I attended the Next NB education discussion session at Mount Allison University this evening. Not a lot of of people showed up, given conflicting appointments and the rather poor advertising, or maybe just due to apathy. I found out why the website doesn’t work, and now Lisa, our facilitator, has my utmost sympathy.
There were 15-20 people in attendance; most of whom were middle-aged or older. Attendees included university professors, retired professors, school disctrict representatives, teachers’ association representatives and others – not quite what one would call vox populi. I made comments based on my previous posts, so I won’t repeat them here. Some other interesting comments were:
- We should bring back the teaching of civics in school.
- We need to be inclusive of all minorities.
- We expect too much of our teachers.
- We should reinstate apprenticeship programmes.
- Low expectations are a critical problem.
As you can see, it was quite the potpourri of perspectives this evening. Not much was accomplished, but all comments were recorded. My suggestion to link to other blogs and conversations will be taken up, and I’m told that there will be links to this blog on the Next NB site.
A document entitled A Covenant with our Children: Education in New Brunswick (PDF) was handed out tonight. From the document:
- We must embrace the movement towards standards-based assessment, increased accountability and greater social inclusion. [interesting trio]
- Principals and vice-principals should be removed from the collective bargaining unit of the New Brunswick Teacher’s Union (sic) [is that why there were two reps from the NBTA in attendance?]
- Education reform is too important to allow the voices of teachers to be barred from the conversation. That discussion must include an open dialogue about French immersion. [and the students?]
Lots of stuff to digest, but I kept asking myself, will this exercise change anything? I’ll finish with an often quoted observation from Albert Einstein: