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Readers Advocate

Making it all add up

Whenever the education experts (including media pundits), government bureaucrats and parents would all line up to bemoan the latest international test scores of Alberta students — and then proceed to blame the teachers for them — I would always tell myself how glad I was that my kids were safely out of school.

And then I started having grandchildren. Does this mean I have to be invested in the next round of the “new math” debate, all over again? I guess so.

Here’s a question from an international Grade 8 level math test: Find 1/3 minus 1/4.

Four possible answers below the question are presented to test whether the student knows the method to finding the answer, which is 4 minus 3 over 3 times 4 (that’s 1/12 in the old math I was taught).

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Wellness Foundation can’t deal with what kills us

Does Alberta need another arms-length or autonomous foundation, funded by a dedicated tax levy, to convince us that better lifestyle choices can lead to better health?

Apparently many of us do. An informal coalition of communities and organizations representing fully a million Albertans is asking the provincial government to create a new foundation that would fund wellness initiatives around the province.

It’s easy enough to get those kind of numbers if you ask municipalities to join your cause. It’s not like Red Deer city council, for instance, would be using any of its own money to promote this initiative. So last week’s decision to join the coalition doesn’t come with much of a downside.

Quite the opposite. The upside potential for the city is huge, considering what is spent here by the city and partner organizations dealing with the outfall of illnesses and conditions that better lifestyle choices can easily prevent.

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