In a recent Province column, Jon Ferry discusses Thomas Fleming’s book A World Apart. According to Ferry, Fleming claims that “our overly politicized school system is rudderless, leaderless and essentially broken.”
Other quotes in the article are equally scathing, mostly regarding the conflict between the Education Ministry, the BCSTA, and the BCTF.
Certainly, if all one did to gather information was to follow the news, this viewpoint might be seen as having some validity–but only if one does not spend any time in public schools.
While I would agree that the frequent negativity and bickering from the “higher ups” is unproductive and, frankly, immature, our public schools continue to offer exceptional, world class education for our children. We are consistently seen as having one of the best public school systems in the world.
As a parent and a trustee I am both excited and proud of our public schools on the Sunshine Coast.
Something definitely needs to change within the politicized realm of public education, but, fortunately “on the ground” our public schools remain vibrant, amazing places that offer the best educational experiences available!
George Abbott, minister of Education, put out a missive this week that seemed to mostly fly under the radar (thanks to Susan Skinner, North Vancouver Trustee, for pointing it out).
The plan contains many ideas we’ve heard before, but not a lot of detail about any proposed changes. There are 5 key elements to the “plan”:
- Personalized learning for every student.
- Quality teaching and learning.
- More flexibility and choice.
- High standards.
- Learning empowered by technology.
Do you foresee any of these changes occuring?
And how will they ultimately look?
The “Occupy” movement spreading quickly throughout the US and Canada is a call for real democratic reform.
I’m not anti-business, not even anti-rich people, but I am very excited about the movement and the potential for positive dialogue and change in our society. I don’t think the goal of the movement is to brand all corporations as bad, but to illuminate the fact that the citizenry (the other %99) have virtually no say in how corporations operate within our respective countries.
I’m not as interested in whether or not business execs are rich, but I am interested in how they got rich. Was it from cheap public resources? Policies favouring one corporation over another? Pouring waste chemicals into public rivers? Slavery? Deceptive advertising? Those are the things citizens deserve a say in, and politicians, beholden to the groups that fund their war chests, have repeatedly not acted in the public interest in these matters.
The heart of the movement isn’t about taking from the rich, it’s about highlighting the fact that citizens in our “democracy” are not allowed to participate in the decision making process regarding matters of public policy.
Though it kills the status-quo-nicks, the fact that there isn’t a hard list of demands from the participants is sort of the point! This isn’t a special interest group lobbying for their own specific benefit. The reason the movement has gained momentum is that young people will be demanding a say in every area of public interest. As hard as it is to fathom for some of us, young people are simply not going to be satisfied with our centuries old system of having a handful of people deciding for them all matters of public import.
Our system isn’t horrible, it’s just not democratic. More and more people are wondering why that is. There are going to be true democratic reforms–it’s inevitable–just a matter of how it comes about.
Politicians (and media) that continue to dismiss this movement as an unorganized group of misfits do so at their own peril!
As this chapter of the HST struggle winds down, let’s consider the potential impact of the process. For me, as a proponent of true democratic reforms, this has been a monumental struggle. The results of the referendum are less important than the fact that citizens–hard-working folks that pay the bills and whose lives are directly impacted–were given the opportunity to have a say in public policy! Continue reading
President Obabma to Announce Cuts in 2012 Budget, but Not to Education.
Amid the financial crisis in the US president Obama continues to state that he will invest in education in an effort to “reform” the floundering US education system. Education reform has been a big issue in the US, spawning all kinds of ideas–some good, some silly, some “meh”– aimed at improving education.
Whether you like the idea of education reform or hate it, it has propelled education into the spotlight making it a focus nationally, regionally, and locally. I just don’t think you can say that about education in Canada.
Of course, we are different nations, and you could say that the US education system is in a “crisis,” and therefore warrants the attention; but most of the issues being discussed are relevant to Canada, and we do face many of the same challenges (though less extreme-so far.)
There are lessons to be learned in all this. We need to start focusing on education before we are in a crisis. I still haven’t heard any concrete plans from our BC leadership (NDP & Liberal) candidates on their plans to ensure our children get an exceptional education.
Where are the champions in BC?
Even though they are a popular (and safe) scapegoat, what the Fraser Institute does isn’t near the top of my list of priorities. I don’t care that much about what they do over there, and neither would the public if we just stopped talking about it.
Seriously, please stop.
As people responsible for public education, we have more important things to focus on—like children.
Let me go even further and declare that any problems we have in public education are not caused by the Fraser Institute, and what they do should have zero influence on what we do, or don’t do, in our public school system.
It’s time for those of us involved in the public education system to start taking responsibility for all aspects of the system. A collective look in the mirror, please. Continue reading