It's been said of our generation, that we are drowning in information and thirsting for wisdom.

Well, it seems to me, reflection is a prerequisite to wisdom.

That's why this conference is such a great idea. It's an opportunity for our education leaders to learn and to reflect, and I want to do more to support your work leader to leader.

That's why over the next few months I will be personally engaging with a number of our elementary schools across Ontario, schools that are experiencing some very real challenges.

We're going to help those schools adopt best practices from other schools that have faced similar challenges and yet are doing very well.

This is part of the larger leadership strategy that the ministry is working on.

Another element of our leadership strategy is something called "Statistical Neighbours".

This is a new concept and many of you may not be familiar with it yet.

Here's how it works.

Leaders are called upon to make important decisions and the quality of our decisions is directly related to the quality of the information that is made available to us.

While we plan to get you better information - not just about your school but about other schools as well - information about everything from a school's test scores, to it's demographics, to the special education needs of it's students, but even the best information alone doesn't turn a school around. It takes a good leader - someone with the right skills and focus to do the job. Someone like you.

In his book "In Praise of Education", John Goodlad sights a description of education as follows, and I've always loved this description! He says, "...education is the foundation of our freedom, it's the guarantee of our future, it's the cause of our prosperity and our power, it's the bastion of our security, it's the bright and shining beacon, it's the sources of our enlightenment..."

Man, those are gorgeous words. Education is all that and so much more.

So, to everyone who helps inspire our young people, thank you so very much for your leadership.


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