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COVID-19

Learning loss piles up alongside snow while ‘e-learning’ collects dust

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4 minute read

From the Fraser Institute

By Alex Whalen and Paige MacPherson

During COVID school closures, students in the province missed at least 125 days of school between March 2020 and February 2022, more than any other province (except Ontario), generating a significant learning loss from which students have not caught up.

In a world increasingly connected by technology, and given the Nova Scotia government recently spent tens of millions of dollars enabling at-home learning, one might think that students would seamlessly shift to online learning during the recent snowstorms to avoid losing crucial instructional time. Unfortunately, that’s not happening.

During COVID school closures, the Nova Scotia and federal governments spent at least $31.5 million dollars on “virtual school” and other technological upgrades so students could, according to the provincial government, “succeed, even in an at-home learning environment.”

Unfortunately, the electronic learning infrastructure—which includes Chromebooks, laptops and iPads for students and teachers, and additional support and new teachers for Nova Scotia Virtual School—is collecting dust in a corner while Nova Scotia kids are falling further behind.

This isn’t some blip in an otherwise strong record of instructional time for Nova Scotia students. During COVID school closures, students in the province missed at least 125 days of school between March 2020 and February 2022, more than any other province (except Ontario), generating a significant learning loss from which students have not caught up.

Indeed, according to the latest results (2022) from the Programme for International Assessment (PISA), the gold standard of testing worldwide, Nova Scotia 15-year-olds trail the Canadian average in reading by 18 points and trail the Canadian average in math by 27 points. For context, PISA characterizes a 20-point drop as one year of lost learning.

Moreover, between 2003 and 2022, Nova Scotia student performance in reading dropped by 24 points—more than one year of learning loss—and dropped by 45 points in math. In other words, in math, 15-year-old Nova Scotia students today are more than two years behind where Nova Scotia 15-year-olds were in 2003.

These troubling trends underscore the need to put the existing e-learning infrastructure to work. During a recent two-week period, students in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education school district missed seven days of school due to snow. And some students missed an additional five days due to weather and power outages. That’s nearly three weeks. While more instructional time is not a silver bullet for student success—and with power outages, e-learning is not a perfect solution—it could still make a big difference.

According to international research, missed classroom time causes learning loss and impacts children for life, reducing their life-long earnings. Nova Scotia education researcher Paul Bennett found that lost classroom time due to inclement weather compounds absenteeism and sets back student achievement and social progress.

The Houston government should ensure that Nova Scotian students have access to teacher-directed e-learning when schools are closed and, like other jurisdictions in Canada and the United States, abandon the practise of simply cancelling school due to inclement weather. It’s simply common sense. The snow may pile up, but there’s no good reason why learning loss must pile up with it. Parents are right to demand access to the e-learning they’ve already paid for through their tax dollars.

COVID-19

WHO Official Admits the Truth About Passports

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From the Brownstone Institute

BY Paul ThackerPAUL THACKER

The World Health Organization’s Dr. Hanna Nohynek testified in court that she advised her government that vaccine passports were not needed but was ignored, despite explaining that the Covid vaccines did not stop virus transmission and the passports gave a false sense of security. The stunning revelations came to light in a Helsinki courtroom where Finnish citizen Mika Vauhkala is suing after he was denied entry to a café for not having a vaccine passport.

Dr. Nohynek is chief physician at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and serves as the WHO’s chair of Strategic Group of Experts on immunization. Testifying yesterday, she stated that the Finnish Institute for Health knew by the summer of 2021 that the Covid-19 vaccines did not stop virus transmission

During that same 2021 time period, the WHO said it was working to “create an international trusted framework” for safe travel while EU members states began rolling out Covid passports. The EU Digital COVID Certificate Regulation passed in July 2021 and more than 2.3 billion certificates were later issued. Visitors to France were banned if they did not have a valid vaccine passport which citizens had to carry to buy food at stores or to use public transport.

