How to implement education reform…

I have been thinking a lot about how to change an entire, complex system. Not just thinking about it, but I have actually been trying to do it the last few years.

I have been using open inquiry, assessing in competencies rather than courses. I have had successes and failures.

The goal of the school I currently work at is to change how student’s graduate in BC, Canada. This does not mean that everyone has to change at once, it just provides a different approach. I have been thinking if for some miraculous reason, the government actually let us move forward with it, and school districts started to change to this model, how would that happen?

Two things that have come to the forefront of my mind.

First, it would have to start at the edge. Realistically, I don’t see how an entire district would or could make one gigantic switch. I can see it starting with a program, then an entire school, more schools, demonstrating success along the way giving others the confidence to make the change. But the start has to be at the edge. Professionally, I find this to be an exciting prospect; leading a team at the edge of change. Sounds like so much fun.

Second, I have been thinking that the next system that is put into place has to be malleable. Of course, all places adapt to environmental and cultural influences, yet, we still only have one way to graduate in BC. The next way has to be more flexible in its approach to allow for emergent curriculum to count towards graduation that is location specific. What one needs to graduate in the capital shouldn’t be exactly the same as what someone needs to graduate in the Far North. Of course, there are underlying competencies that we want to ensure rise to proficient levels, but the content in which to reach these levels should not be tied to a series of outcomes everyone must learn.

We know a change in our education system needs to happen; the world is moving so fast. Let’s begin at the edge and work our way back in.