It has become clear to me that, in order to keep education as a relevant and prominent issue in the public, we must find new and innovative ways to engage with the community. Granted, the relationship between public education and the public, a situation not unique to British Columbia and reflected in other public sectors as well, is sometimes prickly and stressed. Nevertheless, as mentioned in a previous post, for public education and the for the sake of our students, the status quo is not an option.
This Wednesday I will have the opportunity to work with the newly minted Open Government and Community Partnerships Division at the BC Ministry of Education. The new group’s responsibilities include Citizen Engagement, Libraries and Literacy, Corporate Accountability and Families First. The group will also support the ministry’s core work and direction on personalized learning.
Its efforts regarding engagement is consistent with our work and our emphasis on the use of technology in West Vancouver to embrace increased openness. As such, the work session in Victoria is focused on three vital aspects we, in West Vancouver, have been nurturing — transparency, engagement and participation.
Also, in a previous post: Make Transparency Concrete, I wrote about how I conduct business; but I am especially interested in the larger, open-government movement, about its direction and its potential in regards to education. What does it mean for the classroom as well as for the educational system as a whole as we embrace the tenants of open government?
There are a number of interesting thinkers outside of the education realm with ideas around open government. We do some work with Stephanie Hayes in West Vancouver and I really like the six pillars she describes when considering social capabilities in the public service:
These pillars are very similar to what we often describe as “21st century skills” in our classrooms. What we are chasing for our students is also what we need to be striving for as a system.
And, it seems, around the world “open government” is the new rage. But I worry that we can easily be caught up in the buzzwords, and not fully understand the key concepts, core principles and strategies we need to implement for open government to occur.
It IS exciting the Ministry of Education is looking at the issue, and I am interested in hearing your thoughts on:
What does open government and citizen engagement mean to you in the context of education in BC?
For me, it starts as a change of mindset, and moving from the default setting of being private to becoming public. It’s a great opportunity to influence and connect not only the “what” of education but the “how” as we continue the journey forward.