A recent post by Chris Wejr http://mrwejr.edublogs.org/ discussing school choice and how it will only end up sustaining existing hierarchies got me thinking. Like Chris, I am a BC educator and he really got me going and making some connections to some of the discussions we have been having in our district.
Over the past two months our district, lead by Tom Schimmer (@tomschimmer) has been looking at reams of data and trying to make meaning of it. The goal was to reflectively look at the direction we have been moving and decide if it still makes sense. All stakeholders were invited and there was a good cross-section of voices in the group. The only groups not at the table were parents and support staff (both were invited) – too bad their voices would have been valued.
We looked at all sorts of data, too much to list, but it ran the spectrum K-12. What we found out wasn’t too surprising: our aboriginal students and behaviour students were the two groups most at risk for not completing high school. The conversations that emerged were surprising; to me anyway. As we talked about ways to support these students, it became clear that as a district we needed to invest in Early Learning.
This suprised me, because in my experience $$ has always been thrown at where the problem is, not at its source. Even the Secondary people were in agreement, knowing full well that it might mean less for them in the short term. The long term benefits, if implemented properly, might ultimately mean less need for intervention, but those benefits could be 5-10 years down the road. But rather than looking at our own needs, this committed group of educators looked at a problem holistically, with no agenda and make decisions based on the good of the system and not themselves.
I wonder if our new government in BC might think the same way, but based at @MrWejr’s post cited above, I am not hopeful.
Where to go from here? Well, there are still lots of work to do. Right now it is just an idea and vision – the mechanism still need to unfold. Before anything happens, we need to roll it out to all the partner groups for critique. The plan is to build a district plan that all stakeholders have had their hands on and their hearts in.
It could be amazing. I’ll keep you posted.