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V.23 N.3 (#115) Spring 2014 $ Deconstructing Teach for Canada Preventive Health Care for Children The Precarious Life of a Wal-Mart Employee

V.23 N.3 (#115) Spring 2014 $15.00 Deconstructing Teach for Canada Preventive Health Care for Children The Precarious Life of a Wal-Mart Employee Our Schools/Our Selves is published four times a year
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V.23 N.3 (#115) Spring 2014 $15.00 Deconstructing Teach for Canada Preventive Health Care for Children The Precarious Life of a Wal-Mart Employee Our Schools/Our Selves is published four times a year by the Canadian Centre for Policy Community, Bank St., Ottawa, ON, K2P 1X3. This is Volume 23, Number 3, Issue #115 of the journal (Spring 2014). Our Schools/Our Selves is a member of the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association. It is indexed in the Canadian Magazine Index and the Alternative Press Index. Editorial Board Keren Brathwaite, Michael Corbett, Denise Doherty-Delorme, Bernie Froese-Germain, Larry Kuehn, Doug Little, George Martell, Patricia McAdie, Marita Moll, Satu Repo, Heather-jane Robertson, Erika Shaker Advisory Board Lynn Carlile, Kari Dehli, Sarah Dopp, Ed Finn, David Flower, Karin Jordan, Clare Keating, Kirsten Kozolanka, David Livingstone, Mike Luff, Diane Meaghan, Janice Newson, Claire Polster, Anne Rodrigue, David Robinson, Mark Rosenfeld, Harry Smaller, Jim Turk, Sofia Vuorinen Executive Editor Erika Shaker Editor Emeritus Satu Repo Associate Editor Larry Kuehn Issue Editor Erika Shaker Editorial Office Canadian Centre for Policy Community Bank St., Ottawa, ON, K2P 1X3 Subscriptions and Advertising Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Tel: (613) Fax: (613) ISSN Production Typesetting and design: Nancy Reid Printed in Canada by RR Donnelley, 1500 Saint-Patrick, Montréal QC H3K 0A3 Publications Mail Registration No Cover and first page illustration: Dirk Van Stralen Inside cover photographs: Nancy Reid Cover design: Nancy Reid ( The opinions expressed in Our Schools/Our Selves are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA. TABLE OF CONTENTS Volume 23, Number 3 (#115) SPRING 2014 EditorIAL 9 Breaking the MOLd How to get the schools (and communities) we need 9 Erika Shaker ViewPOINTS 13 Working for WhoSe Family? My Wal-Mart employee experience 13 a Letter to teach for canada applicants 17 Dawn Burleigh BlogS 21 Life, Death and TaxES A reminder on why we pay taxes 21 Nora LOreto Thoughts on Teach for Canada and the First Nations Education ACT 25 robert genaille Blogs (cont d) My Advice to Young Workers? Get Angry 28 Karen Foster Teach For CanadA a recipe for making education in Canada more (un)equal? 33 tobey Steeves Preventive Health Care for Children Benefits, costs and prevention strategies 43 sulemana Fuseini What s Working About Healthy Relationships Programs in Schools 77 ANURADHA DUGAL Citizenship, Becoming, Literacy and SchOOLS Immigrant students in a Canadian secondary school 91 FRANCIS BANGOU & DOUGLAS FLEMING A City Divided by Age? Generational shifts in urban development 101 Markus Moos Stuck in the Middle with You How international food policy might just feed a family of four (or your family, whatever size it is) 107 Diandra Oliver Putting PISA in its Place For Stuart Hall, Josh Cole ReviewS 129 Tenir Tête REvisits Maple Spring BY Gabriel Nadeau-DuBOIS 129 A book review by NORA LOreto Schools That Change Communities BY BOB GLINEr 133 A FILM review by David Sobel Unifor597 Solidarity from the Executive Council, and 65,000 proud members in every community in Newfoundland and Labrador. ~ Mary Shortall - President Fighting Back For Fairness... For the Next Generation editorial erika shaker Breaking the Mold How to get the schools (and communities) we need That education is in many ways being pressured to become more standardized and more outcomes-based in order to meet corporate workforce demands is no secret. But students are anything but standardized; to pretend otherwise, and to implement education and evaluation systems that are based on standardization ensure mass exclusion as we define success within extremely narrow parameters based on even narrower assumptions. More broadly, a standardized view of what constitutes a good education has broader social implications as well. But healthy societies encompass so much more than narrow market-based requirements; they depend on how we live together, care for each other, and ensure that we are becoming more rather than less equal. And so, when talking about this issue of Our Schools/Our Selves, I d like to start with Dirk Van Stralen s cover illustration because it reinforces how education and society is poorly served by blinkered adherence to market-based standardization. This is exemplified in Josh Cole s article where he looks at the rise of utilitarianism in education, exemplified by international standardization in the form of OECD s PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) and its usefulness in whipping up panic about how our kids are doing compared to their worldwide competition. Our schools/our selves But what is left out of a standardized model of education that increasingly forces teaching to the test in order to ensure optimal market-based outcomes? Safe schools, support for students, and the emotional wellbeing of kids in communities are key to ensuring kids are learning. Anuradha Dugal looks at in-school programs that teach about healthy relationships (as opposed to focusing exclusively on bullying prevention) and how violence in relationships can happen. And the notion of a one-size-fits-all education in a pluralistic society is fundamentally inadequate: Francis Bangou and Douglas Fleming examine how ideas of