Tag Archives: government

Is “B.C.’s education system broken”? Heck no!

In a recent Province column, Jon Ferry discusses Thomas Fleming’s book A World Apart. According to Ferry, Fleming claims that “our overly politicized school system is rudderless, leaderless and essentially broken.”

Other quotes in the article are equally scathing, mostly regarding the conflict between the Education Ministry, the BCSTA, and the BCTF.

Certainly, if all one did to gather information was to follow the news, this viewpoint might be seen as having some validity–but only if one does not spend any time in public schools.

While I would agree that the frequent negativity and bickering from the “higher ups” is unproductive and, frankly, immature, our public schools continue to offer exceptional, world class education for our children. We are consistently seen as having one of the best public school systems in the world.

As a parent and a trustee I am both excited and proud of our public schools on the Sunshine Coast.

Something definitely needs to change within the politicized realm of public education, but, fortunately “on the ground” our public schools remain vibrant, amazing places that offer the best educational experiences available!

 

 

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Filed under BC politics, Education, Sunshine Coast Board of Education, Sunshine Coast School Board

Will the HST saga bring democracy to BC?

As this chapter of the HST struggle winds down, let’s consider the potential impact of the process. For me, as a proponent of true democratic reforms, this has been a monumental struggle. The results of the referendum are less important than the fact that citizens–hard-working folks that pay the bills and whose lives are directly impacted–were given the opportunity to have a say in public policy! Continue reading

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Remaining positive through tough budgets.

The new year brings about the worst job (in my opinion) of a Board of Education: setting the budget for the next school year. I guess there was a time when talking about school district budgets wasn’t depressing-back in the heyday of climbing enrollments.

There is a lot of messages floating around about education funding going on these days: some factual, some political, most a bit of both. However, one thing is pretty cut and dry: declining enrollment. We get the vast majority of our funding on a per-pupil basis, so fewer students means less money.

And we are likely to have fewer students next year.

I’m feeling optimistic, though. I actually feel like we could be on the cusp of some exciting changes, a renewed focus on education as a priority in our society. Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Sunshine Coast Board of Education

Obama: Education is top priority. BC leadership candidates: We’ll see.

President Obabma to Announce Cuts in 2012 Budget, but Not to Education.

Amid the financial crisis in the US president Obama continues to state that he will invest in education in an effort to “reform” the floundering US education system. Education reform has been a big issue in the US, spawning all kinds of ideas–some good, some silly, some “meh”– aimed at  improving education.

Whether you like the idea of education reform or hate it, it has propelled education into the spotlight making it a focus nationally, regionally, and locally. I just don’t think you can say that about education in Canada.

Of course, we are different nations, and you could say that the US education system is in a “crisis,” and therefore warrants the attention; but most of the issues being discussed are relevant to Canada, and we do face many of the same challenges (though less extreme-so far.)

There are lessons to be learned in all this. We need to start focusing on education before we are in a crisis.  I still haven’t heard any concrete plans from our BC leadership (NDP & Liberal) candidates on their plans to ensure our children get an exceptional education.

Where are the champions in BC?

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Filed under BC politics, Education

Sunshine Coast School District to Review Number of Trustees and Electoral Boundaries

Should the Sunshine Coast reduce the number of school trustees? Should trustees be elected “at large?”  At last night’s meeting (Jan. 11, 2011) we passed a motion to look at cutting the number of trustees representing our district from five to seven, and to also look at how trustees are elected.

These are both valid considerations to look at, and could result in significant change in our district. There are solid arguments on both sides of this debate, and I will endeavour to follow up with some balanced information. Hopefully others will chime in as well.

Trustees are the representatives of the public and the public pays the bills, so the next step will be consulting with our community.

 

 

 

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Filed under BC politics, Education, Sunshine Coast Board of Education

2010: HST+Facebook=The End of Sortuvocracy?

I predicted that the Zalmer’s HST petition, while noble, would ultimately fail, as the Government has no obligation to honour the will of The People as voiced in mere petitions.

Indeed, the process was set up to fail. Most of us know the bar was deliberately set so high that it was never intended to be a real tool for citizen input, but I was surprised to read this week that Ujjal Dosanjh, the chairman of the committee that recommended the initiative process in ’93, completely admits that!

“We never in our wildest dreams ever felt that any initiative would pass, because we set the threshold so high,” Dosanjh states in an illuminating Globe and Mail article.

So in many ways the Zalm is already a winner on this one, even if the Government decides to continue ignoring the will of the people, which they can still do. Even the promised referendum is by no means a surety. Although we do have Gordon Campbell’s word on that one.

I didn’t see the referendum move coming, I have to admit that. It was probably about as good a move as possible politically for GoCam–it wasn’t enough to save him, but it did take some wind out of the Recall sails. Those sails seem amazingly full still, though, because the battle rages on.

The battle is no longer simply about the HST, though.

This battle pits proponents of our current system of Sortuvocracy, in which politicians represent their parties and special interest groups, against those advocating for Democracy. And the people demanding a say in public policy aren’t shutting up.

They’re organized, too, which is what makes this battle different. There is no doubt that the Internet, specifically Facebook in this case, helped to quickly galvanize the angry masses and demonstrate their opposition to the decisions of their “representatives.” The Internet wasn’t a factor when the group of politicians, headed by Mr. Dosanjh, got together to draft a mock procedure for holding themselves more accountable.

Will this usher in a brave new world, in which politicians are accountable to (or, eventually, replaced by!) the public? Or will elected officials continue to choose allegiance to their parties over representing the populace?

Time will tell, but you have to think that they will at least think twice before acting without consulting constituents, knowing that recall is a legitimate option now. We could be on the brink of something exciting.

Of course, the government could also just modify or scrap the recall and initiative procedure, knowing that it can actually work. Watch for this after the HST issue dies down.

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Board of Education meeting tonight! Tuesday, March 16, 2010 @ 7:00 p.m. at the School Board Office

A reminder to come out and attend the regular board meeting of your Board of Education. Want to make sure your politicians are listening? Come out and be heard, and keep us on our toes. Trust me, it makes us nervous when you show up. That’s gotta be worth something!

Notable on the agenda: All Day Kindergarten update.

You can view the entire agenda here.

See you there.

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Filed under Sunshine Coast Board of Education, Sunshine Coast News and Politics