B.C.’s education system has had a rough ride in the press.
In recent years, it hasn’t been hard to find aspects of B.C.’s education system that invited criticism and the press has had a responsibility to inform the public of that system’s shortcomings. It is, after all, a system to which we have entrusted our children’s future.
The funding shortfalls of the education system and the labour relations debacles that rocked education in 2014 were without excuse. Those same issues now threaten to again disrupt our schools as the BCTF prepares for the possibility of another strike.
Last year, curriculum changes were criticized by some as being nearly incomprehensible and there were allegations that staff were not properly trained or equipped to apply those changes in the classroom.
Schools have also struggled to keep up with other issues like cyber-bullying, often dropping the ball in their response.
And the system has also had its truly spectacular screw-ups. Last year, for example, we had the ridiculous situation when the marks that were issued for graduating students were wrong, endangering those student’s university applications.
But the press also has the responsibility to acknowledge when good things happen.
In one example of forward thinking education, Sooke’s Edward Milne Community School recently hosted a trades expo of sorts and has already introduced a program in which students can attend Camosun College to explore a potential future in the trades.
Given the crying need for skilled tradespersons, that program (and the expo) are initiatives that are addressing real world needs.
In another example, the school has created a program in which core subjects are combined with community experience — all within the context of environmental studies. Students will have the opportunity to discover how subjects like entrepreneurship, marketing, science and even foods are interrelated and how they can all be viewed through an environmental lens.
Given the fact that the existential challenge of climate change and environmental degradation are arguably the most critical issues facing the world, the program is a hopeful indicator that the system is paying attention and offering an education that will shape, and perhaps help to save, their future.
There’s a fundamental truth, first attributed to Plato, that the direction that education starts a person will determine their future in life.
We are thankful for school staff that acknowledges that wisdom and, wisely, are acting upon it.