Friday, March 4, 2011

Academy roundup, with video

Coverage of the District School Board of Niagara Academy continues, with TVO's The Agenda dedicating a large chunk of its 1000th broadcast to the concept of the school within the broader discussion of a one-size-fits-all public schooling system or one that provides for the flexibility to create models like this one.
First, the roundup:
  • The Standard on an community forum (sans DSBN) on the Academy and other education alternatives;
  • Coverage of the forum from later in the week; and,
  • The link to the episode page of The Agenda. (The relevant chunk is embedded below, with apologies that it doesn't quite fit in this column).

I wasn't able to watch the episode live, but highly recommend that anyone interested in public schooling in Ontario watch this episode. It was bereft of any platitudes, fireworks or gamesmanship by the participants. I was impressed how, despite the easy temptation to do so, each of the panelists addressed their perspectives. I was surprised they shared more opinions and perspectives on allowing flexibility within public school systems than points they disagreed on. Annie Kidder was the only one strongly in the 'no' camp on the DSBN Academy, with the others essentially reserving judgment on the concept due to a variety of factors.
What also came through clearly (which is obvious to all who know -- or know of -- them) was each person's passion for education and a vision that is able to give each student the best chance at success in life.


Anonymous said...

Watch the piece again Hugo.

Annie started out with a "NO!" but pretty much all of her discussion said something else entirely and not nearly as much of a "NO!" as she thinks judging by her words.

I bet that none of the panelists have kids in the school system currently.

The Agenda might need to find some younger panelists to reach a newer and younger generation of parent and their communities.

I saw less territorial positions by all sides which to me tells me that the idea of parental choice is moving.

TDSBteacher said...

Thanks for posting the video link; I don't get TVO. It was an interesting and very civilized discussion, but I was disappointed that the issue of how the instructional program will address the unique needs of the targeted student population did not come up.

There are some strong models in compensatory education that can serve as prototypes, but none of the panelists seemed to focus on the instructional piece. It's likely, of course, that such details are still on the drawing-board, but it would be reassuring to hear that DSBN is considering them.

I always get a good laugh out of the suggestion that this or that special program "segregates" students -- as if they were not already segregated (by income, by SES, by place of residence, etc.)in a de facto manner now.

If the school gets the hoped-for results, it will have justified itself. If will be another idea that didn't pan out. A not-uncommon outcome in education. I think a qualified thumbs-up is called for. Let's see if this can be a step forward in addressing the needs of a poorly served student population. If it is a success there will likely be lessons that can be extrapolated to neighbourhood high schools as well.

Doretta said...

TDSBTeacher--I was trying to bring the subject up, but we ran out of time!

Education Reporter said...

Anon 6 March 12:54
Did catch the strong no followed by a lot of agreement and milder language-- also thought I had addressed that in the sentence prior to the one where I said Kidder was the only strong no.

I can't say for sure, but I don't think it was the possibility of a different instructional practice that attracted TVO producers to this. It was the public debate, however erroneously informed, that led to this spotlight.

Not attributing a value statement to that in any way, just stating it as food for thought.