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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

All is not well in Toronto high schools

It is difficult to draw conclusions about the tragic shooting of 14-year-old Jordan Manners at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate in Toronto on Wednesday. Most commentators are justifiably careful not to jump to conclusions about the victim's race or the school's proximity to Toronto's notorious Jane-Finch corridor. Jordan has been described in the press as "a good kid who wanted one day to be an actor", and the National Post reported that C.W. Jefferys "takes pride in visual arts programs taught by practising artists, as well as state-of-the-art graphic arts and science labs". The Post also reports that "the school's hallmark is an enriched math, science and technology program; 75% of its students have gone on to post-secondary education".

Fair enough. However, on Friday the National Post carried a photo of Jordan's mother carrying a portfolio of his high school work as she was comforted by friends and family. Prominently displayed was a report Jordan had written about Group of Seven artist Tom Thomson. Here it is verbatim:
Researching on Tom Thomson
Year of birth 1887
Year of death 1917

Name of artist: tom thomson
Place of claremont ontario

Information about the artist's life he grew up in leith near owen sound. after he moving to toront his early career was spet as a commercial artist grip ltd the commereide. his troducolleagues there were several membersof what. In 1920 became the group of seven. He in turn introduced them to algonquin park in ontario. he encourageb themh to hike and canonthrough the wilderness. Which became their live

What kind of art did the artist do he painted pictures of subjects like the thnorern parts of ontario. he began to paint that. he might express the emotures the country inspired him

what is special about their style or techniques? Thomson would paint skys throughout his career. He used delibrate repetition of horizantal bands of paint.

I wouldn't bring this up, except for the fact that in the same story, one of the boy's teachers is quoted "[lamenting] the lack of funding for programs in low-income neighbourhoods that could help keep children occupied and inspired outside of school. 'These children should not be news after the fact. We need to stop dealing with money, numbers, paper and put in programs. There is a lack of building minds.... They feel trapped. They don't see anything other than their home community. They need to know the world is a bigger place. We [as children] had something else that they don't have. We had hope.' "

I know I'll take some flak for this, but is this work typical of a grade 9 student at C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate, or at the Toronto District School Board for that matter? Does anyone think that a sense of hopelessness in the youth of the school's neighbourhood might have something to do with the fact that the students can't read or write, and that this might be a huge obstacle to their progress in "the world as a bigger place"? Before governments start pouring money into "programs", maybe they should take a look at this fundamental issue.


Anonymous said...

So, it looks like 'A student' Jordan was a borderline retard.

Bob in Ottawa said...

Don't be too critical, Anonymous, at least he tried.

Some of my own work in Grade 9 wasn't much better than that--I was especially dreadful in math--and I went on to university and grad school.

I remember one fellow in high school who was hopeless in both english and math, but quite brilliant in art. He went on to be a successul commercial artist.

I'm sure you know it really isn't right to besmirch a poor kid who isn't even around to defend himself.

Anonymous said...

I questioned this grade 9er because his mom said he was a str8 A student and yet I remember in the 60's that HighSchool was a Percentage scale with a 60/40 split for exams and classroom marks.
I think the real issue goes back to my inquiry to a Teacher about immigrant kids with little english skills getting a higher mark than I did for math and English classes and the exam that was in english.
The Teacher told me off the record that there was no room to hold-back students with poor english skills and once they finished school they would be dumped into their cultural neighbourhoods anyway and THEY can worry about employing them in jobs for their languages.

I posted a well detailed comment on a web forum and linked each point by sticking to the theme of the debate , but one of these high school wiz-kids thought my comment was jumbled and had no value for not staying on topic.
But what really happened was a serious short attention span and no concept of reason and logic to project forward and see a potential damage from either of the two extreme views presented for debate.

The fact that they don't understand why books have Chapters and then paragraphs with multiple opinions during a reflection or recounting of an event in the first person, pretty well explains the simple rap lyrics of sound bites and shortened words like Ho as if whore is too long of a word to sound out correctly.

Employers must have a list of the PC Schools where nobody gets below a B for marks , this wau when applications come in for a skilled position they know the Bio is pure BS and the claim of a str8-A schooling is really a D+ to C level with overt spelling mistakes and poor communication skills for Humans and email contacts.

Anonymous said...

bob in Ottawa:

Just read your post and the word university is a proper name or title and deserves a capital U at the front, if you made it into University with a simple error like that then shame on the system for taking your money while cheating you out of a high paying job because of glaring errors on a resume once the H.R. Department reviews it.
Stop allowing your "Feelings" to get in the way of the truth which is that his Mother wants to exalt a failure as if it affirms her bad choices for a bed partner that knocked her up and then fled like that other guys she dragged home , even one of the Moms at the School
mentioned she had 5 kids and I didn't hear a word about a Father .
The femiNazis and Lesbians have debased males in the eyes of children by showing how Mom doesn't need one so why should she want one just to have kids for herself one day, after all , Mom didn't need a dad for me so they must not be very important.

Anonymous said...

Only a total moron would disparage a recently murdered 15 year old aa a borderline retard. Look in a mirror asshole.

He may be dyslexic, or just a product of our education system.

You should crawl back into whatever sewer you came from goof.

CQ said...

_That is surprising and it is not. I know that 25ish years ago I couldn't buy a grading above 78. This was true even with Gym, though I was also on a sports team.
_However, what is there for a contemporary young male student to read, 700 page Harry Potter epics? I started out with dozens of good 'ol fashioned, written for kids, non-sinister comic books and an array of snarkless youth novels.

Bob in Ottawa said...

Dear Anonymous:

If I went to 'the' University it would be capitalized, but I went to a 'university'--i.e. I was not specific about the institution--therefore it is not. Your really should brush up on your grammar skills--among other things--before passing judgement.

Anonymous said...

this kid was illiterate.

Anonymous said...

I spet several. moments discussing with my troducolleagues we think he copyed the part about horizantal bands of paint. from the internet or a book

Neo Conservative said...

As soon as they're murdered, they're all genius level students, or aspiring doctors or lawyers... it's almost a given... and if you dare question it you're a filthy racist.

Did you hear Dumbass Dalton talking about "our young people"?

Speaking for "my community", I should tell you that "our young people" don't travel in wolf packs and kill each other with smuggled handguns.

One of the 17 year old sociopaths who murdered this kid has already entered the "father as many children with as many different girls as you can" sweepstakes.

and the worst thing is... they'll be out of jail in a little while... and they'll do it again.


someone said...

Unless you have worked in a school such as C.W.Jeffreys (or even mildly similar), you have little understanding of the type of bullshit that happens. As soon as I heard the story I knew in most probabilities what had happened, and it was confirmed when the mother dropped her request for the inquiry. These kids are literally getting away with crimes, they are being reported to administrators but because of one reason or another they are suppressed as much as possible. In some schools to warrant a suspension blood has to be drawn. So who is responsible? Are you going to blame teachers because they are not willing to dedicate their lives to ungrateful students and unsupportive parents? Administrators who want to bury everything under the rug? Parents who don't want to believe that their children are not angels? Superintendents who want to see lower suspension rates no matter what?

Well anyhow, unless you really know what is going on in the system it is easy for anyone to point fingers and make assumptions.