An Invitation to Parents

On November - 26 - 2012 77 COMMENTS

As parents, we all do our best to support our children’s education. Many of us wish we could do more than our hectic lives will allow. And when we do want to participate more, sometimes it can be tough just to know where to start. That’s not really anybody’s fault. In many ways it’s just the reality of the complexity of an education system.

If all of us as parents are going to be true partners in our children’s learning, and if we’re going to participate in a useful discussion about the future of education, we’d all benefit from a shared level of understanding to start from.

Many parents are deeply involved in their school communities and have a good idea of how it all works, which is great. But most of them would probably agree that it can be a complicated road to travel. How does the system really work? Who is responsible for what? Who can I talk to? What does all this “eduspeak” mean for me and my child? What do I really need to know and why isn’t it easier for me to find the information I want? Questions like these shouldn’t get in the way of parents’ role in education.

So,with that in mind, our question for parents is: what questions do YOU have about B.C.’s education system? Tell us what you wish you could understand better, what you wonder about as a parent who cares about your children’s learning, or what information you wish you had more of. We’d like to help you.

77 Responses to “ An Invitation to Parents ”

  1. Michael says:

    I would like the Ministry to seriously consider fully funded charter/alternative schools. I understand that this is a huge step, but if you’re serious about offering parents true choice in education, to me this is something that would fit very well in that area of the platform. There is serious tension between choice and flexibility on the one hand (which seem to be very important buzzwords in this plan) and issues such as large class sizes which necessitate mass teaching and testing methods. I think we’re in an age when the modern industrial, factory-line model of education needs a serious overhaul, and charter/alternative schools could be a big help in reforming education for the better.

    I know there is partial funding already for independent schools, but I’m talking about fully public charter/alternative schools that would work in partnership with school boards and families to allow them more true choice and investment in their kids’ educations. I also know there is much FUD about charter schools, but I think it’s time to give it some serious thought.

    Has there been any serious study done of this concept? Has anyone in the Ministry talked with officials in places like Edmonton and Calgary to see how they’re operating and the pros/cons? I’d be very interested to know if so, and since it is currently prohibited in our education act, to hear any reasoning that might exist for why we aren’t doing this in BC.

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    • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

      BC students currently have a wide range of educational choice in both the public and independent systems. These include trades programs, alternative schools, bricks and mortar or online learning or a combination of the two, home schooling, external credentials, independent directed studies, international baccalaureate programs, and specialty academies such as the Langley School of Fine Arts, the Hockey Canada Skills Academy in the Okanagan School District, and the Montessori program for Kindergarten to Grade 8 in Prince George. Independent schools also offer a range of choices including faith-based, method-based or alternative schooling.

      These options provide BC students with a wide range of learning opportunities, but we can do better. We completely agree that an industrial, factory line education system won’t meet the needs of learners in the 21st century. This recognition is at the core of the Ed Plan, which involves a comprehensive review of curriculum and assessment with the goal of ensuring that every BC student has learning opportunities tailored to their needs and interests. This doesn’t prevent Charter schools from possibly being considered at some point, but at this time we’re focusing our energy on the kind of system-wide transformation and innovation that will give all BC students the skills and knowledge to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

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      • Melanie A says:

        I don’t really think all students have a wide range of educational choice Mike. I’d say some students have a wide range of educational choice.

        The schools you mention are excellent, but they are very limited to number of students that can participate. And then factor in Special Needs and Learning Disabled students, and they have even fewer choices.

        Independent schools do not get anywhere near equitable funding, so those schools that may fit your child better, are often unattainable to the average BCr.

        In this era of personalized learning, I’d like to see all students with more choice as to brick/mortar, programs like SD37 HomeQuest in more districts, and more options for Special Needs students in all districts.

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        • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

          What changes do you think would be necessary for that to happen?

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      • Michael says:

        Thanks for your reply, Mike. While all those options are great, how many are fully funded? Unless there is equitable funding, the choice is actually very limited, as Melanie says. I’m not sure there’s any true innovation to be had (that implies we would do something no one’s ever done before) but saying there’s choice and actually allowing *any* family to make those choices are two very different things. I think fully funded charter/alternative/independent programs need to be vigorously examined sooner rather than later.

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        • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

          While we are strong supporters of choice there is no capacity within our system to fund all these options.

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          • Tunya Audain says:

            Government Should Not Be The Producer Of Education

            While funding of public education is generally accepted as something that could come from general funds, it does not mean that government should produce the schools or other alternatives.

            Many more choices than we have now and new/innovative educational styles could emerge if the money collected for the purpose of public education was freed up via full vouchers that followed the qualifying child. Parents could then choose from the existing pool of public, private and specialty schools now available.

            More academies and even teacher co-ops would likely emerge to provide opportunities for new styles of learning and teaching.

            If special needs qualifying students received extra premiums on top of vouchers, then more specialized schools would likely also emerge to meet this pent-up demand.

            Charter schools which contract directly with the Ministry of Education should also be accepted as another choice such as pertain in Alberta, New Zealand and many US states.

            Flexibility and choice are definitely desirable for both the needs of the 21st Century and to meet the heightened assertiveness of parents who pursue the best interests of their children in their lifetimes.

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          • Michael says:

            Thanks for the reply, Mike. Please know that it’s not to you personally that I’m going to say this, because I know you need to represent this position. So I’m not frustrated with you personally when I speak this bluntly…

            Then change the system. You (and again, I don’t mean you personally, but BC Ed, and all responsible for this initiative) can’t have it both ways. We cannot claim to offer choice, and then when specific choices are brought up, say that those choices aren’t possible. Forgive (and please correct) me if I misunderstand, but it certainly seems to be a large disconnect to say “we’re all about choice” but dismiss out of hand the very kinds of efforts that allow for true choice. Tunya makes some great points on this too – I’d be interested in specific reasons why those kinds of concepts will not work.

            If these kinds of discussions have been had before – if concepts like charter schools have really been evaluated – I would really appreciate being able to know the reasoning behind not implementing them. I’m willing to stand corrected, but my perception is that there’s lots of talk about choice, but not much true choice being made available.

            I recognize the inherent difficulties in balancing choice with the realistic ability for government to supervise every kid’s education. I realize this is a huge undertaking. But there’s got to be more to the discussion than,

            “Give us ideas.”
            “Here are some ideas.”
            “Those ideas won’t work.”

            If we’re truly committed to innovation, flexibility, and choice, all for the sake of giving our kids the best education they can have, we have to be willing to undertake a massive effort if it will change things for the better.

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            • Tunya Audain says:

              Importance Of Charter Schools

              One main reason why publicly funded charter schools are desirable is that there is a lot more flexibility. Charter schools, even as they are accountable to their own community (associated students, parents, staff), are directly accountable for results to the Ministry of Education. They bypass the constraints that school boards and teacher unions have in place. Parents can be more involved in the policies and mission statements of the school.

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    • Heather says:

      Michael,

      Please pardon my ignorance, but what is a ‘Charter School’ – I am so curious now :)

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      • Michael says:

        Hi Heather, a charter school is a public school that has a specific emphasis, maybe in the arts, sciences, etc. They operate within the public system, are fully funded, and yet go a long way to offering more choice in education. There’s much discussion around them, and there can be some tension, but I think the concept is a sound one, and one that very much ought to be explored further in BC.

        Here’s a link to the section on charter school in Alberta: http://www.education.alberta.ca/parents/choice/charter.aspx

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        • Heather says:

          Thank you very much Michael (and for the link as well). Both my husband and I (my husband is a scientist, I am an accountant) would love to see a public school that offers our children a curriculum with a heavy focus on the STEM subjects, as well as on financial management skills.

          Perhaps we are wrong/misguided, but we feel really frustrated that so much of our childrens’ learning time is taken-up by ‘fluffy’ things (e.g., art, french, assemblies, fundraisers like ‘Jump for Heart’, etc.) that will not help our children secure a good job/career one day, and the financial means they will need to support a family.

          I will read the link you sent as soon as I get a quiet moment.

          Thanks again Michael.

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          • Michael says:

            No problem! I must say I land on the other side of the “fluffy” subject discussion. :) Being a musician myself I think the arts are invaluable for kids. (But at the same time I don’t consider sciences fluffy at all, just to be clear… :) ) I think there’s something to be said for being well-rounded. But the whole point is that it very well may be a better system to invest in the concept of charter schools. It is one thing that I think gets us closer to the goal of actually having viable choices and flexibility in our kids’ education.

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            • Heather says:

              Hi Michael,

              First of all, thanks for being so good natured in this discussion (allows for us to have an engaging and mature iscussion which is so enjoyable). :)

              Also, please know that my husband and I hold high respect for anyone in a musical career (in fact, I understand that the study of music can greatly enhance a person’s math skills and overall ability to learn complex mathematical concepts); and, we definitely don’t think of music as a ‘fluffy’ subject (our daughter studies piano, and our son plans to join the school band next year).

              Also, I agree with you that it is important for children to be well-rounded, up to a point. My fear is that the education system today provides such a massive and constantly-changing ‘buffet’ of learning activities, that many kids emerge from highschool completely confused as to what path to pursue.
              I think it must also be overwhelming for some children (i.e., those who suffer from anxiety, or learning disabilities).

              If charter schools would provide flexibility, as well as a more-focused learning environment for our children, than charter schools have my absolute vote and support Michael.

              [PS: I still haven't read the link you provided Michael, but will attempt to do so this weekend]

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  2. Heather says:

    I would like to know what the official roles and responsibilities of an elementary school Vice Principal (VP) are.

    I ask this because my husband and I have had bad experiences with our school’s two most recent VPs in terms of a perceived lack of respectful communication with us over matters pertaining to our children. For example, I had to literally chase one VP down the hall just to talk to him since my multiple requests for a scheduled parent-teacher-principal meeting (he served as both our VP, as well as our child’s teacher that year) went unanswered; while another VP expected me to hurriedly discuss my child’s mental health matter in the middle of the school hallway (child at my side) only to turn around minutes later and criticize me for speaking about this matter in front of my child and other children who happened to be in the hallway (I suppose the idea of inviting me into her office to discuss the matter in privacy had not occurred to her). [And yes, I had already followed the school protocol of discussing the matter first with my child's teacher, and the teacher was aware and supportive of my plan to discuss matter with the school principal/VP].

    So, I would appreciate it if someone from the the ministry would kindly tell me where I can find information on what I can expect (in case my expectations are faulty), in terms of respectful communication from a school’s VP on educational matters affecting my children.

    Thank you.

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  3. Natalie says:

    My concern is with the inconsistency in delivery of new philosophies in public education. In a recent emailed newsletter from our Jr. High school the principal writes “daily practices in the classroom have a bigger impact on learning and building student confidence than letter grades”. I sense a trend away from the traditional assessments/measures and reporting of student development and achievement, and with it a steady erosion of standards. This is not supportive of those learners that have or are trying to set a path towards higher education, as Universities still base their entrance requirements and scholarship awards on marks/letter grades/ grade point averages. Students and parents still need reliable feedback in the form letter grades and exam marks. Removing the emphasis on marks and letter grades is NOT good preparation for high school and beyond.

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  4. Tara Winston says:

    My child attends Castlegar Primary and my concern lies with the lack of future vision our SD20 school board has. They are proposing to close our school which us at 96% capacity and move into to portables at the next door elementary school. We are told that we get less funding than the district next door as we are not a “rural” district! There for we must cut facilities and administration to help lower our deficit. This does not fall in line with the Ministers plan for the way our schools will be heading. Why isn’t the Ministry intervening to get this board on track and find ways to help our district rather than cutting costs at the expense of our children’s education? There is a public forum Thursday at 6:30 for our board to try and justify why they are doing what they are doing. The problem however is that this board is completely dysfunctional and they need to look at their senior management which is excessive and maybe look at trimming the fat there, rather than our facilities and administration!

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    • Lucy Bee says:

      Many school districts have to close schools to make ends meet. This is not simply a matter of eliminating senior management. I think that the government has been misleading us with their suggestion that they are “spending more money per student than ever before.” This is a very false way of looking at things.

      Firstly, with declining enrolment even if they are spending more per student, they may be spending less overall (although that is not likely). Either way, if you were to index the amount paid against the change in the value of money, I am 100% certain that it would be significantly less than the amount when we were in school.

      Secondly, with aging infrastructure, the cost of running a school is becoming astronomical. I heard that one of the small elementary schools in our district costs over $100 000 per year just to have the building open (electricity and maintenance like replacing light bulbs and broken bits). The school that my daughter goes to was built in 1952, and my daughter tells me that sometimes when it rains, the roof leaks on one of the stairwells, so they have to put out buckets and close the stairwell.

      Thirdly, when I asked why they can’t fix the buildings, I was told that the ministry will only provide additional repair or building money to schools that are at 99% or greater capacity. This may explain why your district would consider closing a school that is at 96%. If the district can overfill the other school, maybe they can get the money that they need to fix some stuff. I don’t know if that info about the percent capacity is accurate, but I am sure one of the moderators will look it up for us.

      I know education is expensive, but I think it is a greater investment than anything else the government could spend money on.

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      • Moderator Heather Moderator Heather says:

        There is no requirement for a district to reach a particular level of enrolment in a school in order to qualify for renovation funding. In the past (ie mid to late 1990’s) when school enrolment was still increasing, the Ministry required districts to attain a level of enrolment (varied from elementary to secondary) before a new space request would be considered. There was and is no direct link between enrolment and the need for renovation.

        As added information, school districts receive Annual Facilities Grant Funding of $110 million per year which they can use for their priority maintenance and upgrading needs.

        See link http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/capitalplanning/resources/2012-13/2012-13-cpi.pdf where the basic qualifiers are laid out early in the document.

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        • Lucy Bee says:

          Thanks for that information. It looks as though districts apply for the funds, but not all districts would qualify. I am not sure, because it is a complicated document. I am glad that the government has some sort of plan for upgrading schools. I personally think that many need to be outright replaced, and it will cost a fortune to do so. I don’t think it will happen in time for my kids, but I hope it will for others.

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  5. Bev says:

    Over the holiday season I was fortunate to get together with several friends. We all have children or grandchildren attending school in grades K to 4 in the same school district so naturally part of our chats revolved around our kids and how they were doing in school. What I found interesting was that even though all the kids except 2 go to different schools, all of us parents had concerns or issues relating to their schooling. Since you’ve invited questions, here are a few that we had.

    Some of the children have birthdays late in the year (Oct – Dec). One person had been told that if a child’s birthday was late in the year, that if the parent chose, they could delay kindergarten entry until the following year. Is this true? If this is a policy, how would parents find out about it?

    One child who is now in grade 4 is having difficulty in school. She is one of the kids with a birthday later in the year. When she first started having difficulty the fact that she was younger than the majority of the class was brought up by the teacher as a possible reason for her difficulty (as well as a couple of others). When she continued to have difficulty the next year, the Mom asked if the child could be held back a year and repeat grade 2. She was told this was not possible. Now the child is in grade 4 and is struggling badly, not only with her studies but also with her self esteem because she cannot keep up with her peers. Why does it seem to be so important to the Ministry/Districts/Schools that children not be kept back or put forward? If the child moves on and cannot keep up with their classmates, then it would seem to me that would hurt their self esteem every bit as badly as people seem to think being held back would hurt it.

    On the opposite side of the scale, some of the children are doing really well in their studies and have marks in the 90+% range. To date none of these children have been offered any type of enriched or accelerated learning opportunities. If they have finished their class work, the teachers often ask them to assist other students. One school even has a name for this. They call it the CUC – Caught Up Club. I can remember being in grade 3 and a group of us were really good at math so when we finished our work early the teacher would hand us worksheets/exams that she got from the teachers of the older grades. She would challenge us to see if could work out the correct answers. Are there any programs available for the children who probably wouldn’t be in the “gifted” category but who none the less are quite bright and need a little bit more challenge?

    All of the parents were concerned with what appears to be a lack of consistancy in what the children were learning. Most of the children who had done grade 3 had learned about plants and the solar system in their science classes but my daughter was not taught those subjects in grade 3. Some children were learning about fish (salmon) in one class in a school but none of the other classes of that grade level in that school were learning about that subject. If we look at the curriculum for each grade shown on the Ministry website, what our children have been taught doesn’t necessarily match that. Do teachers have the discretion to teach other subjects rather than those listed on the curriculum?

    Another area we were all in agreement on was that we all felt there was a lot of time during the school year that could be put to better use. The kids spend a lot of time going to semi-monthly assemblies where the same information was repeated over and over again, doing social responsibility assignments, and having presentations/demonstrations/workshops on topics that didn’t appear to relate to any of their studies. We felt that at the youngest grade levels, the time would be better spent helping the children to learn to read and to write and to understand arithmatic.

    Lastly, most of the parents did not know of the proposed changes outlined in the BC EdPlan. We were all wondering why more of an effort to include parents in these types of discussions wasn’t taking place. After all, the schools/districts/Ministry must all have our contact information since it should be listed in BCesis. I’ve seen from the Twitter feed that Rod Allen and Maureen Dockendorf have been on the road speaking with teachers about the new format however I haven’t seen anything indicating that these people have given any presentations to parents. Will there be any presentations on 21st Century Learning given that parents in each district can attend?

    Thanks for you time.

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    • Moderator Michele Moderator Michele says:

      Hi Bev,
      I’ve spoken with a few of our departments here in the Ministry and parents are allowed to defer their child’s school entry until the following year under certain conditions. Please see Section 3(3) of the School Act (http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/legislation/schoollaw/revisedstatutescontents.pdf) for details.

      With regard to your question on other programs available for the children who probably wouldn’t be in the “gifted” category but are quite bright and need a little bit more challenge? You would need to talk to the individual teacher about that.

