Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Big news, no news

The fate of Conductive Education is such a minor matter...

A few straws blowing in this morning's economic wind, in probably decreasing order of importance...

  • In Ekaterinburg in Russia, close to where Europe meets Asia, a meeting is being held, the first summit of leaders of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), the likely dominant world economic powers of the mid-twentieth-first century. China has announced a mega credit deal for countries in Central Asia. Russia wants the other three to join it in replacing the US dollar as the international reserve currency. Political clout may follow economic clout... watch the story unfold over your lifetime.

  • In the world of mere business, the boss of British Airways has asked all 40,000 of its staff to consider working up to a month without pay, as part of its ' fight for survival'. It is also looking to make ten-percent redundancies. The unions are sympathetic to saving the company but of course opposed to permanent job cuts.

  • In the United Kingdom, 350,000 public-sector jobs are now forecast to be lost over the next five years, sparking major strikes affecting public services. As a start, 30,000 local-authority jobs will be cut next year alone. Hardest hit part of the country socially may be Northern Ireland, where nearly one-third of the workforce is employed by the public sector.

  • In England the boss of the Charity Commission has issued a checklist of 15 urgent questions for all charity trustees to ask themselves. He advises that charities' very survival now will depend upon coming up with the right answers to these questions, and acting upon them.

So what?

That's some of just today's economic news, up till lunchtime today. Only the bigger stuff of course. What to make of it? Not much perhaps. It is like reading (i.e. interpreting) an EEG: surface noises representing common pattens emerge out of multitudinous activity beneath, but only from one kind of the activities going on down there. There are things that this 'news' will never pick up, because they are presently too tiny or so unfamiliar, yet with the historians' wisdom of hindsight these may prove the important, world-shaping events of mid-June 2009.

Even so, the EEG is a useful clinical instrument, and the 'news' may be the best way that most of us have to understand what is going on to shape our lives.

And CE?

Most of what happens in and to Conductive Education depends upon either the individual choices and actions of very small numbers of individuals, or the destinies of tiny organisations too insignificant to feature on any economic indices. But all these choices and actions will be unavoidably affestcd by shifts in global financial power, the fate of international conglomerates, soaring unemployment, shrinkage of public services and, in many cases, the very survivability of non-profits/charities.

Individuals and organisations will make their own decisions, wise or unwise, informed or otherwise, according to their own lights, bending the best they can to ride out the economic wind. Summer is upon the Northern Hemisphere where most CE is situated, the academic year is closing and the new school year will soon follow. Parents have to decide what they will be able to afford in the new year, and so do programs, funders and public agencies. Conductors have to think of their employability and their own financial security. Everyone will be wanting to squeeze the maximum value out of what money might be available.

And very likely, as has been suggested before in Conductive World, amounst the multitude of service-users (not just parents) and service-providers (not just conductors), situated somewhere or other that is not necessarily the 'usual places'), pioneers are beginning to forge new practice-models and new business-models potentially widely generalisable for the economic order that will follow.

Meanwhile the priority to the forefront of most people's minds is simply finding ways of bringing their CE through the immediate future.

The 15 questions

These have been composed for the trustees of charities in England. They are, however, of a fundamental nature that transcends local institutional forms, and might prove useful for consideration by the boards of non-profits/charities running Conductive Education anywhere in the world (indeed for any sort of business, corporate of non-corporate, providing CE services).

http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/tcc/ccnews29check.asp

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