Public education: not a rant but an invitation to chime in

Yesterday a fellow hockey mom and I met at a school hockey game and had a brief chat about our sons’ school.

Public school in this country, Canada, is a  sore topic for me to broach so at the risk of this post turning into rant, I will only say this:

She and I see eye to eye on some of the curriculum changes that have occurred in recent years. Short answer is that we’re less than happy.

While both my kids are still in elementary school (well, technically middle school with grade 5 and grade 7), I do have a little bit of foresight into the future. My partner teaches college students, many of whom are recent graduates of the current public school curriculum. Let me say this: the majority of them have trouble stringing a grammatically correct sentence together, let alone a whole research project.

Don’t even start me with math. Basic knowledge in arithmetic is sorely lacking and some of his students want to be pilots. Pilots require the ability to do some quick mental math calculations without necessarily reaching for a smartphone all the time…(am I right, pilot friends?)

I am appalled at some of the things I see and worry about my own kids’ future.

Readers in non-North American countries:

Do your kids rely as much on Google and Wikipedia as the kids appear to do so here in Canada and the USA?

What about you, fellow Canadian and American readers? What do you think about all this googling happening with our kids?

It is simply maddening to me, and it takes a much more hands-on effort to guide my own kids away from these habits. My 10yo daughter gets positively overwhelmed at the results coming back to her when googling her questions. Most of the results are completely age-inappropriate.  Plus, there is little hope she can sift through what is correct and accurate, and what is not.

And please, for the love of all things typed and written, do NOT use Google Translate. As a multi-lingual person, trust me when I say that it is not a good way to ‘cheat’.


There are no textbooks to speak of anymore in elementary schools in this area, and if there are some, they stay at school and need to be shared. This does not have to be a bad thing necessarily, I realize books are very heavy to lug around. But I do wish that more teachers would select a few appropriate links and submit them to the students to use. My daughter does in fact have a teacher who does this, but I wonder often why I catch her using Goggle anyway. Is she supplementing? Or is she unhappy with the provided link?

There is much to learn in the world of public education for us parents these days.

Please tell me I am not the only one who sees this as a problem…

13 thoughts on “Public education: not a rant but an invitation to chime in

  1. We are very lucky – the schools our children have attended have all been outstanding (writing this from the UK). The schools do encourage the use of the internet for research, but they put a fair amount of effort into teaching the skill of research itself. Basic math and english language is a main focus of school work for several years over here. Also, there is a massive focus – and there always has been – to teach children to figure things out for themselves, rather than learn things by wrote.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are indeed very lucky. Here, in Toronto at least, there is a huge focus on gender equality and all that related kind of stuff. In principle I don’t have any issues with the topic itself, I just wish they would spend less time on that and more time on the basics. Grammar, math, spelling…

      Do you know my kids, at ages 10 and almost 13, have very little knowledge on world geography? I went to school in Switzerland in the 1970s and before we moved to Canada had at least basic knowledge on capital cities and countries. I was 11. Today, they bombard the kids with anti-bullying messages, and gender confusion topics that often seem too soon for many kids at that age. It takes up way too much time and space for my liking, and often it takes much discussion at the dinner table to help them keep things in perspective.

      It’s quite a problem here at the moment. The pendulum has swung too far to one side…

      Thank you kindly for your insights. I have spent many happy days in the UK when I was a single, young flight attendant and remember seeing the British children head off to school, knowing instinctively that their educational experiences are vastly different from North America.


      1. I am also in Canada and was mortified when I read my son’s short story. It was wonderful and he got 100% on it- but full (and I mean full) of errors. Blah. I totally get it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. We don’t allow Wikipedia in our house unless it’s a quick look up. My daughter is not allowed to use it as a source for school, nor when she was in a middle school debate league. And she does use the Internet almost exclusively, but her bibliography has to be impeccable. And she has spent he4 whole life in public school. I don’t know if that helps you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the point is we have to watch what the kids do on the internet when it’s ‘school related’….sigh.
      I should add that not all teachers are completely laissez-faire in that respect. I just find that it’s more the norm than anything…
      Thank you for commenting, I appreciate the view!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are not the only one. I am right there with you. My 8yo has a social science research project and her big sister had to show her how to get to “kiddle” which is like google for kids. I had to show her how to access a tourism site for facts on her city of choice. The “big sister” in this comment is also the one in extended French whom I do battle with daily on not using google translate or just randomly typing in a word for a definition. An e-book version of a dictionary is different and acceptable. So far with Math we have a great site we use but I still encourage them to use paper and pencil to figure out the answe not guess!! This as you calm imagine also elicits scowls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you, and I get it. Our kids are the same age mostly and we live in neighbouring towns and our schools are run under different school boards and yet? We have the same issues. Fascinating and maddening. 😛


  4. Please. Do. Not. Get. Me. Started…
    Mz, who had tested gifted in 4th grade is now in 10th. We have had to adjust her education several times since beginning high school. Once in French Immersion studies, she now takes no languages at all. She struggles (along with her classmates) in math. She has two tutors and we still question if she will be able to have the ability to survive university successfully. Kids are not taught to prepare.
    Both of my kids are left on their own to learn or expected to bring it home, which leaves me and the hired tutors to educated them. I might as well travel and un-school or send them to private.
    Many teachers direct kids to Google – but not Wikipedia. There is no memorization or routines. My kids are disorganized and distracted. I honestly weep for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear this Dayna but not surprised. It’s so frustrating…makes me wonder if back in the day we should have pooled our resources and un/homeschooled our kids together. BLAH.


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