Donate now

Privacy Policy

Protection of privacy is our first concern, and SQE does not sell or trade information provided by its subscribers or supporters. Your information is used to process donations and newsletter subscriptions, and to contact you about upcoming publications and events.

feed iconRSS Feed

Follow Us
Follow SQESocQualEd
on Twitter

Please note Downloads require you to have the Adobe Reader installed, you can get it here for free


Society for Quality Education

Subscribe to our mailing list

Examining Grade Inflation

Examining Grade Inflation
May 02, 2010 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 09:58 AM

In 1959 when the Ontario Scholar program was introduced, there were only 4,117 Ontario scholar and bursary winners. After the provincial exit exams (the "departmentals") were abolished in the late sixties, the number of Ontario Scholars began a steady rise. In the 1992-93 year, there were fully 21,072 Ontario Scholars - almost 20% of all secondary school graduates. We can't find any current statistics, but it's a safe bet that the percentage is now closer to 40%.

The grade inflation in Ontario high schools has consequences for Ontario universities. This Ivory Tower Blues posting discusses the pressure on professors to give good marks and the resulting culture of entitlement and disengagement among students at Ontario post-secondary institutions. Standards are dropping and, on average, Ontario university students are learning ever less.

Grade inflation is just as destructive to institutions of learning as price inflation is to the economy. The Bank of Canada does a wonderful job of protecting us from price inflation. Perhaps we need to establish an Examination Board to protect us from grade inflation.

Share this article


Mr Cote exadurates a little but it is a real problem. I taught at York for three years before I went to OSSTF. I regularly had students demand an A nothwithstanding the fact that a B would be gift. They felt secure to yell about it, to say “they were going hirer up” “I would be hearing from their lawyer” “How am I suppose to get into grad school with a B?” I did not have this experience but apparently it is now common to get calls from parents of, especially 1st year students. This has never happened before. They are known as The Helicopter Parents because they hover over their kids.

There is quite a culture of “I demand an A, I have never had anything lower.” I would not mind so much if it was A level work but to me it just was not. These kids also had strong pressure on them from parents, not just to get a BA, you can get that with C’s, but to get all A’s for some form of grad school, law, medicine, etc.

Yes with the end of Departmentals the # of Ontario Scholars soared but those years failed endless numbers of students needlessly. After 2 years in Grade 13, I sailed through university with never less than an A and this was 1969-1973.

Posted by Doug on 05/02 at 12:09 PM

Not only the standards dropping at the university level, but as well as in the high schools. I have seen plenty of evidence of this at the high school level, and in part at the elementary level. I have seen parents demanding teachers to stopped pop quizzes and other such tests, because their little Suzie failed the test, and is seen as damaging their self-esteem. their frail egos to learn that effort must be applied, and not entitlement.

As a result, the tests are downgraded where certain necessary facts that are essential to understanding, are not on the tests. Other parents, and many do, will assume look no further than what is on the tests, to ensure their kids will study only those things that have been covered on the tests and in the classroom, and the notes taken. And the cycle is repeated once more.

The unintended consequences, and one of them is grade inflation. Another one, is students learn less knowledge, the essential facts, needed to do courses in post-secondary work. By learning less, the student can put less effort in studying, and as a result, mastery does not take place. It is here, working with my child, who has learning problems, mastery must take place, and to do so, effort is 2 to 3 times more, and the additional learning of essential facts that are not covered must be taught, in ordered to passed the quizzes, pop tests, and even the final exams. The resulting consequences is mastery is devalued, over other considerations.

As a parent, I see this often, when my child beat the smart kids hands down, without the need of accommodations, and where my child pays dearly in the self-confidence department. I keep repeating the same mantra, that while she needs to mastered the material, she is also learning good studying habits, as well as effort, including learning that failures bring rewards to ones that persist.

Often the kids who do put in effort, are not rewarded as the kids who put in little effort. If anything, it is put down as a fluke, just luck, and by high school, the kids are working the system, the same way as they have seen the book-learners who always got As, from kindergarten, and up through the grades.

” In this case, prompted by a complaining student, an administrator e-mailed the professor, questioning his standards. The student complained to be doing ?20% better in another course? offered by the department, but in spite of studying ?as hard as she could? for this professor?s tests could not achieve more than a C. According to the student, this course threatens to ?be an impediment? in achieving her career goals, and the blame for this impediment was placed squarely on this professor?s tests, which the students claimed ?did not test your knowledge of the material that we learned in class, but of random facts and things that were not emphasized in class or in the text book.?

And where did this student learn this, from our public education system.

Posted by Nancy on 05/02 at 12:43 PM

We need the International Baccalaureate.  A few years ago, it was in some Ontario public schools.  I tried to get it here in our county.  It’s the bare minimum of what European students cover before graduating from their ‘highschools’.

My husband wrote the departmentals and went on to major in chemistry at university.  As far as work load and difficulty, he found university the same as highschool; however, when my son went on to university to do engineering, he was shocked at the intensity and workload.  My husband kept telling him that he was making up for all the lost years in our public school system.

Posted by Bev on 05/02 at 01:40 PM

Here is the link for IB programs in Canada.
The main bulk is in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. As well as information regarding the differences between the IB programs and the ordinary route of schools.

Posted by Nancy on 05/02 at 02:21 PM

Many thanks, Nancy!
I do not wnat my grandchildren in our public school system, but if the IB is available, then the grandkids could be given the basics at home and then go into the IB for highschool.  When we still had grade 13/OAC’s they would begin grooming IB candidates in grade 8.  This would ready the children for the rigors of the programme.  I wonder now if they have to start by grade 7?
I haven’t looked at the link yet, but if it’s still in public schools it’s tax dollars well-spent!

