Friday, February 10, 2006

Ed Conference

Tomorrow is the annual British Columbia Teachers' Federation conference for teachers, school staff, administrators, school board trustees, parents and other interested people about public education. I've been going to it for a few years, first as a presenter when we were fighting to keep our elementary school open, then as a delegate parent invited by the Coquitlam Teachers' Association. This year I'm presenting again. I will be on a panel called "Parents as Catalysts for Change." One of my heroes, Dawn Steele, will be on the panel too. She writes the best darned letter to the editor I have ever seen, and is a tireless advocate for public education.

All of the other years I have gone out on the Friday night and stayed over, enjoying the opening speaker and the reception, and hanging out with my friend Gwenda, with whom I have worked on funding issues in our district. This year Gwenda is not available. It doesn't feel quite the same, but I know I will see lots of people who I know and admire, and meet some new ones. I have decided not to go Friday night, but to just drive out early Saturday and spend the day. I'll get to go to the plenary and concluding sessions and schmooze through the lunch hour. For some strange reason, I always accidentally find the teacher from Cranbrook, the district where my sister and her husband teach.

It also feels different because the organization that Gwenda and I helped to form, Consortium 43, has wound down to a state of hibernation. It might re-activate, but at the moment, parents in our district aren't coming out to fight for better learning conditions for their kids, and without involvement, we don't have a mandate. Also, we're tired of fighting the government and shining the spotlight on what' s wrong and we've turned our energies to other things. It hasn't been all for nothing. We have accomplished a lot in terms of public awareness in our community and we like to think the voices we have encouraged to activate have helped to push the government towards some of the minor changes it has made.

Mostly, I'm glad for this three-year-run of "just doing something," because our kids have seen that that's what you do when something is not right. They know that you have to speak up, get out, disagree respectfully and persist in the face of opposition. That alone is worth all of the work and worry.

question: would you rather be catalyst? or cattle?

mompoet - old gal on the back of the battle lines

1 comment:

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

good luck it sounds good to me - it's great when parents get involved w/ schools