Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Inspiring Education and religious fanatics: not what you might expect.

So, I come to my computer this evening to make a post, after a fair hiatus, about Inspiring Education. Rusty to the process, I mistype the address into the explorer bar and end up at http://www.blogpsot.com/. It didn't take me long to determine that I would have to include my stumble onto this site as part of my post. But I'll get there later...

Now, anyone who was at The Inspiring Education Fall Forum knows that Bridget Ryan has the uncanny ability to use every conjugation of Inspire known to man. And, they also know where education should go over the next 20 years.

The big question is, how will we reconcile the fact that everyone leaving Northlands today had a slightly different image of that future?

First off, the team and everyone involved needs huge commendations for putting together an incredible environment where Albertans could get hopeful about our future and the potential we have as a society. It was about building the society of our dreams by ensuring that our children grow to their greatest potential. It was inspiring and there were some fabulous things said.

But we need to be clear, there was no synthesis of ideas from table to table and there were no ratifications of ideas or suggestions. There was no collective voice of Inspiring Education developed.

This is not a criticism of the process, it is merely an observation of the outputs. An important observation.

Over the next few months we are going to be in the process of rewriting the legislation that oversees education in Alberta. There is going to be a great deal of talk about what the system should look like and who should be doing what and how they should do it.

Beware the advocate who says that "Inspiring Education told us ___________."

Even (or perhaps especially) if that person is from the Government of Alberta or, for that matter, the Alberta Teachers' Association.

As valuable, authentic and informative as the process was, it was not a decision making body and it wasn't a referendum on policies - and that is exactly how it was intended. Government is not about to allow itself to be fenced in by what Inspiring Education said, and therefore nobody should be able to use it as a mantle to hang their own biases or agendas.

In the end, the process did exactly what it should. It gave people an opportunity to dust off their binoculars and peer into that perfect world down the road and to feel confident talking about what their vision for education in Alberta is, which is what these next few months are all about.

We need this dialogue and the government still needs to hear your thoughts, because some one needs to counter the more radical points of view out there.

No comments: