I am happy to report the conference, which has engaged so much of our attention in the last year, was a great success. The turnout was greater than expected, the speakers and panel members were inspiring, the members of the audience were not only diverse (teachers, students, administrator, parents, legislators) but were the most genuinely knowledgeable and engaged one could ask for.
The conference was designed to inform parents, educators, students, policy makers and other members of the general public about the issue of parental choice in schooling. We expected this conference to provide a vigorous but civil forum for careful, thoughtful debate and engagement on education in Montana. Our goal was to foster, if not agreement, at least understanding among educational stakeholders.
Without exception all of the many people to express themselves during the nearly two full day conference remained civil and engaged in careful thought. We did not seek and thus did not propose any agreements but we are confident we did succeed in promoting understanding among the education stakeholders.
There is some interest amongst the planners of the conference to consider doing another one. This would probably not be concerned with parental choice in schooling so much as with ways of improving the caliber of education private and public. This might have to do with the place of the humanities in high school and college programs. We would be interested in hearing from any of our readers who have an interest in such a topic.