What do you think is important for our education system in the future?

Summary to date:
Here’s a summary of what you’ve said so far. Click on the links beside each theme to read supporting examples.

  1. Change is necessary (1, 2, 3)
  2. Change is already happening (1, 2)
  3. System is fine as is (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  4. Stick to the basics (1, 2)
  5. Resources (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  6. Technology (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  7. Parental involvement (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  8. Class size and composition (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  9. Concerns about inequity (1, 2, 3, 4)
  10. BC Ed Plan lacks substance (1, 2, 3)
  11. Online portfolios (1, 2)
  12. Teacher training (1, 2)
  13. Online learning (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  14. Modified calendar (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  15. Independent schools (1, 2, 3)
  16. Curriculum (1, 2, 3)

Please leave a comment below if you’d like to contribute to this topic.

353 Responses to “ Question 3: What do you think is important for our education system in the future? ”

  1. Al Smith says:

    After 30 years of dedicated service to thousands of K-12 students and working many gifted educators and administrators, I strongly belief that a strong public education system works. The successes I’ve witnessed started with building a strong school team where education meets the kids. When policy distances administration from the teacher and the classroom efficiencies are lost. Trust and community are required if the skilled professional practitioner is expected to deliver intended outcomes. Teachers need to be appreciated and welcomed into the process as collaborators. Alienating teachers does not impact union positions but only handcuffs the hardworking innovative educators who know what works with children. BC should be proud of our tradition and dignify the service by improving collaborative relations at the district and school level. Empowering parents and students while ignoring teachers needs is counter productive. There is enormous innovative professional capital available without significant dollar costs but changes for the future, as successful adaptations in the past, require strong school communities built on trust and communication. Superintendents cannot perform miracles.

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  2. Joanne says:

    While I think that the plan has some potentially interesting ideas in it, I think it is short on details. My main question as an educator, and what I think is important for our education system, is “What does this plan look like?” If, for example, the ministry wants individualized education–which I think is desirable and possible–what would that look like in a secondary school, where I teach? Would it be in the context of current classes of 27 to 30+ x 7 blocks? Or would classes be smaller or organized in a significantly different way? Would it still allow for group/social learning, which we know to be important in the learning process, or would it be each student doing their own thing independently? Would I as a teacher be expected to let each student following their own desires/passions exclusively or would there be a core set of knowledge and skills that we all share, and some space for students to explore on their own? How much of the curriculum and of class time and materials would be spent on each? This is where I feel the plan falls down somewhat, because these “on the ground” details are not addressed, so while we may embrace the idea of “individualized education” there is no sense of what that could or should look like, how much it might cost (ex. smaller classes cost more money) or what it might mean in terms of time and materials or training. If there were specific examples (I say examples because it might look different in elementary, middle, secondary, urban, rural, etc.) it would give the public a better idea of where the ministry is heading with this and if it’s doable or even what we want for our students.

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  3. David Truss says:

    I’ve had a educational blog that I’ve been writing in for over 5 years now and a few posts are relevant to this topic:

    Less is more. Teach less, learn more.
    pairadimes.davidtruss.com/less-is-more-teach-less-learn-more/
    1. Time- Pro-D, preparation, planning & play
    2. Co-teaching & collaboration opportunities
    3. Models & Mentorship
    This looks at the Finish Model:
    “This creativity aspect is very important because in Finland we believe that risk-taking, creativity and innovation are very, very important for a society like ours. And particularly working in this global and globalized world it is more important than what you actually know and remember, it is more what you are and what you are capable of doing.” ~ Pasi Sahlberg
    And also at Andy Hargreaves:
    ‘The Fourth Way‘~ “Responsibility before Accountability”
    (A point that I think this plan is missing.)

    The future of education will be open and distributed
    http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/future-of-education-open-distributed/
    Here are 4 trends that education is moving towards: Greater Transparency, greater Responsibility, greater Individualization and greater Permanence.

    Transformative or just flashy educational tools?
    http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/transformative-or-just-flashy-educational-tools/
    What should we do with tools to make them great? Here are 6 key points:

    1.Give students choice.

    2. Give students a voice.

    3. Give students an audience.

    4. Give students a place to collaborate.

    5. Give students a place to lead.

    6. Give students a digital space to learn.

    David Warlick gave a 7th suggestion in the comments:

    7. “Give the learners a sandbox.”

    I also like that he said ‘learner’ rather than students since this approach will be helpful for educators as well.
    ___
    Happy to continue the dialogue…
    David Truss, Vice Principal of Coquitlam Open Learning, Coquitlam, BC.

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  4. Peter Mare says:

    IF those education ministers around the Commonwealth had any vision and understanding of the complexity of learning English, they would call a conference (online would be much cheaper) during which they would lay the bold new steps to start to simplify (modernize/make more logical) the spelling of the English language. Do they know that countries such as Italy, Germany, and Sweden have about HALF of the illiteracy rates that English countries have. Compared to Italian, a highly phonetic and regular language, your chance of being dyslexic (learning disabled) is DOUBLE, if you are an English-speaker? Do they know that English-speaking children take up to TWO years more to learn reading than do children in TWELVE other European countries? (http://www.spellingsociety.org/) I doubt any other steps could improve literacy more than reforming English spelling. Oh! And, for the people who cannot handle change (;), dinosaurs like me would not be expected to learn this new system. In effect, for a generation or so, there would be TWO spelling systems living side by side, which is and will be made easier to live with now that our world is more and more a digital world! Think about it! 2 MORE YEARS learning SOMETHING else than reading!

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  5. Jeff Stewart says:

    The DL world in BC is over ladened with regulation and an ever shifting policy environment. We spend more time adjusting to sudden and seeminly arbitrary changes to DL regulations than we do focusing on instructional excellence. We serve too many masters – the DL Branch and our own districts. We need to be free to innovate. The funding formula needs to be radically simplified and we need to be trusted to do our work – the audit hammer needs to disappear. We need equity in funding with bricks and mortar schools, especially when it comes to blended programs. The current debate over support block funding which caps the number of funded learning blocks at 8 each year is an example of the MOE saying innovate on one hand, while placing significant contraints on it with the other hand.

    DL needs a student information system that is robust and can serve the needs of continuous enrolment schools. BCeSIS must be scrapped and a new system created that can accomplish this. Tinkering with this will not work.

    We have to recognize that in the 21st century, the teacher working day has substantively changed to meet the needs of our students and parents. We need to be able to meet and guide learning innovation with teachers when our students are not in session without having to release them from being with the very students they are charged with guiding learning for. The savings alone to school districts and schools, if they did not have to pay for TOC release time to meet with teachers, would more than pay for significant improvements to the delivery of programs in our schools. Like any other working environment, we need to be free to meet with our teachers outside the 9-3 industrial, collective agreement framework.

    Mentoring, guiding, and coaching requires more effective pastoral care and deeper teacher/student/parent relationship building. To accomplish this we must have a teacher to student ratio that can be effective in guiding learning in an environment where personalized learning is the operational mandate. Funding need to reflect this as does the legislation around teacher/student ratios. After close to 30 years in the field, it is very evident to me that this cannot be accomplished when a single teacher has 25-30 students to look after, half or more of which often have significant self regulation challenges and/or IEP designations. What we have now is an exercise in futility. The legislation, policy and funding around this has to be modernized and made realistic.

