Category Archives : Education

Public Education of good quality supports all learners. It is the foundation of democracy and key to citizenship, creativity, innovation and a healthy culture of engaged citizens. The themes present in this category include anti-bullying, green schools and education funding.

Catch $25: How mandatory carbon offsets are undermining real emissions reductions in BC school districts

School districts in BC are caught in a Catch 22. Provincial carbon neutral measures are forcing districts to pay for carbon offsets that don’t actually reduce the districts’ own emissions AND drain funds from education operating budgets. The bigger the emissions gap, the more offsets districts have to buy; the more they have to buy, READ MORE

Traditional playgrounds are not the cure for declining activity amongst children

The belief that adding more traditional playgrounds will encourage activity amongst children has proven to be a false assumption. A study that used GPS (Global Positioning System) to examine the link between environment and activity levels amongst children has shown that traditional playgrounds do little to promote activity. The large metal structures are often intimidating READ MORE

All day kindergarten a semi solution to a larger problem

The introduction of all day kindergarten is causing some tension for parents and teachers alike. Although many parents and teachers agree the program will help youngsters with reading and arithmetic they feel the introduction of the program is rushed and poorly funded. The program is meant to address gaps in early childhood education and care, READ MORE

BC’s Chief Atahm Elementary School provides immersion in First Nations language and culture

Located on the Adam’s Lake reserve, Chief Atahm Elementary relies on elders for its immersion program that teaches only in the local language, Secwepemctsin, from kindergarten to Grade 3. The school also provides instruction in traditional cultural practices, from plant identification and uses, to preserving meat. The involvement of local elders and parents has created READ MORE

BC School Boards receive fresh blow from the Ministry of Education

Last Friday the Ministry of Education informed school boards that they are now responsible for paying property insurance premiums. This carves a significant amount of money out of already stretched school board budgets. Vancouver’s school board will have to pay the highest premiums at $291,285.27, amounting to significant cuts to school programs and staff. Read READ MORE

Students support a policy to create safety and respect for LGBTQs

The Burnaby school district has drafted a policy, No. 5.45, to support students and employees who are (or are assumed to be) lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two-spirit or queer (LGBTQ). While the policy is being met with protest from some parents and church groups, students are overwhelmingly in favour of the policy. Read more READ MORE

Special needs students falling by the wayside in BC

Increases in the number of special needs students and decreases in the number of special education teachers leave unions and parent groups worried that these students aren’t getting the qualified instruction they need. They point the finger at the BC government’s passing of Bill 28 in 2002, which removed funding for special needs services, and READ MORE

Why human rights, safe schools, and Pink Shirt Day matter

On February 21 the Vancouver board of education unanimously passed a motion of support for Bill C-389, a federal bill that would add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code. Gender identity and expression are common grounds for bullying and harassment among school-aged READ MORE

BC’s school libraries are most affected by chronic underfunding

Many schools across the province are facing major budget shortfalls, and according to a recent report, it is libraries that bear the brunt of cost-cutting measures. In the 2009-2010 year, parents and schools were able to raise 1.2 million dollars to keep school libraries afloat. However, dollars raised varied widely according to neighbourhood income, underscoring READ MORE

Don’t Forget Gay and Trans Kids Are Most Bullied

Students from two Vancouver schools recently organized a flashmob to spread the world about the “international anti-bullying day”, or “Pink Shirt Day”, which occurs on Feb. 23. Despite the students’ choice to wear pink shirts with the word “acceptance” written on them, they lack reference to homophobia and transphobia, which are the most common motives READ MORE

How Green School Buildings Help Children Grow

New research is showing that BC’s shift towards green schools may be producing healthier, more productive, and more environmentally aware students. Canadian and American studies have shown that the improved natural light, air quality and acoustics required in green buildings help meet the educational and health needs of children and teachers far better than traditional READ MORE

A New Coalition—Business and Education Leaders, and the Mayor Make the Case for More Education Funding

Surrey business leaders, education leaders and Mayor Diane Watts have joined together to appeal for more education funding. Surrey has the largest public-school district in the province and the local board of trade has argued that education is a cornerstone of a stable economy.The Surrey board of trade recently released a paper titled Education Today, Productivity Tomorrow . Read READ MORE

