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Saturday, 4 June 2011

Common Assumptions

We often make assumptions about things without even being aware that they may be wrong or misguided.  It is very difficult to get people to change their minds about something that they have assumed for a long time.  There are two assumptions that I am challenging at this time.

The first assumption is about my home town.  Carleton Place was for many generations a farming community.  You can still see much evidence of the farming families' names in the news and on street signs.  However, in the last 10 years Carleton Place has changed dramatically.  Primarily this was caused by the spreading of Ottawa.  Not only are there more people in this country's capitol but more and more of them would like to go home to a country house, or estate.  The twinning of the main arterial highway is both a consequence and a driver of this expansion.  By the end of this year highway 7 will be four lanes from Ottawa to Carleton Place.  House building is booming.  There has been no housing recession here.  Sub-divisions are growing as fast as they can be built.  The population is not only growing but it is of a different breed.  These are highly educated, high tech young families.  There is also a large influx of active young seniors.  They are looking for a different level of service.  Carleton Place is no longer a farming town (although we have a good little farmer's market!).

And yet, when my husband and I go to dinners or parties in Ottawa, people cannot believe that we would drive that far.   How far?  With the new highway and consequently higher speeds, we are in Kanata in under 20 minutes.  It is not that far!   It is all a matter of perception.  The citizens of Ottawa perceive Carleton Place to be a small farm town on the outskirts of their area.  They should come and take a look!

Which leads to my second assumption.  You see, Mississippi School for the Arts is opening in Carleton Place, partly to meet the needs of new and existing families and partly because I personally feel that there should be educational options for those who do not live in large cities.  But people assume that a private school is for the elite, a member of which they usually do not consider themselves.   In reality, the posh private schools of the Hollywood films are mostly in the United States and only constitute about 10% of private schools in Canada.  Most private schools in Canada are small schools based on a religion or a philosophy of education.  They are run in church basements, in old houses, in an old (beautiful) mill (ours) and in regular neighbourhoods.  Regular children from regular families attend.  Yes, there is a cost.  Private schools do not receive any kind of government support so parents and the community must pick up the cost of providing high quality education, small class sizes, and good teachers.

Before you dismiss private schooling from your realm of possibility, do some research.  There are lots of options.  Different kinds of schools, different funding solutions.  Get your extended family involved.  Get your employer involved.  Get your community group involved.  Private schooling is definitely an investment which  gives a lifetime of return.  Especially if your child is not succeeding or getting all that is possible at a local public school.  By the way, if they are soaring at the local public school, that's fantastic!  But if they are not, check out your options.

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