What do you think is important for our education system in the future?

Summary to date:
Here’s a summary of what you’ve said so far. Click on the links beside each theme to read supporting examples.

  1. Change is necessary (1, 2, 3)
  2. Change is already happening (1, 2)
  3. System is fine as is (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  4. Stick to the basics (1, 2)
  5. Resources (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  6. Technology (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  7. Parental involvement (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  8. Class size and composition (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  9. Concerns about inequity (1, 2, 3, 4)
  10. BC Ed Plan lacks substance (1, 2, 3)
  11. Online portfolios (1, 2)
  12. Teacher training (1, 2)
  13. Online learning (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  14. Modified calendar (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  15. Independent schools (1, 2, 3)
  16. Curriculum (1, 2, 3)

Please leave a comment below if you’d like to contribute to this topic.

353 Responses to “ What do you think is important for our education system in the future? ”

  • North van district has 10 new pro d days saving $300,000 for the school district. Lets put this in the parents view, low estimate $2,500,000 in extra day care cost for parents $1,000,000 in lost work days for enployers because employees cant get day care for all these extra days and take a sick day. I can see your great vission, it’s lets play political shell game. I think all parents would have rather payed the $16 per student to make up this short fall.
    These numbers are just from North Van dist how much is this costing across the province.Can we get someone in that can make an educated decision.

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    • Moderator Heather Moderator Heather says:

      Thanks for sharing your concerns regarding the number of professional development days in the school calendar for your district. School Calendar Regulation permits boards of education to schedule up to 6 pd days during a school year if they use the standard school calendar.

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  • Lesley says:

    change the funding formula! Currently, my child is disadvantaged in school because of declining enrollment in our catchment area. She has less opportunities and less course choices than a student in districts where enrollment is stable or increasing. This is discrimination based on finances and the schools in our zone are slowly dying because of the current funding formula, and more and more students are leaving for better educational opportunities at schools outside our zone. This means an extra 2 hours a day of travel time, bus expenses, and up to 14 hours a day away from home if there are extra-curricular activities. Quite a load for a high school student to bear! Our school district is running a deficit this year, yet courses still are being cut. I think that every child in the province should have equal opportunities in education, but this is currently not the case for students in areas of declining enrollment. It’s about time that the Minister acknowledges that the current funding formula doesn’t work for all schools and develops a plan to support districts like ours.

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  • Elly says:

    I agree that class sizes need to be smaller. In order to do that I suggest that the school year be the full year, not 9 months with several weeks off during that time. Have the teachers work all year (12 months) and have a 4 week vacation like the rest of the world. Smaller classes year-round. No need to increase the teacher’s salary as I feel they are currently being paid a full-time salary for part-time work. Who else works a 6 hour day, 4-5 days per week with 2 weeks off at Christmas, 2 weeks off for spring break and the entire summer off?

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    • Lucy C. says:

      I’m not a teacher, I’m a parent who volunteers at school and I think it is unfair to say that teachers work “part time”. I know that our teachers work on their websites during the weekend to make sure that information is accurate and up to date. They do lots of work when they are not in school and this should be recognized.

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    • Tarynn says:

      I am an educator and a parent. You may want teaching to be year round and many students and teachers may agree. But consider this, teachers have no choice over the “time off.” They are unable to choose when they take their time off. They cannot go on vacation throughout the year without a loss of pay. The summer is also unpaid. Technically, teachers do get 4 weeks of “vacation” for Christmas and Spring Break which is paid like as you say “the rest of the world.” However they take off the summer without a paycheck. This is very difficult financially, especially for newer teachers. Who’s going to hire a teacher for 2 months to then have them quit for September?

      In addition, in order for students to go to school in the summer almost all schools would need to be upgraded to facilitate this. Older school would need air conditioning, which isn’t cheap. Financially it doesn’t make sense unless you want to pay more taxes. Janitors, office staff, social workers, special education assistants etc. would all have to be paid over the summer to accommodate year-round schooling. Many educators agree that two months off in the summer results in a loss of learning. It all comes down to the cost of running schools over the summer. It’s not the teacher’s choice to have a two-month summer.

      In addition, the work day is not 6 hours. Teachers are with children for 6 hours. However, the following activities are done outside of the classroom time and end up equalling far more than the standard 8 hour day.

      These activities include but are not limited to:
      -report card writing
      -marking
      -lesson planning
      -parent meetings
      -staff meetings
      -meetings with principals and support staff
      -staying after school to support learning
      -coaching sports
      -planning and prepping for concerts, parent nights, sports days, and special events
      -preparing lessons and activities for students
      -communicating with children’s families
      -displaying students work
      -purchasing books, materials, art supplies, special event items etc. which all comes out of the teacher’s pocket. The majority of these items are not provided nor paid for by the school

      Are there any other jobs in the “rest of the world” that require someone to pay out of pocket on a regular basis to facilitate their job, or take their work home with them, again, on a regular basis?

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    • MLMcRae says:

      I have always found the idea of year round schooling difficult to understand from a practical point of view.

      For example, I only have 2 kids – one in secondary; one in elementary. And if I choose year round schooling, I’d have to have them both in the year-round option or we’d all be tied up on different schedules throughout the year. So all schools would have to offer that option in, potentially, every grade?

      I imagine it would have to be parental choice to go year round and not administrator-driven. I definitely would not want to be told that my kids must be on a different schooling schedule than their peers, for example, and that I have no choice about when my family takes holidays. I guess I see summer as a traditional holiday. I realize that not all families have the same tradition or desire but do the numbers justify re-jigging the system?

      What’s a reasonable threshold for numbers in these cases? Would we run classrooms for 5 kids, 10 kids?

      How much is this idea driven by parents?

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  • M.L. McRae says:

    I have read all the comments and appreciate, especially, the comments from students currently in the school system. I completely agree that secondary students should start school no earlier than 9:00 am. Medical studies have shown that teenagers are on a different clock.

    It’s difficult to answer this question – What do you think is important for our education system in the future? – because I’m dealing with the education system of the present.

    We have a work-to-rule situation and a very dysfunctional relationship between provincial government and the teachers. This is affecting our children and our province every single day. It’s always important to plan for the future but this exercise (and I’ll bet it isn’t cheap) is taking precious time, focus, money and energy away from the present day problem.

    I may be cynical but it’s almost as if the government has planned it that way. Why bring up things like year-round schooling when we can’t agree on the simplest things like how many children should be in a classroom? How about a discussion on the costs and programs that have been downloaded to the school districts by the provincial government without compensation instead of redesigned the core curriculum? Why not ask questions like: “With the current economic difficulties and provincial debt, should we cut back on the funding to private schools and send that money to the public school system?”

    Can we please solve today’s problems before spending lots of our tax dollars building a new education system?

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  • I agree that we must keep up with technology in or education system but we must also hang o n to the basic 3″R”s so our future generations can function without totally rellying on technology. I feel it is wrong to eliminate cursive writing and memorising of multiplication tables.Libraries must be retained and students should be ecouuraged to use them.Mathmatics has to remain top priorety because we use it every day of our lives along with commn sense.

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  • Donna says:

    Our system is falling apart… it is the worst I have seen it in my 25 years of teaching. We have children with special needs who receive very little, to no support as our resource teacher’s time has been cut back so far.

    At my K-3 annex we identify children in kindergarten or grade one who need support, but as we can not get them the support they need without a psychological assessment and diagnosis (and we only have a psychologist at our school for one week of the school year, she can only manage to assess 2 children a year) they arrive in grade 3 with no assessment and therefore, no support! The sooner we identify children, the sooner they can get the help they need. That is common sense!!

    I continue to spend my own money in my classroom as the $150 I am given for the year ($15 a month) doesn’t do much. If we want smart boards, playgrounds or anything remotely up to date, we need to fundraise to get these things for our kids. Since when did fundraising become a part of the job description. Can you imagine having to fundraise for your job to pay for essential upgrades?

    About 3 years ago we were given 15 laptop computers from our school board… we were so excited to have new technology in our school. We have spent the past 3 years trying to get them working. We’ve called in numerous specialists and as of last week, my kids still could not get to the programs they needed.

    It is so frustrating to hear all of this talk when what we really need is action.

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  • Here’s another one:

    7. Consider creating a centralized IT department to provide high quality computer and technology services that are required by all school districts so that computer services for students and teachers are comparable everywhere in the province. IT technicians working for a centralized department at the ministry could work with microsoft, apple, adobe, autodesk, etc to produce a standardized computer deployment and maintenance strategy that school district technicians and perhaps even teachers could be trained to use. For example, such a centralized IT department could offer standardized disk images, as well as the tools to modify and deploy standard and customized disk images on school computers. Maybe they could even automate it to the point that any teacher could reimage a computer hard drive from a menu rather than having to request a maintenance ticket and wait for service. Offer a baseline disk image for each standard user (student computer, teacher computer, school server, district server, accounting computer, etc – fully tested and supported by the centralized IT department) with all the basic tools needed (OS, office software, etc) and allow each district, school and teacher to add the software they need to create a customized disk image for easy deployment whenever needed. This capacity is significantly better in some districts than others, if it exists at all. Also, if helpdesk ticketing was centralized then we could keep an eye on service requests across the entire province and that info would help drive changes to ensure that IT services are comparable for all students and teachers across the province. Every school should have easy local access to on-demand and automatic backup and restore of computers and devices.

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  • There is a product out there I suggest we consider for our schools.
    It is a sky light similar to a solar tube, however way more effective
    (apparently 300% more). If we put these in the roofs of our class
    rooms, we will be bringing natural day light into our class rooms.
    Studies show that natural daylight will improve kids school grades.
    At the same time, this product will save our schools money in
    electrical costs because the ROI is roughly 2 years. Lastly, this
    will help reduce our demand for electricity.

    Do a google search for “gps leveraging solar” to find out about what technology is out there.

    Imagine if we do this for BC schools! Imagine how this forward
    thinking demonstrated by our government will be talked about by the
    rest of the world! I know for one thing, my news organization will
    write about it!

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  • WJessen says:

    I would like to see a voucher system in place in BC. I dislike paying for public education and private as well. I like uniforms and would like to see no sex ed, and no environmental blah blah blah ad nauseum. I would like to see our students learning to reason and think with real facts rather than spouting about what they feel. I would like to see more memorization of facts, poems, mathematics formulas etc and the reading of the great classics of western civilization. I would like to see less victimology and less sneering at what we have built in western civilization. I would like to see less emphasis on fringe issues and that our kids have an understanding of our government and how it functions ( the teachers need this too), a good understanding of western civilization and our Canadian history . AND MUCH LESS SOCIALISM AND GLOBALIST AGENDA. I dont like this forced volunteerism because volunteering out of necessity is not volunteering!!!! Social justice is not justice it is just socialism and I see no staunch socialist countries that are doing well!!!Hello!! Get rid of this “Me to WE” insanity and brainwashing of our kids.

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    • Marty M. says:

      So you want to take our education system back decades?
      Sorry, but your ideas gets a big NO THANK YOU from me.

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    • Janice says:

      This must be a joke because it can’t be serious!

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    • Lucy C. says:

      Too much ME and less WE is what gets the world in trouble!

      We do have to understand where we come from and where we are going, but not through memorizing facts that will no doubt be forgotten in the long run. It is important to make sure that our children feel part of the community (all of us, advantaged and disadvantaged). Being aware of social issues makes us human. Volunteering is what makes this country great.

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  • marshall says:

    I go to an alternative school. The things I’m going to talk about involve most of the schools in the Sooke 62 district. I feel strongly that these are some of the things that need to change. Please take time to read this thank you.

    Smaller Classes
    -No more than 24 students in a class because it can cause anxiety for students who need help and there are too many people in small classrooms

    Wi-Fi Connections
    -Most schools don’t have Wi-Fi and this would be good because many students work on personal lap tops and it would be very helpful to be able to use the internet on my own computer for school work at school.

    Vending Machines
    – Schools need healthy vending machines because kids don’t know how to pace themselves with junk food, if they have access to it, that is all we eat and not all kids get a lunch from home we sometimes get money instead.

    More Online Classes
    – I would like teachers to put class work on a website so when students are sick or away they can do their work so they don’t get stressed out from being behind. Sometimes they give up.

    TA’s In All the Classes
    – TA’s help students that struggle because the teacher will be teaching and students will be struggling to do their work. Also if there are a lot of kids in the class who needs help the teacher can’t help them all. I am worried that if they put more disabled kids in the classes they won’t get any help at all.

    Proper Counselling Room
    – If a student is having problems and wants to see a counsellor it would be much better if there was a special room with couches, more space than a small office, somewhere where we can feel more comfortable for personal issues.

    More Projects
    – More projects help visual learners like me get better grades. In subjects like socials, science and English we don’t have enough projects for visual learners.

    Open Campus
    – In middle school kids should be able to go to the store or home to get food if they want instead of being forced to stay at school.

    Parent Parking
    – The schools I have gone to barely have any parking for parents and students have to cross busy roads and it is hard to get rides.

    Dedicated School Bus
    – Our school does not have a school bus and we have to rely on city transit. We live in a rural community and the busses only come once an hour. This makes it hard for us to have field trips and sports teams because we can’t get there.

    Food Program
    – Most kids only get money or a plastic bag with a sandwich in it for lunch and don’t get very much healthy food and snacks. A healthy hot lunch program would be good for schools because kids would eat better and would help some kids focus better at school.

    Updated Gym Equipment
    – Some of the schools don’t even have gym equipment or if they do it is old and mostly broken. If we had better equipment people might want to actually go to gym class and we would have more to do. Also we wouldn’t have to sit and wait while we share.

    Please leave a comment. That would be greatly appreciated. I would like to hear your feedback.

    Please be respectful and don’t leave nasty comments.
    I see someone has on my friends post 

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    • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

      Wow, an amazing list, Marshall. You obviously spent a lot of time thinking about this!

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  • Here’s another idea to consider:

    6. Further to my second item (separate school administration role from pedagogical leadership role in schools), consider implementing more mature and professional models regarding pedagogical leadership. The assignment of a pedagogical leader in a school or distrcit is an act of authority but that act of authority does not necessarily make the authorized pedagogical leader (a Principal, VP, district exec or superintendent)efficient or effective at improving the overall teaching & learning. Sure, some supervisors will have a positive impact on some teachers but the reality is that teaching is more like psychology and art than engineering and science…it is fundamentally about people and relationships. People are complex; teachers, like students, come in all sizes, personality types, strengths and weaknesses, etc. To embrace personalized learning and not simultaneously embrace personalized teaching would be foolish. To expect any one person (regardless of how great a teacher they may be or may have been) to be able to effectively and efficiently supervise, evaluate, mentor or otherwise teach all the teachers to whom they are assigned is a foolish, antiquated and authoritarian approach. There are quiet teachers, boisterous teachers, funny teachers, intense teachers, mellow teachers…all kinds of teachers…just like students and parents and other people. One size does not fit all. Teachers are professionals capable of selecting peers they respect/admire/trust to provide them with the feedback they need in order to develop and improve their practice. One type of teacher may not be as effective at supervising/evaluating/mentoring another type of teacher. Teachers are professionals capable of collecting feedback from the students and parents they serve. I imagine a school where an admistrator takes care of the administrative, clerical and logistical stuff and teachers independently and collaboratively take care of the teaching stuff. I imagine a school where teachers manage their own regular evaluation process by performing a self evaluation, by arranging for peer evaluations, by arranging for student and parent evaluations, and by submitting those evaluations for review by a committee of peers. The committee of peers could be randomly drawn from the members of the BC College of Teachers, or whatever organization replaces them, and so all teachers would take part in being evaluated regularly as well as take part in being an evaluator as a regular part of practice. The whole idea of simply chosing one teacher to be both a school administrator and a pedagogical leader is ridiculous to me. It is needlessly expensive and wastefull. The idea of teachers as accountable collegial professionals is a much more mature and realistic direction to consider. If we want to develop independent and collaborative learners then we need to model independent and collaborative teaching as well.

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    • Moderator Melanie says:

      Thanks for providing your feedback, Richard. What do other people think about these ideas?

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  • Thanks for having written this. I quite agree with your opinion.

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  • Here are a few more ideas to consider (in no particular order):

    3. Smaller school districts can’t compete with larger school districts. If your child wants French Immersion or a larger variety of high school electives, etc you better be in a larger school district. Why not merge smaller school districts with larger school districts such that all BC school districts are comparably the same size, can take advantage of comparable economies of scale, can offer comparable services, can attract/retain comparable human resources, etc?

    4. Teachers are united, through their union, regarding advocacy issues like salary, benefits, working conditions, etc. But teachers are not united, at arms length from their union or their employer, regarding professional issues. Provide teachers with a province-wide online communication and collaboration system for professional issues only (like the FirstClass system called 57Online in the Prince George school district, but available to every teacher in the entire province, and only for professional issues…not union/employment issues). This is something that the BCCT should have done. The system could be internally organized by region, school district, school, subject area, etc but should enable teachers to conveniently participate, at their own discretion, in the larger professional community and virtual communities. If every teacher had the opportunity to actively participate in professional issues when/if it was relevant and convenient for them, then more teachers would participate and we would all benefit. Until teachers have a separate venue to conveniently participate in professional issues separate from their union and employer, growth and maturity as a profession will be hindered. If teachers don’t have a convenient space to discuss, debate, collaborate and otherwise share regarding professional issues, separate from the union and the employer, then how will the profession ever escape the distracting, damaging and counterproductive tug of war between the union and the government? There will always be tension between the union and the employer, but that battle does not need to spill over into the profession itself. Teachers can wear multiple hats just like the other professions do, and by providing a separate space for teachers to participate in professional issues only, the teaching profession will naturally improve and mature.

    5. Online tools exist that enable 360 degree evaluations and feedback to be conveniently and easily requested and reported. 360 degree evaluations are just evaluations collected from you (self evaluations), people below you, people beside you and people above you in the employment/service hierarchy. That means that teachers, principals, VPs, district executives, superintendents and even trustees could easily request or otherwise receive feedback/evaluations from their students, parents, colleagues, supervisors, etc. Make these tools available for confidential, self-initiated use by teachers, administrators, district executives and trustees and encourage their use.

    Sorry if I am not concise enough…that’s all I have time for right now.

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  • Marie R says:

    Speaking as both a former teacher and parent of a recent graduate, I believe that the intent of PL has been in place and part of teachers’ mindsets, especially at the elementary level, for decades; however, the intent has not resulted in system-wide practice. As a teacher, I did put the needs of students foremost, but the demands(real or perceived!) of the system sometimes made this challenging. I am hopeful because BC’s Education Plan is focusing on personalized learning and encouraging discussion about the system overall to identify what pieces are working well, and what could be changed.

    As a parent, the experience of having my own child graduate early, and her being enrolled in two schools in order to do so, illustrated for me firsthand how complex our system is to navigate, especially when the student is doing something different from the “regular” path. I had to advocate and ask a lot of questions! I was also reminded of how important it is to have connections with school personnel, and to guide my child to learn how to advocate on her own behalf and to work with her techers and counsellors in her high schools and post-secondary institutions.

    If we are going to create choice and flexibility for all, the system will need to be able to accommodate the fact that “ALL KIDS ARE EXCEPTIONS”, and that there may be multiple paths to learning and graduation. With more choice comes more responsibility for kids and parents to ask questions and learn about choices and pathways. Ensuring that every student, not only those designated as “special needs”, has an individual education plan (IEP) could be a model to consider implementing as it puts the student at the centre of the plan, supported by the school-based team and the parent(s)/guardian(s). The IEP then becomes the map that is checked regularly and that helps to keep the student on track with the big goal (for example, graduation and transition to post-secondary or the workplace)allowing for flexibility and emerging opportunities but also ensuring accountability and responsibility from all those involved for the results.

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  • Some ideas to consider:

    1. Flatten the hierarchy and better utilize the highly qualified education professionals that teach our children. If the teachers we hire are required to be so highly educated and skilled, then why are we micro-managing them? What if teachers were actually leveraged as the education professionals they are, and were assigned a budget (or negotiated a budget) to teach their class and were accountable for their expenses and the results of their work? Do we really need so many layers to the hierarchy?

    2. Is it really necessary for school administrators to be required to be teachers? That seems unnecessarily expensive and constraining. Why overconstrain ourselves like that? Why not separate the teaching aspect of schools from the administrative aspects of schools as much as possible? What if schools were administered by business administration grads and the teaching was managed by the individual teachers. Categorizing the tasks performed at schools (administrative, pedogogical, etc) and hiring the most cost effective combination of human resources to complete those tasks only makes sense…the more efficient we can be the more we will achieve with the same amount of money.

    I will post other ideas for consideration and discussion as I can find the time.

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    • Jan S. says:

      Mr. Ajabu is right that the educational system, like any other large bureaucracy, has financial and time inefficiencies. However, my fear is that if the focus becomes the bottom line (money) only, services that students need will be eliminated. I remember a time when occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and public health nurses were regularly available at schools. Now, these specially trained professionals are a rare sight in schools. I assume that these services were deemed to be non-essential by a business trained bureaucrat whose primary concern was cost-efficiency.

      Ironically, now, there is a layer of educators who devote less time to delivering instructional service to needy students and more time filling out paperwork in order to obtain specialized services for students. It is a long, exhausting, and often, fruitless process. Administrators often spend time advocating for support services for needy students. It seems to be an endless cycle of begging for services that could provide optimal learning conditions for students.

      School administrators should not be business graduates. Teachers want their school administrator to put students first. Schools are developing young people, not producing grommets. This understanding is the foundation for personalized learning. Pedagogy and instructional practice are important for effective teaching, but the importance of relationship is equally as important. School administrators, despite the fiscal, technocratic, and management demands of their job, generally retain “the heart of a teacher”. Business administration graduates would not possess this.

      Money wastage that occurs in district purchasing departments should be corrected. Often, the district purchasing department pays premium prices for goods and services which can be procured for less. It is puzzling that many modular classrooms, which should have been functional for the Sept. 2011, are still not ready to be used by students and teachers at this time. It makes one wonder if it is poor planning or money constraint at the district level which causes time inefficiencies and inconvenience.

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      • You said, “School administrators should not be business graduates. Teachers want their school administrator to put students first.”

        Why do you assume that a business graduate, hired and supervised by a school district, and working for children/parents/teachers according to ministry and school district laws, policies and regulations would not put students first?

        You said, “Schools are developing young people, not producing grommets. This understanding is the foundation for personalized learning. Pedagogy and instructional practice are important for effective teaching, but the importance of relationship is equally as important. School administrators, despite the fiscal, technocratic, and management demands of their job, generally retain “the heart of a teacher”.”

        Thankfully, schools are full of teachers so there is plenty of heart available in each school to ensure that school atmosphere is appropriate.

        Replacing an expensive Principal with a less expensive business admin grad while better utilizing teachers to address any school situations that require a teacher just makes more sense than requiring every school to have an expensive Principal who must be qualified as a teacher in addition to a Master’s degree and who will actually end up teaching 40-60% of the time anyway.

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        • Lucy C. says:

          Principals should not run schools like businesses because schools are supposed to be formative. There should be a connection between administration and teachers so that the relationship works in the benefit of the children. Education is, in my mind, the most important tool for anyone. It is the only thing that we can give our children that will actually help them survive in this world. If we do not give them the right tools they will fail and with their failure the demise of our balanced society.

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  • Fred says:

    1. Funding (too many IEPs in classes with too few or no support staff is robbing the majority of their oportunity. Get the support staff in place or create tiered classrooms – I don’t know the answer but my kids have wasted too many hours in class bcasue there are 4 or 5 kids that don’t belong there. And get the kids that are disrupting classes out of there.)
    2. Respect (politicians – particularly on the right – need to respect knowledge and educators if we hope to have our kids do so)
    3. Realistic goals (technology is ‘smoke and mirrors'; kids need to be able to write coherent paragraph and understand basic math)
    4. Strong programs in sports, drama, music, social issues, etc. so kids are connecting with the ‘real’ world in ways that appeal to them, where they can succeed, and in ways that provide meaninglful conxn to their school and pride in it. These are not ‘luxuries’ they were core to our education in the 70s and they are still needed today.

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    • I strongly agree with Item 2 (respect). Government actions have been so disrespectful of and damaging to the profession. Fortunately, respect is the easiest item for the government to fix…all it will take is the will to do so.

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      • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

        One of the ways we’re attempting to show our respect is by involving all educators (and all others) in the conversation of how we make our education system better. Everyone who wants a say is being given the opportunity to do so — in this forum and other places.

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        • Ben says:

          I wasn’t aware that you had resumed speaking with teachers to end this strike. Thank you for letting me know.

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          • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

            Hi Ben – this forum is about sharing ideas to make our education system better and to improve the learning experience for students such as yourself. The labour negotiations are a separate matter altogether.

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  • Ed says:

    I am a 73 year old retired building contractor, a high school drop out and a grandfather. I have observed over the years that many young people are not suited to an accedemic career but they are persuaded to continue in fields they are not suited.
    I suggest an apprenticeship program starting at 14 years old. At this age young people are usually living at home and require little money. They could start out at a very low wage and progress in their chosen field, still connected to the school system in some small way but working full time. By the time they are 18 years old and require a car and other expenses they will be a journeyman drawing a wage of $25.00 per hour or more.
    Normally, when they leave school with only a grade 12 and 18 years old they are only worth minimum wage or less. They have nothing to offer the job market and have learned to play the game.
    By all means if you can do it, stay in school and become a doctor or such but if a trade is more suitable, start early and make an honest living.
    This is not a original thought on my part. I believe this is done in Germany as I have observed while there.

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  • P Dee says:

    Please do not send any more public money to private schools.

    I am not happy that when there is not enough money to fund public education properly, the governemnt is planning on giving more money to private, for profit schools.

    A strong public education system is essential to give all students a fair chance to be succesful in life. A public school system that all children attend is important in developing a strong sense of citizenship and democratic principles. It is a place where all children: rich or poor, brilliant or average, imigrant or fifth generation Canadian, come together and solearn to respect each other and discover the common values of all Canadians. If we wind up with a system like they have in England where Well-to-do parents pay extra to have theit children placed in elite private schools. Immigrant families, if they can afford it often send their children to private schools to keep them immersed in the culture and language of their first country, delaying their assimilation into the local culture. The public schools are left with the students that the private schools don’t want and the students whose parents cannot afford to send them to a better school. The quality of education in the public schools (state schools) declines. There are not enough strong leaderd in the classroom and not enough advocates i the community. Meanwhile parents have to pay a lot of money and their children often have to spend a lot of time traveling to the school that accepted them.

    Please do not spend any more public money to private schools.

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  • Tiffany says:

    http://www.pearsoned.com/pearson-and-florida-virtual-school-announce-agreement/#.TsLNFmCSPgn

    “Orlando, FL and New York, NY, November 17, 2010 –: A private/public alliance between Pearson and Florida Virtual School (FLVS) will accelerate virtual learning opportunities around the world for millions of school students who have grown up smack in the middle of the technology revolution.

    The new Pearson Virtual Learning powered by Florida Virtual School will offer schools throughout the US and across the globe more than 100 FLVS courses in all subject areas for grades 6-12, including advanced placement and career and technology courses. The virtual courses will be aligned to the new Common Core state standards.”

    *Why didn’t we do this first? Why can’t we be the innovators, the “Apples” of education’s eye? Why didn’t our government/school boards think big time and get there first? It seemed like only a matter of time before some power player would take the reigns to provide and unify online learning options in a widespread way–we know this is the future whether we like it or not. At least if we are in the game, then we can have say. Or, we need to provide a more attractive option.

    I’ll be watching this Pearson-Florida initiative closely. Maybe it means more choice and opportunity for students, but maybe it won’t necessarily mean the learning provided is of the highest calibre, but maybe it will. There will be bugs to work out along the way, but it will be a beast that can be refined over time if those in charge want to respond to their customers, er students. Hmmm…

    I’ve posted more about this on my blog at http://www.personalizinglearning.com
    -Tiffany.

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  • Eithan says:

    I am in grade ten and I go to an alternative school and live in Victoria B.C. I have ideas that could benefit both the teachers and students. Some might be things you want to ignore but please be respectful and thoughtful to these ideas for they could seriously help out the school systems. First of all, school times should be changed to reasonable times maybe starting at nine thirty or ten and ending around 4:00pm. It would be the same amount of school hours but would give students more time to get ready and awake before school. At school in the morning you’ll see kids walking in ten to twenty minutes late because they usually were getting ready or they were on their way from up the island. Kids will also not have their heads on the table sleeping instead of doing their work. Also, the teachers wouldn’t have to keep talking to the students to get them to pay attention.
    Secondly, we should have smaller class sizes and more room in the class. Some students like fewer students in the class and then can concentrate more often. Others like more students in the class but they most likely mess around or don’t pay attention. Also, the teacher s will have less stress on them by not having to adjust or tell every kid to pay attention and if kids need help after the lesson the teacher won’t have to help twenty five kids before sitting down and marking thirty tests.
    Third, I think they should have better schooling materials, methods, and how they mark students. Marking students should be categorized itself. All students learn different so why not mark each student different from each other. Students fail or have low marks because of their test marks but have awesome marks on their entire unit work. Teachers should mark for what the kid does best and what he truly all together has done best. For an example, if a student gets an average of a b grade in his work and low marks in his tests, he’ll get a c or a c-. The student should get marked on his all together work and effort not just on the test but his efforts, participating, and all his work. Also, some teachers don’t want to re-teach the subject to some kids that don’t get it or some that are late. If it’s ten to twenty kids not getting it or coming in late it’s understandable that you just taught it BUT it is your job as a teacher to teach and make the kids know what they’re talking about. I had a teacher that flipped if you asked him to help out after the lesson or to just go through what to do. Also, the same teacher had sub’s all the time and one time he came back after two weeks and right away gave a math test (which the class was not told about). I did the test ,getting all the answers right(I knew because he gave two marks each question and I got one mark for each for getting the answer but an x for not doing it his way) but he made me do it again because I didn’t do it his way. I tried again and got them right but he made me do again because I didn’t do it his way again. In the end I did it over 3 times, getting them right but not doing his method. The last time I did it his way, getting every single question wrong and he didn’t make me do it again because when he handed me a new test sheet, I told him up (got mad). It seemed he hated his job and wasn’t there for the kids, just himself. Teachers like that make students not want to come and make them not like teachers and school.
    My main points are that the school times should be more flexible, classes smaller and we need teachers that like their jobs. These are my thoughts on the school system. Thank you for reading.

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  • joni jones says:

    I am a student attending an alternative school in Sooke school district. I would like to express my thoughts regarding new changes in our education. First of all I would like to share my thoughts on the teachers where I go to school now. All the teachers at my school make me feel important and I always feel that they care deeply about my education. It’s nice going to school knowing that I will be treated with kindness and respect. I have been in schools where teachers do not seem to care and they don’t treat me with respect. My past experiences made me feel unimportant, like there is no hope for me when I grow up. I have had teachers yell at me and be mean to me which made me not want to go to school. On top of that, I have had some kids that had bullied me and teachers didn’t do anything about it so I decided to go to another school. I honestly don’t think it’s fair that the one that is being bullied has to switch schools. This is the most important to me because I don’t want what happened to me happen to anyone else.