But Dr. Nohynek testified yesterday that her institute advised the Finnish government in late 2021 that Covid passports no longer made sense, yet certificates continued to be required. Finnish journalist Ike Novikoff reported the news yesterday after leaving the Helsinki courtroom where Dr. Nohynek spoke.

Dr. Nohynek’s admission that the government ignored scientific advice to terminate vaccine passports proved shocking as she is widely embraced in global medical circles. Besides chairing the WHO’s strategic advisory group on immunizations, Dr. Nohynek is one of Finland’s top vaccine advisors and serves on the boards of Vaccines Together and the International Vaccine Institute.

The EU’s digital Covid-19 certification helped establish the WHO Global Digital Health Certification Network in July 2023. “By using European best practices we contribute to digital health standards and interoperability globally—to the benefit of those most in need,” stated one EU official.

Finnish citizen Mika Vauhkala created a website discussing his case against Finland’s government where he writes that he launched his lawsuit “to defend basic rights” after he was denied breakfast in December 2021 at a Helsinki café because he did not have a Covid passport even though he was healthy. “The constitution of Finland guarantees that any citizen should not be discriminated against based on health conditions among other things,” Vauhkala states on his website.

Vauhkala’s lawsuit continued today in Helsinki district court where British cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra will testify that, during the Covid pandemic, some authorities and medical professionals supported unethical, coercive, and misinformed policies such as vaccine mandates and vaccine passports, which undermined informed patient consent and evidence-based medical practice.

You can read Dr. Malhotra’s testimony here.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Author

  • Paul Thacker

    Paul D. Thacker is an Investigative Reporter; Former Investigator United States Senate; Former Fellow Safra Ethics Center, Harvard University

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Freedom Convoy

Ottawa spent “excessive” $2.2 million fighting Emergencies Act challenge

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News release from the Canadian Constitution Foundation

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley found in January that the February 2022 invocation of the Emergencies Act to deal with the Freedom Convoy protests was unreasonable because there was no national emergency nor threats to security of Canada as were required to invoke the Act.

The Canadian Constitution Foundation is shocked to learn that Ottawa spent more than $2 million of taxpayer funds unsuccessfully fighting the legal challenge launched by the CCF and others to the Trudeau government’s illegal invocation of the Emergencies Act in 2022.

The $2,231,000 figure was revealed by the Department of Justice in response to an inquiry from Conservative civil liberties critic Marilyn Gladu.

The hefty figure was first reported in the Globe and Mail. Experienced counsel told the Globe that the amount spent was “excessive.”

The number includes the cost that the government spent fighting the judicial review of the invocation decision in Federal Court. It does not include the cost of Ottawa’s appeal, which is proceeding at the Federal Court of Appeal.

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley found in January that the February 2022 invocation of the Emergencies Act to deal with the Freedom Convoy protests was unreasonable because there was no national emergency nor threats to security of Canada as were required to invoke the Act.

Justice Mosley also found that regulations made as a result of the invocation violated freedom of expression because they captured people who “simply wanted to join in the protest by standing on Parliament Hill carrying a placard” and the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures because bank accounts were frozen without any sort of judicial pre-authorization.

CCF Litigation Director Joanna Baron was dismayed to learn how much Ottawa spent.

“Civil liberties groups like the CCF rely on regular Canadians who care about rights and freedoms to fund this type of public interest litigation,” she said.

“The fact that the government seems willing to spend whatever it takes to defend its unlawful decision shows what we’re up against when we fight to protect the constitution and the rule of law.”

The CCF is calling on the federal government to drop the appeal of Justice Mosley’s decision.

Canadians who agree with the decision are encouraged to sign the CCF’s online petition calling on the government to drop the appeal. The CCF is also asking Canadians to consider making a tax-deductible charitable donation to the CCF that will assist with fighting the appeal.

The CCF is represented by Sujit Choudhry of Haki Chambers and Janani Shanmuganathan of Goddard & Shanmuganathan.

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