One response to new BC Ed Plan

This week the BC Government Ministry of Education launched a new splashy program to ‘modernize’ education in the province. Obviously I have a strong interest in this endeavour and I am usually a real optimist but I cannot help feel that a big media launch of this ‘plan’ during a teacher’s strike means its more about politics than substance. My biggest complaint is that the largest responsibly to implement these big goals falls on the shoulders of classroom teachers who have not been welcomed participants in goalsetting for a decade now. My second gripe is that the tone of the media campaign implies that teachers in BC are NOT progressive or modernizing. I strongly believe that the recognized high standard of student achievement and service to our BC children has been primarily the result of skilled dedicated and burdened professionals who have compensated for ineffective if not hostile government policy. Increasingly the system has been stretched to breaking points by poor educational leadership. Competent superintendents, administrators and teachers have been asked to do more and more with less and less. It is my hope that any plan for renewal would at least recognize this fact but the Ministry or Government leadership has continued to be very combative with the BCTF. Plans to implement large progressive goals require good faith, trust and pragmatic strategies not relentless ideology. Blaming all woes on the teachers union is simply unfair and politically stubborn. Even the courts have had to rule in favour of teachers concerns. I am pained by this chronic lack of collaboration because I believe that a strong public education system is a pillar of progressive democrat society. Ideological initiatives that have veered away from public service produce ills we see south of the border. BC has a strong tradition and a delivery model that works primarily because our society has supported a public model delivered by highly trained professionals and financed by everyone through taxes. Subsidizing private school models only moves us toward a system that is favours the privileged. The global evidence is overwhelming. Just research the OECD papers to see that education investment serves people well.

B.C. has a strong education system, but there is no denying that our world is changing rapidly. New jobs are constantly being created, and technology is changing the way we communicate and connect with each other. We need to modernize the way students are educated so they are prepared for the world, not only as it is now, but will be in the future.

My PLN has been discussing ( #bced #tlchat #bcedplan  ) the new BC Education Plan  recently and local media contacts have has some discussion as well CKNW and Janet Steffenhagan   etc.. Many sensible ideas have been delivered with other trying hard not be soaked by cynicism of BC politics.  Perhaps the most sober reflective assessment on the BC dynamic schooling landscape is Vancouver administrator Gino Bondi @gmbondi He has many progressive ideas and has been building some terrific initiatives within the VSB. Taking large sweeping vague plans and turning them into realtime projects is always the challenge. Teachers too often get snowed under by ineffective or sidetracked planning. ie. BCeSIS, Year2000, etc Dreaming is good. Necessary even but delivery inside a classroom is where the rubber hits the road each and every day.

Tweets sketched a few ideas on how a big scale project might be implemented.

  • Prioritize PLOs,
  • Reduce intended outcomes
  • Build teamwork/collaborate around priority
  • Develop and acquire resources to match needs
  • “stretch” resources via innovative teachers
VSB John Oliver Learning Commons

At first blush, I think I can see why many of my colleagues have doubts but many also can see hope because there are many schools and classrooms already doing innovative modern technologically student centered programming. ie. VSB John Oliver Learning Commons The current curriculum is massive and is conflict with the modernizing, personalized learning goals outlined in the BCEDPLAN.

My initial assessment is soured by the government’s track record and the implication that today’s teachers are not progressive. Hardworking talented educated professionals feel slighted by the lack of collaboration and respect given to teachers while the plan makes claims too dismissive of the demands on teachers. The quality of service for our children during the current teachers strike proves BC teachers do place kids first.  I will stay tuned.


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