    A second thing that might help is smaller classes. Having a small class means more one on one time with the teacher. When I came to the school I am presently at right now I have been getting better grades because they have no bullies because as I said it is a small. No one will want to bully anyone in a small class because it goes around too fast It also helped me get better grades because when I need help I can get it and the teacher is not busy helping someone else. It’s less stress on me.

    Third and last is hot lunches. Some people do not have enough money to buy food for themselves, so breakfasts and lunch would mean the world to them. I have never had this happen but I try and put myself in their shoes and see what it’s like. Some people might have food except don’t have the time so it would still be a good thing to have. It gives a variety of healthy choices, like have muffins and fruit or something that would be good for kids.

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  • S says:

    I go to an alternative school, and throughout the years I have noticed that through elementary to high school the teachers that teach the higher grades are a lot more strict, which causes us students more stress, especially during tests and provincial exams. Stress is one of the many things we do not need. I somewhat understand the stress of being a teacher but, students need to be encouraged more instead of stressed out more. For students who are failing because of stress it is not helping them to tell them that they’re going to fail. It also doesn’t help to not say anything (ignore it). To conclude, teachers need to ease up on their students.

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  • Brandon says:

    I am a 16 year old student at an alternative school in Langford. There a few issues in the school system that I’d like to talk about. First of all, classes are too big and it’s very stressful to be around a lot of kids who stare at u and constantly talk. The teachers never have control because there are too many kids. Walking down the hall is like trying to shop in Wal-Mart, people shoving past you and bumping in to you is not fun. A good class size is 10 to 15 people, then the teacher has control of the whole class and you as a student get more one on one support.

    Another problem in our schools is there are not enough choices in P.E. Students want to do things they like for example; yoga, soccer or weight lifting. Kids don’t like being put in something they don’t fit in to. Not everyone enjoys team sports. If you’re a soccer player you don’t want to be doing yoga. P.E is something you’re supposed to enjoy.

    The last problem I’ve seen in my 11 years is teachers are too strict with students coming in late. One thing teachers do when you’re late is not let you into class which makes you miss more. Then when the teacher finally lets you in, they freak at you for being late. It’s not our fault for getting locked out of the class. If your late because of a family problems or went to get your lunch at say Tim Horton’s and come back 5 or 10 minutes late for class that should be acceptable. If your late because you wanted a longer lunch or wanted to talk more to your friends then that’s not acceptable.

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  • Lindsay says:

    As a grade ten student attending an alternative school, I feel that having more PE options would make teenagers more likely to actually exercise willingly. In most high schools the PE consists of team sports such as softball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, football, and badminton. The reason this is not always the best option is because some students don’t enjoy team sports and would rather do more individual activities for physical fitness.

    It would be really nice to see activities like horseback riding, martial arts, yoga, swimming, and skating. I see the importance of being physically active for teens but I do believe there are not enough options offered for us to choose from. If there was more variety regarding physical fitness for teens in schools, you would see way more teens getting fit!

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  • Cass says:

    My name is Cass and I am a grade ten student. I have a few ideas about what is important for our future education system.

    As said many times over, one of the most important things for education in the future is smaller classrooms. This means fewer kids in each class.

    In the past, I have found myself frustrated with not getting the help I need in class because there are so many other kids to attend to. I’d usually just end up giving up when my question was not answered, and opting out on doing the work. With smaller classrooms there will be more time for the teachers to answer everyone’s questions and help them understand the lesson better.

    At the school I currently attend, there is a space of time which you can use to catch up with work you may have missed. I think that this is a great idea, as in previous schools I have found myself getting lost in the piles of homework that I had after I missed a few days of school for whatever reason. There is the option to do the work at home, but at home there are not any teachers. If you are confused or do not know what to do, there is no one to help you. This is why having a time with teachers around to catch up on missed work is a great idea that all schools should work with.

    Perhaps there should also be a bit more planning for things like jobs, as that is mainly what school is for. Preparing you to have a career and contribute to your community. Many people who may have had a good education often find themselves in a big muck of bills because they have no idea how to manage money. Students should be taught money managing strategies for the future, and more about the reality of living on your own.

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  • Katelyn says:

    Should we change the way teacher teach or just add on to their methods?
    If more alternative schools had more elective classes and more options for what classes to take, kids would be more willing to learn. Small class sizes can be a really big thing too; smaller class equals more help and more of a comfortable feeling in the class room. School should start at 10am and end at 4pm and have a longer break that way kids have a longer class time and break to chill out and not get so overwhelmed with the busy day.
    There should be more alternative schools and more options for classes to take that will help for kids’ futures. If a student could choose their own classes to take, plus the mandatory classes, they could get a head start on their life instead of learning about things that they will never use in their lives and just end up forgetting in the next couple years after school. For example, a student wanting to pursue being a dance teacher could have to put all their time and effort into getting a really good grade in math, instead of practising to audition for a company that could hire them for the next 10 years of their life.
    In alternative school they have smaller class sizes which helps for more one on one help which is better for the kids. This way a student will not feel as isolated and frustrated about not getting the help they want. An example of why it would be better is if a kid in class is not getting something they were assigned and being in a big class his teacher did not notice,he will fall more behind and become more frustrated and could just end up dropping out.
    If school were to start at 10am and end at 4pm, it would make the day less stressful and more enjoyable to be at. An example would be that kids could get an hour more sleep in the morning and then not be as tired and more able to focus on work better. And for lunch it would be nice to have a hot lunch or something.
    To sum it all up, we shouldn’t change the schools; just add a few things that the kids want! Not just telling them what they want to learn but asking them what they would like to do for the rest of their life and helping them to achieve it.

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  • Victoria says:

    I am a student in the Sooke school district and I believe it is time to see some changes in our education.
    First of all, I would like to see more money spent on technology in the classrooms. If more students had iPads and laptops to work on, you would see students be more engaged in their assignments and take pride in their work.
    As a student, I enjoy learning about current events rather than something that has happened years ago. If teachers used more current and relevant material when teaching, their students would be more interested in what they were learning.
    Smaller class sizes are also very convenient for students because it gives a sense of family, and you can receive help when you need it. Teachers need to care about their students and treat them like equals, which makes it a more relaxed and comfortable environment where you can have a respectful conversation and get to know them.

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  • Pete Mar says:

    Silly people. If you want better education, have smaller classes. That will increase learning for all concerned. Put more emphasis on parents and how they can teach their kids at home. They are the number one educator in their child’s life.

    Put more money into education and less into stupid things like new roofs for sports arenas.

    Put people in government who actually know a little bit about what goes on in a classroom.

    The LIberal government has killed education in this province for the last 10 years.

    Finally, the public is starting to see this. You are losing the public relations battle. Education is not your priority. Stop using the US as a model for education. Go and study European models and learn from them.

    FInally, stop being hypocrites.

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    • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

      Hi Pete — we appreciate your honest comments. This forum is a sincere effort on our part to reach out to everyone and find out what people think about our current education system and future directions. We’re looking at a wide variety of models from other jurisdictions as well in an effort to glean the best ideas for our province. One such example is Finland. If you’re interested you can learn more about their educational philosophy and approach in our It’s Happening Globally section.

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  • You state that education begins at birth. This is true – parents are the child’s first and most important teachers. It is vital to recognize and support children’s development and learning before age five. It is just as critcal to create a seamless system of care and learning for children and families. Early Childhood Edcuators are uniquely positioned to bridge the unecessary gap between education and care while protecting the developmental needs of young children against “schoolification”. The Early Childhood Educators of B.C. and the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. have released “A COMMUNITY PLAN FOR A PUBLIC SYSTEM OF INTEGRATED EARLY CARE AND LEARNING” (view at http://www.ecebc.ca). This document presents real strategies and answers to end the divide between care and learning drawing on the best of public education and the best of the field of Early Childhood Care and Education. This is a Plan that deserves attention, endorsement and implementation! Give it a read!!

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  • Matthew Hall says:

    1. Keep the curriculum simple and focus on the basic skills and competencies so that the funding can deliver a quality experience with all the tools necessary.
    2. Ensure safety for the students at school.
    3. Hire and promote the best teachers according to their parent/student feedback reports, and not by strictly seniority.

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  • BB says:

    Your salary figure is wrong-by about 17%-top salary for a teacher with max experience and a masters is 81K. Please be factual.

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  • Mary-Anne says:

    Since teacher salaries are by far the largest part of the budget, it stands to reason that this is a place to find ways to balance the budget. In an informal poll of 20 teachers, all felt well paid, and all were willing to take a cut in pay in order to improve working conditions (e.g., hire additional teaching assistants). Teachers at one school offered to donate a day of their wages to balance the budget; however, the union refused to allow them to do so. Teachers at the top of the scale earn upwards of $95,000 / year for 9 months of teaching time. Face-to-face teaching time is 4 – 5 hours a day. Professional development days and sick days are fully paid. Benefits are generous and costly to the employer. Teacher salaries are the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.

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    • Devon says:

      Hi Mary-Anne,
      Can you post the link for teacher salarys in BC? Thank you.

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    • Mr. B says:

      Mary-Anne is right that teacher salaries take up a large part of the education budget but that does not mean that teachers feel “well-paid” and were “willing to take a pay cut”. I feel exactly the opposite. Teachers in Alberta, Ontario, and now Saskatchewan make upwards of $20,000 a year more than BC teachers while living in lower cost of living provinces. If we compare apples to apples, BC teachers are far behind and will get even further behind if the “zero mandate” policy is forced into a contract. Highly educated professionals should be compensated fairly according to what their colleagues in other parts of the country are receiving.

      I work much longer than the required teaching hours and put in hours at home as well. Most teachers are passionate about their jobs but there will always be a few that are not. Fair teacher salaries are important for our education system in the future.

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    • Special Ed says:

      Teachers have already given up wages in order to improve working conditions. Prior to 2002, teachers accepted no wage increase for 2 years in exchange for lower class sizes and guaranteed specialist teacher ratios. These class sizes were later illegally stripped from contracts with no compensation given to teachers. In addition, Pro-D days were added to the school calendar with no increase in salary for teachers (at the request of the BCTF).

      Teacher salaries are not the cause of the current crisis in education, underfunding is the cause. Have a look at education funding in BC compared to other provinces. BC has one of the lowest ratios of education spending to GDP in Canada.

      Please see the following: (Moderator removed website as the link appeared to be broken)

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      • Moderator Chrysstena says:

        Hi there – I had to remove the link to the website, as it appeared to be broken. Can you please check it and resend the link? Thanks very much.

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  • Marie R says:

    Teachers make the difference for students. One thing that I think is important for the present and the future is teachers supporting each other as practitioners, especially in an ever changing and increasingly complex world. When I was a first-year teacher it was my colleagues that provided the best support, and from that foundation I continued to work with and learn from colleagues. I believe that this made me a better teacher, and modelled collaboration and lifelong learning for my students.

    Twenty years ago that shared learning came from teachers in my school, or district, and then it expanded to include teachers from across the province and all parts of the globe,starting around the year 2000, with advances in technology. Sites such as Classroom 2.0 (http://www.classroom20.com) with over 60,000 members and the Educator’s Personal Learning Network (http://www.edupln.com/) with over 10,000 members, are online networks of teachers supporting teachers which in turn can contribute to improved practice in the classroom. Professional learning is multi-pronged, and online networks can provide one source of learning.

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  • Jan S says:

    The Plan appears to be a very general outline of a transformed educational system which has the objective of students becoming active agents in their own learning. Technology and social media enable students to access many sources of information with ease. The knowledge and perspectives that pupils can acquire through the Web are phenomenal compared to the past when pupils learned what the teacher taught them.

    When people feel empowered, they are inclined to be active agents in their own learning. This website is an example of how one’s own thinking can be heightened and transformed through the respectful, thoughtful contributions of other people. I have benefitted greatly from the thoughtful ideas contributed by other members of the public on this site. This site is an example of collaborative, egalitarian dialogue which encourages respectful discourse and critical thought on the important issue of educating our young people.

    Having said all that, I am suspicious that the BC government will impose new paradigms upon the education sector with little effort to facilitate the changes. The timelines in The Plan for new curriculum changes are relatively short. The Plan’s objectives for educational change parallel those of the American government in reaction to national declining student achievement. Large scale change requires time and support to succeed.

    How can teachers, parents, and the general public be assured that the changes which are being proposed are unique to the needs of our student populations? Additionally, how can the public be assured that the proposed changes will be respectfully facilitated and scaffolded by the BC Ministry of Education during the implementation process?

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  • Anonymous says:

    Biggest two problems in teaching that nobody seems to recognize:

    1) As parents continue to abdicate more and more of their parenting responsibilities, children will continue to have more and more issues (Yes, not all issues are parents faults) and more and more resources (read: money) will be required for the system to keep up.

    2) Students have MORE trouble keeping up with school when they are passed along despite not having grasped the concepts. I have taught students in Math 10 that have NEVER passed math before! Sorry, that’s too late to start memorizing times-tables. These are the students that then start looking for an easy way out. We MUST start grouping students together that can all actually learn similar things in classes like math.

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  • k dawson says:

    I strongly believe that quality education, as in any other work or activity, requires strong healthy relationships amongst the “participants”, and I don’t think that is possible with our current class sizes; reduce every class, whatever the grade,by at least five students, preferably 8, and that would go a long way towards achieving many aspects of “the plan”…. imagine if the government showed some real leadership by taking a leap and doing this, it could be so ground breaking! Really investing the money in the system and the people who make it run, and setting new standards for Canadian education in the process.

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  • A key requirement for our education system in the future is to change the way that the most vulnerable students in the system are managed – specifically, those with special needs. School can be a ‘make or break’ situation for these students – yet ironically the system is missing several key elements:

    1. There is no advocacy support for the parents
    2. There is no advocacy support for the student
    3. There is little to no published information on the real key processes that parents need to understand (such as how to obtain aid support)

    As a parent, if you disagree with the school team – it’s the school and the district on one side..and you on the other. And, if you find your situation so desperate that you are considering legal action – you’ll find that almost all lawyers with any education system background only work for school boards – almost none will represent parents. Each parent fights ‘the lonely war’ for their child.

    The school system is a ‘system’ – and it only has certain ‘boxes’ to categorize special needs children into. There is always tremendous pressure to move to the ‘easiest’ solution – which is often not the best one.

    The Ministry needs to establish an advocacy office for special needs students and their parents now (the PAC concept is absolutely NOT a vehicle for this type of parental representation – as there are always matters of privacy involved). The school system can change lives for special needs students and their families – let’s make that change a great one!

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    • Jan S. says:

      It is heart breaking what parents must go through if their child is not a “typical” learner. I strongly recommend that parents of children who have learning disabilities and special needs become members of associations formed to address the needs of these children. The Learning Disabilities Association has chapters in most communities and provides invaluable information and support. Parents of children who are not “typical” learners must be able to strongly advocate for their child’s needs to be met within the system. Unfortunately, not all parents have the capacity to do this. The Learning Disabilities Association will help parents to understand what their rights are, what to expect, and how to navigate the system.

      I worked as a learning support teacher for five years. I came to the conclusion that the educational system does not adequately support students with significant learning disabilities. Learning support, which augments classroom teaching, is watered down so that specialist teachers must serve the needs of English as a Second Language pupils, general classroom support, and learning disabled pupils.