      Respecting your question about placement of children in the educational program, under the School Regulation, Section 7, it states that the principal of a school is responsible for administering and supervising the school including (b) the placing and programming of students in the school. You have the right to appeal any decision of a teacher or principal under section 11 of the School Act. Each board is required to post their appeal procedure on their web site. As you did not indicate which school district your child is in, I encourage you to go to the local school district web site for information respecting appeals.

      As for do teachers have the discretion to teach other subjects rather than those listed on the curriculum? The learning outcomes for each grade and subject are prescribed, meaning they must be covered by teachers. That being said, teachers have the discretion how to cover those outcomes. The specific content and topics the teachers cover can vary from class to class but the outcomes must be the same.

      I will get back to you shortly about any presentations on 21st Century Learning that parents in the various districts can attend as I am unaware of anything at this time.

      Thanks,

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      • Bev says:

        Dear Moderators,

        In January I asked a question about whether or not Mr. Allen and/or Ms. Dockendorf would be making any presentations that parents could attend. The reply was “I will get back to you shortly about any presentations on 21st Century Learning….” Well, here it is 2 months later and I still haven’t seen or heard anything about this. Are there any presentations being planned for parents?

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        • Moderator Michele Moderator Michele says:

          I’ve spoken with Rod Allen and he is at this time visiting various districts in the province with Maureen Dockendorf. His advice is to contact your local school district office or District Parent Advisory Council to see if they have any events planned for these visits.

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    • Heather says:

      Sounds like you had an excellent group discussion Bev; thanks for sharing.

      I have a son whose birthday is late in the year (Sept 23) and my husband and I elected to delay his Kindergarten (K) entry until the following year. We were fully aware of our right to do this (said ‘right’ was published in literature distributed to parents who attended a ‘K Information Night’ held at our children’s school). Delaying (by one year) our son’s entry into K proved costly in terms of dollars (i.e., an extra $5-6K for an extra year of daycare/pre-school); however, it yielded HUGE benefits in every other way (academically, socially, etc.,) and proved to be the best decision we ever made wrt to our son’s well-being. In addition, our son’s Kindergarten teacher (who delayed her own two sons’ entries into K) LOVED us for doing this. In comparison, a little boy in our daughter’s K class (December birthday) was not held back from starting K and he struggled miserably (mainly socially and behaviourally) and drove the poor Kindergarten teacher nuts. I was upset at this boy’s parents for not holding him back, since his ‘lack of K readiness’ negatively affected the learning environment of my daughter and her classmates (but your comment has made me realize that his parents may not have known that delayed entry was an option). I think that every parent should be made aware of their right to delay their child’s K entry; however, I also believe that every child should enter K on a ‘probationary’ basis (e.g., two months), with the Kindergarten teacher getting the ultimate say on whether the child is ‘Kindergarten ready’ and allowed to proceed for the remaining eight months.

      Also, an important observation I wish to share with anyone contemplating delaying their child’s entry into Kindergarten:

      Of every parent I have asked who delayed their child’s entry into K, every last one of them (100% of those surveyed) insisted it was a very good decision. And, of the parents I know who had thought about delaying their child’s K entry, but had subsequently decided not to, most of these parents regretted their decision (and wished they could turn the clock back). Also, a nurse told me that a parent should also think about the age at which their child will be graduating highschool and heading-off to college/university, particularly now that highschool only goes to Grade 12 (i.e., do you really think your 16-year-old son/daughter will be socially mature enough to be leaving home and heading-off to school in some distant city, should that be in the cards?)

      As for your comment about kids (in early grade levels) spending too much time on subjects other than the ’3Rs’, I am in absolute agreement! I just had the pleasure (being sarcastic), of reading that at my children’s school, 30% of the Grade 4 females who wrote the FSA last year are NOT MEETING basic expectations in numeracy. I was upset to read this, paticularly given that our school is located in a relatively affluent neighbourhood. I would like for my children’s school to spend significantly more time teaching math skills to the children, and less time teaching them french, how to recycle garbage, art, songs/dances for upcoming assemblies and talent shows (actually contracted-out to ‘artists in residence’), etc, etc. I would also like for them to spend less time on Terry Fox Runs and Heart & Stroke fundraising activities. Oh well, I guess I will have my say (as a School Planning Council member), when/if my school can find the time to hold a council meeting.

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      • Bev says:

        I guess each school district handles things differently as far as kindergarten registration and providing information goes. Right now my district has a ton of information in the newspaper and online about registering children “who will be 5 before December 31, 2013″. There are Information Nights put on by the district for the French Immersion and Montessori, as well as one for Special Needs children but that’s it. I checked on the district website for information about delayed entry but the only thing I saw was a question on the K Registration FAQ page that said “What if I have concerns about my child’s success entering kindergarten?” The answer to the question was to contact the school principal. I also checked with a friend whose child entered K in Sept/12. She said that there was no information night but that there was a meeting at the school in June (months after she registered) and that while she was given a package of information she doesn’t recall there being anything in it about delaying entry. That was pretty much the same as I experienced when my daughter entered kindergarten in 2008. She was registered in February. I had to bring proof of age and proof of residency and I had to indicate if I preferred Morning or Afternoon classes. We also had a meeting at the school one afternoon where the principal introduced himself and the kindergarten teacher and after the teacher took the children to her classroom, the principal talked about how teaching had changed from what we probably remembered and how were were all part of the PAC now, etc. etc. but nothing about delaying entry. It didn’t matter in my case but it may certainly have pertained to some of the other parents.

        I’ve found since my daughter entered the school system that if I want her to have the kind of education that I did (i.e. learning times tables up to 12, learning to print and write, learning to use proper grammer, and so on and so forth) that I end up having to supplement what the school is doing which is something my parents didn’t have to do when I was in school. I think the system is focussing too much on their idea of creating the “educated citizen who is socially responsible, who participates in democracy, and who is a community contributor”, rather than focussing on helping the students learn how to read, write, and do arithmetic. The social responsibility, community involvement, etc. should be the parent’s responsibility not the school’s in my opinion.

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        • Heather says:

          Thanks Bev, and I hope you don’t mind me responding yet again (I will cut myself off here).

