Two events will be happening within the next few weeks. First, there is the People for Education (P4E) conference on Saturday November 13th and Sunday, November 14th, 2010. Being held at York University, north of Toronto, in the Schulich School of Business, it has lots of seminars and speakers. Click here to check out the P4E website and where parents can register.
A quick look at the seminar leaders and speakers and it becomes very clear the conference includes everyone who is anyone in the current Ontario education system, be they practising teachers, union representatives, officials from area boards of education, academics doing important work on the brain, staff from the Ontario LD Association and the relatively new Ontario Minister of Education, Leona Dombrowsky.
However, as in all Western democracies, not everyone is happy with the current public education system, whether secular or Catholic. So, for all those parents who want to hear what’s wrong with our schools, the Society for Quality Education (SQE) is presenting Michael Zwaagstra at their Annual General Meeting on Saturday, December 4th, 2010 at Metro Hall in Toronto. It too sounds interesting.
However, don’t be fooled that Zwaagstra is some down-on-schools outsider. He isn’t. He is currently a Manitoba high school teacher who just happened to write a book about: (a) what is wrong with our public schools, and (b) possible solutions to what is wrong.
In my opinion, the (b) is even more important than the (a). Anyone can complain about the education system. In fact, they have been doing so since public education began. However, we are likely talking about tweaking the system, not completely reforming it? Why? Because change in education is always about ten years behind the latest research. So, by the time any kind of reform is fully implemented, it is then time to look at what’s wrong with it.
The crux of the matter is, however, that while P4E and SQE seem to be at opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum, I can’t help hoping that sometime in the not so distant future, there can be some type of partnering arrangement between the organizations. Perhaps some joint research on areas where they agree, like literacy, reading in particular.
Endnote: I will be taking a bit of a blogging break in the next little while.