    We are one of the most affluent nations on the planet. All of the shifts that the BC MOE are laying the groundwork for with the new plan are laudible, but the devil is always in the detail and getting the fine print clear is essential if any of this is going to be realized.

    Finally, we can’t possibly continue to think of guiding education from merely a provincial mandate. We are part of a nation which is our gateway into the world and with one another as citizens. The historical roots of educational jusrisdiction at the provincial level in this country need to start shifting towards a national system. It is a glaring contradiction that we herald Finlands education system while simultaneously comparing it to BC or ALTA in OECD studies. Am I alone in getting this?

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

    {name removed by moderator]
    District Principal DL

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    • Richard Ajabu says:

      You are not alone. I like to think “out of the box” too and I have raised the provincial vs federal question before as well. While it usually generates a bit of interest and discussion it never grows any legs…there are just too many other higher priority fires being fought in education in BC.

      In another post, I suggested that the BC College of Teachers, or whatever replaces it, create an online communication & collaboration system, available to all its members, for professional issues only (no union or employer issues). The idea being that if all BC teachers have a common venue to discuss, debate, share and otherwise participate in professional issues, exclusive from the union and employers, then the profession would grow and mature. Without a common independent space, a virtual professional community, for teachers to participate in professional issues, the union-government tug of war will continue to spill over into the profession. We should think big and draw the future in…perhaps such a system should be created with an eye toward seamlessly scaling it to include larger jurisdictions.

      Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Devon says:

    Hi, do we have any information about how many students who enroll in an online class actually complete it (outside of the graduation question)? I know students with aptitude and discipline can succeed; however, my concern with online education is that it can be a dumping ground for students struggling for a variety of reasons and that without the physical limitations of a classroom, teachers can have very high class numbers so it becomes more of a tracking game than actual teaching.

    My other concern is that in order to be successful, online courses need to have a variety of interactive and relevant multimedia (videos, animations, etc.), an opportunity to connect with fellow students and formative and timely feedback. The course structure and teacher workloads I’ve seen do not facilitate any of this well and my understanding is intake is high and completion is low. I appreciate that up to date, competitive online courses are expensive to develop and maintain. However, if we are directing students that way, success rates need to be transparent and informed action plans to improve the learning conditions for distributed learning must be under discussion publicly. I’m personally for more flexibility and choice in education but we need responsible for what we are offering.

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  7. Ann says:

    Some of our intermediate (gr.4-7) classes have 30 students, with a wide range of abilities, behaviour challenges and social problems. With the removal of class size and composition requirements it is very difficult to provide individualized instruction. As a primary teacher I have asked repeatedly for early intervention for some of my needy students and have been refused unless they meet a narrow criteria. As a teacher I have financially supported my students and my classroom by spending thousands of dollars on books, math materials and supplies as the $300 per year per class allowance is simply not enough to equip a classroom. I communicate weekly with my parent group and have worked on district and ministry committees. This video does not provide solutions. Teachers continue to do the best possible job they can for the students they are dedicated to with little financial support and often impossible class size and composition. Reduce the class size. Full day Kindergarten children at ages 4 and 5 years are placed in classes of 22 children. Show me how you can meet these video objectives with 22 four year olds and one adult?

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  8. laureen says:

    I believe fitness and health is a strong area of a child’s learning and development. There is not enough emphasis on cardiovascular, strength and flexibility on a daily basis in schools. It is our job to promote fit kids for their childhood and livelihood as an adult. There is too much junk food in schools. We need to educate kids on proper choices in nutrition. I would like to see a policy that Teachers are not allowed to hand out food unless it is authorized by the school district. Weekly, there are birthdays, celebrations and children are still receiving candy from teachers. We MUST CHANGE the world in their fitness and health which as research shows will help their academic development, too.

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  9. Portia says:

    Modern, flexible, choice, teachers who are familiar with real world requirements rather than only academics or textbook material.

    Modern: The system needs to evolve alongside society. What worker writes with a pencil and paper nowadays? Who communicates progress on such an important issue so few times/year in person, based on very little concrete information? Work is done via email, via blackberry, via remote laptops using new software every few years. Progress or lackthereof should be reported on as it happens in an online portfolio that follows the child throughout their school career.

    Bring parents into the education system (via online portfolio) – they are a big untapped resource. Let parents become their child’s tutor, their motivator, cheerleader, and celebrate their successes…and help the child find ways to resolve their difficulties. Kids don’t always keep parents informed, despite our best efforts to gather info. Parents can help kids not fall through the cracks. Teachers try to empower, inspire, and teach 20+ whereas parents can focus solely on their child. We have a lot to contribute beyond PAC fundraising. Let us in. More work? Yep. Good value? Definitely. Will have a great impact on student learning? I think so.

    Flexibility: No one doubts the value of core subjects, but they don’t have to be taught at the exclusion of others such as computer software, welding, etc.

    Education is taught as it was 100 years ago, but 100 years ago its focus was geared toward those who would pursue academics. Now? Even those who pursue university studies need marketable skills. Look to Quebec – let our kids graduate high school with a trade or skillset rather than just an eloquent & intelligent burger-flipper who has to go to college to learn a marketable skill.

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  10. Arvid says:

    Please, please listen to this man before we make a huge mistake. BC has the potential to do the right or wrong thing.

    http://youtu.be/oXiHStLfjP0 Iain McGilchrist a British Neuroscientist.

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    • Moderator Liam says:

      Thanks for the link Arvid. Can you tell us more about what this means to you and how it addresses our question? How will this contribute to improving the education system in BC?

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  11. Chuck B. says:

    Restoring the billions in funding that the Liberals ripped out of the system over the past ten years is the most important factor that our education system needs. Before we start pulling children out of the regular system and trying to entice them with on-line courses and shiny new technological toys that will not help them relate to their fellow human beings, we need to make sure that all class sizes are small, and that children’s emotional needs are being met.

    This plan is terribly premature, and is being rolled out at a terribly inappropriate time. The government can’t even bring itself to settle with the teachers, and yet it wishes to push this “plan” down our throats? I think not.

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  12. Sean Welby says:

    I spent two years working for an independent distributed learning program that embodies many of the principles that this Educational Plan is hoping to achieve. Students’ yearly “Learning Plans” truly were 100% student-centered in that they were designed around the kitchen table in conversation between the student, parents, and a teacher in the role of “Learning Consultant.” Communication between stakeholders was mediated through a well-designed online technology platform, as were most aspects of assessment, reporting and even professional development. While the outcomes of such an approach were truly impressive for many students, adapting such a model to the education system as a whole presents formidable challenges that this Educational Plan does not yet address in any substance, specifically:

    1. A True Student-Centered Learning Model Would Likely Require a Doubling of Investment in Teaching
    True student-centered learning requires an incredible amount of time and schedules that provide substantial opportunities for collaboration and contact with families. In the program I mentioned above, communication, assessment and collaboration required to facilitate the learning plans of thirty students was a full-time job on its own; students were, effectively, home-schooled under the supervision of parents. In effect, adding the additional duties required for a fully student-centered learning model on top of the regular duties of a classroom teacher (planning, prep, lesson-delivery, attendance, supervision, community building, behaviour management, etc.) would thus become the equivalent of two full-time teaching jobs for a group of thirty students. Is this an investment that the government is prepared to make?

