Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016 

 

Opinion

Back to the Future

Old-fashioned schooling is best for modernistic kids

Myrtle Macdonald, M. Sc., Chilliwack

 

am 95-years-old and took my first 8 grades of education in a one room very multicultural rural school. Schools were located 6 miles apart to be within walking distance.

 

Christmas concerts in the one room schools were outstanding, and drew visitors from three or four other schools. 

 

Some of my happiest memories are of taking time on the way home from school fingering wild flowers and watching and identifying birds with neighborhood children.

 

Some children from the Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Italy didn’t know any English in grade one. All went on to responsible positions in life.

 

I drove a horse and buggy or sleigh six miles to high school.  It had four classrooms plus a small classroom in the attic and a chemistry/physics lab in the basement. We were inspired by experiments such as turning corn starch into syrup; actually smelling chlorine gas; burning sodium; seeing osmosis; making rainbows with a piece of glass and so on. We got a well-rounded education, even including Geometry, Trigonometry and Civics (how our government functions). Everyone also participated in school fairs, music and drama festivals, skating and sports, and movies only on Saturday in town. 

 

Today Our Public and Private Schools are All Suffering From the Following Major Problems

 

    • Lack of funds to hire enough well qualified teachers and teacher aides for libraries, recreation and special needs.

    • Children in huge public schools remaining strangers, in crowded hallways, free to join cliques and gangs.

    • Children in private schools remaining strangers in their own neighborhood, aloof from the poor and other cultures.

    • Obesity from long bus trips and sedentary life style.

    • Parents sending their children to a private school hoping they will become Christian. Instead many become strangers to other cultures, and critical of them.

 

These problems could be corrected by:

 

    • Amalgamating Public and Private schools:

    • Transferring Private school children to Public schools to get to know local children and become multicultural in outlook.

    • Public school children benefiting from having teachers transferred from Private schools.

    • Freeing up funds to hire enough teachers for gifted and special needs children.

    • Transferring funds to afford better libraries and more gifted librarians.

    • Hiring more Physical Education, Sports and Music teachers

    • Providing more hallway and playground supervision.

    • Enlarging the music program.

 

Building More Small Public Schools Nearby Will Help as Follows:

 

    • Enjoyment of nature becomes possible while walking to and from school.

    • Financial savings result from by cutting back on the number of buses in use. 

 

It pains me that children sit for hours on school buses and miss out on exploring nature beside the road to and from school.

 

I feel for the bus driver who is often distracted by arguments behind his back. Why isn’t there a teacher/conductor serving the children on the bus? 

 

I have traveled in many countries around the world and worked in six provinces of Canada from coast to coast. My friends are of all religions and cultural pride. I have worked and lived among all classes of people including indigenous, in Canada and four countries overseas.

 

Best wishes to Trustees and Administrators for short and long term planning.

 

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