith’s United Conservative government but are getting chaos.

“What we’ve got here is nothing but confusion and distraction and an abdication of responsibility by our provincial government,” said Notley.

She said Joffe is doing his job on top of his existing responsibilities as a senior leader with Alberta Health Services.

“(Joffe’s) not actually even being paid to do the job and he’s still doing his other complete job, so that sounds to me like we’ve got a government that doesn’t really value that role.”

Notley said while Joffe is officially tasked with setting public health policy, Smith is assembling a parallel team of medical professionals to advise her on public health.

Smith recently said she wants to hear from Dr. Paul Alexander, a controversial COVID-19 critic who has argued for herd immunity and has called COVID-19 vaccines a “bioweapon.”

“What the UCP, therefore, has created is a mess and a vacuum (of authority),” said Notley. “Danielle Smith seems most interested in talking to conspiracy theorists.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2022.

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