Is it spring already?

Wow – I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I had last posted an update! I am still waiting for the updated Ontario CIA4U curriculum to be released to see if Economics for Canadians will continue to be a good fit for the course. When I do see the curriculum, I will let you know whether the book covers the required 85% of curricular objectives or whether it will need updating, which could take the form of an additional booklet that would ship with the books or perhaps an entirely new edition. At this point, it is all conjecture.

In other news, I am pleased that additional schools continue to adopt the book for their students. I am also pleased that many teachers who currently have single copies of the student book and teachers’ guide are looking forward to adopting the book once they learn more about the new course. I was touched to receive the following email from a teacher in Burlington:

Hello, I LOVE your book for CIA4U.  You explain concepts so thoroughly.  And further more, your chapters are appealing and written in a language that students can comprehend!  I am looking forward to the changing of the curriculum so that we can order your text.

For the most recent list of schools using the book, please click on the appropriate link above.

Lastly, I would like to share my most recent articles (written for publication in the Pembroke Daily Observer) from this past December and February. Hold the Frankincense and Myrrh was picked up by the Mises Canada website while Time For Some Mattress Padding was picked up by both Mises Canada and Zerohedge.

All the best as we move into spring and towards the summer holidays.

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A re-imagined Phillips Machine schematic

I came across this creative re-imagining of the graphic found inside the front cover of Economics for Canadians today and felt compelled to share it. The artist is WilliamBanzai7.

I am still waiting for the new senior Canada and World Studies curriculum to be released. As soon as it is made public I will line up the new curricular objectives with the lessons in the book. I remain confident that Economics for Canadians will continue to be suitable for the CIA4U course.

As well, over the holidays I will be adding resources to the website as I have created a number of new ones recently. I will also create solution keys for some of the tests and post them on the Canadian Teachers of Economics resource sharing site hosted on Schoology.com (for more details about this site, please refer to the post from this past May).

All the best for a great end of term and happy holidays.

MODERNIZED PHILLIPS MACHINE 2012

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The Decline of Central Bank Integrity

I just finished reading the following article describing the tenure of William McChesney Martin, Jr. (who famously said that the job of central bankers was to take the punch bowl away just as the party got going) as Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board from 1951 until 1970. It is an interesting read and points to how our current economic mess is directly related to the tendency of central banks to, over time, be captured by political and financial interests.

The power to control a nation’s money needs to be exercised by highly competent and incorruptible public officials. Sadly, that probably hasn’t been the case for at least 27 years (since Paul Volcker resigned).

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-21/fed-then-and-now-%E2%80%93-remembering-william-mcchesney-martin-jr

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New senior Canada and World Studies curricula due in the fall

I have been eagerly anticipating the release of the updated grade 11/12 Canada and World Studies curriculum so as to check the new CIA 4U course against Economics for Canadians.

While the initial release date for the curriculum was a couple of years ago, I have been informed by the ministry that the curriculum is almost ready and will be released sometime over the next few months.

So, please check back on the website when you receive the new curriculum as I will be posting a document while will map the objectives of the course against the lessons in the book. I am fairly certain that the book will continue to be a good match as, according to my sources, the main thrust of the new course will be to strengthen the ability of students to apply what they are learning in class to ‘real-world’ events.

Putting such speculation aside, if you are planning on ordering copies for the 2014-15 school year, I would ask you to send in your requests by the end of next week as I am off to work in the Middle East after the middle of August. While I have contracted with a distributor to ship orders on my behalf in my absence, I would prefer to fill orders myself if possible. The ordering procedure, though, will remain unchanged- simply send an email to bryce@croecko.com stating the number of copies you would like, the address to which you would like them sent and your preferred method of payment.

Thank you and best wishes for an enjoyable month of August.

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Canadian Teachers of Economics resource sharing and discussion site

Last week it was my pleasure to present at the Ontario Business Educators Association spring conference. During the presentation we discussed how it is usual for economics teachers to be the only teacher of the subject at their schools.

To address this situation, I have just established a group entitled Canadian Teachers of Economics on Schoology.com. I have created a number of folders for resource sharing purposes which I will be seeding with material over the next few weeks and which I hope other teachers will contribute to as well.

It is very easy to join Schoology – just follow this link:

When you join (and it is a good idea for reasons other than this group, as Schoology is a great tool with which manage student work as well) please look for and join the group Canadian Teachers of Economics. The group is identified with a picture of an old $2 bill.