          You are right no doubt about each SD doing things differently, and it sounds like we are in for more of this in the future (e.g., with each SD being allowed to set their own schedules, etc.). While I am in favour of affording some flexibility to SDs in the way things are done, I also think there needs to be more uniformity and standards when it comes to timely communication with parents over matters which can have a serious impact on their child’s overall learning and school experience.

          In terms of us needing to supplement our childrens’ learning in order for them to sufficiently learn math, reading and writing, I absolutely agree with you Bev. I was shocked to learn last week (daughter was ill so I had to ‘homeschool’ her) that mid-way through Grade 3, she didn’t even know how to add: 326 + 326 (i.e. how to place a ’2′ in the ones column, and carryforward a ’1′ to the top of the tens column). I worked with her on math for ~ 2 hours/day for 5 straight days (i.e., Monday – Friday), and by the end of the week, she had not only learned how to add and subtract large numbers with carryforward and borrowing elements, but she also learned how to divide smaller numbers (e.g., 8/2 = __ and 12/3 = __). Almost makes me wish I could keep her home with me for another week. That being said, I don’t think it is fair, especially to parents who work outside the home all day and all week long, to have to come home, exhausted from a stressful day at the office, only to have to teach their children material that should have been taught to them in school that day by their teacher. Hmm .. I don’t recall ever having been able to call on a teacher to help me get caught-up on my office work, so why should I have to help them get caught-up on theirs ( especially when they are falling behind mainly due to them devoting too much time to everything but the 3Rs).

          I am going to get in touch with an official in my SD and try to get some answers on what is going on (e.g., why my SD is sending elementary-aged school children who are failing miserably in reading and writing in basic english, to french-language instruction classes four times a week; where’s the logic in that?) – sigh

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  6. Madarinekids says:

    华语已跃居大温仅次于英语的主流语言,中文招牌比比皆是。(世界日报资料照片)

    加拿大统计局(Statistics Canada)公布2011年人口普查结果,大温为数71万的移民中,逾4成在家中最常使用的语言为华语,是仅次于英语的第二大语系。其中广东话占16%,普通话(Mandarin)11.8%,其他华语12.2%。

    大温讲华语者达33万9945人,占人口总数14.8%。在列治文市,讲非官方语言的比率最高,达59.5%,而且说华语的人口首次超越英语。
    Chinese speakers are close to English speakers right now.

    We want our kids spending more time in learning chinese,not French ,Spanish or others,thay have much more chances to succeed than others.

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    • Moderator Michele Moderator Michele says:

      For those of you are interested, this is a translation of part of the following document:
      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/10/24/bc-census-results.html

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    • Heather says:

      I absolutely agree with you MandarineKids. It is high time this Province starts showing Chinese-Canadians the respect they deserve. Was it not our Chinese immigrants that built the great railway linking BC to the rest of the country, allowing BC to become a Province of Canada? Also, with our ever-growing economic ties to China, we would be foolish not to encourage our children to learn a chinese (e.g., mandarine, cantonese) language.

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      • Education is key says:

        I agree and I am not a Chinese Canadian.

        We need to give our children access to
        the Global world.

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  7. allforkids says:

    School board should put Mandarine as important as French and others,give more choices for asian background kids,why force those kids to learn ,French ,Spananish as their mandatary language,will they have better futher ?!!!Mandarine is very important ,let our kids not only study English but also Mandarine,say NO to discrimination!

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  8. Heather says:

    I want the learning of my children to be better aligned with the outcomes I most desire for my children. For example, the ultimate outcomes I desire for my children is to see them live happy, long lives. Working backwards (along the logic model), I might identify the immediate/intermediate outcomes to include that my children are healthy and financially stable (these more immediate outcomes will support the ultimate outcomes I desire). Continuing to work backwards (and to keep the linkages going), I might identify a desired output to be that my child has been successfully educated in a field where there will be strong market demand for workers, which will translate into a job for my child w/ good pay and benefits. We then need to keep working backwards along the logic model to identify the activities (e.g., subjects and evidence-based teaching practices) and inputs (e.g., qualified teachers, financial resources, etc.) required to support attainment of these identified outputs, and ultimately – the desired outcomes.

    Logic Model
    Inputs > Activities > Outputs > Outcomes

    PS:
    Applying this logic model to my own children’s current ES learning environment, I see a possible disconnect (i.e., I don’t see how spending four days per week getting french-language instruction is going to help my children live happy, long lives, particularly here in BC. If we are to offer 2nd-language instruction to BC children, wouldn’t instruction in mandarin/cantonese, or an East Indian language, provide better logic-model linkage?)

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  9. Melanie A says:

    I’m very concerned about how cooperative gains will affect services for kids that are already cut low. Government makes arrangements with unions and then the SDs have to pay out of their budgets. Not sure that’s really fair.

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    • Eli W. says:

      I gave your comment an upvote because I think its a really concise and germaine comment.

      That the government makes deals with unions and then forces SDs to pay for them is historically accurate, but incomplete. In 2001/2002, this approach was matched with legislation that allowed SDs to run entrepreneurial ventures and encouraged them to make up the (surprise) funding deficit with profit.

      I have worked in Saanich, Vancouver and Delta and I see, across those three, healthy and lucrative international education programs that help to fill the funding deficit.

      It’s a pretty robust privatization program that has been unofficially growing in BC since the early nineties, but only an official part of funding since 2002.

      If you believe in a truly free-market approach to education, it is absolutely fair – even generous. If you believe in fully-funded public education then you’re right – it’s not fair at all.

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  10. Mercedes says:

    As a member of an elementary school PAC, my question is in regards to safety. We all know that safety is paramount in our schools (especially after the tragic events of last week)- without a sense of security, and safety measures in place, our children can’t learn. Specifically, I am concerned about Earthquake Kits/Safety in our schools. It is shocking to me that the responsibility of creating and maintaining earthquake kits in the schools has been effectively downloaded to a schools’ PAC. This may be acceptable in schools where the PAC is able to fund raise large amounts of money, however, in schools where this is not the case, I believe the students will suffer… It is a case of have/have not. While I don’t have a lot of faith (given the continuous budget cuts) that this will change, I do feel it is important for my concern (make that my outrage) is acknowledged and addressed.
    Thank you.

