Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The BCEdplan: I like what I've seen so far.

For the people of BC, particularly those in education, the existence of the BCEdplan is old news by now.  After getting off to a bit of a shaky start thanks to some unfortunate timing (the roll out coincided with teacher job action)  and the premature publication of some tentative and unrealistic timeline goals (which have since disappeared) the plan seems to be gaining genuine momentum.  Most tellingly, people and bodies who had initially been skeptical of the plan (many of them reflexively) have been increasingly silent as time has passed.  I can't help but take this as a sign that the open and collaborative approach being taken by the ministry is gaining converts.

The ministry has been actively seeking feedback using discussion forums on the web as well as hosting a series of feedback gathering sessions in numerous regions across the province.  Having helped organize the session in Richmond, and collate the feedback, I experienced first hand the genuine interest of our community in the directions that public education will be taking in the future.  All the feedback gathered so far has been summarized here.  Reading this report, I realized that the silence from those who had previously been naysayers in this process stems from the fact that the ideas expressed and the proposals being aired make sense.  In other words, there's been precious little to argue against.  I'm particularly heartened by this sentence from the "Next Steps" section;

"We recognize that transforming our education system involves more than just giving you a space to talk and then writing fancy reports. We must also act on what you’ve told us.  And we’re doing that."

Those who know me understand that it's my nature to be, shall we say, "suspicious" of government initiatives, especially as they pertain to education.  With that on the table I do have to admit that I've been very impressed thus far with the openness and candour with which the Ministry of Education has approached this initiative.  And though I don't often use "the T word" the direction that the ministry is taking promises to be truly transformational for the education system and for future students in the province.

The wholly unofficial word on the street is that it will be at least another two years before this plan is presented as a cohesive whole, and that's a good thing.  Reimagining and transforming something as large as a public education system, particularly given the stubborn tenacity of some of our industrial age structures and paradigms, does not come quickly or easily.  There are still far more questions than there are answers, and given the ever changing nature of society's expectations of education, I don't imagine that we'll ever have all the answers.  But if the ministry remains dedicated to this process, as the quote above would seem to indicate, then whatever's coming promises to be challenging, exciting and, to some "traditionalists", a little worrying.