04

Empower the students

TC has exceptional levels of engagement and achievement because of the students’ freedom.

The challenge of the '“Yes” is the default' policy is that it forces decision makers to apply the test fairly and objectively and in some cases approve proposals that the decision maker personally does not agree with. It reverses the “burden of proof” meaning the decision makers must justify why the request should be denied rather than the proposer making the case as to why it should be approved. The subliminal message is…”It is your education, not ours” and our job is to get in your way as little as possible. The good news is that knowing this clear test, most people carefully consider their requests in regards to “too much time, too much money or negatively impacts on someone else” before they ask, which is a great example of self-regulation.

Some students in particular are too harsh on evaluating their own suggestions, particularly in regards to “too much money”. The test does not require that the suggestions will take no money at all to implement. Schools have large budgets and some money should be allocated to enable student and staff self-determination. Some students will not put a suggestion forward because it might cost $200 to implement but could potentially benefit several students in a significant way. Encouraging this type of thinking does encourage more shared and responsible ownership of scarce school resources.