On the Coast BC Ed Forum

Yesterday afternoon I attended CBC’s open forum which sought to discuss the topic “is public education in BC broken?”  It was moderately interesting to attend and some of the comments and questions raised were very interesting.  Some of my favorite moments included Chris Kennedy responding to a Little Flower Academy student, saying that it is not public education’s job to sort students for universities. I couldn’t agree more.  Another comment that was inspiring came from a French Immersion teacher from Burnaby who told of the creative, engaging and differentiated learning that happens in her classroom - learning that happens without input from the private sector.  There were several comments about funding for education of course, and one commenter that noted that we need to accept debt as to how we pay for education.  I found that sentiment very interesting.

Many audience members were left in line hoping to ask a question to the panel.  I didn’t plan on asking a question or making a comment, but what follows is roughly what I would have liked to have said.

“Mr. Cowley, I have heard you speak on CBC before and although I don’t necessarily agree with your points of view, I looked forward to hearing some thoughtful, informative and provocative comments from you today.  However, you have only lived up to the provocation.  Your comments are firmly rooted in ideology without even a hint of evidence that what you espouse will work well, if at all.  You even have the guts to raise the USA as a good example of bringing private entities into public education.  It is a simple and quick task to find many private charter schools in the USA which are failing at education and failing at improving what they said they would.  This reminds me of the two interviews I have heard from you on the CBC with regards to teacher evaluations.  While you promote evaluations, you yourself admitted that we don’t know of a good way to do it.  Mr. Cowley, it is abundantly clear that you in fact have absolutely NO ideas. You only have ideology, and are prepared to throw the baby out with the bath water in order to see your ideology come to life.  You have nothing, in fact, to add to this conversation.  Mr. Cowley, it is 2012 and you are completely irrelevant.”