Teens are sleep deprived, suffering due to early school start times: study

Pushing first class to later in the morning could do wonders for chronically sleep deprived teens, according to a new study.

Teenagers often get a bad rap: they’re seen as “tired, irritable and uncooperative” because they choose to stay up too late, and lazy for not wanting to get up early, the study states. But teens don’t run on the same inner clocks as everyone else, and experience “a major biological shift in their sleep patterns” during puberty.

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The findings were published in the Learning, Media and Technology journal and recently presented at the British Science Festival.

Researchers from Harvard and Oxford studied the difference between conventional 9 to 5 schedules, referred to as “social time”, as opposed to the “biological time” the body naturally follows. They found there is no other time than during the teenage years that these two schedules differ more greatly. Adolescents’ biological time dictates a need for nine hours of sleep, and later sleep and wake times.

READ MORE: Tips for parents: making sure your children get enough sleep

When a teen’s alarm goes off at 7:00 a.m., it’s the equivalent of a 4:30 a.m. alarm for the average person in their 50s.

The result of an early wake up call goes beyond sleepy teens; chronic sleep deprivation can produce negative effects, both mental and physical, on the body.

“This level of sleep loss causes impairment to physiological, metabolic and psychological health in adolescents while they are undergoing other major physical and neurological changes,” the study states.

“Failure to adjust education timetables to this biological change leads to systematic, chronic and unrecoverable sleep loss.”

The study is not unique in its findings: in August the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that most middle and high schools in the United States were starting their days too early.

“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,” said lead author Dr. Anne Wheaton. “Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need.”

In 2014 the American Academy of Pediatrics called a lack of sleep among adolescents “an important public health issue that significantly affects the health and safety, as well as the academic success, of our nation’s middle and high school students.”

READ MORE: Doctors say schools should start later so kids can sleep longer

All three studies urged the same conclusion: let the teens sleep.

The most recent study states that at the age of 16, the biological wake up time is around 8:00 a.m., and school should begin between 10:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. At 18 the biological wake up time is closer to 9:00 a.m., and a class time of 11:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. would be most beneficial.

The researchers concluded that syncing up educational start times to teens’ body clocks would be a “a relatively simple step” to boost students’ performance and reduce health risks without having to alter teaching methods or at any great expense.

“Good policies should be based on good evidence, and the data show that children are currently placed at an enormous disadvantage by being forced to keep to inappropriate education times,” the study states.

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Ontario mother outraged after bus driver leaves 6-year-old daughter at park alone

WATCH ABOVE: Just two days into the new school year, a six-year-old girl was dropped off by a school bus at a park by herself — rather than being walked over to after-school care. As Caryn Lieberman reports, the situation could have escalated into something much worse.

TORONTO — A Bradford, Ont. mother is outraged after her six-year-old daughter was mistakenly dropped off at a park about 20 minutes from their home, rather than sent to after-school care.

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Juliette, who prefers not to use her last name, told Global News she was mortified to learn that her daughter was put on a school bus rather than walked over to the YMCA daycare, which is attached to the W. H. Day Elementary School.

“I talked to her teacher in the morning and let her know that she would be going to the YMCA care and she went though her folder and said yeah, she did have a list,” Juliette said.

“She just basically had to walk down the hall.”

Melanie Slade-Morrison, a spokeswoman for the Simcoe County School Board, said the school board was “apologetic to the family,” adding that this was an “isolated incident.”

Slade-Morrison insisted the Board isn’t looking to assign blame, but is looking at where there may have been breakdowns in communication.

Juliette said that her daughter Sarena should have been picked up at the bus stop where she was dropped off Tuesday.

When Sarena got off the bus, no one was there to pick her up as her parents assumed she was in her after-school program.

The bus stop is next to a park, so Sarena played there for 45 minutes by herself.

“I’m mortified, I’m sick to my stomach,” said Juliette.

“She went into the park and played for about 45 minutes by herself.”

That’s when a passerby noticed her and asked if she could help.  Juliette had written the name of the school on Sarena’s backpack so the woman called the school, which then alerted her parents as to where she was. Eventually Sarena’s aunt rushed to the park to pick her up.