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    • Melanie A says:

      I did not know parents had to pay for Emergency Kits. That’s really our responsibility? Interesting.

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  11. Marianne says:

    Some may call me a nostalgic child of the 80′s but I, like many others, am concerned about the lack of opportunities for competition in our school. The ‘everyone is a winner’ notion that is so pervasive these days is breeding mediocrity. I am a staunch proponent of learning assistance and classroom resources for students who have learning challenges and need a helping hand in the classroom BUT I am also keen to see more opportunities for students who exhibit academic aptitude and a healthy understanding of success, failure and competition. If fact, I think that the systems that are in place in schools these days that try desperately to ensure that no student experiences failure is doing a tremendous dis-service to the kids. Why are schools not emphasizing trial and error, making mistakes and learning from them as an opportunity to learn and grow? Some of the best learning opportunities come from examining and analyzing something that DIDN’T work! In order to remain competitive in the global economy, we need to be graduating young people who are excited about a challenge, resilient (possessing skills to cope with success and failure), and academically skilled. By all means, lets provide resources to assist those students who need extra help in order to meet expectations … but also provide more opportunities to those who want more challenge, and more competition. Yes, I realized that some of this type of learning occurs at the secondary level but the best age to breed this kind of inquisitiveness and ability to try things out and learn equally from what works and what doesn’t needs to start in the elementary years. Instead of thinking of someone with more knowledge as being ‘better’. Students can learn to draw on each others strengths to solve problems and learn collectively from the results.

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  12. Elaine Harrison says:

    I would like to suggest an education plan to include emotional intelligence as part of what we are trying to teach our children. In light of our society, addiction, anger etc… I believe emotional intelligence is every bit important as history, socials,grammar,physical education infact we could consider looking at this and call it emotional education.

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  13. Heather says:

    After today’s tragic incident at that elementary school in Connecticut, I would like to see better security controls and practices implemented at all BC schools.

    For example, all school entry points s/b monitored by camera; and, all visitors to a school s/b required to enter the school through a single (and separate) controlled entry point (where the visitor can be physically inspected and required to state the purpose of their visit). If the visitor passes this initial screening, then they should be required to sign-in upon entry, and sign-out upon departure. It might also be a good idea to require visitors to leave their coat, backpacks, etc. in this controlled entry point/hallway (could have some lockers installed in this controlled area, such as has been done in jails and pretrial centres).

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  14. AKTINKO says:

    Most of parents don’t really trust the current public education systems.Public schools don’t have very good monoitoring systems to screen teachers ,everyone seems working hard on students ,but results nomally are not OK.

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    • Eli W. says:

      Seriously? A five-year degree, and application to the Teacher Qualification Services and the Teacher Regulation Board as well as professional reviews every five years and criminal record checks every five years? We screen and monitor teachers in BC more closely than anywhere in Canada (except maybe Ontario) – maybe the world.

      UVic even has a unique internship program that requires a year-long practicum so that student teachers have to volunteer for a year before graduating and becoming eligible to apply to become a teacher.

      Whether or not most parents trust public education isn’t related to whether or not teachers are screened and monitored. Whether or not most parents trust public education is related to politics, and little else.

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      • Heather says:

        It’s also related to the fact that there are many misinformed, uneducated, and dare I say: “not-the-sharpest-tool-in-the-shed” parents out there. I’m sorry, but I see it every day (at least at my kids’ school) when I witness parent-after-parent have their children leap out on the traffic side (as opposed to much safer sidewalk side) of the vehicle, during morning drop-off.

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  15. Ann says:

    Noting the lack luster responses and engagement from parents. I would like to see information on this sent in school newsletters – at the school level where all parents would have the information and opportunity to provide input if they chose to. Currently only those who may have read Janet’s blog have any awareness of this. I would also comment that asking parents for this type of input around the busy Christmas season is a recipe for failure. Not that we do not care…we just have other things like school choir performances (and practices), community fundraisers and support initiatives, staff socials and of course the general bustle that the season brings. Ask us in January please – unless you are hoping for minimal response – then you are doing this right.

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    • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

      Hi Ann – we, too, would like to see that. And to your comment about engaging over the Christmas season, rest assured, this conversation will continue well beyond that. In fact, this is just the start!

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    • Melanie A says:

      Ann, I’m going to forward this link to my local PAC. Let them know about it. I am also going to email our school and see if they’ll put it in the newsletter. Good point to bring up!

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      • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

        Awesome! It’s committed parents like the two of you who are best positioned to talk to teachers and staff in your children’s schools about the changes you’d like to see and the types of communication you’d like to have. Good luck!

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  16. peter mare says:

    Parents, Politicians, trustees, whenever there is an election, they will make sure to remind you that THEY care! Trust me! They care about their own pocket! They care about their next paycheck as a trustee or as a politician! Most do! We all do! The truth is that some parents care; others don’t or are unable to. That’s the truth! There are “good” parents like there are “good” teachers like there are “good” trustees and politicians, although some from a certain political persuasion like MONEY more than your child! ASK: “Why are some districts (trustees and politicians) allowed French Immersion teachers to teach English?” Is that for the best interest of children or is it because F. I. parents are a minority that can be played with and their kids don’t really deserve the best education possible?” Ask: “re there NO decent English teachers in BC?” In other words, does it make sense a French Immersion teacher (who should be a native speaker) that he or she be allowed to teach in English? As a result of decisions by trustees, many EARLY FI teachers at the intermediate levels are now English-speakers! Do you really think they can be experts in both languages, speak like native speakers in French? As a bilingual teacher, I tell you that those birds are VERY RARE! By asking teachers to teach in both languages, trustees saved a little bit money! Kids matter? Really?

