I want to talk to everyone.
I want to talk to parents, students, teachers, administrators, Trustees, business leaders, politicians, school district employees, community residents, the media, and more.
I want to talk to people in the Lower Mainland, throughout British Columbia, across Canada, and internationally. And I want to share the content of these discussions with others.
I want these conversations to be about education. Specifically, I want to discuss and investigate the following three key questions:
- What is education?
- What is the purpose of education?
- How do we deliver this education to all the children of BC to ensure the future health and vibrancy of our society?
I also want to make sure that education is a ballot box issue in 2017. I want the moderator of the next leaders’ debate to pose more than one throwaway question on the topic and I want every MLA candidate in this province to be asked about education when they are campaigning.
Because the current polarization in the education sector is not productive. The discussions about education in this province have devolved into ideologically formed positions and institutional battles with the result that we are not serving our children well.
The last Royal Commission on Education was held in 1988 and the world has changed since then, but these changes are not reflected enough within our education system.
During the recent job action, the BC Education Plan, a framework for planning proposed under the direction of the Ministry of Education, was politicized and the partisanship compromised the plan as an avenue for wide-ranging conversations.
I appreciate efforts such as BCEdChat on Twitter (Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. @bcedchat), the Ministry-led discussions around the curriculum, and many other individual initiatives meant to raise awareness of education issues. I also recognize the hard work of many other groups which have recently emerged to support public education. I hope they’ll all continue with the important work they’re doing. The more voices raised, the more they’re likely to be heard.
I also respect the work of the established groups which represent a collective voice for parents (BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, BCCPAC), educators (BC Teachers’ Federation, BCTF), trustees (BC School Trustees Association, BCSTA), and others. Each organization has their own issues to address and I think they all have much to do in the future to meet the needs of their members.
Even so, it seems to me that we need to draw on a much wider circle of participation.
And that’s what I plan to do.
I want to create a forum and an arena where everyone can contribute to the discussion without having to be a member of any particular organization or having to espouse a particular outlook or perspective.
I want this to be a dialogue for all of us because the way in which we manage education affects each of us.
With this in mind, I’ve established a citizen’s commission on education. It’s a small step. One I felt I had to take because the “bigger picture” discussion about education has been lost in the turbulence of the sector over the past few decades.
This idea may work. It may not work. But I felt I had to do something to galvanize public attention and to give education in this province the attention and support it requires.
It’s time to focus the dialogue on education: what we mean by that term and what we want it to be. Then we need to let our political representatives know what it is we want from our education system. We can no longer sit back and have them tell us what education should look like because based on the evidence, their views do not seem to extend beyond the next election.
Join me in the conversation. Help me create a framework for dialogue. Visit www.EducationForBC.com and follow @edu4bc on Twitter. Help me get the talking started.
Let’s work together. Let’s make this happen for our children and for all of us.