It’s great to see so many people from all walks of life discussing education and how we can best make improvements. Even better that so much of the discussion is calm and reasoned.
Not everyone agrees with each other – that’s impossible – but it is brilliant that we are talking about it.
It is so important people share their ideas, thoughts and concerns, and be honest about them so that a true and honest dialogue begins with parents and teachers at the heart of it, alongside academics, politicians, iwi, and in fact everyone in the country.
Every voice matters.
I’m serious. Not one of us knows it all. I don’t have the answers – neither do you. But together we can share what we know, synthesise the ideas, and begin to unpick what might work best to further improve our schools.
It’s important, though, that we are clear on the goals we wish to achieve. My own would be to improve public education for all children and to keep education free and equitable. (Equitable doesn’t mean same for everyone, it just means fair for everyone).
I realise my goals may not be your goals. This is why any discussion must focus on our goals first, to gain clarity, consensus and direction.
Half the problems come when the parties involved either haven’t thought in any detail about what they truly are aiming for.
Some of the issues occur when they have thought about it choose not to be honest about what they want or why.
That’s not good enough.
To get anywhere, we all must be honest and then stand by what we believe, whilst listening to and considering fairly the other points of view.
It is totally fine to disagree. It is fine to debate and challenge and reconsider things – in fact, not much of any value happens without doing that. But we must be prepared to take on new evidence and reconsider our stance.
And we absolutely must be honest. Saying one thing while believing another will help no-one.
Worse still is saying one thing while doing another.
It all starts with openness and honesty and listening.
Only then can we get an truly inclusive, wide-ranging dialogue going.
Now why not do some thinking and sharing of your own, by joining in the discussions here:
Our education system ain’t broke, yet, by Brigid McCaffery (Stuff Nation)
Stop Playing Politics With Education, by Stephen McCartney (Stuff Nation)
Trust teachers to teach your children, by Mike Boon (Stuff Nation)
Education No Political Football, by Tracy Livingstone (Stuff Nation)
Get politics out of our schools, by Judy Johannessen (Stuff Nation)