Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Welcome to Boot Camp Kids!

Some of my most unpleasant memories are from the years I spent in the public education system. A quiet and fairly unassuming child, I was into books and resented forced social interaction and the mandatory drill exercises I was subject to a few times a week in gym class. When I wasn't bored, I was in a continual state of nervousness. At least I didn't have to take anti-bullying classes in addition to being bullied.

My introduction to pys-ed was from a short, balding, colour-blind black belt who clearly took pleasure in terrorizing children. His perceived disadvantage was spread throughout the school system he participated in, until he was charged with burning down his own home more than once and subsequently dismissed after conviction. The "game" we played was called Stop and Go and could just as easily been a military training exercise for soldiers in training. Children lined up against the wall to begin. Soon after, a series of commands were shouted by the teacher dressed in dress pants and a white shirt, which I later learned was his usual attire. Go, and so we ran, until we were told to Stop. Children who failed to exhibit the appropriate response were often instructed to do a series of push-ups.

Things didn't get much better after that. In addition to the regular torments of having to participate in sports I had no interest in, there was the dreaded gymnastics unit. I was positively terrified of the balance beam and the vaulting horse, preferring the dangers of tag instead. I remained in the system until I was legally allowed to escape into books and a paying job, later proving I hadn't learned a thing by enrolling and graduating with a honours degree in philosophy.

The Ontario of today is even more totalitarian than the one of my youth. Kids have been awarded the mandatory "incentive" of staying in school until they are 18, and Dalton McGuinty is now promising to make the education experience even more unpleasant and unrewarding should he be re-elected. I don't have children, but I sympathize with parents who cannot afford to educate their children at home or send them to a school of their choosing. CTV reports:

Ontario Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty says he will make students healthier if re-elected by banning trans fats from school cafeterias.

McGuinty said the Liberals have helped curb childhood obesity since coming into power in 2003 by banning junk food in schools and requiring 20 minutes of daily exercise.

Campaigning in Toronto, the Liberal leader said he will build on that strategy by ensuring all school menus conform to the Canada Food Guide.

The Liberals also plan to expand high school intramural sports.

McGuinty says if he is re-elected on Oct. 10, he will introduce the Ontario Fitness Challenge to improve the fitness and co-ordination of children in Grades 1 to 6.
cp: The Broom

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