    2. Most Parents Would Require Vastly Increased Social Supports to Take on the Role of Full Partners in Their Children’s Learning
    Another key component that allowed the program described above to function was that it relied on parents being 100% involved in their children’s learning. Not only did they supervise their children all day, every day, they were also responsible for the delivery of learning activities. Once again, they were, in effect, home-schooling their children, freeing the teacher-as-learning-consultant to perform the demanding responsibilities that facilitating a student-centered learning program required. At the public school where I teach now, many families are in such a state of crisis as a result of the crushing influences of poverty, violence, substance abuse and hopelessness that they couldn’t possibly take on an increased role in overseeing their children’s learning even if they weren’t already working exhausting hours at low-paying jobs just to make ends meet. As far as collaboration with parents is concerned, many of the families I work with now in the public system don’t even have a working phone, let alone access to technology that provides functional internet access. Any educational plan that requires a significant increase in parental involvement must also provide a framework for supporting families to become more effective partners in their children’s learning.

    3. Improving Access to Modern Technological Tools Will Require Significant Investments
    The current technological infrastructure of BC’s school system is completely unprepared for the demands of a program that would require every students to have regular access to technological tools. At our recently rebuilt public school of more than 700 students, there is just one computer lab and two computers per classroom and already the newly-installed network is completely bogged down. Technology budgets have been whittled down already to such an extent that even showing a DVD is difficult. The costs of modernizing computer networks to the level required by a province-wide “device for every student” model would be astronomical. Where will the resources for such an overhaul come from?

    These issues are just starting points. I encourage people to have a look at what a successful student-centered, technology-mediated educational program might look like, and then imagine the complex issues that will need to be addressed to make such a program viable province-wide by visiting http://www.selfdesign.org

    As an educator who already strives to implement many of the principles described in this Educational Plan, I will certainly follow this evolving discussion with interest, although my past experience of this government’s major education initiatives leaves me deeply skeptical and highly alarmed.

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  13. Aaron says:

    This whole plan seems to imply that teachers are just sitting at the chalkboard writing notes for the entire class. I find this kind of insulting. For the vast majority of teachers, nothing could be further from the truth. We are constantly look for ways to be innovative and use technology. Many have taken masters degrees in technology. What is the biggest barrier to this…the ministry of education!!

    Specifically:
    1)Rigid, extremely detailed curriculums with high stakes standardized exams that allow very little time to explore topics with technology or with critical thinking (this takes time!!)
    2)Underfunding. My school now has less computers than three years ago due to lack of funding. If you are going to push technology, we need targeted ADDITIONAL funding, not taking away money from a system already running on fumes. Otherwise the kids at wealthier schools will all have iPADS bought by the PAC while the kids at poorer schools are sharing 5 year old laptops.
    3)Class size. Personalized learning is in theory a great idea. The more kids you have, the harder it gets. Lets see, personalized learning plan for 34 kids, 5 special needs, in an overcrowded class when BC teachers get 1/2 the prep time of other provinces? Right.

    The ministry of education needs to actually SUPPORT teachers, get out of the way and stop constantly battling teachers and thinking we are the enemy. Maybe actually listen when teachers tell you something won’t work or needs to change (BCesis anyone?). This plan will never work unless you get teachers to buy in.

    This plan seems very utopian. I know I seem cynical but “the devil is in the details.” What are the details? Where is the funding coming from? Will curriculum become more flexible to allow this to happen? How would teachers be assessed regulary differ from what is being down now…principals don’t have time now to do a thorough job of this.

    This seems like an effort to distract the BC public from the governments failure to properly fund education and live up to its own watered down legislation on class size and support. But hey, BC Place has a new $500 million dollar roof. For that amount you could have bought an ipad for every student and teacher in BC. Twice!

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    • Change is Good says:

      No plan will be implemented unless teachers are a major part of it. Teachers are the implementers and therefore, need to be in the forefront of the change.

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  14. Teacher says:

    Wow! How does the government plan to fund this program? It sounds great in theory, as with many new things, but in practice? There is a huge discrepancy between schools around Vancouver, take the west side and east side of Vancouver as one example. At a recent workshop, one colleague shared her school didn’t even have a PAC, never mind a PAC that was able to raise thousands of dollars of money (e.g. 25) to buy the technology the government wants us to use. When should I be expected to learn this new technology? At night, after I have made dinner, put my kids to bed, made lunches for the next day and caught up with my husband!!!! When the government can’t provide funding to help our most vulnerable and needy students, not to mention those grey area students who are waiting for testing, why are we are throwing money at technology like this?

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  15. Vanessa says:

    Furthermore, do these reforms suggest, that in order for a student to be successful in education he or she has to have access to an ipad or iphone? In my classroom, as it stands, all a student needs to be successful are a willingness to learn and engage, a relevant text, a pen and paper, a place to comfortably sit, a supportive set of parents, and an educated, dedicated teacher.
    There are already ENOUGH diversities of learning styles and abilities in the average classroom. Do we need to further diversify into those who “have” and those who “have not” the means to provide their children with this technology? Will those who don’t have access to these costly devices be held behind as a result?

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  16. Vanessa says:

    Perhaps if it were teachers themselves leading the reforms, or even had they been consulted, this very costly presentation could have been more informed and relevant. I find this plan about as well thought out as then Education Minister’s [name removed by Moderator] “Pathways to Education” in which students at 16 years of age were to decide their futures.
    Please do outline for us, just how a young a mind is to develop critical thinking skills sitting mono e mono with a computer screen. Children already have a limited focus; will they really search out and read differing opinions and views when they could have had them presented through dynamic and thought-provoking classroom discussions?
    This seems to me to be a dangerous removal of the “humanity” involved in the learning process. Perhaps this government only wants a future of automatons who do not know how to challenge and question?

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    • Vanessa says:

      I wonder why the Moderator removed the Premier’s name [name removed by moderator] from this post. She was the Education Minister at that time, and she did introduce/unveil the “Pathways to Education” plan.

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      • Moderator Liam says:

        Hi Vanessa,
        We have a Moderation Policy in which we reserve the right to make minor edits to comments that contain names, either poster’s own names or those of elected officials.

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      • Curious says:

        Good one Vanessa- I think that narrowed it down enough for any non-educators to figure it out!

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  17. Jim Allison says:

    The catchphrase from “good to great” is becoming cliche, but it is important to acknowledge that there is a lot of very good happening in our schools today. The notion that schools are stuck in the 1950s, with desks in rows and students writing rote tests is not connected to what is going on in secondary schools now. Independent and cooperative project work is common. In their final two years of high school, students only have three prescribed courses (and 20 prescribed credits) and are free to take whatever other courses interest them or meet their post-secondary needs. These credits are acquired in school and outside of school. While this includes typical offerings like chemistry, physics, math or geography, history and law, it often includes unique choices like theatre, metal work, carpentry, leadership, psychology, Computer Assisted Design (CAD), engineering, accounting, marketing, art, jazz band, recording arts, fashion design or calculus.

    21st century, personalized, self regulated or independent learning works best when students have a fundamental knowledge base and a grasp of core concepts alongside important skills and processes. Indeed, critical and creative thinking about a problem can only occur as one truly understands a problem. It is simplistic to think that a learner can just “Google” the facts and carry on (i.e. an iPad and her natural curiousity alone will not prepare my child for the future). The balance of “formal” and “informal” modes of secondary schooling must be carefully considered and this will be different for each student, depending on their post-secondary plans. I do not think predetermined credits of “independent learning” should be mandatory for all.

    Working alongside post-secondary institutions (and admissions offices), secondary schools must continue to evolve and revise in an effort to prepare and engage all students for their future. If the evidence or product of personalized learning is not connected to the process of gaining access to post-secondary schools, most secondary students will not engage as it is not relevant to their future plans. We also need to invite and involve all stakeholders, including teachers, into this process as monitoring and supporting independent learning requires different and more complex skills than teaching a course to a classroom of students. Dedicated teachers will need to meet with, support and mentor independent learners. This must be part of their teaching assignment and not merely added on top of their other work. We will also need to carefully consider what the “qualifications” for this work might be.

    Other good ideas in B.C. that were related to self-regulated and reflective learning, such as the Student Learning Plan and the Graduation Portfolio, did not work because students did not need these to get to where they wanted to go. Similarly, poor levels of commitment and support saw them eventually disappear. We need to work together, with an open mind, to make it work this time.

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  18. Peyton says:

    I believe that meaningful learning experiences are key. Consequently, I wonder why online learning is particularly being mentioned on this plan — a 500% increase in enrolment. What is the success rate in online courses compared to traditional courses? (I suspect it is much less.) More information please.

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    • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

      Hi Peyton. At the moment, course success data does not exist for any schools, of any kind. The vast majority of students in DL take only 1 or 2 courses, so graduation rates aren’t relevant. We do know that online students who write mandatory provincial exams do as well as students in other types of schools. Also, most of our distributed learning enrolments are students in standard schools taking supplemental courses, and many are adults taking courses for upgrading. It’s not the only type of learning these students are experiencing.

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      • Peyton says:

        I believe this data does exist; by this I mean the number of students who enrol in online courses compared to the number of students who actually complete the course. I have talked to some teachers whom I know who say that the completion rate is staggeringly low.

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        • Curious says:

          I would say that is an accurate assumption. Distance learning, as mentioned by others in many posts, is not for everyone. In our district, we have an online virtual school that facilitates DL courses for students from everywhere and they could certainly figure out success rates if they wanted to. All gr.10 students in our district are required to do Planning 10 online (required to grad), so our numbers might be proportionally higher, but success rates are far from great. They have been improving recently, but that is more likely due to our counsellors being less inclined to plug them into DL blocks because of the low completion rates than because the courses are better or in any way more engaging. If this education plan is going to focus on personalized learning, then they better do more than simply direct more kids into DL and give them access to more Computers for Schools leftovers. DL is an option that will enable some to gain a measure of success and flexibility, but it is not the holy grail.

          It will cost actual money to improve our education system, not gimmicks like this ‘plan without details’ that has virtually no explanation and seemingly no input from non-ministry education professionals. I suppose it is good that this site is up and running, but I worry it is just the ‘C’ word- consultation- that will then allow the politicians to say they had input from all partners and go ahead and do what they planned all along. Public school teachers have plenty of experience with that game, so you can see why I am concerned that this is just more of he same rhetoric that our current premier employed back when she was the Ed. Minister. You know, when all of the partner groups thought it was a great idea to slash funding and strip the teachers contract…

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          • Moderator Carrie says:

            Hi Curious,

            Thanks for your comment. The objective of BC Education Plan blog is to solicit input from a wide range of stakeholders on how to improve our education system. This is a genuine effort in consultation, where the information we collect from the blog will be reviewed and analyzed thoroughly. We’ve put the effort in to create this website because we value citizen input, and we fully intend to be as transparent as possible when it comes to the feedback we receive and how this feedback will impact our plan going forward.

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  19. Arielle says:

    The province needs to work with pre-service teachers to help prepare them to meet the goals of the new plan. How is the government planning on partnering with post-secondary institutions around the province to ensure that we are prepared to guide students in this new era of education?

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    • Moderator Virginia says:

      Good question, Arielle. What are your ideas?

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      • Curious says:

        What are the chances of getting answers from the Ministry to questions like this? The minister is the one saying things are going to happen- is there truly no part of the plan that can be explained?? Answering a question with a question in this forum is not helpful, so is there another place to get straight answers to simple questions like the one posed by Arielle? My MLA is A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy’s not-so-nice brother, so no help there… Any ideas?

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        • Moderator Carrie says:

          Curious Teacher,

          Thanks for your feedback. While we understand citizens want the answers to their questions, we are still in the midst of a fact-finding process. This initial engagement forum is a starting point for soliciting input and ideas from the public – and this includes suggestions and ideas for government to proceed. While we will dig deeper into the issues that matter to citizens, government is asking citizens to provide us with sound advice.

          With respect to Arielle’s question around pre-service teacher training, this forum is a starting point that will better inform conversations when government follows up with meeting with Universities and various sector groups on pieces of the Plan. We are already working with various post secondary institutions, and we have initiated a conversation with the Ministry of Advanced Education and our education partners with respect to teacher education and pre-service training. Within this forum, we are engaging in the stages of discussion that will help inform these kinds of meetings.

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  20. Joseph says:

    Children love to learn.
    You don’t have to be around them often to understand this – their enthusiastic curiosity and boundless quest to have all their questions answered starts at birth.

    Yet for many, school becomes a drudgery, sometimes even seems to quash their enthusiasm for learning.
    We need to look deeply at the root causes for this dichotomy. If the K-12 system can engage student’s innate curiosity, if it can help students on their natural quest for understanding, then curriculum becomes less important. It is more important the students develop the skills and desire to learn – in general, about whatever interests them – than it is that they are crammed with a particular, pre-defined set of “knowledge”.

    Unfortunately, the latter approach typifies our current system… Standardized tests – especially teacher and school evaluations based on how students score on these tests – drives what is taught and how it is taught. Teaching “to the test” is, in my opinion, destroying our education system and is one of the key pieces of this puzzle.

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    • Moderator Virginia says:

      Joseph raises some interesting ideas. What do others think about these ideas (children as natural learners, skills for learning and/or learning skills, knowledge, etc)?

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      • Dawn says:

        It is interesting how for some they lose the enthusiastic desire to learn as they fall behind their peers. They are not actually required to meet the current outcomes before moved to the next grade and asked now to reach a higher level. They then start to give up and say “why should I work, I will be passed to the next grade anyway”. Then we wonder why they do not succeed on standardized tests – given to age groups, not level groups. In your new plan, will kids be required to meet a level before trying the next? It is amazing how kids continue to love to learn, when they are working at their level. We know kids don’t learn at the same pace, but we still group them by age. If their plan is individualized, are we giving them back some accountability to actually learn before being pushed on? Will individualization get rid of “social promotion?” I’d like to see some actual detail – what will this look like?