Posted by Bev on 05/02 at 02:28 PM

Oh yes, IB senior programs can be found at the public education system.
From what I can determine, the primary and elementary one are mainly compose of the private schools.

Posted by Nancy on 05/02 at 02:40 PM

Nancy, just to clarify:  in order for students to go into the IB programme, they need to be prepared, and I would only assume that this is because academically, the IB is far more advanced.  Several years ago, they would begin prepping the students in grade 8.  The IB is a two year international programme, so the students used to enrol in it in grades 12 and OAC.  In other words, it took the schools four years to get our Ontario students ready for the IB.

Posted by Bev on 05/02 at 03:47 PM

The way it works for the shortened version:
1. Students must have excellent grades, as well as other factors that show leadership, volunteering, etc., and the ages are between the ages of 16 to 19.
2. This takes care of the accomplished students who are excelling, and are well ahead of the majority of the students.
3. The IB program, concentrates on 5 core subjects, to where English, math and sciences are work on, This enables the student the pick of universities and scholarships.

I know a little bit about, because a couple of students in nearby communities had been selected to go in IB program. One girl, after grade 12, was selected to enter a Vancouver IB program, with fill scholarship. She has finished that one, and she has another scholarship for $70,000 to entered into the medical course, (I forgotten which one), to become a doctor. A girl who was born in Ontario, and the parents moved back to their little community, because they felt it was best for their children to be raised in,
Quite a few students from NL, do get selected, compared to our population. The other factor is that due to the close ties of England and NL, we also have a fair share of Rhodes Scholars. It is not all doom and gloom in NL. Among the academic world, NL is known as a bright spot in recruiting for the IB program, that the students are highly accomplished even under less than desire circumstances education wise, and do very well in the IB program.

That said, it is only a handful that go that route, and for the main bulk, as Doug has pointed out, with the dropping of grade 13, has cause some of the downgrading of courses in high school. In NL, it was the opposite, where it was grade 11 the year of graduation. When grade 12 was added, among the many other changes, the amount of knowledge decrease, and it was left for the post-secondary schools to pick it up. Mind you, if you listen to old, who graduated at the grade 11 mark, they would certainly tell you, that they were quite ready for the rigors of university. NL has always had public exams. That has never been drop, and if the teachers tell me is correct, my child should be able to excelled on the public exams, because she has a firm foundation of the basics, to be able to learn any new knowledge, along with note taking, and study strategies well-suited for her. And note here, I have seen movements within the NL system, of returning to the basics, just movements, but it is a positive sign that will be seeing more of it.

Posted by Nancy on 05/02 at 04:45 PM

I consider IB to be an elitist snob program. The point is not to separate kids but to move all kids forward.

Posted by Doug on 05/02 at 10:07 PM

Somehow these kids will be separated once they hit “real life”, in spite of the best intentions of egalitarians to pretend otherwise.  Some will be able to do stuff others can’t, for whatever reasons.

“Moving everyone forward”.  What a crock.  Why don’t you say, ‘read fluently’, write coherent sentences, reason numerically.

Almost anyone, unless he has been dropped on his head at birth or other truly tragic tales beyond his control, can learn to do ALL of those things.  The secret do it is that there is no secret.

Posted by Charles on 05/02 at 11:51 PM

Yes in real life they will be separated but it is far better to delay that as long as possible. The research is conclusive and overwhelming. More kids go further in school the less we have streaming (separation by ability) involved. There will always be some. Even Finland divides by academic or vocational after grade 10 but it is largely self selected.

Read Jeanie Oakes on this topic.

The most successful high school systems stream the least.

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 12:15 AM

Look up the IB.  Children in Canada have to be chosen for it and it’s called elitist.  In Europe, it is the bare minimal standards. 
Our kids have been cheated out of a good education for so many years, that other countries’ norms look elitist to us.  Think about it.

Posted by Bev on 05/03 at 08:24 AM

Doug, again using Finland as an example, is one education system, that provides all students being proficient in reading and writing. Most if not all, reach a level of proficiency in reading and writing by grade 6, that gives them the ability to read and write, common materials, at the same level or higher. Whereas, the public school systems of North America, do not have a system in place, to ensure that all students reach a certain proficiency level in reading and writing.

By waiting and delaying as long as possible before streaming occurs, is fine, providing the students are more or less equal in their proficiency levels in reading and writing and numeracy. Finland’s system is successful, because they ensure all children reach a certain proficiency in the three Rs.
In North America schools, the students have various proficient levels in the three Rs, which forces the teacher to instruct at a level that is not too challenging, and at the same time, not too boring for the bright students.

It is at this point, the questionable theory of Oakes, and others kick in. Present the students with opportunities of exposure to education elements, exposing them to different types of literature, higher math concepts where reasoning and logical processes take place, and many different types of exposure from A to Z, and all will rise to their potential and ability. But when students are at various levels of the basic 3 Rs, it becomes extremely difficult for students of average and below ability, to reach their potential, when they have weak skills in the 3 Rs in part or all of them. As for the bright students, there is the potential to be held back, learn the material, without learning other skills such as studying, or actively learning beyond the grade level content. 