Juliette, who works as a Doula and registered massage therapist and was in a Toronto hospital helping to deliver a baby, said she asked Sarena if she considered walking home from the park but the little girl said she wouldn’t leave the area because her mom taught her never to cross the street alone.

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Big grocery chains about to put the squeeze on shoppers: report

Consumers may be about to feel the full weight of the country’s two dominant grocery chains, both of whom have added considerable heft and could be planning to start throwing it around, according to experts.

With job cutsand store closureslargely behind them, Loblaw Co. Ltd. and Empire Co. Ltd. (owner of Sobeys and Safeway) are now turning their combined attention toward the end-game of their blockbuster acquisitions of Shoppers Drug Mart and Safeway, respectively, last year: netting a bigger slice of cash from shoppers, experts say.

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“The big consolidations of 2014 should finally begin to bear fruit,” CIBC World Markets retail stock analysts said in a recent research report.

The fruit will come in the form of pricing and promotional strategies that mean lesshead-to-head competition between chains, and more sales squeezed from customers, the analysts said.

“Already we have seen some coordination of advertising programs to avoid direct item conflicts,” the CIBC report said. “But more importantly, the reduction in the number of competitors in both drug and food makes price checking and price signalling that much easier,” the analysts said.

“It fosters a much calmer, more coordinated market.”

Loblaw announced in July it was closing 52 unprofitable stores over the next year to help boost its bottom line. That announcement followed a similar one from Empire in mid-2014 that it was closing about 50 locations following its $5.8-billion purchase of Safeway Canada.

The pair of mega-deals, which were approved by regulators after Loblaw and Empire agreed to sell offsome stores, mean about half of Canadian supermarket sales are controlled by the two retailers, CIBC estimated.

MORE: Are discount grocery stores becoming a myth?

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Scrutiny urged

Loblaw and Empire each argued that their added scale would benefit shoppers by allowing the retailersto buy more wholesale volumes. The savings they got from the bulk purchases would give them the flexibility to pass the discounts onto customers, they said.

But consumer groups and some academics warned when the deals were first announced that shoppers could suffer from higher prices.

“We view this as a loss of competition,” Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers’ Association of Canada, said of the deals.

MORE: Scrutiny urged over supermarket mega-mergers

In a paper published on the Loblaw-Shoppers transaction, Douglas West, an economist and chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Alberta, called for an extensive analysis of prices on overlapping product lines.

“You have all these local markets across the country and the competitive intensity will vary by market,” West said at the time.

“I live in a little suburb of Vancouver, and we’ve got a Safeway and a Sobeys,” the CAC’s Cran said.

The loonie’s sharp decline as well as skyrocketing meat prices have already accelerated growth in supermarket prices. Food inflation remained relatively stable for several years following the recession, but began rising sharply at the beginning of 2014, Statistics Canadadata show.

MORE: Shoppers spending more on food thanks to loonie’s drop

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Loblaw did not respond to requests for comment.On a conference call Thursday, Empire executives said hiccups with theirintegration efforts in the latest quarter had createddelays in introducing the grocer’s new pricing strategies, but the holdupsweren’t significant.

Next year

CIBC’s analysts said Loblaw and Empire still have work to do, but their respective pricing strategies should be fully phased in by next year. “By 2016, the most important element – pricing strategy – should be determined and coordinated,” the report from Aug. 12 said.

Empire is clearly showing it’s still a work in progress. The company said Wednesday earnings fell 14 per cent compared to the same period last year, citing costs associated with the integration of Safeway.

“From a pricing and promotional point of view it’s been more business as usual, with a few experiments here and there,” Marc Poulin, Sobeys CEO said on the call.“We’ve always said we want to make the transition to the new systems and processes first and foremost before we look at the way we market.”

MORE: Facing leaner times, Alberta grocery shoppers ‘trade down’

Belt-tightening among shoppers in Western Canada, where Safeways outnumber Sobeys, could also keep a lid on price growth, experts say.

Supermarket prices in regionssideswiped by the oil downturn will be difficult to raise and could actually tick lower, Kenric Tyghe, a retail stock expert at financial services firm Raymond James, said. “Necessitated by a more price sensitive Western Canadian consumer.”

