The B.C. government wants to hear your views about what needs to change in public schools to better prepare students for the 21st century.
It has created a website at bcedplan.ca and has been posting questions. You can join the conversation here. A few days ago, the moderators posted a summary of what they had heard thus far. The recommendations included calls for schools to group students by ability rather than age and an end to standardized tests. Read that summary here and my story here.
My story prompted a Twitter discussion about the value of public consultation in education. While many of the questions posed by the ministry are easily answered, some are not. For example, how much weight should government give to recommendations for ability groupings in schools when there is undoubtedly research showing whether such a change is beneficial for students? Some tweets also raised questions about the number of people participating in the public consultation, given that the ministry has received only 1,000 comments in a province with 4 million people.
Now is your chance to get involved. Here is how the ministry website describes its “first grand experiment in citizen engagement” on the website:
We recognize that part of moving toward 21st century learning is being more flexible with how, when and where learning takes place. This means having greater flexibility in when and how a school operates; ensuring students have learning opportunities outside of the traditional classroom environment and beyond textbooks, pens and paper; ensuring teachers and boards of education have more flexibility in how to deliver classes; providing students with more choice in what, how and where they learn; acknowledging that learning takes place in a variety of places; and so much more. That’s what we want to explore here.
by Janet Steffenhagen, The Vancouver Sun
December 31, 2011. 2:13 pm