At the beginning of the summer, the Education Minister, John O'Dowd, stated: "Shared education has an important role to play and now is an opportune time to debate this across civic society." He added: "I suspect our society is at the stage where we are really only at the start of this debate."
While the establishment of a ministerial advisory group on shared education must be welcomed, it is astounding to think it has taken so long to establish and that politicians like Mr O'Dowd feel society is only now ready for such a debate.
What might be closer to the truth is that it is politicians that are only ready now.
Every independent opinion poll, for as long as I can remember, has demonstrated a public will to move towards a more integrated schooling system - irrespective of one's political outlook. But such surveys can be treated with suspicion if we don't like what they suggest.
Given that, I encourage sceptics to look at other evidence; evidence of direct parental and community action in increasing integration in our schools.
They could start with the 62 integrated schools themselves, brought into being through parental demand - not Government policy. In many cases, it took philanthropic funding to get a new school off the ground.
Further, they could consider the hundreds of schools, whether they be Catholic, state-controlled, Irish-medium, or integrated, that have sought to engage in cross-community education projects.
Why would parents and schools seek to do this if they didn't recognise the value of learning, playing and working together?
Taking the above evidence, which reinforces the findings of the independent research, politicians can be under no illusion about the desire to develop a system where educating children together is the norm - not the exception.
The time has come for the Executive to enable and direct change in our education system on a cross-community and cross-sectoral basis. Yet, at Stormont, we often see the evidence of a policy of a 'shared out future', rather than a 'shared future'.
At the start of the summer, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure didn't announce a public consultation on languages, but rather two consultations - one on the Irish language and one for Ulster Scots. This 'one for me, one for you' routine has led to massive public expenditure on duplicated services. Without radical change at Stormont, we will go on managing division rather than transcending it.
We continue to move forward in so many ways and have had so many things to be proud of in 2012: the opening of new visitor centres; Olympic sporting success and the staging of major international events such as the Irish Open.
Yet we are constantly reminded how division threatens our future. Look no further than the claims of 'chronic sectarianism' against young Protestant boxers from Sandy Row, or the depressing scenes outside St Patrick's Catholic Church in Donegall Street during Orange marches.
It would be naive to suggest that educating our children together will cure all ills, but our capacity to demonise the 'other side' is surely made more difficult when we actually meet and work together.
The window of opportunity for a positive change in education is rapidly closing. As the Education Minister announces the creation of his advisory group on shared education, his plans are already underway for a radical shake-up of the schools estate, leading to closures, mergers and amalgamations. Yet all this is to be done before publication of the advisory group's findings.
The danger is that community separation in education will be copper-fastened like never before.
We must do all we can to demand our Executive finally heeds public opinion and stops trying to kid us that we are not ready for real change just yet. We are. Are they?