I left the Vancouver Island Parent Conference wondering why parents go to a parent conference about education.
Perhaps things have changed for parents. Perhaps parenting nowadays means something different. When my children were in school I wanted information and explanations. I wanted to ensure that the education system was doing everything possible for my children. I was one of those parents who asked questions and wrote letters, including thank you letters when the school did something inspired.
So I was expecting that a conference for parents, organized by the PACs and funded partly by the BCCPAC, would address issues of critical importance during this time of change to a New Curriculum in BC. Mostly what I saw was entertainment.
But perhaps that’s what parents want now? There were four very engaging speakers, who spoke with passion about everything from inclusion to the plethora of shampoo bottles on supermarket shelves. There was much laughter and the afternoon ended with a sing-along of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The lunch was good. The breaks were plentiful. Everyone seemed happy.
I tried to draw attention to issues related to children described as gifted. But apart from a few conversations with individual parents, I couldn’t find a forum to raise questions about how special needs children would be served by the New Curriculum. I was disappointed that there wasn’t a table with information from the organizations representing children with learning needs and disabilities.
The title of the conference was “Launching the Framework: Changing Our View of Education.” It wasn’t specifically spelled out, but I assume the framework was the new curriculum. There were few details, but there was a lot of hype. As for changing our view of education, effective teachers have always used the strategies that are now being called “new”. And my view of education remains unchanged. Way too much edubabble. Is that what parents want?