Still, grocery shoppers elsewhere won’t likely seeanything close to lower food prices, the CIBC research note said. Next year “should be the culmination of consolidation: a distinctly less competitive marketplace.”

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Liberals rethinking leaders debate over ticket costs, lack of French

WATCH ABOVE: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was in Edmonton Wednesday night, looking to make gains. Shallima Maharaj was there.

EDMONTON — The federal Liberals are threatening to pull out of a leaders debate on foreign policy later this month over concerns that it won’t be bilingual as promised.

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The debate on foreign policy comes as the campaign has focused on the Syrian refugee issue in Europe, a matter Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau talked about during an event in Toronto Wednesday morning, and then again hours later in a campaign rally speech to supporters in Edmonton.

In a letter sent to the organizers of the Munk Debate on Wednesday, the co-chairs of Trudeau’s campaign team said they were reviewing whether to take part in the debate on Sept. 28.

The letter says that organizers promised the debate would be bilingual as a condition of Liberal involvement.

When Liberal officials looked over the format for the debate, they felt there wasn’t enough time allocated to debate issues in French. One campaign official said it looked like 15 to 20 per cent of the debate would be in French and the debate moderator was a uniligual anglophone.

“We agreed in principle, under the presumption that this was a bilingual debate; however, this is clearly not a bilingual debate,” the letter says.

Liberal officials also say they were concerned with the $95 per ticket price tag to get into the debate audience, as well as preferential treatment for Munk members, leading to what the letter described as an “exclusive list of Canadians” who would be able to attend.

“We cannot accept that,” reads the letter, signed by campaign co-chairs Katie Telford and Dan Gagnier.

“The days of political leaders auditioning in front of the country’s wealthiest elite are behind us. Debates should be open to all Canadians, regardless of where they live or with whom they associate.”

Telford and Gagnier wrote that Trudeau would only take part in the debate if organizers met their concerns “in a material way.”

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Georgia mother’s terrifying 911 call: ‘My children are trying to kill me’

WATCH ABOVE: Two brothers from Snellville, Georgia were arrested on Saturday after allegedly trying to drug and kill their parents for insurance money. Blayne Alexander reports.

Two Snellville, Georgia brothers have been arrested after allegedly trying to kill their parents.

In a shocking 911 call to police on Saturday, Yvonne Ervin is heard speaking to an operator about her two sons attempt to drug her and her husband.

“They’re trying to strangle us and shoot us,” Ervin said while hiding in an upstairs bedroom.

“They beat me up, they beat him up,” she also said.

Her husband was in the garage trying to honk the car’s horn to get the attention of neighbours.

“And they put Xanax in our food,” Ervin added.

Xanax is a drug mostly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Side effects include dizziness and drowsiness, which Ervin mentions in the phone call.

“We didn’t understand why we were so sleepy, but that’s why,” she said about her and her husband’s condition.

Ervin’s children were arrested and identified as Cameron Ervin, 17, and Christopher Ervin, 22. Neighbours say the brothers are respectful individuals.

Police said it looked like the two men had a plan to try and cover up the attempted murder due to the fact officers smelled a strong natural gas odor when they arrived on scene.

“Based on the evidence that has been gathered thus far, it is apparent that the brothers launched a plot to kill both of their parents,” police said in a press release.

The mother said she believes her sons were after the family’s insurance money.

Ervin has since been released from hospital while her husband remains in stable condition.

Both brothers are scheduled for a preliminary court hearing on Friday.

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Winnipeg Transit delays could last until December

WINNIPEG — The city has apologized for the short notice transit riders were given in a massive reduction in bus services that could now last several months.

At a press conference Thursday officials announced a back log of broken buses had left it with no choice but to reduce the number of available buses on certain routes until December.

The City first broke the news to the public in a tweet around 7 pm Wednesday night.

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“I would like to apologize to Winnipeg Transit users and customers for the short notice of these service changes,” CAO Doug McNeil said.  “We could have managed the impact to citizens…much better.”

Amanda Klassen says delays earlier this week left her behind schedule by more than two hours.

“Bus fees keep going up every year, and they keep cutting things on us,” the frustrated rider said.