The access code to join is 8DP77-5ZFP5. I chose to make the group a closed group in order to avoid having the discussion area clog up with spam promotional messages.

Best wishes and I hope to see you on Schoology soon!

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If you got a postcard…

…thank you for following through and checking out the book’s website. I hope you will have a thorough look around.

One thing I wanted to make more prominent for first-time visitors is the document (taken from the teachers’ guide) mapping the learning objectives for the current Ontario CIA 4U economics course against the lessons found in Economics for Canadians:

Coverage of the CIA 4U Curriculum

I am aware that the senior Canada and World Studies curriculum is in the final stages of revision and ought to be released in the next couple of months. When it is released I will post a document similar to the one above mapping the lessons in the book to the new curriculum’s learning objectives. Depending on how much the new curriculum differs from the existing one, I may or may not publish an updated edition of the book for use in Ontario schools.

Thank you for visiting and please come again.

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The book’s intended use

Teachers in public schools today often have no budget for materials. I understand this and have tried to address this problem by creating and distributing an affordable and very useful economics textbook and workbook. In this vein, I would like to remind teachers that:

1. The book is intended to be used as a consumable student workbook. The very affordable class set price of $17 per copy reflects this. When the book is used in this way, you will not need to spend much time with note-taking as the students can simply add marginal notes to the lessons in the book. More class time can therefore be devoted to working out problems, discussing current affairs and engaging in group learning activities resulting in a richer learning environment.

If there is absolutely no money with which to buy books, a workaround can be to use your budget to buy 5 or 10 copies for placement in the library, and then give students the choice of either signing out a copy from the library (and returning it in pristine condition) or purchasing their own copy for $17. The schools that do this find that almost 100% of students choose to buy their own book.

2. If you don’t have the budget to buy consumable workbooks and are not permitted to ask students to buy learning materials it is fine to use the book as a class text and reissue it to students year after year.  I understand that some boards have very strict rules that leave teachers with few options.

3. However, what I don’t accept is teachers using the book as a photocopy master. If the book is good enough to use with your students, it is good enough to purchase for your students. As the cost to photocopy just the exercises in the book is about the same as the purchase price of a copy buying books for your students simply makes sense, especially if you take into account time spent at the photocopier.

I hate to be a nag, but it is useful to be reminded that significant time, effort and money went into producing Economics for Canadians. When you choose to purchase the book, you are honouring that fact and making it possible for me to continue to produce useful and affordable educational materials. Thank you for your support.

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Recent articles and OBEA planning

My most recent articles published in the Pembroke Daily Observer can be accessed here:

http://brycemcbride.com/blog1/articles/

My article from late November entitled “View from the Top” views the current stock and bond markets as being either at or very close to a ‘top’ – but of course I am a perma-bear so why listen to me?

My article from just this past weekend (January 25th) meanwhile links the recent scandals involving CATSA and York University and looks at the need to allow professionals the latitude to make sensible decisions as opposed to simply demanding they follow rules.

Lastly, I am confirmed as a presenter at the OBEA conference in Toronto being held in early May. I will be speaking about linking current affairs to economics teaching and doing a bit of book promotion as well. I hope to see you there!

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Lessons exploring the ongoing financial crisis

I was just cleaning up my offerings on Gumroad.com and thought it a good idea to flag up the 4 lessons on the Global Financial Crisis (and teaching notes) that were excerpted from Economics for Canadians.

While those of you already using the book have these lessons and teaching notes, if you are not yet using it but would like to have a look at what I think are some of the book’s strongest lessons which may be used with economics, current events or world issues classes, please go to https://gumroad.com/bryce.

All the best for a wonderful New Year.

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A useful resource and my latest article

The second edition of my International Baccalaureate economics textbook, Workbook for the New I.B. Economics, features freely available online lessons. As many of the lessons are similar to the lessons found in Economics for Canadians, teachers and students may find them useful. They may be downloaded from the Gumroad website here:

https://gumroad.com/l/qDOE

Additionally, I would like to share with you my latest article from the Pembroke, Ontario Daily Observer dealing with some of the unintended consequences of Regulation 274 (the Ontario bill dealing with fair hiring practices in education).

Regulation 274

All the best for a great academic year!

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