School of Thought
What’s the school of thought on education in Manitoba?
I’m sure there have been times when you were deep in thought. Even lost in thought. Someone shared something with you as food for thought. Or told you to hold that thought. Well, I want to take you to the school of thought. The school of thought in Manitoba. It’s the thought that counts.
Do your part in revamping the system
They’re calling it the most major education overhaul in Canadian history. Bill 64, The Education Modernization Act, has been tabled in the Legislature. The actual debate of the bill, including public hearings, will take place in the fall. However, you can expect this to be an ongoing topic for discussion. In Manitoba politics, school won’t be out for the summer.
The Act is built on four pillars. One is improving learning and outcomes. The second is student engagement and competence for future careers. The third is ensuring teachers and staff have the tools they need to teach effectively. The fourth is governance.
The government consulted with Manitobans and asked for input on how to strengthen the education system. Many of you completed an online survey and took the opportunity to promote independent schools and of course our Reformed schools. But there is more to do! And ARPA is here to help. Please take part in our School of Thought education campaign. We will endeavour to educate, equip, and encourage you on this important political issue so you can take action and present a Biblical perspective to your provincial government.
The first phase of this campaign will focus on parents. When school starts in September, we’ll resume the campaign and cover the four pillars mentioned above, starting with student engagement and competence for future careers. I look forward to working with you to deliver a positive message to our government.
What can you do?
1.) Relationships first, policy second. Send a respectful message to Manitoba’s provincial government about parental engagement. Please take the time to send a note of encouragement to Honourable Cliff Cullen, the Minister of Education. I have some suggestions here:
- Pass on encouragement, well-wishes, and a huge thank you for coming alongside schools during the COVID pandemic.
- Mention that you will be praying for him.
- Consider adding one of these recommendations from our Educational Diversity Policy Report
- Enshrine in provincial legislation the right of parents to select schooling for their children in line with their religious, philosophical, or cultural commitments or traditions.
- Increase parental involvement in education by requiring schools to make all curricula publicly available, to encourage parental review of curricula and classroom settings, and to invite parental participation in the extra-curricular activities their children are involved in.
You can do this by sending a thank you card. We have them all printed and ready to go. For our Reformed school supporters, the cards will be sent to the Reformed schools and be available for pick up. For those of you in the Winnipeg and Carman areas you can reach out to your local chapter representatives to get your cards. Carmanites can contact Phillip Rook ([email protected]) and Winnipegers can contact Kenton Slaa ([email protected]). You can also contact me ([email protected]) and I’ll make sure you get the cards.
2.) Check out the Better Education Starts Today website. A Parent Engagement Task Force has been launched consisting of 15 local town halls, where community leaders, MLAs, parents, and school staff will discuss how the proposed parent advisory councils and other aspects of an updated education system would work. This task force will lead 15 regional town halls to hear from each region about how to improve parental voice and engagement. Check out the website for regular updates about a town hall coming to your area. Use the Educational Diversity Policy Report to let your voice be heard.
Parents know what’s best for their kids
ARPA supporters will be pleased to hear that there is some solid content pertaining to parental choice, parental involvement, and parental engagement in this education revamp. In fact, the Act makes specific mention that independent schools are exemplary in this regard.
Our Educational Diversity Policy Report supports parental responsibility in education. “The primary responsibility of parents for their children’s education is a Christian principle, and many other religious and non-religious people hold the same view. Throughout the Bible, God commands parents to teach their children the law of God, their shared history, and their religious practices.”
The report affirms that “numerous studies show that parental engagement, or at least involvement, in education is a central influence on students’ academic performance.” Resources such as Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie and the Centre for Real World Learning provide the latest research on parental participation and parental engagement. Both sources highlight the positive impact of what is called the parental engagement effect.
Parent engagement is better than parent involvement. Parent engagement signals a more active and personal level of participation in learning that takes place in the family. Family learning describes all those informal learning activities undertaken at home by parents with their children. The more parents and children talk to each other, the better students achieve.
A good education system is one that encourages and enables parental engagement. Our governments need to demonstrate leadership but allow engaged parents to continue to play an important role in shaping their children, in supporting their children’s needs at school, and in participating in decisions that impact their children’s future.
Don’t give it a second thought
Please join me on this important campaign and have a positive impact on the future of education in Manitoba. May God bless our efforts in promoting an educational environment where we can educate His children as we ought.
We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. (Psalm 78:4)