Transit says a key issue is the city has one of the lowest number of available spare buses out of any transit service in the country.  But that they also went into this week “optimistic” they could handle it’s fall schedule.  On Tuesday, 15 buses broke down, some due to an emissions systems issue, and Transit says that’s when it became clear they could not handle the load.

“We decided instead of proceeding with unplanned service interruptions, to provide advance notice, as much as we could,” Dave Wardrop, Director of Winnipeg Transit, said.

But the union representing both drivers and mechanics said they’ve been warning this could happen for months, if not years.

“They are high maintenance coaches and we didn’t allow for that extra service requirement,” John Callahan, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said.

Routes with frequent or alternative transit service will have some service reduced in an effort to minimize overall disruption to the Transit system. No further solution was offered to solve the problem, beyond the reduction in services.

The city will release their revised fall transit service schedule Friday at 4 a.m. and the revised schedule will remain in effect until December.

Routes most likely to be affected include:

Morning rush hour:

17, 21, 22, 25, 29, 34, 44, 46, 54, 55, 58, 66, 75, 78, 137, 160, 162, 163

Afternoon rush hour:

11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 25, 26, 29, 41, 44, 46, 55, 58, 75, 77, 183

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#Elxn42: Race in Mount-Royal riding heats up

WATCH ABOVE: The battle for the riding of Mount Royal was in full swing Wednesday night.

MONTREAL — Liberal candidate Anthony Housefather opened his campaign headquarters in the Mount-Royal riding Wednesday night.

At the same time, Conservative candidate Robert Libman was handing out food baskets for Rosh Hashanah.

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“The riding has been Liberal for 75 years but everyone feels that we are on the cusp of a historic breakthrough and we can pull this off,” Libman told Global News.

READ MORE: Clash of the titans – two political foes battling it out for coveted federal seat

A few blocks away, Housefather supporters crowded into the Côte-Saint-Luc mayor’s campaign headquarters.

About 200 people came out to show their support for Housefather’s campaign; including EMSB Chair Angela Mancini, NDG Mayor Russell Copeman and representatives from various cultural groups in Montreal.

“The other campaigns in this riding are trying to win one particular group. We are working for the support of every community in Mount-Royal,” Housefather told the cheering crowd.

Polls show the Conservatives aren’t too far behind the Liberals in Mount-Royal with five and a half weeks left in the campaign.

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Australian principal fired for building ‘calm down’ cage for autistic child

An Australian principal had a cage-like structure built in a Canberra school as a “calm down” space for a student with autism. The principal has since been fired and “won’t be going back to a school.”

The details of the cage are outlined in a report released this week after an independent inquiry into the matter.

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The 2m x 2m x 2m structure, which had a self-closing door and a latch, was constructed in March by an independent contractor and dismantled 14 days later. The 10-year-old autistic boy it was built to contain was placed in the structure once by staff during that time.

READ MORE: Ontario couple turn to crowdfunding to help expand school for people with autism

The principal used $5,915 in school funds to have the cage built “without input, consultation or approval” from the school board. It was the principal’s decision to install the cage, which was removed after a complaint was filed.

The report notes that support services are available to schools, including behaviour specialists and counsellors, but the principal did not make a request for such assistance before the “inappropriate” structure was installed.

The name of the school was not released in order to protect the child’s identity.

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Police detonate ‘suspicious package’ at Exhibition GO Station

WATCH ABOVE: Situation left confused travelled stranded, crammed in to Union Station. Mark Carcasole reports.

TORONTO – A “suspicious package” found on the tracks of the Exhibition GO Train Station wreaked havoc during the rush-hour commute Wednesday causing widespread delays and cancellations.

Police said they received a report of a cylindrical package just before 4 p.m. Police closed all four tracks at the station as a precaution and service was suspended on the Lakeshore West line while a bomb-disposal squad investigated.

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A second package discovered at the station was determined to be a child’s backpack.

Service was also disrupted on the Lake Shore East, Barrie, Kitchener, Milton, Richmond Hill and Stouffville lines as a result of the investigation.

The package was detonated around 6:30 p.m. and just after 7 p.m. GO Transit said it had been given permission to resume service through Union Station.

