Vancouver forum to examine need for education reformJanuary 26, 2015
British Columbia’s efforts to make K-12 schools more flexible and innovative will be in the spotlight this week during a day-long forum examining the need for education transformation.
The event, titled BC Focus on Learning: Rising to the Global Challenge, will feature education experts in conversation with local education, economics and business leaders about what must be done to keep the B.C. school system strong.
Four BCCPAC directors, including president Nicole Makohoniuk, are among those invited to attend the event at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver. Others will be able to watch the proceedings starting at 8:30 a.m. via live-streaming at www.bcedplan.ca, or follow the discussion on Twitter by using #bcedforum.
Makohoniuk said she is delighted that BCCPAC has been invited to represent the voice of parents and excited about the opportunity to speak informally with other education partners about BCCPAC initiatives and the concerns of member PACs.
She said she is also looking forward to hearing from Education Minister Peter Fassbender, who has promised to reveal a strategy during the event to encourage more schools to become engaged in education transformation.
The minister is planning a regional tour to promote discussion about educational reform at the local level, with details to be announced soon.
The experts who will lead the Jan. 29 conversation are Tony MacKay, executive director for the Centre for Strategic Education in Melbourne; Yong Zhao from the Institute for Global and Online Education at the University of Oregon; David Albury, director of the Global Education Leaders Partnership (GELP), Stuart Shanker, a research professor at York University in Toronto, and Andreas Schleicher, special adviser with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Their topics will include; why education reform is necessary, the science of how we learn, how to transform a system and what global data says about education priorities.
But some educators on the ground have concerns. Surrey superintendent Jordan Tinney says “transformation” needs to be better defined because the term means different things to different people. Furthermore, he says the “journey” needs to recognize and reflect the many classroom initiatives that have already occurred.
“I cringe a bit when people say that schools today are no different than they were 20 years ago,” he wrote recently on his blog. “Yes, I fully agree many of the pieces of these institutions and systems we call ‘school’ are indeed identical to decades ago. However, many of the practices we see on a daily basis are unlike anything we have seen in the past and certainly not like in the 1800s as some may suggest.”
A good first step toward transformation would be recognizing the work already in progress, he adds in his post titled: “Transformation? Maybe it is just down the hall.”