The bright students, who are accomplished in the 3 Rs, are at risk as much as the students who have low skills in the 3 Rs, because the education system, no longer teaches or even promote other crucial sub-sets of skills that are needed in post-secondary education. Learning to think outside of the box, is one example, a skill that is very much needed in the 21st century, but not generally promoted to think beyond the trees, than the forest, and than beyond the forest. Than take the idea, and go backwards, to test the validity of the idea with knowledge known, based on reasoning and logic.

The trouble with Oakes and others like her, their work is based on various variables, that cannot be measured effectively. In my daughter’s class, the top two students, one male and one female, are both low-income, singled parent homes, and have high proficiency in the 3 Rs. If there is one thing that is common among the high achievers, it is the high level of the 3 Rs. These two students would have done well, no matter if streaming took place or not take place. What Oakes and other like her are trying to attempt, is making everyone equal, by virtue of all abilities, and making changes to the social variables, without making changes to correct the proficiency levels in the 3 Rs.
Oakes and others like her, do not have the studies to back them up, that it is the social factors, and not what is taught in the first place. Nor do they study the adults surrounding the children. Their attitudes, their biases, their lack or depth of knowledge how human beings learn, and other factors that impacts learning. As I can attest, due to the attitudes towards LD, the lack of knowledge, the inherent biases, my child was only capable of getting Cs at the very best, and it was highly promoted to think of my child as being vocational, and not academic.

Educators, and in the upper levels of the education system, have a tendency to always think that children has limitations in learning. It starts from the very day, they enter school, the bright students, the average, the below average students are divided up academically in the teacher’s head based on ability, and not on factors of low-income, and other social factors, that the teacher has no control over in the first place. What the teacher can influence, is the learning part. If children were taught the 3 Rs, to a certain level of proficiency, in the first place, the social factors that impact learning, will no longer affect learning as negatively as it is today.

Posted by Nancy on 05/03 at 08:33 AM

I agree Bev, we need IB standards for all kids. That is the point. But we must prepare in elementary with very high standards for everyone but high standards are the easy part. Any idiot can raise the bar. The hard part is REACHING the standards so we need much smaller classes, much more money, much better trained teachers with higher stndards of education.

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 08:40 AM

Yes Doug, any idiot can raise the bar, as we have seen that is the general practice of the public education system, High standards, can only be met with obtaining and ensuring all children become good proficient readers, writers, and in numeracy. Smaller classes, more money, and trained teachers in the same methods being used today, that are not based on solid research-based methods, will produce the same dismal results.

The IB programs in use at the top private schools, starting in their primary schools, uses Direct Instruction methods, and it is through this method, that they raise all children to be highly proficient in reading, and writing., long with teachers being highly skilled in the reading and writing methods that are known to have all students become proficient in reading and writing.

So is the present day public education system, willing to commit to all students reaching proficiency in the 3 Rs, or are they too committed to their education philosophies, and the practice of only teaching some of the students, and not all of the students? And if indeed, then it would be reasonable to expect IB standards in the public schools, without undue hardship for some of the students.

Posted by Nancy on 05/03 at 11:20 AM

“I consider IB to be an elitist snob program. The point is not to separate kids but to move all kids forward.”

More hogwash Doug!

Tell your point of view to the Toyota executives who, when scouting the area/region around Woodstock visited several Boards of Education looking for IB programs for the children of their employers and executives.

Some within the public system couldn’t move fast enough to keep Toyota happy and folks employed.

  Maybe this is why the area around the new plant is seeing a booming increase in private and alternatives.

  Either the public system considers their IB option or someone else will.

Posted by notasheep on 05/03 at 11:29 AM

As far as I am concerned, if the Toyota execs are “too good for the local high school” then establish a private school for them and they can all be elitist snobs together. Just don’t expect public money for an elitist program. The most important word in education is EQUALITY which means an excellent program for everybody, not just a few who think they are better than the rest of us.

Posted by doug on 05/03 at 11:48 AM

In order to raise standards and bring the IB programme into public education (which remember would give our children the bare minimun of international standards) we would have to begin at the lowest grade levels and begin teaching phonics, proper grammar and writing skills, drilling in math and using good algorithms, really teaching a second language; also, DI and standardized exams would make life much easier for the teachers and students.  The unions would surely block these teaching methods, and remember, phonics is considered ‘deleterious’ by administrators.
Until we have a charter or voucher system in place, unions and administration will continue to have the power to block any real changes which would benefit our children.

Posted by Bev on 05/03 at 11:54 AM

It is very interesting to me that some SQE types go on and on that class size does not really matter yet our elite private schools promote their small classes as one of their main features. Since we are all democrats I believe we should let all parents vote on whether they would like smaller classes and the schools where this gets a majority would have ratios of 1-20 and the schools that vote no would have ratios of 1-30. Takers???

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 11:58 AM

No Doug, you’re wrong.  Like all of us, they only want what’s best for their kids  
your union likes to paint this elitist picture like many other myths, because it’s to your advantage.
Unfortunately, not all of us buy it…

Posted by Bev on 05/03 at 12:02 PM

Phonics and DI Zzzzzzzzz

You are not going to get it in the public system because the entire education establishment opposes it and you are not going to get charter schools from any political party. The drones on this ought to change their name to Mission Impossible.

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 12:06 PM

This is where you are wrong from the very beginning Sheep. It is profoundly selfish to think in terms of “what is good for my kid” “how can I give my kid an advantage or an edge”. Correct thinking is like this. “What I want for my child I want for ALL childen. It is selfish to want something for just your own children. I am a parent and I have never wanted “an edge” for my child. The public education system was just great.