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Exhibition Station has since reopened following the police investigation with service returning to normal.

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Metro Vancouver moves back to Stage 2 water restrictions

Metro Vancouver is moving back to Stage 2 water restrictions after being under Stage 3 restrictions since July.

“Recent heavy rains have restored Metro Vancouver’s reservoirs to acceptable water levels,” reads a Metro Vancouver statement.

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“Metro Vancouver staff have continuously monitored the water levels in our three reservoirs as well as our daily water consumption, and now that the reservoirs are within the seasonal average, we can return to Stage Two water restrictions,” said Carol Mason, Commissioner of the Greater Vancouver Water District and Metro Vancouver’s Chief Administrative Officer.

The following restrictions are now in place:

According to officials, private and commercial washing of driveways, sidewalks, and parkades as well as pressure washing are allowed for health and safety purposes, but not for aesthetic purposes. Sports and sand-based playing fields may only use the minimum level of water needed to keep them in usable conditions.

Lawn sprinkling is permitted once a week in the morning but prohibited during evening hours when demand is highest. Water use is also prohibited for public and commercial fountains and water features.

• For residences, even-numbered addresses may water their lawn between 4-9 a.m. on Monday, and odd-numbered addresses may water between 4-9 a.m. on Thursday
• For non-residential property, even-numbered addresses may sprinkle lawns between 1-6 a.m. on Wednesday, and odd-numbered addresses may water lawns between 1-6 a.m. on Tuesday
• Municipal parks must also follow the once-weekly lawn sprinkling times

-With files from Amy Judd

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Ex-tennis pro James Blake claims improper force by NYPD during mistaken arrest

WATCH ABOVE: Ex-tennis star James Blake thrown down, mistakenly arrested by NYPD. Hena Daniels reports.

NEW YORK – Internal affairs detectives are investigating claims by former tennis professional James Blake that he was thrown to the ground and then handcuffed while mistakenly being arrested Wednesday at a Manhattan hotel, police said.

Blake, 35, who is biracial, told the Daily News of New York he wasn’t sure if he was arrested because of his race but said the officer who put him in handcuffs inappropriately used force.

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“To me it’s as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is,” he told the newspaper. “In my mind there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what, there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody.”

The agent who represented Blake when he was a professional tennis player, Carlos Fleming, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

WATCH: NYPD officer’s road rage tirade caught on camera

Stephen Davis, the New York Police Department’s top spokesman, said a co-operating witness misidentified Blake to detectives investigating fraudulently purchased cellphones as one of two people he recognized as being involved with the scheme.

“Once Blake was properly identified and found to have no connection to the investigation, he was released from police custody immediately,” Davis said in a statement. “In regards to the alleged improper use of force, the police commissioner directed the internal affairs bureau to investigate.”

Officers arrested a suspect in the cellphone scam at the Grand Hyatt New York during a controlled buy earlier Wednesday, police said. It was after that buy that a deliveryman with the cellphone company pointed out Blake and another man in the hotel lobby as having purchased cellphones the day before, they said.

The second man was taken into custody, police said. A security guard at the hotel, himself a former member of the NYPD, recognized Blake, prompting the arresting officers to confirm his true identity.

Blake’s last tournament as a professional was the 2013 U.S. Open, where he lost in the first round of singles and doubles. He was ranked as high as No. 4 in the world and reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals, including at the U.S. Open in 2005 and 2006.

Blake was born in Yonkers and went to high school in Connecticut, then attended Harvard before turning pro in 1999.

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‘I don’t think about the other parties’: Elizabeth May dismisses vote-splitting concerns

WATCH ABOVE: Global’s Vassy Kapelos sits down one-on-one with Green Party leader Elizabeth May

VANCOUVER – Despite polls showing the NDP in the lead, Green Party leader Elizabeth May isn’t worried about splitting the vote in her home province of B.C.

“I don’t think about the other parties actually much at all,” May told Global News in an interview Wednesday. “We’re offering British Columbians the strongest voice in Parliament.”

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READ MORE: Green Party platform promises cash for infrastructure, eliminate tuition

May is currently the Green Party’s only elected member of parliament. Bruce Hyer, the other, crossed the floor from the NDP in 2013.

