“It’s All About Me”
As my wife and I talked about the differences in the various Canadian provincial education systems today, it struck me that the root of many of the things in society that bother me is captured in the phase, “It’s all about me.”
My home province of Ontario recently switched from a 13 year primary-secondary education systems to a 12 year system. This, in itself, was a good thing; in that it aligned Ontario’s system with most other such systems in North America. Unfortunately for Ontarians, this good-start was immediately undermined by self-centered, selfish behaviour: Ontario’s education ministry spent tens of millions of tax payer’s money to develop a brand new curriculum.
In most Canadian provinces, and all across North America, children graduate from high school after grade 12. Many of those jurisdictions are highly ranked in independent evaluations. Given those two facts, the most rational and logical way to proceed---when it comes to moving Ontario to a 12 year system---is to choose one of those existing curricula and then build a plan to get the province there.
Instead of leveraging the existing work of others, Ontario took a position that it is so special and unique that no other curriculum will meet Ontario’s needs. It then spent tens of millions of dollars and several years developing yet another primary-secondary curriculum. This selfish altitude is not unique to Ontario, the same behaviours manifest themselves in Newfoundland and Québec (who maintain 11 year primary-secondary systems), Amerindian groups (who want all the benefits but none of the responsibilities of western civilization), anti-globalisation protesters (who don’t want the third world to fully participate in the western economy), and hyphenated Canadian’s (who want to partake of the benefits of Canadian law and order but don’t want to give back to Canada); to name a few.
We desperately need to stop believing that we are unique and must be specially treated---receiving deferential treatment---in comparison to everyone around us. This attitude wastes time and money, and acts to “put down” everyone around us.
By way of example, in the case of primary-secondary education in Ontario, Ontario should have joined with some other jurisdiction(s) and created something better that saved money and time for all concerned. We all lost something when Ontario behaved badly.