The Alberta Education Act contains the following:
A student, as a partner in education, has a responsibility to:
(a) attend school regularly and punctually
(b) be ready to learn and actively engage in, and diligently pursue the student's education
(c) ensure that a student's conduct contributes to a welcoming, caring and respectful and safe learning environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging
(d) respects the rights of others in the school
(e) refrain from, report and not tolerate, bullying or bullying behaviour directed towards others in the school, whether or not it occurs in the school building, during the school day or by electronic means
(f) comply with the rules of the school or the policies of the board,
(g) co-operate with everyone authorized by the board to provide education programs and other services,
(h) be accountable to the student's teachers and other staff for the student's conduct, and
(i) positively contribute to the student's school and community
There is a lot to unpack in that section of the Education Act. My questions are as follows:
1. Are the above priorities identified as such by students and 'lived and breathed' on a day by day basis?
2. Can you recall a set of priorities set by one group for a different and distinct group, that has been successfully held up without a steady, day in and day out, clear demonstration of the value of those priorities and why the group (ie. the students) should p be concerned about meeting such expectations?
That second question is a mouthful, however it has been my experience that the commitment to such principles takes a concerted effort to both instill the features and display the benefits of these standards.
Would your student have been aware of these stated commitments? Would you?
I think we can go in one of two directions: seek to changes these or seek to live these. The Education Act is up for review in the coming year and it's contents can be shaped to a certain degree during a consultation phase.
Or we can endorse these statements as being something we value and want to have students that understand them, value them and seek to meet or exceed these priorities.
What we should not do: sit on the fence about the topic. That, to be frank, would implicitly state that we not value the contents of the document and that we do not expect it to carry any weight with our students. I do think that there are some people who endorse these values regularly and are actively setting an example about that can be followed. And there are certainly students that reflect these standards, and I believe would be such leaders regardless of document put together by the Government of Alberta.
As a whole, I think we need to aim for more exceptional outcomes from more exceptional students. As a community, we have to live it. It has to be a day in and day out pursuit at home, school and the community.
I think that in the future, we will have difficulty trying to reconcile a lukewarm endorsement of these ideals with not making a comprehensive commitment achieve these ideals. The results will be in front of us. Students become adults before you know it. Will they be the adults that we would want as our neighbour? As our employer? As our leaders?