Thursday, 31 August 2006

Do Penguins Have Knees?

One thing that I didn't fully understand before I became a mother - was the things one has to know! I'm always amazed at the interesting questions kids come up with. They range from the mundane, "Mom, what does that sign mean?" to really quite intriguing: "Mom, why is the zipper on your pants called a fly?"
Today I was making dinner. My 8 year old daughter was reading a Spider man comic book at the table when suddenly she got up and started pacing around the kitchen. Then she stopped and said, "Mom, do penguins have knees?" I gave my regular, "That's a great question. Why don't you go write that down so we can look it up later." and also added, "Why do you want to know?" She replied that she was trying to figure out why they waddle like they do and perhaps they don't have a place to bend at their knees. Good reasoning if you ask me!
Personally, I used to love to come up with questions like that. My personal favorite from my youth was, "What would furniture look like if your knees bent the other way?" My mom used to just shake her head at me.
I don't know what parents did before the internet! Luckily there is an answer to everything on the internet. We did a search and found a book with a title Do Penguins Have Knees. Not only that, we have found a kindred spirit: David Feldman. He has a number of books on questions like this! I think we've struck a goldmine!

Monday, 14 August 2006

CBE Wrankled Again

I happen to live in Calgary - home of the largest school board in Canada. Impressive isn't it?
It certainly is a large school board. For me, that's often where the impressive qualities end.
It seems that CBE has been shocked again by a forward thinking group of educators. It seems that a private school in Calgary has somehow jumped into bed with the Lethbridge school board - and CBE is mad. While I can understand, to a point, the concern CBE has - how is it that a board can have jurisdiction over a school not within its geographical boundries (i.e. most of the stakeholders of this school cannot vote for any of the trustees in the Lethbridge school board) I find it quite entertaining actually to see someone seemingly breaking the rules again. If there's anything that will make the left-leaning trustees at CBE it is someone thinking that there could be a way to do things that does not follow the norm.
CBE has long been famous for it's hatred of Charter Schools. They make life as difficult for Charter School's as possible. I worked at one such Charter School for a few years and was always amazed at the intricacies they could come up with to foil our school's attempts at success. All the while they're working at making like difficult, they like to take the things Charter Schools do oh so well - and try to replicate their ideas. There is a very successful Science Charter School in Calgary - and wouldn't you know it, CBE starts their own Science School. Another very successful Charter School is Foundations for the Future - and CBE has responded with its own attempt to do the very same thing with their Traditional Learning Centers. The list goes on. In my circle of friends the common phrase is that they try to please everyone, while often pleasing no one. Too bad they can't just get focused and try to do one thing well.
So now Lethbridge has rankled CBE. What does this mean? A lawsuit. More money spent on more things that really do not matter to my child or my teacher. But it just may mean less money and resources in their classroom yet again.
I think that forcing this dinosaur of a board to think out of the box might just be the best thing for all parties involved.