multiculturalism and citizenship are translated to second language students from immigrant families in Ottawa. According to the authors, citizenship cannot be viewed simply as subject matter for formal classroom treatment. We must also be cognizant of how our students live citizenship in their everyday lives. Of course, building cohesive communities and ensuring kids are healthy, safe and happy is something that needs to happen long before the first day of school. Sulemana Fuseini examines key preventive health care measures that would improve the health and wellbeing of all kids, particularly the most vulnerable. The health of families and communities impacted at a very basic level by the food we eat: Diandra Oliver traces her personal journey in the area of food security, and identifies the connections between community and family health, equity and justice, power and privilege, self-determination, and popular education. Nora Loreto explores how we pay for the care we are all entitled to receive through a public health care system; the taxes that, in her words, ensured that: I was never was never asked if I could afford to pay for the machines that helped clear my babies of jaundice, or for the three blood transfusions. Doctors didn t offer me options based on my ability to pay. The public healthcare system did what it s supposed to do: provide high-quality healthcare to me when I needed it. This is not to suggest that society is by any means equitable: vulnerable populations across the country are further socioeconomically marginalized by the constant reinforcement of neoliberal, colonialist policies. Teach for Canada is a new initiative that purports to fix the problem of inadequate First Nation education funding by providing 10 SPRING 2014 recent university grads a crash course in teaching and sending them to teach in remote First Nations communities for two years. Tobey Steeves, Dawn Burleigh and Robert Genaille each look at different aspects of this modeled-after-teach-for-america initiative to explain why this is, according to Dawn, an attempt to privatize a service that preys on the North and continues to position Aboriginal communities and their education system as deficit-based, requiring the saviours from the South to rescue their system by recruiting exceptional young leaders. Economic realities also contribute to social disparities. The plight of young workers is becoming more widely understood as younger people have been decidedly left out of the so-called recovery and then referred to as entitled when they point out the inadequacies of the system they are told they need to try and fit in to. Karen Foster offers some advice: get angry. Everyone is pressing you to adapt to the present. But you can not adapt. You can not re-train for a job that might just disappear like the first one you trained for. You can not work for minimum wage when you graduate. You can not mold yourself into the perfect worker so that corporations can escape the cost of training you. She also, incidentally, has some advice for those who succeed in this current economy: If you get a good job, good for you. But it will be your duty to ally yourself with the growing legions of young workers who are exploited and underemployment is exploitation just because they can be. Working for Whose Family? recounts the personal experience of a former U.S.-based Wal-Mart employee who, burdened with student debt, found herself trapped in a cycle of low-paid work that eventually resulted in an untenable home-life. People can claim that we could simply find another job with better pay and hours, but the reality of the economy we live in, in addition to needing a college degree (and incurring the debt that goes with it) for anything other than a service or manual labor job, makes this an impossibility. Markus Moos also looks at young workers and explains how economic and generational shifts are changing the structure, layout and potentially the cohesiveness of the cities in which we live. He asks if the increasing segregation of young adults into trendy inner city neighbourhoods will increase intergenerational tensions. Will it become more difficult to relate to previous generations for those 11 Our schools/our selves who spent their young adult years only amongst other young adults? Will older generation see young people as difficult to relate to and understand and visa-versa because they are not exposed to each other on a regular basis? Finally, two reviews (of the film Schools that Change Communities and the book Tenir Tête) explore the connections between education, justice, social change and empowerment and reinforce the role schools at all levels play in shaping (as well as reflecting) the communities in which we live. This issue of Our Schools/Our Selves is an opportunity to look at education perhaps more broadly than we normally do at what is often left out of the education debates even though it impacts them enormously. I am, of course, talking about the different socioeconomic realities so many of us live, and which have an enormous effect on what kids bring with them (or, conversely, what they do not bring with them) to school every day. I am also talking about the narrow assumptions that those in positions of power often make about how to fix education (or perhaps just fix those who can t seem to fit into a standardized, outcomes-based idea of what education should be). But it comes down to this question: what kind of world do we want to build, together, for all our kids? And if we capitulate to a market-model of what we need, how many of us are prepared to be left or are we prepared to leave behind? Erika Shaker is the Executive Editor of Our Schools/Our Selves. 12
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