      Pupils who have learning disabilities should have the support of a teacher specifically trained in learning disabilities – at no less than a Master or Post Baccalaureate level with a focus on Learning Disabilities. Some children, who have significant disabilities in the area of reading, need specialized instruction such as the Orton Gillingham method of reading instruction. Our public educational system fails to recognize this need and does not train teachers for or fund these specialized methods of instruction. Resource room support, which targeted pupils with learning disabilities, was eliminated in most BC school districts in early 2000. As mentioned earlier, the model became a broad one in which learning disabled pupils are lumped in with other categorical students.

      Presently, parents of children having significant disabilities in the area of language and reading, find it necessary to pay for private schools, such as Kenneth Gordon, which possess the requisite expertise and staffing levels. Of course, many parents cannot afford this. The BC government needs to quit being disingenuous about its ability to adequately serve students with learning disabilities. It may require several cases of legal action by parents to force the Ministry of Education and school districts to develop adequate support for learning disabled pupils or to admit that not all pupils can be served adequately within the public system.

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      • Jan S. says:

        As an addendum to my previous comment re:supporting students with special needs. Assistive technology is a huge asset, but it cannot replace specialized instructional methods by teachers with expertise. Also – there needs to be easy access to appropriate technology – hardware and software available in the system. SET BC is a wonderful resource, however, many hoops must be jumped to access tech resources and they are only available to low incidence students. I believe that ARC BC, which provides digital text will be defunct soon. BC government – please support special needs students. Make it easier for parents and teachers to get tools to help these students!

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  • Barb Hobson says:

    I really hope someone is thinking about special needs kids when you are considering making changes. There are lots of kids who need specialized instruction and would benefit from being grouped. The number of private schools that exist for special needs children attests to the fact that there is a need and some parents want this option. Full integration is not the best for all kids.

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  • Caitlan says:

    My name is Caitlan, I am in grade 10 and am currently attending (school name removed by Moderator). I feel very strongly about what needs to change in the school system. In alternative schools, which mine is, we need to have more than one class for each grade seeing as the classes here are suppose to be kept smaller. They are getting rather large making it hard for some of the students, who are use to having small classes, concentrate and get the help they need. Adding just one or two classes to each grade would make room for students who are on waiting lists trying to get in because public school is too difficult. Large class sizes affect concentration, there are more distractions and it is overwhelming for students, and even teachers. There is also less one on one time which is the purpose of an alternative school. They’re trying to make it easier for students’ learning. I prefer smaller classes for this reason, also so everyone knows everyone; having a bond with a teacher and classmates makes it so much easier to learn, everyone wants to help! Please take this into consideration, Thank you.

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    • Moderator Marg says:

      Hi Caitlin,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. The purpose of this forum is to receive suggestions and comments such as yours, and yes, we will take them into consideration.

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  • Rena says:

    I attend an alternative school in BC. Within the past 2 years our class sizes have increased substantially. I believe larger buildings and overall classroom sizes would improve the learning of students, and would allow teachers to have the time to work individually with all of their students. Last year my class had 15 students. This year we have 30. That’s twice as many, but still only one teacher. Many students start attending alternative schools because they need extra support. It’s hard to get that if they have the same class size as a regular high school. If we had larger buildings we would be able to have two classes for every grade, decreasing class sizes and improving the comfort and learning of students.

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  • Ashley says:

    Hello, my name is Ashley and I am a student in the Langford area. There are a few changes I would like to see happen to our schools. More hands on activities or fieldtrips, teachers that actually care about students and smaller class sizes are all what I find most important.

    First, more hands on activities or fieldtrips! Everyone has different ways of learning, there is reading, listening, and doing things actively. This learning technique could be easier just because you can read and get a visual at the same time. For example, Science World has many stations where they have a speech, a sign explaining the station, and an activity you can do. Believe it or not, teenagers don’t like to go on fieldtrips to get out of class, it can also give them interesting new experiences. As for hands on activities in class, it can make students excited to go to class, making the skipping rate go down. Students learn better when they are having fun.

    Another thing that means a lot is having teachers that actually care about the students. Not all teachers are like this, but a lot of the ones I have come across would judge me as a do nothing, skipping, drug user by the way I look so they never really cared about giving me a chance of education when really, everyone deserves one. A way to see if this applies to anyone, a student assessment could help. If the teachers don’t care, students won’t go to class, if students don’t go to class, they fail.

    Last but certainly not least, smaller class sizes. With 30 kids in the class, no teacher has the time to help every kid when they need it. If it takes a teacher over 10 minutes to get to a kid with a simple question, then that kid will have more homework. If you have more homework, you don’t get as much sleep, without sleep, you can’t wake up in the morning resulting in skipping or losing your train of thought. Last year, I had a small class size of about 10 students, this year, I have somewhere between 25 and 30. With my experience, it seems like a lot more stress with a large class, even if it is just because of the lack of extra space to enjoy. Larger class sizes are also harder to control and some students work better when it’s quiet. It’s also less stress on the teachers when the classes are smaller and easy to control. My teacher asked every student in my class which was better, large or small class, and they all said the smaller the better.

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  • Tyson says:

    I’m in grade ten, I live in the Colwood community and what I want to change first of all is teachers that know what their teaching because, I have had a number of teachers that don’t know anything about that subject and then you get told something that’s not real or they read straight out of the book and can’t give us enough information. For example, once in Math I was taught a certain way and then my teacher marked it wrong and told me to redo it because it was all wrong, but I know for a fact it was right.
    Secondly, I want teachers that want to be at school and help kids otherwise we’re not going to get our work done and we’ll struggle for the next following years because we did not get taught it the previous year. From my personal experience, I had a teacher that I mentioned earlier that did exactly that and I struggled and then stopped going to school for a bit, all because I did not get enough help.
    Thirdly, teachers that lock their door if you’re like 5-10 minutes late and then once someone opens the door and lets you in and the teacher rages. I could knock on the door but then you’re going to rage about me being late. Plus I don’t like walking in class and everyone looks at you in until you sit down because that’s stressful. So if I knew I was going to be late I would just not show up and go to the class after that one. Maybe if the time restrictions were not so tight and was able to have some flexibility it could benefit greatly otherwise students like me won’t be so stressful. Or another option is having spare classes after school that students can go to get help if you missed a class or two.
    The fourth and final one, I suggest a hot-lunch or some sort of breakfast program that allows kids to be able to eat before school if say for example, they don’t have enough money or don’t have time in the morning to eat. Or even a little muffin or something or if it is cold some warm hot chocolate or something.

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    • Moderator Marg says:

      The idea of student assessment of teachers is intriguing. Does anyone have any thoughts on the pros and cons of this?

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      • CMiller says:

        Moderator Marg,
        Of course all students will have teachers they like and dislike for a wide variety of reasons.
        There are a couple of things students can give feedback on about teachers but it should be limited. Do you think that they can be unbiased, do you think they can understand all the complexities that the job entails, when even government officials cannot? This government would probably allow students to determine a teacher’s fate…we should probably look at the system in which this government created that leads to teacher and student frustration.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I used to ask students for feedback, and tried a bunch of different formats. Surveys, anonymous feedback sheets, online, etc.. I stopped doing it because I never got any useful information.

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      • Anne says:

        I feel strongly that teachers should be assessed. In every other profession (included other people-serving professions like social work and nursing, etc.) there are evaluations. I don’t think evaluations should be tied to pay, but there should be an opportunity for students and parents, along with other school staff, to assess the strenghts, weaknesses and skills of teachers as a method to improve skills and abilities. No, it’s not completely objective, but neither is life, or teaching for that matter. I am married to a new teacher who feel that feedback/assessment would be helpful to developing his skills.

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    • d says:

      Dear Tyson, you should come be in my class, I doubt you know everything that I do with kids, very highly. Secondly I love what I do with kids, and my classes respect, value and appreciate all I do for them. Showing up late for class, like four out of my 30 students yesterday did after lunch, because in their words “they were having lunch” is the common theme right now in my HS. This disrespects me, my class, my expectations, and like your future employers’ – you must be on time and do the job. Its that easy. Why can’t you be on time? Oh, are you like the four other kids that cut my class to stay home on Wed this week to play COD-MW3 and raid their parent’s fridge? Fourth, would you like me to do your homework for you? Tyson you are responsible for your life, and learning, not the teacher. Nice try buddy, I hope your approach to learning works for you :) See ya in class.

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      • Devon says:

        All teachers can understand your frustration with students coming in late but please respond to all contributors respectfully. Perhaps a “Thank you for taking the time to contribute to a forum on education, Tyson. However, please try to imagine the position of the teacher in these scenarios.” Then perhaps a break down of the impact. Your anger and frustration with your four students is leading to generalizations regarding all students who are late and, to be honest, an aggressive tone towards this individual student whom you do not know. I would also suggest addressing the content you disagree with rather than the person behind it (formal debating rules). We need to encourage students to continue to contribute honestly on this forum and model appropriate ways of navigating dissentling opinions.

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  • S.Benson says:

    Increase funding based on Real need.
    All Schools have different challenges and needs.

    Revamp ciiriculum to relevant and future needs (consult with Business in all areas for this)

    Project based rather than text book learning- with different levels with in that learning for low to high learning capability (for engagement)

    Combine class learning -English/Social Studies , Math/Sciences
    Computer Sciences for all courses

    Team teaching and having enough qualified teachers to work with students in a proper setting

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  • Sarah says:

    Schools need teachers that connect with their students. We need teachers that come to work with passion that makes them want to be at school everyday and want to help their students make something of themselves. Teachers also need to take input from their students. Some do but some don’t! It’s hard to want to learn if teachers are teaching in a way that only works for one person.

    Another really important thing that we need is SMALLER CLASS SIZES. It’s hard being a student and trying to get the help I need and I can’t because there’s so many kids in my class. How am I suppose to get help when I have 30 kids in my class and 1 or 2 teachers? There are times where I don’t need as much help but when there a so many people around me it’s hard to concentrate, you either get distracted or can’t focus.

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  • Donald L says:

    I am a student in a alternative program.  I believe that our holidays should be broken up and have a longer Christmas and a shorter summer. They should have more space provided for classes so the class sizes decrease. School is for students to be educated and you need to hear what they would like to learn so  that they can be successful. Hear a proposal of what courses they want to take. Listen to their voices!

    In regards to the school year calendar and the holidays, I believe that there should be a change. Summer should be one month starting August to September. Christmas should be three weeks, starting one week earlier than it is now. Spring break should be two weeks instead of just one.  Students and teachers need the mental break during the time they are in session at school rather than a long break during summer. With the left over two weeks, I suggest we have every other Monday off to shorten the school week.

    There should be more space provided to have bigger class rooms and have smaller classes sizes.  This way classes are less crowded, loud, and you can get more one on one support.   At my school we have small classes and students learn more because they get more one on one help and it is not as loud so students can focus more. Students will find if they are in a smaller classes their grades will go up because they are getting more help. With that being said, my school is getting more crowed, so it would be nicer if we had more classes so classes can get smaller again!

    Most Students know what courses they want. If teachers would let their students make a proposal on a course they would like to see, kids will be more then happy to come to school and learn. Personally, I would like to see a film analyzing course, as well as a photography course in my school. I know some students from other schools that would like to see these type of courses offered.  

    I think that our thoughts and feelings should be heard and this is why I am coming forth with my opinions to see some changes with our education.

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  • Leah Tremain says:

    Access to digital devices in the classroom, at each desk, (not relegated to a computer lab) is important. It’s a costly proposal but for many these devices are already a part of their lives. Here’s an interesting article on the subject: “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Devices)

    http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/11/09/7-byod-myths.aspx

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    • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

      Thanks for your comment, Leah. A very interesting article! I encourage you to stay involved in our discussion forum and to watch for more on technology as one of our future themes. Learning empowered by technology is a core component of the BC Ed Plan (see page 7) so we intend to devote a lot of time here to discussing it. Weigh in with your ideas again if you’re interested.

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  • Erica says:

    It is important for teachers, students and parents to have ownership of the future of our education system. Change is best when it comes from the ground up rather than the top down. This article subtly implies that teachers are not currently teaching critical thinking skills or skills for the future which is simply not true. Teachers have the best interests of their student in mind when they create, plan and implement their lessons. This needs to be recognized and celebrated when we look to what changes we wish to see in the future.

    It is also important that any changes implemented are fully thought out, funded and sustainable, with room for adaptability. This current plan is a lot of ideals that already exist in our current education system. What is this new plan going to look like physically?. Will we need to build new schools? Where will the money come from to implement it when seems there is already a shortage of funding for education?

    Perhaps also we need to asses what we value as a society, in addition to academics; subjects such as listening, kindness and empathy need to be woven into education. What do we want our world to be in the future, the answer to this question should drive the changes we make.

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  • Graeme D says:

    I am a student at an alternative school in (location removed by moderator) who has been attending school for 11 years. I feel that these years combined with my mom being a teacher has allowed me to notice some things wrong. I believe we need more planning for the future such as bills and real estate knowledge. This would help us prepare for the future as well as see the reality of living independently.

    Furthermore, as a student I know the effects of a lack of resources as well as choice with classes like needing to choose an extra one you do not care for. In a classroom lacking resources a student will miss out on the experience. This can lead to an overall lack of enthusiasm as well as effecting grades. With less choices you can be forced to choose a class you do not care about which greatly effects your grades which hurts you overall.

    The last thing I will touch on is unfair punishment against those who did not do anything. I am referring to when one or two kids are talking and the teacher will hold the whole class back. It makes the other students angry and they will direct it towards the talkers which make them feel upset so no one wins. I conclude this by saying that I am glad for the coming changes but as one of the most affected groups we should be heard and considered.

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    • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

      We certainly welcome your comments, Graeme. How right you are that you should be heard and considered!

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  • Katelyn says:

    Should we change the way teacher teach or just add on to their methods.

    If more alternative schools had more elective classes and more option for what classes to take, kids would be more willing to learn. Small class sizes can be a really big thing too; smaller class equals more help and more of a comfortable feeling in the class room. School should start at 10 and end at 4 and have a longer break that way kids have a longer class time and break to chill out and not get so overwhelmed with the busy day.

    There should be more alternative schools and more option for classes to take that will help for kid’s futures. If a student could choose their own classes to take, plus the mandatory classes as well. They could get a head start on their life instead of learning about things that they will never use in their lives and just end up forgetting it all in the next couple years after school. For example, if a student is wanting to pursue in a dance courier, so why would they person have to put all their time and effort to get a really good great in math instead on practising to addition for a company they could hire them for the next 10 years of their life. Or a student wanting to be a carpenter but his, or hers school did not have any class for that, so could not learn about it till they graduated and making it harder for them to get a job doing carpentry when they cannot even say they have taking a class on it.

    In alternative school they have smaller class sizes which help for more ONE ON ONE help that is better for the kids, because that way a student will not feel as isolated and frustrated about not getting the help they want. Example of why it would be better, a kid in class is not getting something they were assigned and being in a big class his teacher did not notes so he falls more behind and becomes more frustrated and could just end up dropping out.

    School should start at a later time and end at a later time. If school were to start at 10am and end at 4pm plus a longer break, it would make the day less stressful and more enjoyable to be at. Example would be that kids could get an hour more sleep in the morning and there for not as tired and able to forces on work better. A longer lunch break would be better just because then kids could get an opportunity to really go get food and not have to eat really fast, and end up feeling sick from just having junk food because there was not enough time to get a real meal for lunch. And just ending at 4pm so that way you will not have to cut any classes from the day and the kids still get the education they need.

    To sum it all up, we shouldn’t change the schools; just add a few things that the kids want! Not just telling them what they want to learn but ask what they would like to do for the rest of their life and help them to achieve it to come true.

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    1. RTerry says:

      Creating a new system of education is a wonderful idea. All people, children included, have different strengths and those strengths should be fostered. Personalized learning is a great concept, however, without a serious infusion of cash into the system it will fail miserably! Funding formulas for the current system is dismal (to say the least) and to bring in a new concept that requires more teaching time, teachers, support systems is a pipe dream unless governments begin to make education of our children – our country’s next leaders an extremely high priority.

      Funding should not only be made available for in-class services, but should also be available for more/new facilities in growing areas of the province. Requirements of a minimum of 500+ students for a new school to be built takes away the concept of community and connectiveness. Super schools does not equal super students!

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    2. North van district has 10 new pro d days saving $300,000 for the school district. Lets put this in the parents view, low estimate $2,500,000 in extra day care cost for parents $1,000,000 in lost work days for enployers because employees cant get day care for all these extra days and take a sick day. I can see your great vission, it’s lets play political shell game. I think all parents would have rather payed the $16 per student to make up this short fall.
      These numbers are just from North Van dist how much is this costing across the province.Can we get someone in that can make an educated decision.

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      • Moderator Heather Moderator Heather says:

        Thanks for sharing your concerns regarding the number of professional development days in the school calendar for your district. School Calendar Regulation permits boards of education to schedule up to 6 pd days during a school year if they use the standard school calendar.

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    3. Lesley says:

      change the funding formula! Currently, my child is disadvantaged in school because of declining enrollment in our catchment area. She has less opportunities and less course choices than a student in districts where enrollment is stable or increasing. This is discrimination based on finances and the schools in our zone are slowly dying because of the current funding formula, and more and more students are leaving for better educational opportunities at schools outside our zone. This means an extra 2 hours a day of travel time, bus expenses, and up to 14 hours a day away from home if there are extra-curricular activities. Quite a load for a high school student to bear! Our school district is running a deficit this year, yet courses still are being cut. I think that every child in the province should have equal opportunities in education, but this is currently not the case for students in areas of declining enrollment. It’s about time that the Minister acknowledges that the current funding formula doesn’t work for all schools and develops a plan to support districts like ours.

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    4. Elly says:

      I agree that class sizes need to be smaller. In order to do that I suggest that the school year be the full year, not 9 months with several weeks off during that time. Have the teachers work all year (12 months) and have a 4 week vacation like the rest of the world. Smaller classes year-round. No need to increase the teacher’s salary as I feel they are currently being paid a full-time salary for part-time work. Who else works a 6 hour day, 4-5 days per week with 2 weeks off at Christmas, 2 weeks off for spring break and the entire summer off?

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      • Lucy C. says:

        I’m not a teacher, I’m a parent who volunteers at school and I think it is unfair to say that teachers work “part time”. I know that our teachers work on their websites during the weekend to make sure that information is accurate and up to date. They do lots of work when they are not in school and this should be recognized.

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      • Tarynn says:

        I am an educator and a parent. You may want teaching to be year round and many students and teachers may agree. But consider this, teachers have no choice over the “time off.” They are unable to choose when they take their time off. They cannot go on vacation throughout the year without a loss of pay. The summer is also unpaid. Technically, teachers do get 4 weeks of “vacation” for Christmas and Spring Break which is paid like as you say “the rest of the world.” However they take off the summer without a paycheck. This is very difficult financially, especially for newer teachers. Who’s going to hire a teacher for 2 months to then have them quit for September?

        In addition, in order for students to go to school in the summer almost all schools would need to be upgraded to facilitate this. Older school would need air conditioning, which isn’t cheap. Financially it doesn’t make sense unless you want to pay more taxes. Janitors, office staff, social workers, special education assistants etc. would all have to be paid over the summer to accommodate year-round schooling. Many educators agree that two months off in the summer results in a loss of learning. It all comes down to the cost of running schools over the summer. It’s not the teacher’s choice to have a two-month summer.

        In addition, the work day is not 6 hours. Teachers are with children for 6 hours. However, the following activities are done outside of the classroom time and end up equalling far more than the standard 8 hour day.

        These activities include but are not limited to:
        -report card writing
        -marking
        -lesson planning
        -parent meetings
        -staff meetings
        -meetings with principals and support staff
        -staying after school to support learning
        -coaching sports
        -planning and prepping for concerts, parent nights, sports days, and special events
        -preparing lessons and activities for students
        -communicating with children’s families
        -displaying students work
        -purchasing books, materials, art supplies, special event items etc. which all comes out of the teacher’s pocket. The majority of these items are not provided nor paid for by the school

        Are there any other jobs in the “rest of the world” that require someone to pay out of pocket on a regular basis to facilitate their job, or take their work home with them, again, on a regular basis?

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      • MLMcRae says:

        I have always found the idea of year round schooling difficult to understand from a practical point of view.

        For example, I only have 2 kids – one in secondary; one in elementary. And if I choose year round schooling, I’d have to have them both in the year-round option or we’d all be tied up on different schedules throughout the year. So all schools would have to offer that option in, potentially, every grade?

        I imagine it would have to be parental choice to go year round and not administrator-driven. I definitely would not want to be told that my kids must be on a different schooling schedule than their peers, for example, and that I have no choice about when my family takes holidays. I guess I see summer as a traditional holiday. I realize that not all families have the same tradition or desire but do the numbers justify re-jigging the system?

        What’s a reasonable threshold for numbers in these cases? Would we run classrooms for 5 kids, 10 kids?

        How much is this idea driven by parents?

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    5. M.L. McRae says:

      I have read all the comments and appreciate, especially, the comments from students currently in the school system. I completely agree that secondary students should start school no earlier than 9:00 am. Medical studies have shown that teenagers are on a different clock.

      It’s difficult to answer this question – What do you think is important for our education system in the future? – because I’m dealing with the education system of the present.

      We have a work-to-rule situation and a very dysfunctional relationship between provincial government and the teachers. This is affecting our children and our province every single day. It’s always important to plan for the future but this exercise (and I’ll bet it isn’t cheap) is taking precious time, focus, money and energy away from the present day problem.

      I may be cynical but it’s almost as if the government has planned it that way. Why bring up things like year-round schooling when we can’t agree on the simplest things like how many children should be in a classroom? How about a discussion on the costs and programs that have been downloaded to the school districts by the provincial government without compensation instead of redesigned the core curriculum? Why not ask questions like: “With the current economic difficulties and provincial debt, should we cut back on the funding to private schools and send that money to the public school system?”

      Can we please solve today’s problems before spending lots of our tax dollars building a new education system?

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    6. I agree that we must keep up with technology in or education system but we must also hang o n to the basic 3″R”s so our future generations can function without totally rellying on technology. I feel it is wrong to eliminate cursive writing and memorising of multiplication tables.Libraries must be retained and students should be ecouuraged to use them.Mathmatics has to remain top priorety because we use it every day of our lives along with commn sense.

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    7. Donna says:

      Our system is falling apart… it is the worst I have seen it in my 25 years of teaching. We have children with special needs who receive very little, to no support as our resource teacher’s time has been cut back so far.

      At my K-3 annex we identify children in kindergarten or grade one who need support, but as we can not get them the support they need without a psychological assessment and diagnosis (and we only have a psychologist at our school for one week of the school year, she can only manage to assess 2 children a year) they arrive in grade 3 with no assessment and therefore, no support! The sooner we identify children, the sooner they can get the help they need. That is common sense!!

      I continue to spend my own money in my classroom as the $150 I am given for the year ($15 a month) doesn’t do much. If we want smart boards, playgrounds or anything remotely up to date, we need to fundraise to get these things for our kids. Since when did fundraising become a part of the job description. Can you imagine having to fundraise for your job to pay for essential upgrades?

      About 3 years ago we were given 15 laptop computers from our school board… we were so excited to have new technology in our school. We have spent the past 3 years trying to get them working. We’ve called in numerous specialists and as of last week, my kids still could not get to the programs they needed.

      It is so frustrating to hear all of this talk when what we really need is action.

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    8. Here’s another one:

      7. Consider creating a centralized IT department to provide high quality computer and technology services that are required by all school districts so that computer services for students and teachers are comparable everywhere in the province. IT technicians working for a centralized department at the ministry could work with microsoft, apple, adobe, autodesk, etc to produce a standardized computer deployment and maintenance strategy that school district technicians and perhaps even teachers could be trained to use. For example, such a centralized IT department could offer standardized disk images, as well as the tools to modify and deploy standard and customized disk images on school computers. Maybe they could even automate it to the point that any teacher could reimage a computer hard drive from a menu rather than having to request a maintenance ticket and wait for service. Offer a baseline disk image for each standard user (student computer, teacher computer, school server, district server, accounting computer, etc – fully tested and supported by the centralized IT department) with all the basic tools needed (OS, office software, etc) and allow each district, school and teacher to add the software they need to create a customized disk image for easy deployment whenever needed. This capacity is significantly better in some districts than others, if it exists at all. Also, if helpdesk ticketing was centralized then we could keep an eye on service requests across the entire province and that info would help drive changes to ensure that IT services are comparable for all students and teachers across the province. Every school should have easy local access to on-demand and automatic backup and restore of computers and devices.

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    9. There is a product out there I suggest we consider for our schools.
      It is a sky light similar to a solar tube, however way more effective
      (apparently 300% more). If we put these in the roofs of our class
      rooms, we will be bringing natural day light into our class rooms.
      Studies show that natural daylight will improve kids school grades.
      At the same time, this product will save our schools money in
      electrical costs because the ROI is roughly 2 years. Lastly, this
      will help reduce our demand for electricity.

      Do a google search for “gps leveraging solar” to find out about what technology is out there.

      Imagine if we do this for BC schools! Imagine how this forward
      thinking demonstrated by our government will be talked about by the
      rest of the world! I know for one thing, my news organization will
      write about it!

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    10. WJessen says:

      I would like to see a voucher system in place in BC. I dislike paying for public education and private as well. I like uniforms and would like to see no sex ed, and no environmental blah blah blah ad nauseum. I would like to see our students learning to reason and think with real facts rather than spouting about what they feel. I would like to see more memorization of facts, poems, mathematics formulas etc and the reading of the great classics of western civilization. I would like to see less victimology and less sneering at what we have built in western civilization. I would like to see less emphasis on fringe issues and that our kids have an understanding of our government and how it functions ( the teachers need this too), a good understanding of western civilization and our Canadian history . AND MUCH LESS SOCIALISM AND GLOBALIST AGENDA. I dont like this forced volunteerism because volunteering out of necessity is not volunteering!!!! Social justice is not justice it is just socialism and I see no staunch socialist countries that are doing well!!!Hello!! Get rid of this “Me to WE” insanity and brainwashing of our kids.

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      • Marty M. says:

        So you want to take our education system back decades?
        Sorry, but your ideas gets a big NO THANK YOU from me.

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      • Janice says:

        This must be a joke because it can’t be serious!

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      • Lucy C. says:

        Too much ME and less WE is what gets the world in trouble!

        We do have to understand where we come from and where we are going, but not through memorizing facts that will no doubt be forgotten in the long run. It is important to make sure that our children feel part of the community (all of us, advantaged and disadvantaged). Being aware of social issues makes us human. Volunteering is what makes this country great.

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    11. marshall says:

      I go to an alternative school. The things I’m going to talk about involve most of the schools in the Sooke 62 district. I feel strongly that these are some of the things that need to change. Please take time to read this thank you.

      Smaller Classes
      -No more than 24 students in a class because it can cause anxiety for students who need help and there are too many people in small classrooms

      Wi-Fi Connections
      -Most schools don’t have Wi-Fi and this would be good because many students work on personal lap tops and it would be very helpful to be able to use the internet on my own computer for school work at school.

      Vending Machines
      – Schools need healthy vending machines because kids don’t know how to pace themselves with junk food, if they have access to it, that is all we eat and not all kids get a lunch from home we sometimes get money instead.

      More Online Classes
      – I would like teachers to put class work on a website so when students are sick or away they can do their work so they don’t get stressed out from being behind. Sometimes they give up.

      TA’s In All the Classes
      – TA’s help students that struggle because the teacher will be teaching and students will be struggling to do their work. Also if there are a lot of kids in the class who needs help the teacher can’t help them all. I am worried that if they put more disabled kids in the classes they won’t get any help at all.

      Proper Counselling Room
      – If a student is having problems and wants to see a counsellor it would be much better if there was a special room with couches, more space than a small office, somewhere where we can feel more comfortable for personal issues.

      More Projects
      – More projects help visual learners like me get better grades. In subjects like socials, science and English we don’t have enough projects for visual learners.

      Open Campus
      – In middle school kids should be able to go to the store or home to get food if they want instead of being forced to stay at school.

      Parent Parking
      – The schools I have gone to barely have any parking for parents and students have to cross busy roads and it is hard to get rides.

      Dedicated School Bus
      – Our school does not have a school bus and we have to rely on city transit. We live in a rural community and the busses only come once an hour. This makes it hard for us to have field trips and sports teams because we can’t get there.

      Food Program
      – Most kids only get money or a plastic bag with a sandwich in it for lunch and don’t get very much healthy food and snacks. A healthy hot lunch program would be good for schools because kids would eat better and would help some kids focus better at school.

      Updated Gym Equipment
      – Some of the schools don’t even have gym equipment or if they do it is old and mostly broken. If we had better equipment people might want to actually go to gym class and we would have more to do. Also we wouldn’t have to sit and wait while we share.

      Please leave a comment. That would be greatly appreciated. I would like to hear your feedback.

      Please be respectful and don’t leave nasty comments.
      I see someone has on my friends post 

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      • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

        Wow, an amazing list, Marshall. You obviously spent a lot of time thinking about this!

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    12. Here’s another idea to consider:

      6. Further to my second item (separate school administration role from pedagogical leadership role in schools), consider implementing more mature and professional models regarding pedagogical leadership. The assignment of a pedagogical leader in a school or distrcit is an act of authority but that act of authority does not necessarily make the authorized pedagogical leader (a Principal, VP, district exec or superintendent)efficient or effective at improving the overall teaching & learning. Sure, some supervisors will have a positive impact on some teachers but the reality is that teaching is more like psychology and art than engineering and science…it is fundamentally about people and relationships. People are complex; teachers, like students, come in all sizes, personality types, strengths and weaknesses, etc. To embrace personalized learning and not simultaneously embrace personalized teaching would be foolish. To expect any one person (regardless of how great a teacher they may be or may have been) to be able to effectively and efficiently supervise, evaluate, mentor or otherwise teach all the teachers to whom they are assigned is a foolish, antiquated and authoritarian approach. There are quiet teachers, boisterous teachers, funny teachers, intense teachers, mellow teachers…all kinds of teachers…just like students and parents and other people. One size does not fit all. Teachers are professionals capable of selecting peers they respect/admire/trust to provide them with the feedback they need in order to develop and improve their practice. One type of teacher may not be as effective at supervising/evaluating/mentoring another type of teacher. Teachers are professionals capable of collecting feedback from the students and parents they serve. I imagine a school where an admistrator takes care of the administrative, clerical and logistical stuff and teachers independently and collaboratively take care of the teaching stuff. I imagine a school where teachers manage their own regular evaluation process by performing a self evaluation, by arranging for peer evaluations, by arranging for student and parent evaluations, and by submitting those evaluations for review by a committee of peers. The committee of peers could be randomly drawn from the members of the BC College of Teachers, or whatever organization replaces them, and so all teachers would take part in being evaluated regularly as well as take part in being an evaluator as a regular part of practice. The whole idea of simply chosing one teacher to be both a school administrator and a pedagogical leader is ridiculous to me. It is needlessly expensive and wastefull. The idea of teachers as accountable collegial professionals is a much more mature and realistic direction to consider. If we want to develop independent and collaborative learners then we need to model independent and collaborative teaching as well.