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 12:12 PM

Regarding class size, I’m not a taker.
It’s the quality of teaching and curricula which matter.  Class size is just another myth perpetuated by the teachers unions.

Posted by Bev on 05/03 at 12:12 PM

As I have said Bev, we can let the parents decide. Those who vote for small classes can have them and those who oppose small classes won’t get them. Easy to do. Only a hypocrit would vote for smaller classes if they really oppose them.

Every single poll shows this is #1 demand of Parents.

Posted by doug on 05/03 at 12:22 PM

But the “arts” schools aren’t elitist????

In the Catholic Board, several high schools offer IB as an alternative program within the school.  Snobby and elist? I think not.

Posted by doretta on 05/03 at 12:26 PM

When I was there at Rosedale, the school was full of kids from Regent’s Park and St James Town, some of the poorest people in Toronto. I insisted their be no auditions when it became popular. Since I left they have drifted sadly due to success.

There are many IB programs in public high schools as well. That does not make it right. It is an attempt to get a private school education in a public school at the expense of others which is snob motivated and elitist.

It is simply wrong to try to get an advantage for your own kids that is not as easily available to others. You won’t get into heaven with those morals.

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 12:49 PM

Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back, Doug.  We know who you are and what you stand for…

Posted by Bev on 05/03 at 12:52 PM

Doug, small class size makes no difference in rural schools. It is the teaching methods and curriculum that makes the difference. The teacher plays the next role, on her ability to used her knowledge and skills to make learning occur. There has been several teachers had the all humbling lesson, on teaching my child, using methods taught at teacher’s college, that were not DI. They were all equally sure, she grasp it, and had a deep understanding of it, when she was no longer making the same mistakes over and over again. The following day, she was tested again, and the same mistakes came up. Than I, would re-teach her, but first I had to un-teach her of bad habits that were almost automatic but not quite. Than, I would reteach her, using systematic, sequential instruction. and in a lot less time, than what the teacher took up in time, following the approve processes of the board and ministry. During the years of heavy re-teaching, I reminded my child in the morning, not to learn any bad habits at school in the course of learning, or otherwise we will have a longer night unlearning the bad habits.

Direct Instruction, is the most effective and powerful method to reach most children, including my child. I have proven it over and over in the home environment, The top private schools uses Direct Instruction methods.  Homeschoolers which you may sneer at, are also a group where Direct Instruction is widely use, and universities/colleges have nothing but praised for homeschoolers. The top tutors use DIrect Instruction methods. Even the schools for LD, Direct Instruction is used, with amazing results. Amazing only to the public education system, because they are thought of not capable of learning. A lot of students are being written off early, and many doors are close, due to the methods and curriculum being used in today’s public school.

As for IB programs in the public schools, it is not elitist in my mind. But what do you suggest, if the public education system stays the same as is, using incorrect teaching methods, bad curriculum, and the few students who are outstanding scholars coming out of the system, are denied the opportunity of entering an IB program?  What would you do with the two top students in my child’s class, that are low-income, outstanding scholars when it comes to book work, denied the students the opportunity to go beyond book work, to expand their horizons, because it is snobby and elitist or because they are of low-income?

Posted by Nancy on 05/03 at 01:22 PM

Parents appear guilty of, everything else being equal, of wanting smaller classes for their kids; that’s not surprising.

What they’re not told is that resources used to create smaller classes aren’t available to use funding all sorts of other very useful things.  As usual parents aren’t given enough information to make informed choices.

Imagine how their views may change if they were given a bunch of options, complete with positive and negative implications, then asked to decide what they prefer.

Posted by John L on 05/03 at 01:26 PM

Don’t let Doug twist things.  The IB is not elitist just because he’s into his name calling stint again—the IB is the MINIMAL standards delivered in European schools.  Keep this fact straight, and go on from here with the discussions.

Posted by Bev on 05/03 at 01:35 PM

IB is not the minimal standard in Europe. It was begun for the children of diplomats who get transferred all over the world and who wanted a consistent VERY HIGH standard of education. They were 100% the children of professionals with very high expectations.

Nevertheless, I advocte these standards but for ALL students not just the privledged few elitist snobs who want an advantage for their kids on the public’s dime.

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 01:43 PM

I’ve heard otherwise about the IB programme.
Where’s the website to back your statement up?

Posted by Bev on 05/03 at 01:45 PM

A school down the road from where I live, had class sizes cut down, to 15. At that time, two nieces were attending the school, and they told me two classes of average and above average students, and one class of the classic under-achievers. They also added, that the kids that were struggling in learning, they were not getting the help, and their response, was not to be so hopeful in getting help for my child. In their eyes, nothing change except the work load, that increase. A lot of busy work.

Posted by Nancy on 05/03 at 01:45 PM

The public is overwhelmingly in favour of smaller classes. John does not trust the public. He hears a clamor for phonics and DI. Funny I just can’t hear it because it isn’t there.

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 01:45 PM

Totally anecdotal and as such useless in education debate Nancy, “the school down the road” I mean really. Look up the STAR report on Tennessee. Positive proof class size reductions work. Plenty of reports from around the world if you are open to listening. Nevertheless I am sanguine about it. Parents overwhelmingly want it so the progressive movement will continue to bang this drum until class sizes at all levela of the school system are capped at say, 18 students.

Ever wonder why nobody listens to you about phonics and DI? Have you ever even entertained the thought that the education establishment is correct and you are an insignificant minority that is wrong? Just askin’.

