Saturday, October 9, 2010

Secret #20:Reaching the tipping point

Malcolm Gladwell's book, "The Tipping Point" was an interesting read and his premise certainly applies to the work of school boards.  He argues that it takes a critical mass to effect change and that sometimes it only takes a little more effort or change in the environment to support a new direction or action.

The Edmonton Public School Board's recent debates around the question of student health and whether the board had a responsibility to offer healthier food and beverage options for students and eliminate the unhealthy( high sugar, high fat, high salt) options is a case in point.

EPSB Trustee Dave Colburn has been a leader in this policy area and had brought his anti junk food initiative forward a couple of years ago.  Initially, most trustees didn't see the need for this action, and some even questioned what constituted "junk" food.  When the vote was called, the motion was defeated.   As a result, the Board faced considerable negative reaction from the community and so, the following year, when Trustee Colburn brought forward the initiative again, it passed with a strong majority.

It's my sense that the new Board that will be elected on October 18th is one that will reflect the community's "tipping point" on the issue of school closures.

1 comment:

  1. The book is an excellent read... and, yes, one can hope that the new Board will reflect that which the community wants, perhaps revisiting the closure of schools such as McCauley, which had been extensively re-modelled just prior to its closure (shame!).

    Another tipping point for which the time seems to have come is the creation of a Special Needs Taskforce. During the campaign, there numerous many comments heard... many in support of equity for special needs students, others which asked offensive questions including one from the Westglen community: "Will my kid have to sit in a classroom and watch while teachers TAKE DOWN the special needs kids?"

    One can hope that the tipping point will arrive and society will learn that it's not just average children who thrive in environments free of physical and psychological abuse.