Of all the fliers that piled up in my apartment over the holidays, the only interesting one was the Continuing Education Program of the Vancouver School Board. They offer some normal academic classes, but what interested me was the huge variety of general interest seminars they offer. Cooking, dancing, computers, languages, art, business, personal development, and more.
I registered for a pair of 1 day courses about investing and memory boosting, as well as a longer swing dance course (bring it on Nikki).
"We need to kill the poison plant we created," Gatto has written. "School reform is not enough. The notion of schooling itself must be challenged." His alternative: to get rid of institutional mass-production schools, allow every imaginable experiment to blossom, make free public libraries universal, and expand hands-on apprenticeships.
I don't agree with everything the guy says, but I do agree that the public school system needs a serious shake-up.
One of his main points in that our current education system is designed to drive out creativity and variety from students. That it doesn't properly recognize the value that each person has. I agree with this.
His second main point was that some people are just meant to be dancers. Somewhat odd, but he is British after all.
Here's a nice list of the top world universities based on academic and research performance. It's pretty remarkable how well the US does. They have a clear lock on the top. Canada does decently, with 4 of the top 100. It was compiled by a chinese university.
Today Mariana told me about some guy from Nigeria who emailed the Concordia Linguistics Student Association saying that they wanted to start a linguistics program but they didn't have any books or anything.
I mentioned to her that MIT had an Open Course Ware project going on, where they are putting all the materials for all of their classes online. MIT has a strong linguistics program, so I'm sure it's a valuable resource for the Nigerian dude. But MIT is strong in other things as well (computer science, engineering, AI, robotics, etc). So maybe there's something in this Open Course Ware program that's valuable for you?