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        • Walker says:

          So, what does research say about retention? It’s great to say that students should be able to meet the outcomes before moving to the next grade, but what is the reality of retaining students? Is there a positive or negative effect size? In John Hattie’s meta-analysis, he demonstrates retention has a negative effect on student learning.

          The solution may be to move the student forward, AND ensure that effective supports and interventions are in place to allow the student a chance to close the gap between him/her and peers. Obviously, the earlier the better.

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          • Dawn says:

            I get that retention in the system we have now is not the answer, but not asking kids to actually learn one thing before another (especially in math) has not worked either. We have set up a lot of kids(not identified – so not much support) to fail in high school, since they didn’t understand earlier outcomes. Individualization could help this if done properly. What I’m asking is how will that be done?

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            • Moderator Chrysstena says:

              Hi Dawn and thank you for your comments. This process will be an ongoing and changing one. We are looking to the public to provide us with ideas on the kinds of things they feel will help create a system that is beneficial to all learners. Do you have any suggestions as to how you feel we could carry this plan out?

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        • Jacquie says:

          Kids do have a natural curiosity and desire to learn, so why aren’t teachers trusted and allowed to draw on this in the classroom? Provincial curriculum outcomes that tell us what to teach do not allow for children to drive their own interests and learning. Don’t get me wrong, the foundations, like reading, writing and math are essential. Other subject areas need to focus on the skills and processes of learning, and the content left to students to choose. Creativity, cooperative learning, problem-solving and social skills need to be a part of everything we do in school. This is how we can prepare youth for a world that we can’t even imagine.

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  21. Jen says:

    We need to ensure that in a public education system, all students are given the tools and opportunity to succeed.

    Parents who are engaged in their child’s education are a key component of success in our education system. Not all students, however, have parents that are able to be fully engaged even if they wanted to.

    Some families have language barriers. Some families have a single parent that works two jobs. Some families struggle with cultural barriers. Some families do not know how to help their special needs child.

    It is the success of these students that will be the measure of our education system.

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  22. Concerned says:

    I think cooperation between the BCTF and the government is crucial for our education system in the future. The government of the day needs to stop politicizing education in their attempts at scoring political points. This comes up every time the contracts expire. A respectful government would not engage in bargaining in the media in order to achieve it’s objectives. A respectful government would announce new policy initiatives with the teachers at their sides. A respectful government would not try to place all of the troubles with the current system at the feet of the teachers.

    “When engaged in respectful supportive and safe environments, teachers are also one of the greatest assets for social change.”

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  23. Holly MacDonald says:

    I can only speak as a parent in this, albeit a very involved parent, and say that the single most important thing that my children could get from school is someone modeling the desire to learn. The current system is built around teachers teaching kids stuff. I’d rather see a system that is built around students learning to learn.

    The “system” is a huge, complex one and there are so many factors to consider. I think that openness to examining it is critical, yet I worry the discussion is now going to be polarized and politicized. I hope it doesn’t.

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    • Richard Ajabu says:

      I can’t agree strongly enough with your comments regarding “modelling the desire to learn” and “students learning to learn”.

      I think that many of the problems we face in education in BC would be reduced or even eliminated if we were more transparent, open, accessible and inclusive with our ideas. Communication, collaboration, discussion, debate are all good things and online venues like this one allow us all to participate if/when it is convenient to our schedule and if/when we have something to offer. I am dissappointed that we are allowing the union-government tug of war to spill over into professional issues but I am confident that cooler heads will eventually prevail and that the profession will be rescued from the hostage situation it is in for some time now.

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  24. DP Hawkins-Bogle says:

    I think this new plan could be very empowering for many students within our system, especially those that have family support and initiative to be engaged with relevant out of school activities.There are many students, for a variety of reasons, that do not have the capacity for relevant out of school learning. These families and students may need need additional supports and interventions. I like the part of the plan that speaks about early intervention. I am concerned about those that have intergenerational poverty, addiction, health issues. These are our most vulnerable students; we must ensure all students are able to benefit from a new way of educating.

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  25. @BobHolmesSD36 says:

    I agree with others that any changes need to be properly funded. The technology aspects of this plan have very great potential to widen the existing gap between the “have” and “have-not” schools.

    The same goes for opportunities to learn independently outside the classroom. Many children, for example, don’t get the same opportunities to participate in “learning that takes place outside of the classroom – like arts, sports, science and leadership programs” that others do. Flexibility and choice are great, but care needs to be taken to ensure this doesn’t create an even greater economic divide.

    Many parents are fearful about cost savings being a key motivator behind getting children learning outside the classroom. Hopefully this isn’t the case; there are a lot of exciting possibilities if the system is completely rethought, but “personalized learning” needs to recognize that some children require a more structured learning environment than others, and sending them all off to learn on their own without taking this into account could be disastrous.

    Many of the proposed changes appear to hold great promise, but care must be taken that they are being made for the right reasons, and that they don’t increase inequities.

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  26. Edith says:

    Politicians, who have some vision and moral fibre.. Ones who understand and respect observations from the trenches; as well the critical thinkers from society. Listen to opposition. Cuts in education will only drive our society into greater ill health with fewer to contribute to a civilized society. Mouthing these words only create even greater distrust. You will have noone to wash your toilets and polish your cars. Guaranteed.

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  27. Peyton says:

    I believe that our education system should be adequately funded. All this talk about technology is nice, however the reality is that class sizes have increased, support for special needs students has plummeted, the largest district in the province is dependent on hundreds of portables, etc. etc. I am also troubled by the point that there has been a 500% increase in online courses. What is the success rate of online courses compared to traditional classroom courses? Provide us with this information please. Furthermore, what items of this plan are motivated first and foremost by financial decisions? Complete transparency is the only way to allow the public to judge this plan adequately, as this goverment currently has a lingering credibility problem.

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    • Moderator Virginia says:

      Hi Peyton, thank you for your question. We are finding information on this topic and will post it here asap. Thanks!

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  28. mommy of two says:

    We need to fund the system adequately, so that PARENTS can stop the daily, weekly, monthly FUNDRAISING to provide for our kids. FUND curriculum changes you have already made, never mind piling a bunch more changes without any financial support. My kids’ second hand computer lab paid for by PAC, ZERO wireless in the school, and not one computer in the classrooms for students to use, is just NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

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  29. Richard says:

    Our education system needs to be properly funded, and the government of the day needs to take a step back and stop using education as a political football. Education services are far too important for these games.

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  30. Ken says:

    The most important way we can improve our education system is to encourage parents to be positively engaged in their child’s learning.

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    • Brian says:

      Parents have for the most part abdicated their role to the education system. Just look at the abysmal turnout to parent teacher nights at secondary schools. Without active involvement by parents supporting teachers and modeling learning to their children, I really don’t see how any if this is going to change. throwing money at it also is not an answer. Yes we are underfunded. Yes we are disrespected by many who do not know what we do as teachers or don’t care enough to even find out. But that is not why we are in education. Remember year 2000. Same slick presentation and lack of substance. Until every parent is held accountable for their child’s education, don’t continue to put the blame solely on teachers.

