True confession time, people.
I commit sociology.
And not just as a one-off.
You might say—all right, I will say it—that I’m a repeat offender. In fact, I’m practically addicted. Scarcely a minute can go by without my synapses looking for their next fix.
That might not be a politically correct admission. After all, this is tough-on-crime Canada, where such wanton disregard for Father-Knows-Best-ology and doing the “right” thing (and not in that perilously-close-to-committing-sociology Spike Lee kind of way) seems almost, well, unpatriotic. ...Read more
How much would you give up to get a university education? For most of us, four years of work, study, investment and anxiety are the costs we are willing to pay to secure the benefits and opportunities of a university degree. But is a university degree worth so much to you that you would allow yourself to be confined in a church basement, cut off from physical contact with friends and family for almost a year of your life all while under constant threat of arrest and deportation? Most of us would balk at such an ordeal, but for two University of Regina students facing deportation orders for their honest mistake of working off-campus at a local Wal-Mart, this is exactly the extent they are willing to go advance their education. ...Read more
Tags: Canadian Border Services Agency·Jason Kenney
I’ve contended for the last two years that between 2005 and 2010, an intensive public relations campaign was undertaken with the aim of increasing tuition fees in Québec. I believe it was crucial when the proposal to hike fees was formally submitted in Raymond Bachand’s first budget, the Liberal government’s last Minister of Finance and contender in the party’s current leadership race. Until recently, this impression was tied up to a very personal reading of the media. However, I came up with the strange idea of empirically testing this hypothesis whilst I was preparing to participate in a conference at the sociology department of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). I thus spent a few days producing the following… ...Read more
Tags: Media·Tuition fees
The traditional model of quality assurance, where professors and institutional bodies evaluate, approve and improve programs, has always existed in Ontario. However, the centralization and standardization of quality assurance has been accelerated by university and college administrators and encouraged by Ministry staff. External pressures for standardization from the OECD and processes emerging in Europe through the Bologna process have driven these changes.
The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) started to coordinate quality assurance reviews in the mid-1990s. One of their subcommittees conducted seven-year audits of institutional review processes, and oversaw a board called the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies that evaluated and approved graduate programs. The first year of auditing occurred in 1997. ...Read more
Tags: college·quality assurance·university
It might have been my imagination (or perhaps wishful thinking), but in the midst of this year’s back-to-school media coverage, the issue of student debt seemed a little more prominent than usual.
At least two surveys identified high levels of debt ($28k on average), and the stress—more than that of finding a job or getting good grades–this is causing students. The federal government estimates the cost of a university degree (including accommodation, tuition, food and other expenses) to be $60k for a four-year degree, while a separate survey put that figure at closer to $80k. ...Read more
Tags: Economy & Economic Indicators·Education·Media·university·Youth
At a time when Ontario’s government is promising a transformation of the province’s postsecondary education system, it would be wise to focus on a problem it helped create: The problem of high tuition.
A new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), Eduflation and the High Cost of Learning, shows Ontario’s tuition and compulsory fees are the highest in Canada.
In 1990, Ontario’s fees were slightly higher than the Canadian average, but they rose rapidly throughout that decade to become the second highest in Canada. After a brief tuition freeze between 2004 and 2006, fees began climbing with no apparent end in sight. Over the next four years, tuition fees in Ontario are projected to increase by a bigger amount than any other province. ...Read more
It’s difficult to overstate the significance of the Quebec student strike (the longest in North American history) and resultant public backlash against the provincial government’s Orwellian response.
Not that you’d know it. According to mainstream (predominantly) English media, Montreal is being held hostage by a handful of scruffy, possibly naked, hooky-playing slack-tivists who got distracted on the way to a door-crasher sale at the Apple store and decided to stop traffic while demanding their constitutional right to free lattes. Or something. ...Read more
Tags: Democracy·Economy & Economic Indicators·Education·Poverty and Income Inequality·Student strike·Taxes and Tax Cuts
On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference. My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link.
Points I raised in the address include the following:
-Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts for inflation, and even when one accounts for population growth. The exceptions, of course, occur during recessions.
-Yet, since the early 1980s, the federal government has been spending less, relative to GDP. Since that time, it has spent less on both “program expenses” and debt-servicing (again, notwithstanding what’s happened during recessions, which represent relatively small blips when compared to the long-term trend). ...Read more
Québec is in the midst of a social crisis of rare intensity, both in terms of the duration of the confrontation between the student movement and the Québec government and the extent to which citizens have rallied behind students in the last weeks. After more than four months, a total of 161 student unions bringing together more than 150,000 members are still carrying out the struggle single-handedly. Montréal’s tourist season is in sight and there is no indication that the movement is nearing exhaustion. ...Read more
Tags: protests·Student strike·Tuition fees
Trish Hennessy is Director of Strategic Issues with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Several polls released this spring reveal the extent of concern among Canadians about worsening income inequality.
Most Canadians say that deep income inequality undermines Canadian values. The majority of Canadians tell pollsters they would support political leadership to reverse the trend.
But what, some ask, can be done about income inequality?
I turned to leading thinkers on this issue – starting with our own stable of experts from the CCPA, but broadening out to experts in housing, employment, taxes, child care, and poverty reduction – and asked them to submit an idea they think would contribute to reducing inequality. ...Read more
Tags: affordable housing·Child Care·Education·Income Inequality·minimum wage·poverty reduction. basic income·Taxes and Tax Cuts