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  17. Ann says:

    Partnership – there is a serious disconnect between parents and administration what the partnership between the school and the family should look like. There are two different views or perceived expectations by both parties. Parents have an expectation to be included in decisions …to be active participants in their child’s education. Were as, admin comes from a place of rights and responsibilities…what they have to do or are required to do within policy. For example let’s use a situation where a child has acted inappropriately and is sent to the office. The Principal has the responsibility to correct the behavior and ensure all children are safe and will therefore have a conversation (in elementary school this often looks like the Principal standing over the child who is sitting head down overwhelmed by emotions of remorse, fear, or anger) and determining the appropriate discipline or lecture required. Parents in this situation are often not consulted or even informed of the incident occurring unless their child informs them (but many will not). Parents want to be included in this event. They want to be informed of the incident (minor or major), included in appropriate discipline decisions and be able to re-enforce the discipline at home. Sadly, far too often what we see is administration practicing their role and responsibility with the exclusion of the parent and their responsibility and role in raising their child. When this occurs the result is negative feelings, distrust and the opinions that the system is not there to support their child or them as parents of the child. To add to the problem and success of the student the child picks up on these feelings and also begins to believe that the system is not fair or there to support them or does not value their family, who they are which often becomes repeat negative behavior and increases the probability that these students will drop out or make significant bad educational choices.

    What does partnership look like? In my mind it is not “my school (admin’s position) has a PAC and this is how I am advised on what parents want.” PAC is a place to discuss school wide community ideas. Administration has a duty to each and every parent and every student! A culture of partnership must exist between every parent, principal and teacher. There is way too much fear out there which inhibits administrators taking chances or going the extra mile – and to be clear many bad experiences in the past with parents demanding their rights when things have gone badly have created this culture. We must all be honest and admit we have all played a role in this culture if we expect it to change. More than anything I want to hear the language change from rights and responsibilities to expectations and support. We all have a role to play and we all should be supporting each other in these roles.

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    • Elaine Harrison says:

      Your comments do support my suggestion of emotional intelligence these classes to teach our children EI could influence the lack of emotional intelligence in the parents its a win win to incorporate emotional education as part of curriculum offered. I would like to weigh in on encouraging PAC membership not always a welcoming environment often the face of PAC is judgmental from my experience….. Why do we have to fit in boxes to fit in period…

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  18. Tunya Audain says:

    Parent Rights Should Be Written Down At Each School

    In the 70s during the heyday of consumer rights activism — a la Ralph Nader — a small activist parent group (CARE) in Vancouver obtained a federal grant to advance consumer rights in education. We produced many newsletters, workshops, proposals, etc. but very little stuck as “the system” seemed, and still seems, resistant to genuine parent involvement.

    The one document we produced which still speaks to current conditions is — Parent Rights and Their Children’s Education — downloadable here http://genuine-education-reform-today.org/2010/04/06/parent-rights-and-their-childrens-education/

    These are the 7 core rights which parents should know about — 1-Right to Choice; 2-Right to Information; 3-Right to Be Heard and Consulted; 4-Right to Special Assistance; 5-Right to Involvement; 6-Right to Safeguards; 7-Right to Appeal.

    The Globe and Mail did a huge story on the recent Moore Case that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. The court unanimously judged that adequate special education is essential if students are to get on the “ramp”, that is, gain that foothold with which they can access the education provided in public schools. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/what-does-equal-education-look-like-after-the-landmark-court-ruling/article5864255/

    The article, of course, praised the extraordinary devotion and effort of the parents, both in securing private education to meet their son’s needs and in pursuing the legal rendering that will set an example for other parents. The G&M article mentioned the two-tier system of parent involvement — one where the parents are savvy and advantaged and one where the parents are not effective advocates.

    The savvy parents generally fall into three groupings: 1-those in higher socio-economic areas who as a matter of course expect good services; 2-those who belong to advocacy groups such as for LD; 3-parents who are themselves teachers and know how to work the system.

    The parents who are not effective advocates, as described by the Great Schools Project (BC) which met this weekend, could be “poor, marginalized, immigrant, and working class . . . [who] feel, or are made to feel, inadequate in the school setting.” The Project suggests a User’s Guide be prepared for each school whereby parents might have some prepared questions and talking points they can use in relating to their school. See #6 https://greatschoolsbc.wordpress.com/toolkit-for-school-evaluation-and-assessment-4/

    I would suggest that each and every school, private or public, should have such a guide and that a good starting point from which a committee of parents and staff could start would be to discuss the parent rights document mentioned above, consider which rights should be printed in their guide book, and then frame the appropriate points that would follow.

    With all the raised consciousness as a result of issues of bullying, special needs, technology, social media, etc. parents will increasingly want to be involved. And should be involved. Both the process of developing such a guidebook and then making it a living text for the school community would bring us into the 21st Century where equity of opportunity is becoming ever more imperative.

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  19. Lisa says:

    I would just like for my son to be able to attend school. He is learning disabled and Delta District have no program that is for learning disabilities. He cannot function in a regular classroom and was home for most of Grade 8 and now Grade 9 as well. We’ve tried Distance Ed but I am not a teacher and certainly not a special education teacher so that is really not working. So what would I like? Someone to realise that my 14 year old is severely learning disabled through no fault of his own and would love to go to school but by closing the junior alternate program and the resource rooms he just doesn’t have that access and it’s not fair.

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    • Eli W. says:

      Actually, this is particularly alarming because Delta is a model district in the province for their Special Programs. If parents in Delta are having trouble getting help for their children with learning disabilities, it’s a safe bet that parents in all the other districts are, too.

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      • Lisa says:

        Just to update on the situation with my son, he is now in an Alternate classroom where he’s getting lots of help. Bearing in mind he is 14 and should be in Grade 9 he is in a grade 10 program. At least he is in school and able to function and his teacher and EA are wonderful. But what happens to Grade 8&9 kids who need this kind of environment and one on one help? So now we have filed a human rights complaint about the year and a half where no appropriate program was available. The district has lawyered up so we’ll see what happens now.

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  20. Education is Key says:

    The B.C. Education system needs to give funding
    based on a child’s needs and then if money is not used,
    move it to other children needing more assistance.

    The funding should be supplied for teaching asistants,
    speech & language pathology and other therapies needed
    by each individual child.

