Public Speaking 2009

Here is the text version of the speech:

In the perfect world classrooms would have unlimited amount of resources as well as realistic student to teacher ratios. The students would be self-motivated and their sole priority, learning. Mom would be home, with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, waiting to complete this model scenario. Sadly, this isn’t the case. According to the latest figures the dropout rate among Quebec high school students presently stands at 29%, up from 26% in 2003. Large classes, learning difficulties as well as poverty are the main reasons sited for this disturbing fact. These hurdles prevent high school students from attaining an education. Our society is presently faced with the harsh reality that our future work force will be uneducated, untrained, and unmotivated. Obviously our current educational system is in need of change. Why not reward unmotivated students who under perform? For that matter why not include those students who show up everyday ready to do their best. Imagine how enthusiastic and attentive students would be if they were given monetary incentives to achieve academic success.

Money for Marks, Cash for Credits, Wealth for Wisdom call it what you’d like; an incentive program to entice those who lack motivation and a reward for those who are successful. Did well on that Chemistry Exam? Able to maintain an average of 80% or higher? Your reward will now be in the form of a cheque.

This incentive program is currently being tested in the United States. Private corporations are footing the bill. Their motivation; investing for the future. Big Business can see the big picture and it looks pretty bleak right now.

For those nay sayers who worry that this will lead to a more selfish and cut throat society they should ask themselves if they are willing to financially support an increasing number of high school dropouts.

84% of the nation’s work force hates their job. Hopefully, you’ll become one of the 16% who don’t. With numbers like this, let’s be honest, it’s obvious that money is the major force driving adults to get up every morning. Adults expect to be compensated for their efforts made at work but if a child is compensated – well the word bribery comes to most minds. Let’s not forget that typically good grades=good job; good job=happy employee.

Ultimately the sense of accomplishment and the increased self-esteem one gets from achieving their goals should motivate them but for 29% of our high school students, that is not the case. Ask any student in this room if they would feel a sense of accomplishment or insulted when they received their “Coins for Cleverness” and I believe they would say “Show me the Money”.

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Pig Dissection

class experiment

A School Project (french)

Here a little project I did for a school class.

Education is a Business

One hears much rhetoric about how education is people oriented – and on the side of the students. It is unfortunate that sometimes the actions do not match the words. With the drastic downturn in the economy, there are some college and university students who are having difficulty paying their second halt tuition. Circumstances are such that funds set aside for education simply have to be put to everyday necessities like food and housing. Some families are experiencing unexpected job losses; and long term plans are confronted with immediate necessities.

Educational institutions have two choices. These schools can work with the financially stressed students and draw up an orderly payment plan. The alternative is to ask these students to leave. Needless to say, there are very few job openings for the anyone forced onto the job market. If the schools ask these students to leave, they know that the realistic opportunities for gainful employment are negligible. The competition on the job market is replete with people who have had years – perhaps decades – of experience.

The reasonable alternative is to make financial arrangements with the students and, at least, allow them to complete this academic year. Politicians are focused on bailing out essential industries. However, there is a segment of the student population that is in an immediate crisis. some educational institutions are proving to be just big business. If the tuition bill is not paid, then the consequence to them is very clear cut. This is not acting in the best interest of these students. Legislators need to provide the financially stressed students with alternatives and some protection. It speaks to the long term national interests. It would be sad if these students are added to the growing number of people looking for work.