Luis Hernandez Navarro was in Toronto this week to speak about the crisis in Mexico after the deaths and kidnappings of student teachers last fall. He's an eminent journalist and opinion editor at La Jornada, Mexico's second largest daily. It's well to the left of leftish papers elsewhere like the Star or Guardian.
The University of Toronto, where I've been privileged to teach a half-course for decades (and more recently two half-courses, fall and spring) is being struck by its 6,000 teaching assistants, including my own. Together with contract faculty -- those on short-term contracts without security and far less pay or benefits than tenured profs -- they handle maybe 60 per cent of courses. The latter are currently voting on an offer. The TAs are picketing but not asking anyone to cancel or skip classes. At York, both categories are on strike and the university simply shut down, demonstrating how indispensable those roles are.
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I'm fine with the new Ontario sex-ed curriculum, I just wish there was more of it. It may seem lengthy because it's embedded in two voluminous documents. But they're the overall health and phys-ed courses, which include movement, nutrition, and even financial literacy. You have to comb through them for the sex -- as generations of humans always have.
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Ontario now has a website called mycanceriq.ca. The health minister, Eric Hoskins, launched it this week but the journalists dutifully attending only wanted to know about measles and, sadly, there's no mymeaslesiq.ca. If there were it would have just one question: Did you vaccinate your kids? If you said No, you'd go immediately to the result and it would say: You're an idiot, do it now.
The time is always ripe for a dirge led by the literati over the dire downfall of culture wrought by the Internet.
There's one in last Sunday's New York Times Book Review, conducted by Leon Wieseltier, former high priest for literature at The New Republic magazine. He sets a lofty, mournful tone: "Amid the bacchanal of disruption, let us pause to honor the disrupted. The streets of American cities are haunted by the ghosts of bookstores and record stores …"