The Green Party  also released their full election platform Wednesday, pledging billions of dollars for the environment, infrastructure, health care and support for seniors – all without running a deficit.

May says she expects her party to have presence in B.C., but didn’t pinpoint by how many seats.

“We’re the only party that is prepared to say that we won’t allow tankers out of this port right behind me,” May said, referring to Vancouver’s port.

“We’re the only party that is offering British Columbians and committing to British Columbia that we will defend our coast.”

Though Conservatives hold a majority of seats in B.C., the NDP is currently polling as much as ten points ahead of every party.

READ MORE: Mulcair, Trudeau, Harper campaigning in vote-rich Ontario

University of British Columbia political scientist Max Cameron thinks many British Columbians who could vote either NDP or Green will direct their vote to the party they believe has the best chance of beating Conservatives.

“The Greens have a real problem, which is that they may be closer to the preferences of some progressive voters but the danger is that they could divide the vote,” Cameron said. “I think that’s likely something that will suppress the Green vote.”

Cameron does, however, think May’s seat on Vancouver Island is fairly safe.

At a campaign stop in Niagara Falls, NDP leader Tom Mulcair dismissed concerns the Greens could take away NDP votes in other parts of B.C. – though he wouldn’t mention the Green Party or May by name.

“I always try to respect my adversaries and that doesn’t change from party to party, because they all have their different strengths,” he said. “But I do know that in B.C. and across Canada, people want change”

May is adamant British Columbians, among others, will see it differently.

“We want…Canada to wake up to a big Green surprise the morning after the election.”

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Financial literacy a growing concern for B.C.’s students

When students graduate from high school, it used to be a solid understanding in reading, writing, and arithmetic would put them in good stead.

But a growing chorus of people say financial literacy may be the most important subject taught in high school and that B.C. students are falling woefully behind.

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“Unfortunately, many people are learning about financial literacy and how to manage money through the school of hard knocks. And that’s a really tough teacher, because they’re learning by mistakes,” said Scott Hannah of the B.C. Credit Counselling Society.

“[Students] come to us with a high level of stress, which obviously impacts their ability to study for school, and worried about [whether they will] have enough funds to live on through the course of a term, and they’re dealing with credit card debt too. That’s pretty common what we’re seeing in schools today.”

According to a 2013 Ministry of Education survey of high school graduates, only 17 per cent said schools were doing enough when it came to lessons on spending and saving.

This year? The Ministry scrapped the question altogether.

“They didn’t need to,” said Hannah.

“They know the answers, very plainly. They’re not doing a good enough job, and unfortunately parents aren’t doing a good enough job teaching them good money practices. The challenge is how do we introduce these concepts?”

In a statement, Minister of Education Mike Bernier defended the government’s record in light of the satisfaction survey.

“Our staff will be working with school districts to see how we can encourage participation and improve the overall satisfaction of students, staff and parents in our education system,” he wrote.

The government will introduce financial literacy into the math curriculum next year, but Hannah argues it should be discussed within the context of many different subjects, rather than a match course that many students find imposing.

“The challenge for our schools is this is not a one-term solution, this is going to take a decade to really manifest itself and grow so we’re graduating students with those skill sets. But it’s got to start now.”

Money pressures lead to plagiarism?

B.C. students carry $29,000 in student loans on average, the third highest in Canada.

“Students who cheat are doing it out of desperation. A student who is cheating is cheating because they can’t afford to fail a class or afford another year of school,” argues Simka Marshall, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-BC.

SFU Criminologist Rob Gordon agrees that financial pressures can manifest themselves in plagiarism.

“It’s certainly one of the issues. Students have to do spend more time raising money than they have in the past, and that reflects in a number of the ways – in the quality of the work, but their willingness to cut corners,” he says.

While financial pressures and the increased availability of online essay mills have seemingly made plagiarism more prevalent, Gordon says it’s hard to say whether it is actually on the rise.

“We don’t know. What we identify is probably the tip of the iceberg, but how big it is, we don’t know for sure,” he said.

“When this university began 50 years ago, I would guarantee there was cheating in the first term.”

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