Discipline and mastery: impressions of Swiss school system

November 24, 2015

Parents learn can learn a lot about an education system from the vocabulary their children bring home.  Since our arrival in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland, the results are telling.  The words bouncing around the living room are “test, oublie, revision, bavardage, arrivée tardive, heure de retenue, heure d’arrêt, redoubler…”  These are all words about discipline or performance.  Previously, in very different school systems, the words were more along the lines of “my project, the school concert, assembly, homework“.  What does this show? Read the rest of this entry »


Sustainability and school choice

July 11, 2013

Imagine two 9 year-old children.  One gets driven across town to a school that his parents find best fits his learning needs, or social values, or cultural community.  He barely knows the kids on the street where he lives, as they all go to other schools.  He sits in traffic everyday, contributing carbon to the atmosphere and pollutants to the city air.  The other child walks to the local primary school, joining friends along the way, kicking stones down the sidewalk, plucking leaves from the hedge, learning to avoid dangerous street crossings and engaging in little mischiefs.  Obviously, I exaggerate and simplify.  But the point I wish to make is that the impacts of school choice (or school vouchers, or proliferating private schools) on traffic, air quality, carbon emissions, health, family time, and neighbourhood cohesion are far from sufficiently discussed in debates over school choice.

Read the rest of this entry »