Public education is a hot topic in the news in British Columbia today. We know that parents are concerned about their children's learning and the state of the public schools. These topics will help you keep up-to-date and informed.
Foundation skills assessment/standardized testing
Video for use in presentations to parents, trustees, public: The FSA. Failing Our Students (Jan 2009)
You may be interested in reading what Simon Fraser University Dean of Education Paul Shaker has to say about standardized testing in an interview published in the Georgia Straight.
The Assessment, evaluation, and reporting home page provides information about the Foundation Skills Assessment and standardized testing.
Letter from Vancouver School Board explaining how parents may request to have children excused from the FSA.
Many parents in the United States have become so concerned about standardized testing that they have formed an organization called Fairtest, which supports parents in learning about these high stakes tests in the U.S. and in becoming advocates for the nature of their child's learning.
Teachers are also very concerned about the impact of the excessive focus on testing, data collection, measuring and ranking. The brochure "Talking about teaching and learning" may help to begin a discussion of these issues.
More and more communities are facing school closures. The heart of communities is under threat.
In Vancouver's east side, students are leaving their neighbourhood to attend schools in other areas of the city, resulting in shrinking enrollments in east side schools. Read more in the Georgia Straight article Student Exodus Threatens East-Side Schools.
Teachers express their concerns about the government’s satisfaction surveys sent to parents, students, and staff.
Many school districts are looking at cost-saving strategies, like school calendar changes, to deal with funding cuts. Become informed about the effect of such changes.
Although three pieces from the old graduation portfolio remain as graduation requirements, the grad portfolio itself is no longer mandatory.
Public education is a community, not a commodity
We are witnessing a concerted effort by corporations to gain access to students in our schools. This is happening at a time when schools are struggling with funding shortfalls. We see an increasing number of schools looking to vending machines and commercial activities to raise funds for school operations. These agreements are frequently signed without any input from teachers, parents or the community. Teachers in BC have concerns about the implications of allowing private interests to purchase access to students in our public schools. Public Education is not for sale.
Many school boards are forming companies to compete with each other for money from foreign sources. Read more in our article about marketing schools.
Issues in education
Issues in Education is a series of brochures examining a range of current concerns in public education. They include: