Sigh….the last long weekend of the summer is now upon us. Labour Day also brings on a variation of the “Sunday scaries” – the anxiety and dread many people feel at the end of the weekend. For Labour Day, it’s the “back-to-school scaries,” something that everyone feels even if your school days are a long way back in the rearview mirror.

Whether it’s at the elementary, high school or college-university level, heading back to the classroom presents special challenges. This year, both educators and students at universities have new worries – the need for safer campuses given the increased polarization around gender studies and other issues.

Susannah Schmidt, our dedicated and excellent Education Editor, has been working on several back-to-school themed stories over the last few weeks. I’ve included a selection of them here for your long weekend reading.

Whether you’re a student or the parent or grandparent of students, we hope these articles will bring some insight into the coming academic year. Please enjoy and share them.

Our newsroom will also be enjoying the long weekend, so we won’t be back in your Inbox until Tuesday.

Scott White

CEO | Editor-in-Chief

Weekend Reads: Back to School

3 ways higher education can become more hopeful in the post-pandemic, post-AI era

Shandell Houlden, Royal Roads University; George Veletsianos, Royal Roads University

Adapting post-secondary education through technological, social and cultural shifts depends on paying attention to healthy connection, social justice and amplifying what’s now going well.

Banning cellphones in classrooms is not a quick fix for student well-being

Lana Parker, University of Windsor

A new report from UNESCO analyzes the many challenges of the growing presence of technology in education and notes 14 per cent of countries have policies that ban mobile phones.

Why old, shared dorms are better than new, private student residences

Shelagh McCartney, Toronto Metropolitan University; Ximena Rosenvasser, Toronto Metropolitan University

Student residences built in recent decades prioritize privacy, yet research shows a lack of student socialization spaces negatively affects students’ academic performance and well-being.

Cursive handwriting is back in Ontario schools. Its success depends on at least 5 things

Hetty Roessingh, University of Calgary

Handwriting is a learned skill that must be taught through direct, developmentally progressive, consistent and sustained instruction. Teachers will need professional development and resources.

Children’s early learning belongs in neighbourhood schools

David Philpott, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Access to schooling for four-year-olds is inconsistent across Canada. Families need to know children are immersed in high-quality early learning, and they shouldn’t be exhausted searching for it.

From outdoor classrooms to gardens, how Nova Scotia youth are creating healthier school communities

Julia Kontak, Dalhousie University; Sara F.L. Kirk, Dalhousie University

Involving youth in promoting health in schools can catalyze students’ ability to bring about positive change. On International Youth Day and year round, more adults could lift up youth voices.

For Ontario teachers, arbitration is no substitute for the right to strike

Stephanie Ross, McMaster University; Larry Savage, Brock University

Trading the right to strike for binding interest arbitration is a minefield for unions.

The stabbing attack at the University of Waterloo underscores the dangers of polarizing rhetoric about gender

Shana MacDonald, University of Waterloo; Alysia Kolentsis, University of Waterloo

The stabbings at the University of Waterloo remind us that violence for daring to stand in a classroom and speak is still ever-present.

New Brunswick’s LGBTQ+ safe schools debate makes false opponents of parents and teachers

Andrea Garner, University of New Brunswick; Melissa Dockrill Garrett, University of New Brunswick

Guided by policy, practice and relationships with students, families and communities, teachers are charged with helping all students thrive. To suggest otherwise is disturbing.

Saskatchewan naming and pronoun policy: The best interests of children must guide provincial parental consent rules

Conor Barker, Mount Saint Vincent University; Patrick Richards, University of Saskatchewan

Elected officials must consider relevant research and legal context when shaping education policies. Otherwise, they risk destabilizing classrooms and harming students.