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      • Moderator Melanie says:

        Thanks for providing your feedback, Richard. What do other people think about these ideas?

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    13. Thanks for having written this. I quite agree with your opinion.

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    14. Here are a few more ideas to consider (in no particular order):

      3. Smaller school districts can’t compete with larger school districts. If your child wants French Immersion or a larger variety of high school electives, etc you better be in a larger school district. Why not merge smaller school districts with larger school districts such that all BC school districts are comparably the same size, can take advantage of comparable economies of scale, can offer comparable services, can attract/retain comparable human resources, etc?

      4. Teachers are united, through their union, regarding advocacy issues like salary, benefits, working conditions, etc. But teachers are not united, at arms length from their union or their employer, regarding professional issues. Provide teachers with a province-wide online communication and collaboration system for professional issues only (like the FirstClass system called 57Online in the Prince George school district, but available to every teacher in the entire province, and only for professional issues…not union/employment issues). This is something that the BCCT should have done. The system could be internally organized by region, school district, school, subject area, etc but should enable teachers to conveniently participate, at their own discretion, in the larger professional community and virtual communities. If every teacher had the opportunity to actively participate in professional issues when/if it was relevant and convenient for them, then more teachers would participate and we would all benefit. Until teachers have a separate venue to conveniently participate in professional issues separate from their union and employer, growth and maturity as a profession will be hindered. If teachers don’t have a convenient space to discuss, debate, collaborate and otherwise share regarding professional issues, separate from the union and the employer, then how will the profession ever escape the distracting, damaging and counterproductive tug of war between the union and the government? There will always be tension between the union and the employer, but that battle does not need to spill over into the profession itself. Teachers can wear multiple hats just like the other professions do, and by providing a separate space for teachers to participate in professional issues only, the teaching profession will naturally improve and mature.

      5. Online tools exist that enable 360 degree evaluations and feedback to be conveniently and easily requested and reported. 360 degree evaluations are just evaluations collected from you (self evaluations), people below you, people beside you and people above you in the employment/service hierarchy. That means that teachers, principals, VPs, district executives, superintendents and even trustees could easily request or otherwise receive feedback/evaluations from their students, parents, colleagues, supervisors, etc. Make these tools available for confidential, self-initiated use by teachers, administrators, district executives and trustees and encourage their use.

      Sorry if I am not concise enough…that’s all I have time for right now.

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    15. Marie R says:

      Speaking as both a former teacher and parent of a recent graduate, I believe that the intent of PL has been in place and part of teachers’ mindsets, especially at the elementary level, for decades; however, the intent has not resulted in system-wide practice. As a teacher, I did put the needs of students foremost, but the demands(real or perceived!) of the system sometimes made this challenging. I am hopeful because BC’s Education Plan is focusing on personalized learning and encouraging discussion about the system overall to identify what pieces are working well, and what could be changed.

      As a parent, the experience of having my own child graduate early, and her being enrolled in two schools in order to do so, illustrated for me firsthand how complex our system is to navigate, especially when the student is doing something different from the “regular” path. I had to advocate and ask a lot of questions! I was also reminded of how important it is to have connections with school personnel, and to guide my child to learn how to advocate on her own behalf and to work with her techers and counsellors in her high schools and post-secondary institutions.

      If we are going to create choice and flexibility for all, the system will need to be able to accommodate the fact that “ALL KIDS ARE EXCEPTIONS”, and that there may be multiple paths to learning and graduation. With more choice comes more responsibility for kids and parents to ask questions and learn about choices and pathways. Ensuring that every student, not only those designated as “special needs”, has an individual education plan (IEP) could be a model to consider implementing as it puts the student at the centre of the plan, supported by the school-based team and the parent(s)/guardian(s). The IEP then becomes the map that is checked regularly and that helps to keep the student on track with the big goal (for example, graduation and transition to post-secondary or the workplace)allowing for flexibility and emerging opportunities but also ensuring accountability and responsibility from all those involved for the results.

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    16. Some ideas to consider:

      1. Flatten the hierarchy and better utilize the highly qualified education professionals that teach our children. If the teachers we hire are required to be so highly educated and skilled, then why are we micro-managing them? What if teachers were actually leveraged as the education professionals they are, and were assigned a budget (or negotiated a budget) to teach their class and were accountable for their expenses and the results of their work? Do we really need so many layers to the hierarchy?

      2. Is it really necessary for school administrators to be required to be teachers? That seems unnecessarily expensive and constraining. Why overconstrain ourselves like that? Why not separate the teaching aspect of schools from the administrative aspects of schools as much as possible? What if schools were administered by business administration grads and the teaching was managed by the individual teachers. Categorizing the tasks performed at schools (administrative, pedogogical, etc) and hiring the most cost effective combination of human resources to complete those tasks only makes sense…the more efficient we can be the more we will achieve with the same amount of money.

      I will post other ideas for consideration and discussion as I can find the time.

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      • Jan S. says:

        Mr. Ajabu is right that the educational system, like any other large bureaucracy, has financial and time inefficiencies. However, my fear is that if the focus becomes the bottom line (money) only, services that students need will be eliminated. I remember a time when occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and public health nurses were regularly available at schools. Now, these specially trained professionals are a rare sight in schools. I assume that these services were deemed to be non-essential by a business trained bureaucrat whose primary concern was cost-efficiency.

        Ironically, now, there is a layer of educators who devote less time to delivering instructional service to needy students and more time filling out paperwork in order to obtain specialized services for students. It is a long, exhausting, and often, fruitless process. Administrators often spend time advocating for support services for needy students. It seems to be an endless cycle of begging for services that could provide optimal learning conditions for students.

        School administrators should not be business graduates. Teachers want their school administrator to put students first. Schools are developing young people, not producing grommets. This understanding is the foundation for personalized learning. Pedagogy and instructional practice are important for effective teaching, but the importance of relationship is equally as important. School administrators, despite the fiscal, technocratic, and management demands of their job, generally retain “the heart of a teacher”. Business administration graduates would not possess this.

        Money wastage that occurs in district purchasing departments should be corrected. Often, the district purchasing department pays premium prices for goods and services which can be procured for less. It is puzzling that many modular classrooms, which should have been functional for the Sept. 2011, are still not ready to be used by students and teachers at this time. It makes one wonder if it is poor planning or money constraint at the district level which causes time inefficiencies and inconvenience.

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        • You said, “School administrators should not be business graduates. Teachers want their school administrator to put students first.”

          Why do you assume that a business graduate, hired and supervised by a school district, and working for children/parents/teachers according to ministry and school district laws, policies and regulations would not put students first?

          You said, “Schools are developing young people, not producing grommets. This understanding is the foundation for personalized learning. Pedagogy and instructional practice are important for effective teaching, but the importance of relationship is equally as important. School administrators, despite the fiscal, technocratic, and management demands of their job, generally retain “the heart of a teacher”.”

          Thankfully, schools are full of teachers so there is plenty of heart available in each school to ensure that school atmosphere is appropriate.

          Replacing an expensive Principal with a less expensive business admin grad while better utilizing teachers to address any school situations that require a teacher just makes more sense than requiring every school to have an expensive Principal who must be qualified as a teacher in addition to a Master’s degree and who will actually end up teaching 40-60% of the time anyway.

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          • Lucy C. says:

            Principals should not run schools like businesses because schools are supposed to be formative. There should be a connection between administration and teachers so that the relationship works in the benefit of the children. Education is, in my mind, the most important tool for anyone. It is the only thing that we can give our children that will actually help them survive in this world. If we do not give them the right tools they will fail and with their failure the demise of our balanced society.

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    17. Fred says:

      1. Funding (too many IEPs in classes with too few or no support staff is robbing the majority of their oportunity. Get the support staff in place or create tiered classrooms – I don’t know the answer but my kids have wasted too many hours in class bcasue there are 4 or 5 kids that don’t belong there. And get the kids that are disrupting classes out of there.)
      2. Respect (politicians – particularly on the right – need to respect knowledge and educators if we hope to have our kids do so)
      3. Realistic goals (technology is ‘smoke and mirrors'; kids need to be able to write coherent paragraph and understand basic math)
      4. Strong programs in sports, drama, music, social issues, etc. so kids are connecting with the ‘real’ world in ways that appeal to them, where they can succeed, and in ways that provide meaninglful conxn to their school and pride in it. These are not ‘luxuries’ they were core to our education in the 70s and they are still needed today.

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      • I strongly agree with Item 2 (respect). Government actions have been so disrespectful of and damaging to the profession. Fortunately, respect is the easiest item for the government to fix…all it will take is the will to do so.

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        • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

          One of the ways we’re attempting to show our respect is by involving all educators (and all others) in the conversation of how we make our education system better. Everyone who wants a say is being given the opportunity to do so — in this forum and other places.

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          • Ben says:

            I wasn’t aware that you had resumed speaking with teachers to end this strike. Thank you for letting me know.

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            • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

              Hi Ben – this forum is about sharing ideas to make our education system better and to improve the learning experience for students such as yourself. The labour negotiations are a separate matter altogether.

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    18. Ed says:

      I am a 73 year old retired building contractor, a high school drop out and a grandfather. I have observed over the years that many young people are not suited to an accedemic career but they are persuaded to continue in fields they are not suited.
      I suggest an apprenticeship program starting at 14 years old. At this age young people are usually living at home and require little money. They could start out at a very low wage and progress in their chosen field, still connected to the school system in some small way but working full time. By the time they are 18 years old and require a car and other expenses they will be a journeyman drawing a wage of $25.00 per hour or more.
      Normally, when they leave school with only a grade 12 and 18 years old they are only worth minimum wage or less. They have nothing to offer the job market and have learned to play the game.
      By all means if you can do it, stay in school and become a doctor or such but if a trade is more suitable, start early and make an honest living.
      This is not a original thought on my part. I believe this is done in Germany as I have observed while there.

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    19. P Dee says:

      Please do not send any more public money to private schools.

      I am not happy that when there is not enough money to fund public education properly, the governemnt is planning on giving more money to private, for profit schools.

      A strong public education system is essential to give all students a fair chance to be succesful in life. A public school system that all children attend is important in developing a strong sense of citizenship and democratic principles. It is a place where all children: rich or poor, brilliant or average, imigrant or fifth generation Canadian, come together and solearn to respect each other and discover the common values of all Canadians. If we wind up with a system like they have in England where Well-to-do parents pay extra to have theit children placed in elite private schools. Immigrant families, if they can afford it often send their children to private schools to keep them immersed in the culture and language of their first country, delaying their assimilation into the local culture. The public schools are left with the students that the private schools don’t want and the students whose parents cannot afford to send them to a better school. The quality of education in the public schools (state schools) declines. There are not enough strong leaderd in the classroom and not enough advocates i the community. Meanwhile parents have to pay a lot of money and their children often have to spend a lot of time traveling to the school that accepted them.

      Please do not spend any more public money to private schools.

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    20. Tiffany says:

      http://www.pearsoned.com/pearson-and-florida-virtual-school-announce-agreement/#.TsLNFmCSPgn

      “Orlando, FL and New York, NY, November 17, 2010 –: A private/public alliance between Pearson and Florida Virtual School (FLVS) will accelerate virtual learning opportunities around the world for millions of school students who have grown up smack in the middle of the technology revolution.

      The new Pearson Virtual Learning powered by Florida Virtual School will offer schools throughout the US and across the globe more than 100 FLVS courses in all subject areas for grades 6-12, including advanced placement and career and technology courses. The virtual courses will be aligned to the new Common Core state standards.”

      *Why didn’t we do this first? Why can’t we be the innovators, the “Apples” of education’s eye? Why didn’t our government/school boards think big time and get there first? It seemed like only a matter of time before some power player would take the reigns to provide and unify online learning options in a widespread way–we know this is the future whether we like it or not. At least if we are in the game, then we can have say. Or, we need to provide a more attractive option.

      I’ll be watching this Pearson-Florida initiative closely. Maybe it means more choice and opportunity for students, but maybe it won’t necessarily mean the learning provided is of the highest calibre, but maybe it will. There will be bugs to work out along the way, but it will be a beast that can be refined over time if those in charge want to respond to their customers, er students. Hmmm…

      I’ve posted more about this on my blog at http://www.personalizinglearning.com
      -Tiffany.

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    21. Eithan says:

      I am in grade ten and I go to an alternative school and live in Victoria B.C. I have ideas that could benefit both the teachers and students. Some might be things you want to ignore but please be respectful and thoughtful to these ideas for they could seriously help out the school systems. First of all, school times should be changed to reasonable times maybe starting at nine thirty or ten and ending around 4:00pm. It would be the same amount of school hours but would give students more time to get ready and awake before school. At school in the morning you’ll see kids walking in ten to twenty minutes late because they usually were getting ready or they were on their way from up the island. Kids will also not have their heads on the table sleeping instead of doing their work. Also, the teachers wouldn’t have to keep talking to the students to get them to pay attention.
      Secondly, we should have smaller class sizes and more room in the class. Some students like fewer students in the class and then can concentrate more often. Others like more students in the class but they most likely mess around or don’t pay attention. Also, the teacher s will have less stress on them by not having to adjust or tell every kid to pay attention and if kids need help after the lesson the teacher won’t have to help twenty five kids before sitting down and marking thirty tests.
      Third, I think they should have better schooling materials, methods, and how they mark students. Marking students should be categorized itself. All students learn different so why not mark each student different from each other. Students fail or have low marks because of their test marks but have awesome marks on their entire unit work. Teachers should mark for what the kid does best and what he truly all together has done best. For an example, if a student gets an average of a b grade in his work and low marks in his tests, he’ll get a c or a c-. The student should get marked on his all together work and effort not just on the test but his efforts, participating, and all his work. Also, some teachers don’t want to re-teach the subject to some kids that don’t get it or some that are late. If it’s ten to twenty kids not getting it or coming in late it’s understandable that you just taught it BUT it is your job as a teacher to teach and make the kids know what they’re talking about. I had a teacher that flipped if you asked him to help out after the lesson or to just go through what to do. Also, the same teacher had sub’s all the time and one time he came back after two weeks and right away gave a math test (which the class was not told about). I did the test ,getting all the answers right(I knew because he gave two marks each question and I got one mark for each for getting the answer but an x for not doing it his way) but he made me do it again because I didn’t do it his way. I tried again and got them right but he made me do again because I didn’t do it his way again. In the end I did it over 3 times, getting them right but not doing his method. The last time I did it his way, getting every single question wrong and he didn’t make me do it again because when he handed me a new test sheet, I told him up (got mad). It seemed he hated his job and wasn’t there for the kids, just himself. Teachers like that make students not want to come and make them not like teachers and school.
      My main points are that the school times should be more flexible, classes smaller and we need teachers that like their jobs. These are my thoughts on the school system. Thank you for reading.

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    22. joni jones says:

      I am a student attending an alternative school in Sooke school district. I would like to express my thoughts regarding new changes in our education. First of all I would like to share my thoughts on the teachers where I go to school now. All the teachers at my school make me feel important and I always feel that they care deeply about my education. It’s nice going to school knowing that I will be treated with kindness and respect. I have been in schools where teachers do not seem to care and they don’t treat me with respect. My past experiences made me feel unimportant, like there is no hope for me when I grow up. I have had teachers yell at me and be mean to me which made me not want to go to school. On top of that, I have had some kids that had bullied me and teachers didn’t do anything about it so I decided to go to another school. I honestly don’t think it’s fair that the one that is being bullied has to switch schools. This is the most important to me because I don’t want what happened to me happen to anyone else.

