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EdCan Network, Opinion

EdCan Network Regional Exchanges

The CEA Puts Its Ear to the Ground

It may come as a surprise to many of you, but the Canadian Education Association celebrates its 125th Anniversary this year. Established in 1891 as an organization dedicated to connecting educators, policy thinkers and those interested in the growth and flourishing of public education systems across the country, the CEA has been a trusted convenor, connector and provocateur on the Canadian education landscape. 

If you were to look for those catalytic moments in the story of the CEA—those plot points when new energy and focus was realized—your attention would eventually be drawn to those times when the organization’s leaders sought to “put their ear to the ground” in an effort to get a sense of what issues, challenges and opportunities that were keeping them awake at night. This process of listening has always enabled the CEA to mobilize its resources, research and initiatives to respond in a meaningful way and in a timely manner. 

I’m thrilled to be part of the team of listeners that will be moving out across Canada this fall to engage in the establishment of 5 Regional Exchanges designed to enable the CEA to hear from shareholders at all levels of the system around what is important in their particular contexts. 

It may be tempting to talk about Canadian education as if it were a single national system that looked and felt the same right across the country. We know, however, that this is not the case and that, even within provincial and local jurisdictions, diverse social, economic and political contexts have a great effect on how our visions for public education are brought to life. The EdCan Network Regional Exchanges are designed to explore the common values that inspire our work in education as well as the complex contexts in which that work takes place.

Each Regional Exchange will be comprised of 15-20 participants and will meet twice during the year—first to become more aware of the issues and opportunities at work in their particular region and, second, to explore more deeply how the most pressing of these are playing out in the day to day of our students, educators, parents and wider communities. The commitment to both depth and perspective make this a unique initiative and one that, we believe, will hold value for all of us. 

So, this is an invitation to you, the groups and individuals who are working throughout Canada’s public education systems. You know who you are. You are thinking deeply about the quality of these systems. You are immersed in your own context, but are aware of and open to what is happening in other parts of the system. You have definite ideas and perspectives, but are willing to hold them lightly while listening to the perspectives of others. You get energized by the conversations, but see them as a started point for committed action. 

And you sometimes feel like noone is listeningWell, the CEA is listening and would invite you to take a closer look at the EdCan Network Regional Exhange initiative, because we’re coming to your region this Fall:

Monday, October 24th: Western Canada and NWT—Regina, Saskatchewan
Wednesday, October 26th: Ontario—Mississauga, Ontario
Friday, October 28th: BC and Yukon—Vancouver, British Columbia
Friday, October 28th: Francophone—Montréal, Quebec
Wednesday, November 2nd: East Coast—Halifax, Nova Scotia

Take a look at the initiative page, fill out the application form and let your voice be heard! 

For more information contact Stephen Hurley (English Exchanges) or Yoland Nantel (Francophone Exchange)