The Other Side of Courage

It doesn’t always end well for courageous education leaders. At least not right away.

Courage is the most important quality for leadership in education, because it isn’t always easy to speak up for children. And above all, speaking up for children is the job.

Not every system understands that the purpose of public education is to ensure the best possible rich learning environment for ALL children (see the Preamble to the Yukon Education Act below)

The purpose of public education systems is NOT to

  • ensure re-election for the Minister of Education
  • protect your friends
  • get rid of the bad kids
  • discipline children
  • ensure adult needs are met

The public education system is there to ensure every child – and every single child is precious – has the best possible chance for the life they imagine regardless of geography or genetics. When adults have other motives, it takes a courageous, ethical leader to stand up for kids.

Regardless of the consequences.

Featured image by Donna Miller Fry, April 22, 2022

This sat on my desk in my office at the Department of Education, Yukon Territory, until the end of my position there on April 22, 2022 after disclosing to the RCMP and Family and Children’s Services decades of child abuse in a Whitehorse Elementary School.

You can hear more about it on the podcast here.

More here regarding the Class Action Lawsuit against the government on behalf of the many families and victims of abuse at the hands of the educators they trusted.

I previously wrote on this topic in 2014 here.

I also wrote about courage in open practice here.

And courage in volunteering to lead here.

You can find more about the courage to share with others here.

The Preamble to the Yukon Education Act

Recognizing that Yukon people agree that the goal of the Yukon education system is to work in co-operation with parents to develop the whole child including the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, cultural, and aesthetic potential of all students to the extent of their abilities so that they may become productive, responsible, and self-reliant members of society while leading personally rewarding lives in a changing world; and

Recognizing that the Yukon education system will provide a right to an education appropriate to the individual learner based on equality of educational opportunity; prepare students for life and work in the Yukon, Canada, and the world; instill respect for family and community; and promote a love of learning; and

Recognizing that meaningful partnerships with greater parental and public participation are encouraged for a high quality Yukon education system; and

Recognizing that the Yukon curriculum must include the cultural and linguistic heritage of Yukon aboriginal people and the multicultural heritage of Canada; and

Recognizing that rights and privileges enjoyed by minorities as enshrined in the law shall be respected.

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