      A second thing that might help is smaller classes. Having a small class means more one on one time with the teacher. When I came to the school I am presently at right now I have been getting better grades because they have no bullies because as I said it is a small. No one will want to bully anyone in a small class because it goes around too fast It also helped me get better grades because when I need help I can get it and the teacher is not busy helping someone else. It’s less stress on me.

      Third and last is hot lunches. Some people do not have enough money to buy food for themselves, so breakfasts and lunch would mean the world to them. I have never had this happen but I try and put myself in their shoes and see what it’s like. Some people might have food except don’t have the time so it would still be a good thing to have. It gives a variety of healthy choices, like have muffins and fruit or something that would be good for kids.

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    23. S says:

      I go to an alternative school, and throughout the years I have noticed that through elementary to high school the teachers that teach the higher grades are a lot more strict, which causes us students more stress, especially during tests and provincial exams. Stress is one of the many things we do not need. I somewhat understand the stress of being a teacher but, students need to be encouraged more instead of stressed out more. For students who are failing because of stress it is not helping them to tell them that they’re going to fail. It also doesn’t help to not say anything (ignore it). To conclude, teachers need to ease up on their students.

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    24. Brandon says:

      I am a 16 year old student at an alternative school in Langford. There a few issues in the school system that I’d like to talk about. First of all, classes are too big and it’s very stressful to be around a lot of kids who stare at u and constantly talk. The teachers never have control because there are too many kids. Walking down the hall is like trying to shop in Wal-Mart, people shoving past you and bumping in to you is not fun. A good class size is 10 to 15 people, then the teacher has control of the whole class and you as a student get more one on one support.

      Another problem in our schools is there are not enough choices in P.E. Students want to do things they like for example; yoga, soccer or weight lifting. Kids don’t like being put in something they don’t fit in to. Not everyone enjoys team sports. If you’re a soccer player you don’t want to be doing yoga. P.E is something you’re supposed to enjoy.

      The last problem I’ve seen in my 11 years is teachers are too strict with students coming in late. One thing teachers do when you’re late is not let you into class which makes you miss more. Then when the teacher finally lets you in, they freak at you for being late. It’s not our fault for getting locked out of the class. If your late because of a family problems or went to get your lunch at say Tim Horton’s and come back 5 or 10 minutes late for class that should be acceptable. If your late because you wanted a longer lunch or wanted to talk more to your friends then that’s not acceptable.

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    25. Lindsay says:

      As a grade ten student attending an alternative school, I feel that having more PE options would make teenagers more likely to actually exercise willingly. In most high schools the PE consists of team sports such as softball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, football, and badminton. The reason this is not always the best option is because some students don’t enjoy team sports and would rather do more individual activities for physical fitness.

      It would be really nice to see activities like horseback riding, martial arts, yoga, swimming, and skating. I see the importance of being physically active for teens but I do believe there are not enough options offered for us to choose from. If there was more variety regarding physical fitness for teens in schools, you would see way more teens getting fit!

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    26. Cass says:

      My name is Cass and I am a grade ten student. I have a few ideas about what is important for our future education system.

      As said many times over, one of the most important things for education in the future is smaller classrooms. This means fewer kids in each class.

      In the past, I have found myself frustrated with not getting the help I need in class because there are so many other kids to attend to. I’d usually just end up giving up when my question was not answered, and opting out on doing the work. With smaller classrooms there will be more time for the teachers to answer everyone’s questions and help them understand the lesson better.

      At the school I currently attend, there is a space of time which you can use to catch up with work you may have missed. I think that this is a great idea, as in previous schools I have found myself getting lost in the piles of homework that I had after I missed a few days of school for whatever reason. There is the option to do the work at home, but at home there are not any teachers. If you are confused or do not know what to do, there is no one to help you. This is why having a time with teachers around to catch up on missed work is a great idea that all schools should work with.

      Perhaps there should also be a bit more planning for things like jobs, as that is mainly what school is for. Preparing you to have a career and contribute to your community. Many people who may have had a good education often find themselves in a big muck of bills because they have no idea how to manage money. Students should be taught money managing strategies for the future, and more about the reality of living on your own.

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    27. Katelyn says:

      Should we change the way teacher teach or just add on to their methods?
      If more alternative schools had more elective classes and more options for what classes to take, kids would be more willing to learn. Small class sizes can be a really big thing too; smaller class equals more help and more of a comfortable feeling in the class room. School should start at 10am and end at 4pm and have a longer break that way kids have a longer class time and break to chill out and not get so overwhelmed with the busy day.
      There should be more alternative schools and more options for classes to take that will help for kids’ futures. If a student could choose their own classes to take, plus the mandatory classes, they could get a head start on their life instead of learning about things that they will never use in their lives and just end up forgetting in the next couple years after school. For example, a student wanting to pursue being a dance teacher could have to put all their time and effort into getting a really good grade in math, instead of practising to audition for a company that could hire them for the next 10 years of their life.
      In alternative school they have smaller class sizes which helps for more one on one help which is better for the kids. This way a student will not feel as isolated and frustrated about not getting the help they want. An example of why it would be better is if a kid in class is not getting something they were assigned and being in a big class his teacher did not notice,he will fall more behind and become more frustrated and could just end up dropping out.
      If school were to start at 10am and end at 4pm, it would make the day less stressful and more enjoyable to be at. An example would be that kids could get an hour more sleep in the morning and then not be as tired and more able to focus on work better. And for lunch it would be nice to have a hot lunch or something.
      To sum it all up, we shouldn’t change the schools; just add a few things that the kids want! Not just telling them what they want to learn but asking them what they would like to do for the rest of their life and helping them to achieve it.

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    28. Victoria says:

      I am a student in the Sooke school district and I believe it is time to see some changes in our education.
      First of all, I would like to see more money spent on technology in the classrooms. If more students had iPads and laptops to work on, you would see students be more engaged in their assignments and take pride in their work.
      As a student, I enjoy learning about current events rather than something that has happened years ago. If teachers used more current and relevant material when teaching, their students would be more interested in what they were learning.
      Smaller class sizes are also very convenient for students because it gives a sense of family, and you can receive help when you need it. Teachers need to care about their students and treat them like equals, which makes it a more relaxed and comfortable environment where you can have a respectful conversation and get to know them.

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    29. Pete Mar says:

      Silly people. If you want better education, have smaller classes. That will increase learning for all concerned. Put more emphasis on parents and how they can teach their kids at home. They are the number one educator in their child’s life.

      Put more money into education and less into stupid things like new roofs for sports arenas.

      Put people in government who actually know a little bit about what goes on in a classroom.

      The LIberal government has killed education in this province for the last 10 years.

      Finally, the public is starting to see this. You are losing the public relations battle. Education is not your priority. Stop using the US as a model for education. Go and study European models and learn from them.

      FInally, stop being hypocrites.

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      • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

        Hi Pete — we appreciate your honest comments. This forum is a sincere effort on our part to reach out to everyone and find out what people think about our current education system and future directions. We’re looking at a wide variety of models from other jurisdictions as well in an effort to glean the best ideas for our province. One such example is Finland. If you’re interested you can learn more about their educational philosophy and approach in our It’s Happening Globally section.

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    30. You state that education begins at birth. This is true – parents are the child’s first and most important teachers. It is vital to recognize and support children’s development and learning before age five. It is just as critcal to create a seamless system of care and learning for children and families. Early Childhood Edcuators are uniquely positioned to bridge the unecessary gap between education and care while protecting the developmental needs of young children against “schoolification”. The Early Childhood Educators of B.C. and the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. have released “A COMMUNITY PLAN FOR A PUBLIC SYSTEM OF INTEGRATED EARLY CARE AND LEARNING” (view at http://www.ecebc.ca). This document presents real strategies and answers to end the divide between care and learning drawing on the best of public education and the best of the field of Early Childhood Care and Education. This is a Plan that deserves attention, endorsement and implementation! Give it a read!!

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    31. Matthew Hall says:

      1. Keep the curriculum simple and focus on the basic skills and competencies so that the funding can deliver a quality experience with all the tools necessary.
      2. Ensure safety for the students at school.
      3. Hire and promote the best teachers according to their parent/student feedback reports, and not by strictly seniority.

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    32. BB says:

      Your salary figure is wrong-by about 17%-top salary for a teacher with max experience and a masters is 81K. Please be factual.

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    33. Mary-Anne says:

      Since teacher salaries are by far the largest part of the budget, it stands to reason that this is a place to find ways to balance the budget. In an informal poll of 20 teachers, all felt well paid, and all were willing to take a cut in pay in order to improve working conditions (e.g., hire additional teaching assistants). Teachers at one school offered to donate a day of their wages to balance the budget; however, the union refused to allow them to do so. Teachers at the top of the scale earn upwards of $95,000 / year for 9 months of teaching time. Face-to-face teaching time is 4 – 5 hours a day. Professional development days and sick days are fully paid. Benefits are generous and costly to the employer. Teacher salaries are the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.

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      • Devon says:

        Hi Mary-Anne,
        Can you post the link for teacher salarys in BC? Thank you.

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      • Mr. B says:

        Mary-Anne is right that teacher salaries take up a large part of the education budget but that does not mean that teachers feel “well-paid” and were “willing to take a pay cut”. I feel exactly the opposite. Teachers in Alberta, Ontario, and now Saskatchewan make upwards of $20,000 a year more than BC teachers while living in lower cost of living provinces. If we compare apples to apples, BC teachers are far behind and will get even further behind if the “zero mandate” policy is forced into a contract. Highly educated professionals should be compensated fairly according to what their colleagues in other parts of the country are receiving.

        I work much longer than the required teaching hours and put in hours at home as well. Most teachers are passionate about their jobs but there will always be a few that are not. Fair teacher salaries are important for our education system in the future.

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      • Special Ed says:

        Teachers have already given up wages in order to improve working conditions. Prior to 2002, teachers accepted no wage increase for 2 years in exchange for lower class sizes and guaranteed specialist teacher ratios. These class sizes were later illegally stripped from contracts with no compensation given to teachers. In addition, Pro-D days were added to the school calendar with no increase in salary for teachers (at the request of the BCTF).

        Teacher salaries are not the cause of the current crisis in education, underfunding is the cause. Have a look at education funding in BC compared to other provinces. BC has one of the lowest ratios of education spending to GDP in Canada.

        Please see the following: (Moderator removed website as the link appeared to be broken)

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        • Moderator Chrysstena says:

          Hi there – I had to remove the link to the website, as it appeared to be broken. Can you please check it and resend the link? Thanks very much.

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    34. Marie R says:

      Teachers make the difference for students. One thing that I think is important for the present and the future is teachers supporting each other as practitioners, especially in an ever changing and increasingly complex world. When I was a first-year teacher it was my colleagues that provided the best support, and from that foundation I continued to work with and learn from colleagues. I believe that this made me a better teacher, and modelled collaboration and lifelong learning for my students.

      Twenty years ago that shared learning came from teachers in my school, or district, and then it expanded to include teachers from across the province and all parts of the globe,starting around the year 2000, with advances in technology. Sites such as Classroom 2.0 (http://www.classroom20.com) with over 60,000 members and the Educator’s Personal Learning Network (http://www.edupln.com/) with over 10,000 members, are online networks of teachers supporting teachers which in turn can contribute to improved practice in the classroom. Professional learning is multi-pronged, and online networks can provide one source of learning.

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    35. Jan S says:

      The Plan appears to be a very general outline of a transformed educational system which has the objective of students becoming active agents in their own learning. Technology and social media enable students to access many sources of information with ease. The knowledge and perspectives that pupils can acquire through the Web are phenomenal compared to the past when pupils learned what the teacher taught them.

      When people feel empowered, they are inclined to be active agents in their own learning. This website is an example of how one’s own thinking can be heightened and transformed through the respectful, thoughtful contributions of other people. I have benefitted greatly from the thoughtful ideas contributed by other members of the public on this site. This site is an example of collaborative, egalitarian dialogue which encourages respectful discourse and critical thought on the important issue of educating our young people.

      Having said all that, I am suspicious that the BC government will impose new paradigms upon the education sector with little effort to facilitate the changes. The timelines in The Plan for new curriculum changes are relatively short. The Plan’s objectives for educational change parallel those of the American government in reaction to national declining student achievement. Large scale change requires time and support to succeed.

      How can teachers, parents, and the general public be assured that the changes which are being proposed are unique to the needs of our student populations? Additionally, how can the public be assured that the proposed changes will be respectfully facilitated and scaffolded by the BC Ministry of Education during the implementation process?

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    36. Anonymous says:

      Biggest two problems in teaching that nobody seems to recognize:

      1) As parents continue to abdicate more and more of their parenting responsibilities, children will continue to have more and more issues (Yes, not all issues are parents faults) and more and more resources (read: money) will be required for the system to keep up.

      2) Students have MORE trouble keeping up with school when they are passed along despite not having grasped the concepts. I have taught students in Math 10 that have NEVER passed math before! Sorry, that’s too late to start memorizing times-tables. These are the students that then start looking for an easy way out. We MUST start grouping students together that can all actually learn similar things in classes like math.

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    37. k dawson says:

      I strongly believe that quality education, as in any other work or activity, requires strong healthy relationships amongst the “participants”, and I don’t think that is possible with our current class sizes; reduce every class, whatever the grade,by at least five students, preferably 8, and that would go a long way towards achieving many aspects of “the plan”…. imagine if the government showed some real leadership by taking a leap and doing this, it could be so ground breaking! Really investing the money in the system and the people who make it run, and setting new standards for Canadian education in the process.

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    38. A key requirement for our education system in the future is to change the way that the most vulnerable students in the system are managed – specifically, those with special needs. School can be a ‘make or break’ situation for these students – yet ironically the system is missing several key elements:

      1. There is no advocacy support for the parents
      2. There is no advocacy support for the student
      3. There is little to no published information on the real key processes that parents need to understand (such as how to obtain aid support)

      As a parent, if you disagree with the school team – it’s the school and the district on one side..and you on the other. And, if you find your situation so desperate that you are considering legal action – you’ll find that almost all lawyers with any education system background only work for school boards – almost none will represent parents. Each parent fights ‘the lonely war’ for their child.

      The school system is a ‘system’ – and it only has certain ‘boxes’ to categorize special needs children into. There is always tremendous pressure to move to the ‘easiest’ solution – which is often not the best one.

      The Ministry needs to establish an advocacy office for special needs students and their parents now (the PAC concept is absolutely NOT a vehicle for this type of parental representation – as there are always matters of privacy involved). The school system can change lives for special needs students and their families – let’s make that change a great one!

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      • Jan S. says:

        It is heart breaking what parents must go through if their child is not a “typical” learner. I strongly recommend that parents of children who have learning disabilities and special needs become members of associations formed to address the needs of these children. The Learning Disabilities Association has chapters in most communities and provides invaluable information and support. Parents of children who are not “typical” learners must be able to strongly advocate for their child’s needs to be met within the system. Unfortunately, not all parents have the capacity to do this. The Learning Disabilities Association will help parents to understand what their rights are, what to expect, and how to navigate the system.

        I worked as a learning support teacher for five years. I came to the conclusion that the educational system does not adequately support students with significant learning disabilities. Learning support, which augments classroom teaching, is watered down so that specialist teachers must serve the needs of English as a Second Language pupils, general classroom support, and learning disabled pupils.