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 02:09 PM

Doug, sorry, you’re right about the IB starting in order that students of parents who are located in other countries can have the same standards as back home—the name itself states it; however the standards are MINIMAL.
btw, anecdotal information is excellent—how do you think that parents began figuring out what our administration and the unions in Ontario’s ed system are really all about?

Posted by Bev on 05/03 at 02:25 PM

I have been surfing the net, to prove without a doubt that the IB primary, elementary are not elitist, in the context they only accept certain students. Not true, at all. Any child with reading struggles would blossom in their classrooms. Here is a link describing one IB school and their primary program. Many of the things that are used, is a scarce commodity in the public education system. But it did remind me of activities when I went to school. The only difference was in my days, there was very little science supporting the effective ways of learning, and today, there is, but instruction based on research-based science, seems to be reserved for only the IB schools, and the majority of public school students get a second-class education, based on questionable methods, that keeps the doors closed.

Posted by Nancy on 05/03 at 02:27 PM

Right!  The IB isn’t elitist—it’s just a good, sound education. 
The internatinal schools my children started in over in Tokyo and Singapore both had the IB programme.  Their start was excellent.  My son was in a classroom of 32 students, the majority of whom spoke other languages at home.  At the beginning of the school year, he didn’t know his alphabet.  By the end of the school year he was functioning in the 96 percentile, or at the grade three level in reading and math.  He was five years old.  This is what good curricula and good teaching methods can accomplish.
All of this ‘science’ based research is an attempt to counter the unions’ propaganda machine.  Until parents have choice as to where their tax dollars are spent and what they want for their children, all the research won’t change anything in our current tax-supported monopoly we call public education.

Posted by Bev on 05/03 at 02:37 PM

Anecdotal evidence begins the beginning steps, to developed a theory, Doug. It is only the ones who are losing the debate, to turn to tactics of dismissing anecdotal evidence. A learned scholar would never do so, or the inquisitive scientist would never overlook anecdotal evidence. Being dependent on a philosophy, ideology, always limits the mind to move beyond and seeing the other side.

By the way the nieces, were the top students of the class, who were very low-income, but had one thing common with other high achievers, there were accomplished readers and writers. However, they too experience difficulties in learning from time to time, where direct instruction at home was used to get over the difficulties. Both have graduated, with scholarships, and are now attending post-secondary institutions. I am sure they will carry tales home, of students who have low reading and writing skills, but more so of their classmates left behind, taking upgrading courses to improve their reading, writing, and numeracy skills.

Posted by Nancy on 05/03 at 02:52 PM

Actually I’ve never raised the issue of either phonics or DI.  You do indeed appear to be hearing things.

Ascribing claims to people when they didn’t make them raises, yet again, your bona fides as a well-educated, former teacher.  If you are what you say you are you do have a certain obligation to live up to it.  Try and do better.

Posted by John L on 05/03 at 03:42 PM

Bev, correct but we still to need to pushed with all our might, directed at the people who controls the purse strings, with the same force, as informing parents about the public education system. The only way to do it, is each of us, throughout the course of the day, when a person has a misconception of the education process, is to correct them with the facts. You be surprised, using different approaches, depending on the situation, what happens when the person becomes inform. What actions results from it.

For example, I had a handyman working for me who never did learn how to read. I found out one day, where he admired me in helping my child, and his last remark, was the school never did teach me how to read, but I was told, I was too stupid to learn to read. I went after him, only a mother would, learning to read is a skill that must be taught, and has nothing to do with the level of intelligence. I went on in the same light, showing his intelligence and his ability to problem solve a repair job, using the available materials that is nearby. His other skills, that take a great deal of critical thinking on his part, that even the most accomplished person, would have a hard time just trying to connect A with B, or change the plumbing that makes for a better flow of water in the house. He left feeling better about himself, and the seed that was planted in his head. He does have the ability to read, but was never properly taught. Today that seed, has germinated, where he dropped over , and he has discovered along the way, that he found to be true, that reading is a skill that needs to be taught.  When things settled down in my household, I know without a doubt that I will be teaching him to read from our conversation, because he left saying, it is a skill, and all I need is someone to teach reading to me. Than the door was shut, before I could respond.

As for educators, I always asked the question, what would you have done with my child if you were the teacher in grade 1?  Responses, are the same, in the same methods more or less. Teachers are usually easier to swing over, because they too, see that my child cannot be easier put into a peg. And privately they too have thought of her as being the exception, but are at a loss as to how to correct it. Go higher, onto the boards and the ministries of education, we often have people who have not been informed about the research. The research that they have been given, is not the same research, that I have given them. A common comment, I had no idea that this research existed. So more seeds are planted, in the hope of germination.

The public education system is highly politicized with completing agendas. It is why change moves at a snail pace, It is much easier to accent the differences that promotes the political and completing agendas, than to sit down, and limit the differences based on sound instruction methods.

Posted by Nancy on 05/03 at 03:45 PM

Doug wrote:

“As far as I am concerned, if the Toyota execs are ?too good for the local high school? then establish a private school for them and they can all be elitist snobs together. Just don?t expect public money for an elitist program. The most important word in education is EQUALITY which means an excellent program for everybody, not just a few who think they are better than the rest of us.”

When the money follows the child and students enrollments are on a continued decline it’s amazing what even public schools will do to compete for those students….and that cash eh Doug?

Do you know how may schools in the TDSB offers an IB program?

Posted by notasheep on 05/03 at 04:04 PM

Please get your posters straight Little. Your comment below has nothing to do with my post. And please be civil Doug…it’s Mr. Sheep.

