Tuesday, February 19, 2013

#c21summit13 - More 21st century learning inc.

If you were following the tweets last week at #c21summit13 you might have been disturbed to see both who and what was touted as necessary change for Canada's public education system.

The keynote was none other than Paul Martin - a billionaire (or maybe almost billionaire, with his private ownership of Canada Steamship Lines). Martin had the audacity to wade in on the education debate with no apology for his disastrous record in office in the 1990's. It was Martin's cuts to social transfers that began the steady decline of funding to provinces and then to school boards that has continued unabated since. So how disingenuous for him to state (as tweeted out): "Do not accept the premise that education should be cut to meet a deficit - it is counter productive." That is exactly what he did (http://t.co/YYWCVDlo).

Among others who apparently should weigh in on how to transform teaching and learning in Canada were the Vice Presidents of ScotiaBank and TD Financial Group, and members of Action Canada - a Harper inspired training ground for future "leaders" backed with federal dollars - a sort of modern day, neo-liberal equivalent of Katimavik. I was approached by one of their members, Ben Paylor, a graduate student in experimental medicine. Smart I'm sure, but hardly a recognized academic expert in anything to do with teaching, learning or even a field like child psychology.

The C21 agenda is the same as that of many of the international groups touting "21st Century Learning" - a thinly veneered cover for corporate influence.

I've written more extensively on this subject in an article entitled: 21st Century Learning Inc. which has just been published in the winter edition of Our Schools, Our Selves. Please have a read here: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/ourschools-ourselves/our-schoolsour-selves-winter-2013

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