        Pupils who have learning disabilities should have the support of a teacher specifically trained in learning disabilities – at no less than a Master or Post Baccalaureate level with a focus on Learning Disabilities. Some children, who have significant disabilities in the area of reading, need specialized instruction such as the Orton Gillingham method of reading instruction. Our public educational system fails to recognize this need and does not train teachers for or fund these specialized methods of instruction. Resource room support, which targeted pupils with learning disabilities, was eliminated in most BC school districts in early 2000. As mentioned earlier, the model became a broad one in which learning disabled pupils are lumped in with other categorical students.

        Presently, parents of children having significant disabilities in the area of language and reading, find it necessary to pay for private schools, such as Kenneth Gordon, which possess the requisite expertise and staffing levels. Of course, many parents cannot afford this. The BC government needs to quit being disingenuous about its ability to adequately serve students with learning disabilities. It may require several cases of legal action by parents to force the Ministry of Education and school districts to develop adequate support for learning disabled pupils or to admit that not all pupils can be served adequately within the public system.

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        • Jan S. says:

          As an addendum to my previous comment re:supporting students with special needs. Assistive technology is a huge asset, but it cannot replace specialized instructional methods by teachers with expertise. Also – there needs to be easy access to appropriate technology – hardware and software available in the system. SET BC is a wonderful resource, however, many hoops must be jumped to access tech resources and they are only available to low incidence students. I believe that ARC BC, which provides digital text will be defunct soon. BC government – please support special needs students. Make it easier for parents and teachers to get tools to help these students!

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    39. Barb Hobson says:

      I really hope someone is thinking about special needs kids when you are considering making changes. There are lots of kids who need specialized instruction and would benefit from being grouped. The number of private schools that exist for special needs children attests to the fact that there is a need and some parents want this option. Full integration is not the best for all kids.

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    40. Caitlan says:

      My name is Caitlan, I am in grade 10 and am currently attending (school name removed by Moderator). I feel very strongly about what needs to change in the school system. In alternative schools, which mine is, we need to have more than one class for each grade seeing as the classes here are suppose to be kept smaller. They are getting rather large making it hard for some of the students, who are use to having small classes, concentrate and get the help they need. Adding just one or two classes to each grade would make room for students who are on waiting lists trying to get in because public school is too difficult. Large class sizes affect concentration, there are more distractions and it is overwhelming for students, and even teachers. There is also less one on one time which is the purpose of an alternative school. They’re trying to make it easier for students’ learning. I prefer smaller classes for this reason, also so everyone knows everyone; having a bond with a teacher and classmates makes it so much easier to learn, everyone wants to help! Please take this into consideration, Thank you.

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      • Moderator Marg says:

        Hi Caitlin,
        Thank you for your thoughtful comments. The purpose of this forum is to receive suggestions and comments such as yours, and yes, we will take them into consideration.

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    41. Rena says:

      I attend an alternative school in BC. Within the past 2 years our class sizes have increased substantially. I believe larger buildings and overall classroom sizes would improve the learning of students, and would allow teachers to have the time to work individually with all of their students. Last year my class had 15 students. This year we have 30. That’s twice as many, but still only one teacher. Many students start attending alternative schools because they need extra support. It’s hard to get that if they have the same class size as a regular high school. If we had larger buildings we would be able to have two classes for every grade, decreasing class sizes and improving the comfort and learning of students.

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    42. Ashley says:

      Hello, my name is Ashley and I am a student in the Langford area. There are a few changes I would like to see happen to our schools. More hands on activities or fieldtrips, teachers that actually care about students and smaller class sizes are all what I find most important.

      First, more hands on activities or fieldtrips! Everyone has different ways of learning, there is reading, listening, and doing things actively. This learning technique could be easier just because you can read and get a visual at the same time. For example, Science World has many stations where they have a speech, a sign explaining the station, and an activity you can do. Believe it or not, teenagers don’t like to go on fieldtrips to get out of class, it can also give them interesting new experiences. As for hands on activities in class, it can make students excited to go to class, making the skipping rate go down. Students learn better when they are having fun.

      Another thing that means a lot is having teachers that actually care about the students. Not all teachers are like this, but a lot of the ones I have come across would judge me as a do nothing, skipping, drug user by the way I look so they never really cared about giving me a chance of education when really, everyone deserves one. A way to see if this applies to anyone, a student assessment could help. If the teachers don’t care, students won’t go to class, if students don’t go to class, they fail.

      Last but certainly not least, smaller class sizes. With 30 kids in the class, no teacher has the time to help every kid when they need it. If it takes a teacher over 10 minutes to get to a kid with a simple question, then that kid will have more homework. If you have more homework, you don’t get as much sleep, without sleep, you can’t wake up in the morning resulting in skipping or losing your train of thought. Last year, I had a small class size of about 10 students, this year, I have somewhere between 25 and 30. With my experience, it seems like a lot more stress with a large class, even if it is just because of the lack of extra space to enjoy. Larger class sizes are also harder to control and some students work better when it’s quiet. It’s also less stress on the teachers when the classes are smaller and easy to control. My teacher asked every student in my class which was better, large or small class, and they all said the smaller the better.

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    43. Tyson says:

      I’m in grade ten, I live in the Colwood community and what I want to change first of all is teachers that know what their teaching because, I have had a number of teachers that don’t know anything about that subject and then you get told something that’s not real or they read straight out of the book and can’t give us enough information. For example, once in Math I was taught a certain way and then my teacher marked it wrong and told me to redo it because it was all wrong, but I know for a fact it was right.
      Secondly, I want teachers that want to be at school and help kids otherwise we’re not going to get our work done and we’ll struggle for the next following years because we did not get taught it the previous year. From my personal experience, I had a teacher that I mentioned earlier that did exactly that and I struggled and then stopped going to school for a bit, all because I did not get enough help.
      Thirdly, teachers that lock their door if you’re like 5-10 minutes late and then once someone opens the door and lets you in and the teacher rages. I could knock on the door but then you’re going to rage about me being late. Plus I don’t like walking in class and everyone looks at you in until you sit down because that’s stressful. So if I knew I was going to be late I would just not show up and go to the class after that one. Maybe if the time restrictions were not so tight and was able to have some flexibility it could benefit greatly otherwise students like me won’t be so stressful. Or another option is having spare classes after school that students can go to get help if you missed a class or two.
      The fourth and final one, I suggest a hot-lunch or some sort of breakfast program that allows kids to be able to eat before school if say for example, they don’t have enough money or don’t have time in the morning to eat. Or even a little muffin or something or if it is cold some warm hot chocolate or something.

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      • Moderator Marg says:

        The idea of student assessment of teachers is intriguing. Does anyone have any thoughts on the pros and cons of this?

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        • CMiller says:

          Moderator Marg,
          Of course all students will have teachers they like and dislike for a wide variety of reasons.
          There are a couple of things students can give feedback on about teachers but it should be limited. Do you think that they can be unbiased, do you think they can understand all the complexities that the job entails, when even government officials cannot? This government would probably allow students to determine a teacher’s fate…we should probably look at the system in which this government created that leads to teacher and student frustration.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I used to ask students for feedback, and tried a bunch of different formats. Surveys, anonymous feedback sheets, online, etc.. I stopped doing it because I never got any useful information.

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        • Anne says:

          I feel strongly that teachers should be assessed. In every other profession (included other people-serving professions like social work and nursing, etc.) there are evaluations. I don’t think evaluations should be tied to pay, but there should be an opportunity for students and parents, along with other school staff, to assess the strenghts, weaknesses and skills of teachers as a method to improve skills and abilities. No, it’s not completely objective, but neither is life, or teaching for that matter. I am married to a new teacher who feel that feedback/assessment would be helpful to developing his skills.

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      • d says:

        Dear Tyson, you should come be in my class, I doubt you know everything that I do with kids, very highly. Secondly I love what I do with kids, and my classes respect, value and appreciate all I do for them. Showing up late for class, like four out of my 30 students yesterday did after lunch, because in their words “they were having lunch” is the common theme right now in my HS. This disrespects me, my class, my expectations, and like your future employers’ – you must be on time and do the job. Its that easy. Why can’t you be on time? Oh, are you like the four other kids that cut my class to stay home on Wed this week to play COD-MW3 and raid their parent’s fridge? Fourth, would you like me to do your homework for you? Tyson you are responsible for your life, and learning, not the teacher. Nice try buddy, I hope your approach to learning works for you :) See ya in class.

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        • Devon says:

          All teachers can understand your frustration with students coming in late but please respond to all contributors respectfully. Perhaps a “Thank you for taking the time to contribute to a forum on education, Tyson. However, please try to imagine the position of the teacher in these scenarios.” Then perhaps a break down of the impact. Your anger and frustration with your four students is leading to generalizations regarding all students who are late and, to be honest, an aggressive tone towards this individual student whom you do not know. I would also suggest addressing the content you disagree with rather than the person behind it (formal debating rules). We need to encourage students to continue to contribute honestly on this forum and model appropriate ways of navigating dissentling opinions.

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    44. S.Benson says:

      Increase funding based on Real need.
      All Schools have different challenges and needs.

      Revamp ciiriculum to relevant and future needs (consult with Business in all areas for this)

      Project based rather than text book learning- with different levels with in that learning for low to high learning capability (for engagement)

      Combine class learning -English/Social Studies , Math/Sciences
      Computer Sciences for all courses

      Team teaching and having enough qualified teachers to work with students in a proper setting

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    45. Sarah says:

      Schools need teachers that connect with their students. We need teachers that come to work with passion that makes them want to be at school everyday and want to help their students make something of themselves. Teachers also need to take input from their students. Some do but some don’t! It’s hard to want to learn if teachers are teaching in a way that only works for one person.

      Another really important thing that we need is SMALLER CLASS SIZES. It’s hard being a student and trying to get the help I need and I can’t because there’s so many kids in my class. How am I suppose to get help when I have 30 kids in my class and 1 or 2 teachers? There are times where I don’t need as much help but when there a so many people around me it’s hard to concentrate, you either get distracted or can’t focus.

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    46. Donald L says:

      I am a student in a alternative program.  I believe that our holidays should be broken up and have a longer Christmas and a shorter summer. They should have more space provided for classes so the class sizes decrease. School is for students to be educated and you need to hear what they would like to learn so  that they can be successful. Hear a proposal of what courses they want to take. Listen to their voices!

      In regards to the school year calendar and the holidays, I believe that there should be a change. Summer should be one month starting August to September. Christmas should be three weeks, starting one week earlier than it is now. Spring break should be two weeks instead of just one.  Students and teachers need the mental break during the time they are in session at school rather than a long break during summer. With the left over two weeks, I suggest we have every other Monday off to shorten the school week.

      There should be more space provided to have bigger class rooms and have smaller classes sizes.  This way classes are less crowded, loud, and you can get more one on one support.   At my school we have small classes and students learn more because they get more one on one help and it is not as loud so students can focus more. Students will find if they are in a smaller classes their grades will go up because they are getting more help. With that being said, my school is getting more crowed, so it would be nicer if we had more classes so classes can get smaller again!

      Most Students know what courses they want. If teachers would let their students make a proposal on a course they would like to see, kids will be more then happy to come to school and learn. Personally, I would like to see a film analyzing course, as well as a photography course in my school. I know some students from other schools that would like to see these type of courses offered.  

      I think that our thoughts and feelings should be heard and this is why I am coming forth with my opinions to see some changes with our education.

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    47. Leah Tremain says:

      Access to digital devices in the classroom, at each desk, (not relegated to a computer lab) is important. It’s a costly proposal but for many these devices are already a part of their lives. Here’s an interesting article on the subject: “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Devices)

      http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/11/09/7-byod-myths.aspx

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      • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

        Thanks for your comment, Leah. A very interesting article! I encourage you to stay involved in our discussion forum and to watch for more on technology as one of our future themes. Learning empowered by technology is a core component of the BC Ed Plan (see page 7) so we intend to devote a lot of time here to discussing it. Weigh in with your ideas again if you’re interested.

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    48. Erica says:

      It is important for teachers, students and parents to have ownership of the future of our education system. Change is best when it comes from the ground up rather than the top down. This article subtly implies that teachers are not currently teaching critical thinking skills or skills for the future which is simply not true. Teachers have the best interests of their student in mind when they create, plan and implement their lessons. This needs to be recognized and celebrated when we look to what changes we wish to see in the future.

      It is also important that any changes implemented are fully thought out, funded and sustainable, with room for adaptability. This current plan is a lot of ideals that already exist in our current education system. What is this new plan going to look like physically?. Will we need to build new schools? Where will the money come from to implement it when seems there is already a shortage of funding for education?

      Perhaps also we need to asses what we value as a society, in addition to academics; subjects such as listening, kindness and empathy need to be woven into education. What do we want our world to be in the future, the answer to this question should drive the changes we make.

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    49. Graeme D says:

      I am a student at an alternative school in (location removed by moderator) who has been attending school for 11 years. I feel that these years combined with my mom being a teacher has allowed me to notice some things wrong. I believe we need more planning for the future such as bills and real estate knowledge. This would help us prepare for the future as well as see the reality of living independently.

      Furthermore, as a student I know the effects of a lack of resources as well as choice with classes like needing to choose an extra one you do not care for. In a classroom lacking resources a student will miss out on the experience. This can lead to an overall lack of enthusiasm as well as effecting grades. With less choices you can be forced to choose a class you do not care about which greatly effects your grades which hurts you overall.

      The last thing I will touch on is unfair punishment against those who did not do anything. I am referring to when one or two kids are talking and the teacher will hold the whole class back. It makes the other students angry and they will direct it towards the talkers which make them feel upset so no one wins. I conclude this by saying that I am glad for the coming changes but as one of the most affected groups we should be heard and considered.

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      • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

        We certainly welcome your comments, Graeme. How right you are that you should be heard and considered!

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    50. Katelyn says:

      Should we change the way teacher teach or just add on to their methods.

      If more alternative schools had more elective classes and more option for what classes to take, kids would be more willing to learn. Small class sizes can be a really big thing too; smaller class equals more help and more of a comfortable feeling in the class room. School should start at 10 and end at 4 and have a longer break that way kids have a longer class time and break to chill out and not get so overwhelmed with the busy day.

      There should be more alternative schools and more option for classes to take that will help for kid’s futures. If a student could choose their own classes to take, plus the mandatory classes as well. They could get a head start on their life instead of learning about things that they will never use in their lives and just end up forgetting it all in the next couple years after school. For example, if a student is wanting to pursue in a dance courier, so why would they person have to put all their time and effort to get a really good great in math instead on practising to addition for a company they could hire them for the next 10 years of their life. Or a student wanting to be a carpenter but his, or hers school did not have any class for that, so could not learn about it till they graduated and making it harder for them to get a job doing carpentry when they cannot even say they have taking a class on it.

      In alternative school they have smaller class sizes which help for more ONE ON ONE help that is better for the kids, because that way a student will not feel as isolated and frustrated about not getting the help they want. Example of why it would be better, a kid in class is not getting something they were assigned and being in a big class his teacher did not notes so he falls more behind and becomes more frustrated and could just end up dropping out.

      School should start at a later time and end at a later time. If school were to start at 10am and end at 4pm plus a longer break, it would make the day less stressful and more enjoyable to be at. Example would be that kids could get an hour more sleep in the morning and there for not as tired and able to forces on work better. A longer lunch break would be better just because then kids could get an opportunity to really go get food and not have to eat really fast, and end up feeling sick from just having junk food because there was not enough time to get a real meal for lunch. And just ending at 4pm so that way you will not have to cut any classes from the day and the kids still get the education they need.

      To sum it all up, we shouldn’t change the schools; just add a few things that the kids want! Not just telling them what they want to learn but ask what they would like to do for the rest of their life and help them to achieve it to come true.

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