There was a grass roots revolt against "Portfolio". First, by teachers, who understood that it had been designed without any meaningful input from those on the ground who would be implementing it. Students, understanding that they were receiving little support began an online petition which eventually had over 7,500 signatures. Then, by parents, who understood when it became a barrier to graduation for their own children. Eventually, the government pulled back and canceled it.
It's a shame, because at the core, Portfolio was a good idea. But it was also a classic example of what happens when a single good pedagogical idea is cherry picked by an eager politician and implemented by people who do not actually work in the system without any money.
So with Personalized Learning. A lovely new book has been produced by the Ministry to score some points with the electorate and to appear to be involving teachers, parents and the community in the discussion. (http://www.personalizedlearningbc.ca) A handful of people will fill in the blanks, probably with a wide assortment of ideas based on anything from solid research to personal experience, and the government will say it "consulted". Meanwhile, they will forge ahead with their own plans.
Ironically, within the lovely book are some glaring contradictions. Personalized learning with standardized report cards. Less rigid curriculum with more frequent standardized testing.
But the most glaring omission? Money.
Let's remember Portfolio again. A new course. Every student required to take it. No funding whatsoever (well, to be fair, a few pennies for a few workshops - but no per student funding at all). Counselor time had to be used to meet with students and help them prepare because there was no portfolio "course". This was typically taken from other teaching time, meaning increased class sizes in the rest of the school. Most Districts also purchased expensive online portfolio systems, with funds coming from other areas of the District budget and corresponding cuts in those areas. For what? For the whole thing to be discontinued and replaced a few short years later with the graduation transition plan.
I am not opposed to significant change. There are lots of things wrong with how our schools are organized. But this government plan will not lead to improvements - it will lead to fewer services for students. It is a cost cutting measure dressed up in nice pedagogical clothing with "pseudo" consultation.
If the government were truly interested in moving to "great" schools from "good" schools, they would properly fund the system, they would have a thorough discussion with all the participants (royal commission?), and they would eliminate the profiteers from the discussion (we really don't need the technology council telling us how to sell more IT products to school districts).