I used the recent cold snap to catch up on my reading, especially minutes, reports and releases emanating from the Department of Education and the various advisory bodies operating under the Learning Partners Advisory Council.
I found the Principals’ Report clear, direct and revealing; the latter refers to the gap between the autonomy principals have compared to the autonomy recommended by the OECD.
I find the lack of direction disconcerting, to say the least; it reminds me of a question in a book by Robert Mager, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”
The literature tells us, or at least tells me, that education in P.E.I. could benefit from:
1. Greater autonomy and accountability for student progress.
2. A broader definition as to what constitutes education; education neither starts nor ends when one enters kindergarten or obtains the coveted degree
3. An Education Plan that considers needs, interests and aspiration of all Islanders and Island communities; the current “Philosophy of Education” is nearly 30 years old and applies only to public schooling.
4. Visible educational leadership that resides outside our political system; someone in a role equivalent to the president of a college or university
5. An independent qualification body to certify proficiency levels of individual students regardless of when, where or how experience was gained
6. Direct and substantial community control and management, and
7. An organization that reflects functions performed
We are quick to blame teachers for education shortcomings; my experience suggests that the most pressing problems are structural instead.