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      • Ken says:

        Exactly! Take a look at the average private school setting which is often used for a comparison. Are the private school teachers superior to public school teachers? No they are not. Are the parents more engaged and accountable? Yes they are. I would bet there is a high turnout at parent teacher nights.

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  31. Jason McMain says:

    We need smaller class sizes, we need competative salaries to attract the best teachers, we need an education system that isn’t run into the ground by short term thinkers. We should consider leasing computers, not replacing them every 10 years. We need a decentralized reporting sysem (not BCesis) like we had in the past SIRs – it costs less and is more reliable.

    Your plan looks nice, yet that is all. I notice no real substance. It doesn’t address any of the current problems that are currently at the forefront of education. Your ideas cost money … money the government indicates it doesn’t have.

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  32. Jane S. says:

    I think people need to remember that teachers are professionals. They work long hours, and endure a lot of stress because they love kids. They (and not all, because there are weak teachers just like there are weak people in any profession) already want the best for each and every student and want each student to feel successful. Personalized learning might have some pros, but classrooms work smoothly when they are structured and predictable machines that focus on key elements of learning. Not to mention, teachers teach so many social skills as well. Plus, students still need to learn that sometimes you have to do things in life you might not want to do otherwise. Finally, parents have not gone to school for 5.5 years like teachers have and don’t necessarily know what their student should be learning and what skills they should be focusing on.

    Our province always takes a big crap on teachers, in a nutshell :)

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    • Richard Ajabu says:

      I think that the points you raise are absolutely critical. Without respect from the government, the profession will continue to suffer, and we all lose.

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  33. Claudette says:

    It is more important to ensure that each elementary student has the basics of math, reading and comprehension down pat before going on to the tech tools.

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    • Jarrod Bell says:

      And if the tech tool enables a student to gain the basics of math, reading and comprehension down pat? Maybe not the first choice for all, but for some students personalization might mean the support of technology tools for them to be successful.

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      • Sheri says:

        Good point, Jarrod. My 7 year old daughter loves to learn the basics in a variety of ways. She kicks it ‘old school’ *and* she uses technology for a quality learning experience with her teacher.

        I would hate to see the push for Personalized Learning turn into a techno-cult at the expense of tried and true pedagogical strategies. Using technology is only one way of learning.

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        • Jarrod Bell says:

          One way of learning, quite right Sheri. I would like to see that technology is available as a possible way of learning in all of our classrooms. Pedagogy should drive technology, not the other way around. Kids should keep working on their letters with pencils, but for the child that cannot use the pencil typing should be an option.

          For some students a guided use of technology makes all the difference. I’ve seen students without the ability to speak share their thoughts with peers and the open classroom with tech. I’ve seen visually impaired students be able to participate fully in a blended classroom because all their classroom materials were in a Moodle rather than paper and their SETBC brailer could help them connect.

          Universal Design says to me that if we make it available for everyone then anyone can benefit. Some examples that come to mind are ramps can be used by all, where stairs cannot, or classroom amplification systems supporting a student that has difficulty hearing helps make a teachers voice clear for everyone. So many examples of how a critical piece of technology for one student can be a good thing for everyone.

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  34. Vanessa says:

    This is truly laughable. We don’t even have the funding to provide every student with a textbook that isn’t falling apart at the seems. Apparently, there is a “net-zero” mandate for public education, yet there is money to provide each and every BC child with an ipad and/or an iphone? There is no money to support teachers, yet there are billions of dollars somewhere in secret being held to implement these technology “reforms’? I wonder how much was spent on creating this less than specific presentation when we can’t even provide a desk for every student in some classrooms. Get real Ministry of Education.

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    • Jane S. says:

      I agree. The computers that we do have are 10-15 years old.

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      • shouldbetwolibrarians says:

        No kidding. We are begging the Rotary, the Times Colonist Raise a Reader foundation, PACs for money for library books. We don’t even have the computers in the library that would allow us to upload ebooks or digital content… come on. The disconnect between the reality in schools and what they think is happening is shocking.

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  35. Jason says:

    Lori: I fully agree – parents working multiple jobs can not afford to be part of a PAC, DPAC or BCCPAC.

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  36. Sacha says:

    I applaud the idea of having more teacher evaluations, just as people in other professions are evaluated. I also like the idea of schools having and being able to use more technology. Who does use long hand anymore? That being said, I think we need to be careful in listening to the government talk about “overhauling” the education system. Budget cutting, large class sizes, and allowance of so many kids with significant need etc. has lead to a system that expects too much from schools. These cuts have come from the government, so if an overhaul is needed, it is because of that. Also, technology costs money. I do hope that the government does not expect more cuts to schools in order to fund their ideas…

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    • shouldbetwolibrarians says:

      I hate to tell you, but teachers do get evaluated. The problem is that administrators are so bogged down in paper work required by the ministry that they don’t get time to evaluate teachers properly or regularly. Many, many times teachers are watched in the classrooms for evaluations, and the principals don’t have time to complete the final documents. Maybe principals should be released from some of their paperwork, reports and data collection, so they can be the educational leaders they wanted to be?

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  37. John MacKenzie says:

    As a parent, I’d like to see more support for teachers and schools. By this I mean providing a small pay increase to teachers to end the current dispute(and all in future;) continuing to try to lower class sizes (or student/teacher ratios) so teachers can serve all student needs better. Technology is an advantage if it: is paid for, and only used as a tool (never a replacement) of teachers.

    I’m sure that 99% of students know how to access information on the internet. It’s the ways in which TEACHERS TEACH CHILDREN TO USE COMPUTERS AND THE INTERNET TO UNDERSTAND CONCEPTS that is the ONLY worthwhile and valid reason to increase the use of technology in schools.

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    • Sheri says:

      I agree with you that students know how to access information on the internet. Teachers and teacher-librarians (like me) need to teach students how to access information effectively. Students often like to turn on the computer and surf over to Wikipedia or do a simple Google search for information, having no idea whether or not the information they find is accurate or useful for their needs. When they find it, they often don’t know how to synthesize it or present it. Technology is a cool tool, but it is a tool one needs to learn how to use effectively or it is simply an expensive time-waster. As John (above) implied, technology for its own sake is not a valid reason for its existence.

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  38. Jason says:

    I believe that a teacher’s effectiveness has more impact on student learning than any other factor controlled by school
    systems, including class size, school size, and the quality of after-school programs—or even which school a student is attending.

    As such, I would like to see BC adopt the findings of the American MET (“Measured of Effective Teaching”) Project. This project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to determine ways in which effective teaching can be measured fairly and consistently.

    Read about this project here: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/highschools/Documents/met-framing-paper.pdf and at http://www.metproject.org.

    Imagine: actually applying research to make teachers more effective, rather than swaying to political statements and union garble!

