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.
Class size and composition
BC teachers are working hard to meet the needs of all students in the face of large classes and not enough support for students with special needs. They have a plan to build better schools for BC.
The Ministry of Education is in the midst of redesigning a new curriculum. Classroom teachers make up the majority of the provincial curriculum development teams that began the curriculum review in April 2013. They are joined by administrative and independent school representatives.
There continues to be ongoing concerns about the lack of provincial planning and support for the implementation of new or revised curricula. The ministry downloaded this responsibility to boards many years ago with targeted funds for this purpose. There are no longer targeted funds and districts have serious budget constraints.
Public education is a community, not a commodity
We are witnessing a concerted effort by corporations, such as Pearson plc, to gain access to students in our schools. This is happening at a time when schools are struggling with funding shortfalls. Teachers in BC have concerns about the implications of allowing private interests to control public education. Public Education is not for sale.
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 Paul Shaker, former SFU dean of education, 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. Since 2002, more than 200 public schools have been closed in the province. The heart of communities is under threat.
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.