Violence in Neighbourhoods Lowers Children’s IQ Scores

A murder in a neighbourhood often lowers the IQ scores of children within a 10 block radius. Although this dip in IQ seems to go back to normal after 10 days, the post-traumatic stress of children who live in violent crime-ridden neighbourhoods accounts for lower IQ scores and poorer academic performance. Read the full story READ MORE

Vancouver Board to Lay Off Dozens of Staff, Close School, Drop 10 Days

The Vancouver School Board says it’s getting ready to lay off dozens of staff, close at least one school, and shorten the school year by 10 days, citing an $18.1-million deficit it blames on the provincial government. Provincial funding for schools has failed to keep pace with rising labor costs and mandated energy -efficiency retrofits READ MORE

East Beats West: Nonprofit Childcare Superior to Commercial Sector

The Frontier Centre has recently raved about the values of Alberta’s primarily commercial-based childcare system, while contrasting it against Manitoba’s and Saskatchewan’s not-for-profit systems. Some have criticized this judgement, arguing that commercial systems are discriminatory and government funding should be preferentially provided to not-for-profit systems. Read the full article at the CCPA .

Cornell Study Asseses Adverse Effects of Poverty-Induced Physiological Stress on Brain Development

Scientific research suggests that socioeconomic status affects cognitive development and performance in children. Poverty causes social and biological stress that may affect the brain, causing low academic performance among children and youth living in poverty and impaired memory as adults. Read more about the findings of this study at Wired Magazine .

When More is Less: Education Funding in BC

Why are school districts cutting staff and laying off teachers?A Centre for Civic Governance research report finds growing evidence that the funding formula does not cover the costs of public education. The Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute reviewed the 2008-2009 preliminary annual budgets developed by boards of education across the province. The study READ MORE

A Poverty Reduction Plan for BC

Despite having a strong economy for the last decade, British Columbia has the highest poverty rates in the country. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has laid out a Poverty Reduction Plan that would reduce poverty in the province by one third after four years and eliminate street homelessness within 5 years. The plan calls for action in 7 key READ MORE

BC Government Announces Green Games for Schools

Shirly Bond, BC’s minister of education has just announced a new environmental school initiative. Individual students or groups of students are being offered prize money if they can design and implement school-based brojects that benefit the environment. The Government has so far commited $160,000 to the Green Games .The prizes are available to grades k-12 and are READ MORE

Campus Report: Disappearing Water Fountains

As more municipalities consider banning bottled water from municipal facilities, Canadian university and college campuses are moving in the opposite direction. A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) titled “Corporate Initiatives on Campus: A Snapshot” reveals that since the implementation of beverage exclusivity contracts with Coke and Pepsi, drinking fountains are on the decline.

4 Day School Week for Rural American Students

Many rural school districts across the U.S. are considering switching to a 4-day week mainly to save on transportation costs. 100 schools in 16 states have already made the switch. One school district reports saving $65,000 on transportation alone. Other districts report better student performance and improved school attendance. Read an article about the switch over .

School Lands Bylaw in Cowichan Valley

On May 14, 2008 the Cowichan Valley Regional District passed bylaw amendments that restrict the use of school lands, in the hopes of discouraging school closures. The bylaws prevent the sale of school lands for private development in order to keep the lands for public use. Read an article from the Vancouver Sun about the role parents played in getting the bylaw READ MORE

Langley Special Education Inquiry Report

The Langley Special Education Inquiry Report , released in January 2008, was a joint project of the District Parent Advisory Council, CUPE Local 1260, and the Langley Teachers’ Association. Key findings of the report include that there has been an historical underfunding of special education in BC that has led to overcrowded classrooms and unmanageable caseloads for teachers. The Inquiry READ MORE

October 2007 Changes to Education Funding

On October 18th, the Ministry of Education announced changes to the education funding formula. These changes are to come into effect immediately, despite the fact that school boards have already established their budgets for the current school year. The changes being made to the funding formula apply to students in grades 10, 11 and 12. READ MORE

Commission on Public Education Report – Saanich School Board

In October of 2006, the Saanich School Board formed a Commission of Public Education, which included three trustees, the Superintendent of Schools and a respected community member. The Commission was tasked with receiving feedback on the Board’s declared values, programs, priorities and services; addressing the ongoing funding shortfalls facing the Board and receiving ideas on READ MORE