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  39. Rod Needham says:

    How is this going to work in schools where many parents can barely afford to feed and clothe their children let alone purchase them Smart phones and IPad’s.
    Current Individual Education Plan Meetings can take multiple meetings over a period of days to complete fully. Where will we find the time to create quality individual learning plans for 27-30 students, 7 of them with designations such as severe behavior disorders, profound intellectual disabilities and severe learning disabilities?
    Administration doesn’t have the time to assist you in your class now. Where will they find the time to do yearly evaluations and growth meetings?
    When I read all this it makes me ever more aware how out of touch many are with the realities of teaching in the 21st century classroom. I am sure with the current positive environment our government has been fostering with teachers all these changes will be greeted with open arms…. Oh wait, we have been attacking them and cutting them down now for almost a decade. I wonder how this will go over in the middle of negotiations?

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    • Jane S. says:

      You are so right. I find it challenging that people who have no clue about teaching and learning get to decide on how the whole education system runs. Very puzzling.

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      • Change is Good says:

        Interesting comment… I believe that non-educators are in a better position to help create a system because they come with a different perspective and bring reality to the table. Naturally, change will be challenging.

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        • Curious says:

          Wow, using non-logic and condescension in the same post- do you work for the Ministry? Reread your post and apply it to any other public service and see if it sounds as silly as yours does. Imagine someone with no knowledge of the ambulance service deciding how it is to run, or preschools, social services, the fire department, hospitals, highways, etc. The individuals most valued by us, our kids, and you want their education system to be structured according to the preferences of anyone but teachers? The irony here is it seems that this has BEEN the case in this province for roughly a decade. The last groups ever asked their opinion are teachers and school support staff, those who work the most closely with our children. Implying that they have no valuable insight to offer or that they are not in touch with reality is offensive, but I think that was likely your intent. Change will certainly be more challenging, as you suggest, if you leave it only to people who don’t know anything about teaching and learning. Different perspectives should always be encouraged and welcomed, but it is irresponsible to leave out the experts.

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  40. Laurie says:

    Given the provinces direction for flexibility and personalized learning does the Ministry of Education realize how restrictive the guidelines are for funding for summer school. For example: students in grade 12 that are not sure if they have graduated as the marks are not available until August need to make a summer school decision and summer school is not available. Or the student is short one course for graduation and should be going to summer school but it is not available as the opportunity for funding is too confusing. Or the student realizes that they need a different grade 12 course for their program of choice but they have graduated so no funding. There are other examples where summer school would be an important choice. Will this be addressed?

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  41. Lori says:

    Find ways to include parents who are not active with the PAC, DPAC or BCCPAC. You need to find a way to engage ALL parents, not just those who attend monthly meeting. These parents need to have a voice as well.

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    • Melanie says:

      I think there are ways for parents to voice their opinions, concerns, and questions to engage with other parents, educators, and the ministry using technology. Our PAC has created a website, blog, facebook page, twitter account, and a direct email account. Our school’s principal gives the PAC space on the school’s weekly blog which goes out to all parents/guardians – our portion of the main blog is then linked back to the sites mentioned above. The cost to implement this network has been $0 and involves the dedication of (primarily) 2 parents representing 400 kids. There are also many teachers and administrators who manage websites and blogs – not to mention this site created by the ministry. Parents have a voice – it’s their choice to speak up.

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  42. Dawn says:

    I so hope you will fund these changes properly and not download onto an already underfunded system. There are some good ideas here, but to work properly you need to fund them. We would love more technology in our schools, but the districts cannot afford it. We would love to individualize our programs but our class sizes are too big, and getting bigger. Please make reform work by funding it properly.

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    • Janet says:

      I agree with Dawn. If BC is going to institute individualized learning, you have to lower class sizes. A teacher cannot truly individualize with 30 students and little prep time. This is the only way special needs students will achieve the lofty goals of this effort. Yes, they are unique as are all our students, and yes, they need individualized programming, as do many of our students. But every teacher knows it ain’t gonna happen and it isn’t happening in many of the classrooms of today. Will the future classrooms be any different despite all the fancy wishing? Yes, Dawn, funding is the answer.
      As well, universities have to start training teachers how to adapt, personalize, individualize programming and how to understand special needs children as well as regular children. It seems as if when inclusion began in earnest in many school districts, the courses at the universities seemed to dwindle. Was the attitude that now that special needs students are included in regular classes that there was no need to learn any more about them or their needs???? EVERYTHING a teacher learns in courses about teaching students with special needs can be used with regular students; whereas, what they learn about teaching curriculum for “regular” classes might not be applicable to special needs students.

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      • Jane S. says:

        I am a recent graduate of an education program in BC. We had several courses covering special needs topics and we were taught that there is no such thing as a “regular” student – every student has their own strengths and needs.

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      • Devon says:

        Well said! I feel sometimes the actual logistics of teaching can be forgotten. Individualized education is the ideal. However, if each class has 30 students, a teacher will be teaching anywhere from 90 to 210 students at one time.
        In a semester system, a teacher teaches 3 out of 4 classes a semester (90 students) and 4 out 4 classes the other semester (120 students). In a linear system (8 classes offered all year), a teacher teaches 7 out of 8 classes (210 students) at a time. This is IF classes are maxed at 30 which is often not the case and let’s not even get into special needs and designations. Yes, individualized education is a great goal but please, consider the realities of a teacher’s job.
        *based on high school

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        • mommy of two says:

          30 students??? by the Ministry’s own documents 9555 classes have more than 30 students. Good luck individualizing anything until they address that issue.

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      • Marlene says:

        I agree with Janet about training teachers to have knowledge with exceptional learners. The program I took did not provide any courses on learning disabilities or learning exceptionalities. You have to do a separate program in order to receive that training. I am currently enrolled in it because I felt my teacher training program was inadequate in providing me the skills I would need to work with exceptional learners. That type of training should really be mandatory. At the very least, one core course in learning disabilities so at least you have some basic knowledge.

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  43. Leanne says:

    Congratulations Ministry of Education – I am so happy about your new education reform – it is about time that the schools and teachers have some accountability and that the government (employers) are taking back some power. As far as the new technology I say thank goodness, in my sons high school they had a special class on note taking (who does long hand anymore) preparing them for university using their laptops is the way to go. I could go on and on, but you get the jist – the people of BC are fed up with ineffective teachers and having proper evaluations is sooooo important – they are about to pull up their socks and also it is time that the teachers wages and benefits are deducted to compensate for their job actions. Minister of Education [name removed by moderator] you have the support of the taxpaying parents – keep going MORE EDUCATION REFORM!

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    • Dawn says:

      You do realize that most teachers are not actually working less. Just working more with students, rather than busy handing out forms. We are making more personal contact with parents, rather than writing a piece of paper that is out of date by the time the parent gets it. I am still working 10 hour days (or more). How much more would you like?

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      • Jane S. says:

        I’m also working 10 hours each day – developing materials, assessing, developing programs to meet the needs of each of my students to ensure that they are successful 80% of the time on each task, communicating with parents, attending extra curricular activities, attending meetings, and so on. I love teaching and I love kids. People don’t teach because it’s easy. It is anything but.

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    • Julie Sampson says:

      BCPSEA? Is that you?? Sounds like a mole to me. I doubt you even have a child in school. If I am wrong, I am almost certain that you have not talked to even one of your child’s teachers to ask them how much work they are, or are not doing.

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    • Concerned says:

      What a shocking post. Clearly many others on this board do not feel the way you do, and thank goodness. Education reform can be great when: A) it is well thought out B) when proper training is provided to schools C) when it is adequately funded. So far, this new plan does not seem to have ANY of those qualities.

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      • Moderator Virginia says:

        The Education Plan is a blueprint and we need to work collaboratively to create the what and how. We are interested in specific ideas, as well as general ideas and themes. What would ‘proper training” look like, for instance?

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        • Concerned says:

          To me, proper training would mean:
          1) Possibly piloting/partnering with some schools first to see what works or doesn’t work and then expanding across districts with the expertise gained from the pilots?
          2) Giving teachers time away from their classes to attend computer courses and then be able to mentor others?
          3) Providing training to parents who will be responsible for the implementation of the technology at home?

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          • Loren says:

            Time away from class to take computer courses? Did I hear that right? What about your PROD days or are you all to busy going to the ranch and playing games like Eric Hamber Secondary School did?

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          • Kelownagurl says:

            I’m offended that the moderator has not deleted the comment by Loren below. (On Oct 31, 2011, 7:48 pm)

            And by the way Loren, Pro-D is what teachers choose to learn that will meet with own needs (for example, I have been learning about better ways to teacher Critical Thinking in my classroom).

            Inservice is training provided by the District or the MoE for new programs they want us to implement.

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            • Chrysstena says:

              Thank you for your comments. The intent of this forum is to encourage an active exchange of ideas. For your information, we post all comments that meet our moderation criteria policy and Loren’s comment did not contravene that policy. Please review our Moderation Policy for further information.

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              • Kelownagurl says:

                Following that policy, should the name of the school not be removed then?

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              • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

                Our Moderation Policy states we won’t post comments that invade anyone’s privacy (i.e. identify individuals) or impersonate anyone. The comment you are referring to did neither so we chose to leave the name of the school in. This was a well publicized story as well, so there was nothing revealed here that isn’t already part of the public record.

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          • Loren says:

            Kelowngurl – if I have offended you than why do you not phone and complain to the administration of Eric Hamber Secondary School for their improper judgment of what a PRODAY is for (playing games at a ranch) at the expense of our children [phone number removed by moderator] tell them that being irresponsible with taxpayers money does nothing to improve the respect that the teachers are getting from the taxpayers of B.C., the respect of taxpayers and also the respect of your employer Minister of Education (see article in Vancouver Sun). It is the teacher unions and federations that has sullied any medicorm of respect and support.

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            • Moderator Catherine says:

              Hi Loren and KelownaGurl – we understand your concerns and agree that pro-d days are important days for educators to further their training and improve their teaching practice. In the vast majority of cases this happens. The system works. If you have any specific concerns about a particular school, please contact the school directly.

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  44. Anonymous says:

    This plan cannot work without increased funding immediately/>.

    How can I teach students about technology when there is no technology in our school? How can I foster independent, student-centred learning when my library and Teacher-Librarian are only funded to cover prep classes? What happened to the learning commons idealogy that has proven so successful? That requires full-time Teacher-Librarians in every school! Many districts do not have any Teacher-Librarians!

    The classroom teacher needs to be working with the specialist teachers, in the specialist environment. I am a specialist in the classroom, but learning cannot exist solely in the classroom!

    Parents, I beg you to talk to your district Board of Education and to your MLAs. Let them know you want to see these grand ideas implemented and that involves increased funding to the schools.

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    • Sheri says:

      As a parent and a teacher-librarian, I whole-heartedly agree with your comment. This plan has some laudable ideas, but nothing will happen magically. Currently, I am a full-time (fighting every year) teacher-librarian in a high school of 950 students. I am trying to address students’ information literacy needs with: older computers that frequently break down; one information database (WorldBook Online) because we cannot afford any others; and, a lack of student background knowledge because their middle and elementary school teacher-librarians had limited time to teach information literacy skills.
      Adequate funding would allow for working hardware, available resources, and teacher-librarian time.

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      • shouldbetwolibrarians says:

        My current position as librarian from k-12 should be two people doing the job under the contract language from 2002.

        The Learning commons concept is what this is all about, yet you are correct: What the heck will the districts who totally cut librarians do now?????

        If the liberals can’s support literacy fully, how can they even talk about these types of changes!

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  45. Anonymous says:

    > Work with districts to pilot the use of personal devices in classrooms;

    I desperately hope that this pilot will include schools from lower income areas. I cannot afford to give each of my children a laptop and I worry about a future where that becomes the expectation. I see equality and access to be at risk.

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  46. Keith says:

    Ensuring that the government and the BCTF model those same core competencies their collective bargaining processes. Stability and confidence in these two parties will be essential in the implementation of any plan.

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  47. David Wees says:

    I noticed that the video talked about more flexibility on the “how”, “where”, and “when” students learn, which I support. I would like to add a very important word to this phrase; “what.”

    It is clear to me that a huge part of personalizing one’s learning is having more control over what one learns. In fact, I think this is the MOST important part of personalized learning.

    Our system of prescribed learning outcomes is not currently flexible enough. There should be a way to build something like Google’s “Flex time” into graduation requirements.

    An example of a program I support introducing would be Dr. John Egan’s “Learning in Depth” program. See http://www.ierg.net/LiD/

    I’d also be comfortable with students seeking mentors (or being introduced to them) who teach them things that are outside of the standard school curriculum. This could be a way for youth, for example, to have more opportunity to engage with their culture.

    We do need to consider that since the total knowledge of our species is increasing an exponential rate, it will be soon be impossible to adequately curate for students what the “best” things to learn are. In fact, I think we passed that point a few years ago.

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    • Bryn M Williams says:

      I agree, David, but I would like to see the curriculum silos looked at (Math/Science/English/PE/Art/Music/Socials, etc) in a more holistic way and have more problem-based conversations and learning that cross these boundaries. The greatest creativity comes from when we look outside the fences of our disciplines.

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  48. Rory says:

    Fair access to resources. All students, K to 12, need easy access to the most relevant resources all day – not just 45 minutes a week. Anything else is inhibiting their potential.

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  49. Dan Pontefract says:

    Empowering
    Sustainable
    Connected … to others
    Open / Transparent
    Engaging
    Flexible

    Let us not teach as we were once taught.

    Let us tear down the walls.

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  50. Crispie says:

    I think ideas like this are great ones. It is nice to see the government reaching out to the people. Can you please tell me how long this blog will run for?

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    • Moderator Dave says:

      Thanks for your comment Crispie. We plan to have this blog open till at least Christmas, with every opportunity to keep it open beyond that. We are looking forward to the great discussions that will occur.

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  51. Moderator Angie says:

    Thanks for your comments Devon. We thought long and hard about the comment you responded to before posting it. As it didn’t contravene our Moderation Policy, it was posted. We are striving to provide a place where all people can discuss educational issues in a constructive and respectful manner. We will continue to monitor this and other conversations to ensure they remain polite and respectful while allowing the blog community to share their thoughts.

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