“This is where you are wrong from the very beginning Sheep. It is profoundly selfish to think in terms of ?what is good for my kid? ?how can I give my kid an advantage or an edge?. Correct thinking is like this. ?What I want for my child I want for ALL childen. It is selfish to want something for just your own children. I am a parent and I have never wanted ?an edge? for my child. The public education system was just great.”

re: perhaps parents who opt for those smaller classes in private and alternative schools get the education they pay for…..public schools with small classes… guarantee whatsoever that a literate, numerate graduate will be the result.

If the polls you suggest are those in-house cheerleading types by the usual OISE politicos…’s a black hole of union support base speaking….not random Ontarians.

Posted by notasheep on 05/03 at 04:12 PM

Our boards have never had the issues with smaller class sizes until they were legislated.

Qualified with John’s comments and I also bet that parents would NOT support them.

That threw a huge wrench into how classes were split.

When I say split I don’t mean half-and-half either. It meant a lower or higher half-dozen kids move.

It also meant the beginning of triple class splits. We just have to suck it up and continue to pay more for less. As the classes grow continually smaller what the future holds for the cry for smaller class sizes is should come to a deafening halt.

Posted by Chuck on 05/03 at 04:27 PM

Your board probably doesn’t matter much in the bigger scheme of things Chuck. You can stand on your head and spit wooden nickels, class size reduction is still wildly popular and curriculum change in the manner advocated by SQE has very few followers.

Why do you suppose that is?

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 06:35 PM

Likely because of the forces, and money, arrayed against anything but the status quo.

On the class size issue we’ve determined that parents will prefer smaller to larger if given no options; hardly a sign of people who respect parents.

I find the complete lack of respect for those who don’t share the party line a little disingenous from someone claiming to be an educator.  Another contradiction.

Posted by John L on 05/03 at 07:22 PM

I read some essays originating from Europe, that might serve as a rallying cry for us poor lost souls, that Doug always claims we are heard by few.

The essays are related to the economics of the education system, and how it does or does respond to the over all economic policies from the capitalist system. So hear goes, to what I will whittle down to simple terms. The public education are no longer responding to the needs of the economic system, and as a result, it no longer serves the needs of the users of the public education system. The public education system, are champions for producing low-skilled workers, to where the low-skilled workers, are not highly independent, and must relied on state support, when low-skilled jobs go through the lows and highs. Thus creating a cycle of dependency for the low-skilled workers, which creates another demands from the government of the day to meet to their demands, by producing policies that will keep the production of low-skilled workers at the public education institutions. In the end state-run education institutions, are caving in, where greater and greater expenditures are occurring in the public education system, to support the many different ventures, that are counter-productive to the over-all goals of the capitalistic economic system, and end-result more low-skilled workers. It is predicted that within 20 years, the government-state public education systems, will collapse on their own, because governments will not longer be able to afford them.

Now, I really simplified this. The first paper I read was published in the late 70s, the next one in the 80s, and the third one in the 90s. The next paper was more recent, and it was on the Greece economic crisis. After reading the essays, I thought to myself this makes sense, especially when you take into the accounts of the ordinary Greek worker, who is crying out, its not me that is the problem, it is the government’s fault for not providing what I needed. Now when I heard that on the news, and after the last article, the average Greek worker may not know what he needed, but he did know it should come from the government. I shall add to the end of the sentence. “Its not me that is the problem, it is the government’s fault for not providing what I needed, a good education.”

Think about it, when the Dougs of the world are leading the way to producing more low-skilled workers. I just sure hope, that someone or some people in the education system, are actually thinking about the long-term consequences of receiving a less than quality education, and at its very best, can only manage to educate a small portion to be considered well-educated, and the rest have various skills depending on their foundational ability in the 3 Rs.

Posted by Nancy on 05/03 at 08:02 PM

“You can stand on your head and spit wooden nickels, class size reduction is still wildly popular and curriculum change in the manner advocated by SQE has very few followers.

Why do you suppose that is?”

You must be jealous Doug. That’s the only reason I see for making your assumptions. Either jealous or threatened.
Pick one.

Posted by Chucker on 05/03 at 10:26 PM

I am not jealous of anything Chuck, why should I be? It must be very frustrating when your ideas are not very popular Chuck but you go for it Chuck, we have a great free speech society here and if you don’t seem to get anywhere because nobody is listening don’t let that stop you.

Posted by Doug on 05/03 at 10:53 PM

Oh, we’re getting somewhere all right Doug.
You just don’t like where we’re headed…right down the path of choice.
It’s coming and it’s Dalton bringing it.

Posted by Chuck on 05/03 at 11:31 PM

I agree with Chuck. It is coming, and the light is getting brighter. It is just a matter of time now. Choice is the only political move he can take, because change within the current system cannot take place. due mainly to the powerful teachers’ unions that are not allowing change to take place. Meanwhile, letter writing is taking place by everyday parents who just want their children to read and write well, and they get especially angry, when they have to pay for these services via by a private tutor. It is happening in every province, right across Canada.

The only reason why parents voices are not being heard, we are just parents without a strong lobbying voice. Believe there each and every MPP has their fair share of horror stories, of parents fighting the system, and most of it is unnecessary, and the blame can be laid at the foot of the education system. Than there is parents who decided to bite the bullet, and switch to a private school, and their children are blossoming and learning to become good readers and writers. I have not heard one bad thing about the schools, except in one area, on the rules and policies that the school follows. But even here that it is ok, when you view it in the light of their children, and how well they are doing, considering someone at one point told them, their children will always be poor in reading, or some other indictment that are inflicted on parents. Third do not forget the teachers, the ones who are actively helping out these children in the best way they can, and one of the ways, is to go the political route, and start networking to deliver their message. Retired school teachers as I have found, are some of the best advocating for change, and champion for the ones who are struggling. I would have loved to be in the room as a fly, listening to the retired teacher, who have given the facts, based on her experienced, and demanded that my child be assess, and right away. Many of a parent can thank a retired teacher.for interceding without the parent knowing about it.

Choice is coming, and it is the only button to push. And when it does, we can predict with a 100% accuracy, that the public schools that were known for their poor response to students and their learning needs and the parents, will response with the same programs such as DI, that are in use in the private schools. Sooner or later, programs like Jump Math that should have been in the public education system a long time ago, but all sudden they see the light and wisdom of such programs. And cost effective too.

Posted by Nancy on 05/04 at 12:40 AM

I don’t think you get it. Choice within the public system makes choice outside the public system less likely not more likely. I think Malkin understands that but I’m not sure the rest of you do.

For those who want fully private choice within a voucher system or partial private choice within a charter system, the choices within the system make choice outside a lot less likely.

I support some choices within the system and oppose others on a case by case basis. The litmus test is “does it promote equality or does it detract from equality?”  I helped to set up 2 alternative schools in the ward I represented on the school board.

Separation of children by religion gender and race is a bad idea.

Posted by Doug on 05/04 at 12:52 AM

Would that be the Dalton who killed John Tory’s fund religious schools program or the Dalton who killed the private school tax credit. What you don’t get Chuck is that almost all choice within the public school system counts for my side and against your side. The score is kept by the number of kids in the public systems vs the number of kids in the private system.

Right now the score is 95% for me and 5% for you.

Posted by Doug on 05/04 at 12:59 AM

Chuck, why do you think that Dalton is bringing choice?  As we all know, nothing would benefit the children more.  The unions would lose control of our expensive, grossly inadequate ed system.

Posted by Bev on 05/04 at 07:58 AM

“Would that be the Dalton who killed John Tory?s fund religious schools program or the Dalton who killed the private school tax credit. What you don?t get Chuck is that almost all choice within the public school system counts for my side and against your side. The score is kept by the number of kids in the public systems vs the number of kids in the private system.

Right now the score is 95% for me and 5% for you.”

what a pathetic attempt at a response Doug.
What YOU fail to grasp is that the fb school issue isn’t done..not by a long shot.
Dalton made a choice for his kids and liked the charter school idea quite a bit.
That it’s not about you and your unions any more, and not even with McGuinty bothers you more than you admit.
Your jibes and insults here a simply proof that you’re lonely in your thinking you need to come here to further become a legend in your own basement.

Good luck with that.

I agree with whoever coined you with the “useful” moniker….because it fits in with your attempt to do nothing but provoke and spin - and badly at that.

Posted by Chuck on 05/04 at 09:25 AM

The unions have no objection whatever to choice within the public system because the jobs remain union jobs no matter how you slice it. The school will still be controlled by a democratically elected school board. Many support it because it PREVENTS some people going to private schools.

In principle there is no objection. In practice, some choices can be good, some bad. The separation of children by gender, race and religion is reactionary and not worthy of support.

You folks can celebrate choice in the public system all you want but it makes private choice less likely.

Posted by Doug on 05/04 at 09:42 AM

Doug, I am afraid that private school tax credit was killed, because it was working too well. There was a great increase in one type of private school, that a tax credit was very helpful indeed. Add, to a little known tax write-off , parents who have children with autism, learning disabilities and other disorders, were taken advantage of it. Especially for parents who had the excess cash to do so. Parents will less excess cash, were taking other routes, by going part-time to the private institutions, to get help for their child, that the public education system seem so unwilling to do, provide an education for their special-needs child. Add the other route of private tutors, who specializes in one or various disorders, who most qualified for tax-write offs, a picture was emerging that did not make the public education look good. It does not look good, when special education children, are improving leaps and bounds going the private route, and the public school system considers a .1 percentage point an improvement, Parents who had children with multiple problems, as well as children with single problems, are the children on the low priority list regarding their education component,  It did not look good for a government who advocating for expenditures directed at low-income students, when they cannot even handle the education component of a special needs child, without parents having to go to private sources, so their child could read, or write for their age group, or within the context of their special needs.

The private concerns have and still are doing an excellent job on raising special needs children education, so one day they will return to the public education system, with the skills, to finished in the public sector, without being put in a special education class, learning life skills, because they have the ability to read and write.

Tax credit may be gone, but I can tell you, the private schools who deal with special disorders, are not suffering, when there is waiting lists. And that is where the Ontario government are at a crossroad. Either change the system, or give the parents choice. Giving choice would be a lot of cheaper, than changing a system, where the powerful arms, would rather dig in their heels, and keep repeating the same mantra, that they are the only ones who are looking after the best interests of the children. Wherever you go, from one school to the next, there is a child going without having their education needs being met, and quite frankly most people are fed up with the public education using the children as guinea-pigs, to test another ideological education theory, that does nothing for their education needs, besides creating a lot of haves and have-nots.

Posted by Nancy on 05/04 at 10:15 AM

Personally, I would like to know what the teachers think about grades…

TDSBNW, urbanteach, what’s your opinion?

How do you assign grades, does a grade mean the same thing for all the students?
For example for grade B does that B reflect the same mastery level for all the students who get a B.

Do you feel pressured to give higher grades? If so, by whom?

