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Editorial: To our new orange overlords: Welcome

June 9, 2015 Jonathan Teghtmeyer, ATA News Editor-in-Chief

A new study from Microsoft found the average human attention span has declined to eight seconds. Based on the average reading speed of 300 words per minute, I guess I can only hold your attention 40 words at a time.

Bravo to the new Alberta government for treating stable education funding as priority one and announcing funding for school boards in time to make a difference in classrooms next year.

Another report is trying to link declining PISA scores in Alberta to discovery math techniques. The CD Howe Institute authored this latest report, which again fails to establish causation —might I suggest growing workloads and class size as contributors.

Yale researchers are using video games to treat ADHD. Bruce Wexler, a psychiatric neuroscientist, developed a video game that harnesses the brain’s neuroplasticity and trains it to improve focus. It hopes to do for ADHD what Tetris did for packing.

Am I the only one who is somewhat surprised that no one took a dive in order to draw attention to the FIFA bribery scandals?

Bill 10 provisions removing barriers for students wishing to start GSAs came into force June 1 and Education Minister David Eggen is prepared to enforce them. Controversy may return as Calgary lawyer John Carpay is preparing to fight the law.

May 5, 2014 was the day that Jeff Johnson’s Task Force for Teaching Excellence released its final report. One year later, May 5, 2015, Alberta’s Task Force for MLA Excellence released its final report.

Everyone in Alberta is likely wishing they went to Salisbury Composite High School after the great group of teachers there posted a fantastic 80s throwback mash-up music video. What a way to honour your graduates! Check it out:

Disney is banning the use of selfie sticks on its amusement park rides as incidents have occurred forcing the rides to stop. I feel most sorry for the Ramsankar children now that their dad has cancelled their planned summer trip.

Minister Eggen must look into the memo sent from the deputy minister during the interregnum making Grade 3 SLAs mandatory for all students in the fall. Last year’s pilot was disastrous, so this decision should have had political authorization.

I’ve always considered Vince Vaughn to be a superb and fantastic actor and comedian. The funniest thing he ever said was that there should be more guns in schools in order to prevent school shootings.

If people are going to talk about PISA results, they should also discuss TALIS results: Alberta teachers work longer hours in classes that include more special needs students, and more language learners and are larger than elsewhere in the world.

I’m hopeful that the provincial framework agreement’s provisions on teacher workload will be taken seriously by the new government. C2 commitments must be enforced, a new C1 report must be written and the C3 study needs to be acted upon.

The attention span of goldfish is nine seconds. Surely this means that it will be only a short time before we are taken over by President Glub Glub and his orange chums. Let me be the first to welcome them.

I’m grateful for teachers. Not just because you employ me, but because you care about students and education and work long and hard to serve them. So, thank you. I hope you have a fantastic and deservedly restful summer. ❚

I welcome your comments—contact me at

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