TDSBNW, you seem to have been teaching for a while, do you see any trends with grades and grading?

What does A mean nowadays ?
When we hear that students with A in math in elementary grades cannot keep up with the high school curriculum, what’s the explanation for that?

Is there a disconnect between the elementary school expectations and high school expectations?

What would be your advice to a parent that wants to make sure that their son or daugther is well-prepared for the next grade or for high-school?

Posted by fromEurope on 05/04 at 12:24 PM

“The unions have no objection whatever to choice within the public system because the jobs remain union jobs no matter how you slice it” ???

No doubt that requirement drives the bulk of the union concerns on education. 

That’s what explains the outrage at the prospect of private/voucher/charter schools outside the public system, folks.  It has nothing to do outcomes for children.

Posted by John L on 05/04 at 03:39 PM

The interesting thing John is that there is lots of evidence now that charters and vouchers accomplish nothing. With all of their official support they are 4% of American schools. They are not scalable and everybody in the education field knows it. Their teachers burn out and leave at twice the rate of public schools.

People are spinning their tires with charter-voucher privatization. The smart countries are upgrading their PS systems.

Posted by Doug on 05/04 at 05:59 PM

Don’t confuse what Doug “knows” with what “everybody in the educational field” knows; the two are worlds apart.

As to what “smart countries” are doing we keep hearing we have the second best in the world, except it needs massive increases in spending to keep going.  Consistency is good.

Posted by John L on 05/04 at 06:56 PM

How many studies have been done when charter schools and public schools are resourced at exactly the same level?

You know,  an apples-to-apples deal.

Posted by John L on 05/04 at 07:30 PM

John, you say the same thing on every board about every study that you don’t like, it is not apples to apples. The CREDO Study from Stanford University, the biggest one and most comprehensive study which compares to the local school with the same catchment area, (same kids demographically) says, in the largest number of cases, the charter school is just not up to the standard of the local PS. It is a fact. Deal with it.

BTW there is an overwhelming professional consensus that my approach is superior to yours. The ministry, the boards, the teachers’ colleges, OISE/UT all take an approach that says you are dead wrong on all the serious issues. You need to understand that if you are to move forward. You don’t seem to know much about education. You constantly ask other people to please prove your point for you. Do a little research.

Posted by Doug on 05/04 at 09:51 PM

The CREDO study, had some serious flaws, that have been corrected. Saying that, studies that go across multiple states/provinces comparing schools are extremely hard to conduct. I would ignored Doug, and look at the following link, which you will conclude, that there is valid points on both sides of the questions of charter schools, but in no where in the study does it conclude that public schools are far superior than charter schools. The study itself, has posed serious discussions on the weaknesses and strengths of public schools and charter schools. But keep in mind, the methodology used in this study, may have created data that favours the public schooling, but than again, in other areas, it favours the charter schools. The study has raise more questions, that need to be answer, before the Dougs of the world, can said public education is superior to the charter education. Personally, I believe that whatever school you go to, the superior school is the one who uses effective teaching practices and curriculum research-based, that will teach 97% of the children to become good to excellent readers and writers. Oh yes, good to excellent in basic numeracy. And it is here where the public school system, does a terrible job, in producing good to excellent readers, writers and skilled in basic numeracy.

Posted by Nancy on 05/04 at 10:41 PM

Would that be the same Stanford that was sponsoring the charter school that was shut down for underperforming?

I now resolve to ignore any more inappropriate posts from “Doug”; responding to his boorish behaviour only encourages him to continue it.

We don’t want to encourage unteacher-like behaviour from someone who claims he was one.

Let’s help him upgrade his skillset beyond what worked in high school.

Posted by John L on 05/05 at 01:48 PM

Hi I am an IB graduate. I go to school in the GTA and i do not consider the program to be “elitist” or “snoby”. The IB programs is a wonderful program and during my time in highschool I have met some of the most amazing individuals. Not only students but teachers as well. Similar to what others have said before class sizes are relatively irrelevant, what should be the focus is the material being taught. Teachers that are dedicated to their students and students who want to learn.

Equality in education is not possible there are students who do and do not want to learn, they are motivated by different goals and IB as an option in a public system is great. Why should we be surpressing high caliber students? on the same token why force those higher than they can achieve it is not practial. The feild is level: those who want to achieve will and those who dont will not. It is as simple as that. Its up to the individual student. Such discussion of total equality is like communism. It sounds good in theory. Not every can be or wants to be a doctor. School is a good vetting process those who want to be sucess will, why should we prevent that.

At my public IB school i had to pay for the additional costs of the program, however it was far less than a private school.

But back to the grade inflation point. The IB system is much better as exams are written by the IB and assessed by IB examiners. This removes teacher baias and also prevents students from having infalted marks.

Teacher of the IB must predict a students performance and assign them a mark. they can give any mark they like. however Teachers will be held to a higher account as it will be clear how students actually preform and whether or not students are as smart as they are said to be . Exams not set by teachers are proven to force teacher to cover all the content becuase the exam could cover any of this also it gets rid of teacher bais as it is marked exteernally from the school.

Thoughts/ concerns/ questions about the IB program?

Reply and ill be happy to answer them smile

Posted by PM on 05/21 at 08:13 PM

Leave A Comment

Be polite and respectful. Stay on-topic. State your position clearly and write succinctly. Provide support for claims. Don't hog the microphone. Strong opinions are OK, but outrage is not. Don't post just to upset others.


Email (required but not displayed):


Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below:

Next entry: Ostensibly Yours

Previous entry: More Honey, Less Vinegar