    My child is hearing impaired, the school rec’d funds,
    my child was put in class with another child requiring
    one on one, my son only requiring occasional help and I
    ended up having to pay for his speech & language
    therapy, yet the school had rec’d 16,000v in funding.

    I was fortunate to be able to afford the sppech/language
    therapy costs, but, what happens to kids, whose parents
    who do not have their own funds to pay for the help their
    child needs?

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  21. Mom says:

    Elementary school, kid is 10 y.o.:
    I would like to see textbooks, lecture/ course materials, exercise books at home or available every day. I would like to monitor the materials covered, have an idea about the pace of learning (adjust it if needed). I would like to be able to ask my kid questions related to the subject they are currently learning in school. I would like to have a good sense of what she knows by now, what she is currently learning, and schedule of subjects and themes for the terms to come.
    I would like to have longer conversations with the teacher. 15 minutes twice a year is no enough. I would like to see a teacher empowered and proud of children progress, not apologetic and limited in time and resources.
    I would like to know why my kid has to lunch monitor younger children during her lunch hour and bring her lunchbox home untouched because she does not have the time to eat her own lunch.
    I would like to know if it is at all possible to have math/chess/art/writing club after school. My kid spends 2 hours after school waiting for me in after school care listening to kool FM or to the leaders reprimanding other kids for bad behaviour. It’s 2 hours a day of doing nothing productive, learning nothing but bad language and appalling attitude from some kids.
    I would like to have an access to my kid records online. Have an electronic profile created for my kid, where all her report cards, emergency numbers – everything would be stored in one place. I want to have a chance to review report cards online and post comments beside teacher’s comments and have a conversation that way. I would like to post questions to my teacher in a parents’ forum.

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    • peter mare says:

      I bet kids in Finland have that kind of service, but because our leaders are “leders” and some people are against progress, we spend all that money in literacy of a spelling system that suck a whole lot more of the budget than budgets from countries that have a language that can be learned in one year (Italian, Finnish,…) because their language is PHONEMIC (regular relationship between the sounds and the letters)! Unless you want to pay more taxes or unless these “leders” become “leaders” and reform the system, you will continue to write letters like these, kids will continue to be labelled disabled,… Again, they say they care, but in reality their actions speak louder than words!

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      • Eli W. says:

        Peter, the irregularities in the English language preserve the origins of words we have borrowed. That’s unique to English and it has value. As well, English enjoys both a rich prescriptive and a healthy descriptive grammar.

        Please stop spamming this board with your personal linguistic agenda.

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    • Heather says:

      I so agree with you Mom on your comment about after-school-care. Last year, my children were in grades two and four and attended an after-school-care programme at their school (cost $500/mos before tax relief). My husband was not able to pick them up until about 5:00 pm (and I didn’t get home from work until ~ 6:30 pm), which meant that they spent from 2:40 pm – 5:00 pm (i.e., 2 hours, 20 minutes) each day sitting in a portable playing with friends and getting bored. I asked the programme administrator (repeatedly) to please hold a 1/2 hour homework session so that the children could at least get started on their homework in the afternoon while their minds were still fresh and sharp. Well, my appeals went unanswered, and as a result, I got to spend the precious little time I had with my children on weeknights fighting with them about their homework (at 7 pm at night!). In early 2012, after 22 years of working, and based on a school (and after-school-care) system that is non-responsive to the needs of working parents, I threw my hands up in the air and left the workforce.

      I truly wish that the school system could be revamped to be more supportive of working parents. For example, a school day that runs from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm would be incredibly helpful to many families as it could save them a fair amount of money in after-school-care costs; and, a 30-50 minute ‘study hall’ run sometime between 3:00 – 5:00 pm (kids get started on their homework w/ a teacher there to guide them) would also be a godsend for working parents and their children.

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  22. Allison says:

    I would love to know exactly what my child is learning so that I can help with their work at home. My child was not great at bringing work home, didn’t stay focused in the school environment, and eventually got lost – for years. If I had known what pages they were reading, what worksheets they needed to complete, etc., I could have helped my child stay up to speed (the grades did not reflect their lack of understanding). The curriculum information provided on the website is good, but very general. I really need access to what they are learning in class day to day. With today’s technology, there is no reason that worksheets cannot be posted online, that detailed lesson plans be posted, even that classes be videotaped and posted so children can review them if they did not totally stick first time (think Khan Academy). Not every parent/child will need this or make use of it, but for those of us with children who think differently, it would be of great value. There should be no mysteries about what is happening in the classroom. In this way, fewer children would get lost and the classroom would be more adaptable to different learning styles. This may seem less of a system issue than the question we are asked to respond to, but it would actually take the mystery out of the education system for me.

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    • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

      Hi, Alison. Is your child still in school? Have you shared these ideas with his/her teachers?

      Like you, we believe that when there’s better communication between parents and teachers students are more likely to succeed in school.

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      • Allison says:

        My child is now in distributed learning because that’s the only way I could really understand what was happening. We were so frustrated that we didn’t know how lost he was until it was almost too late. This is his second year of distributed learning and he is almost at grade level – even getting As and Bs in some subjects! We can manage his work better and help him understand what he needs to do. I think it’s a shame that we had to pull him out of school to get this. Lots of parents don’t have this option and can’t support their child they way we can. We did share our concerns with his teachers before, but they blamed him for being “checked out” of the class. They did not take responsibility and had no plan for how to help him be engaged. By mid-way through grade 7 (when they finally told us) it was too late. He is on the right track now and the teachers at his distance learning school are amazing.

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        • Elaine Harrison says:

          Hi Allison,
          I have two sons that have been to school from my experience the best way to see what the kids are learning is to invite yourself to sit in the class. I would often do this with a good end result. I know we have work considering the end of the day what matters is how well rounded are children are therefore to miss a days pay every 3 or 4 months is acceptable.

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      • rebeccalee says:

        My son is in grade 3 and just working at a grade 1 level. A recent meeting with the teachers revealed that since he is not at level with his peers and does not work well on his own, that when the rest of the class is learning a subject he does nothing. NOTHING! why am I sending him to school? How can this be right? I have been told that because he does not have autism or downsyndrom, he will not get any more help then what he is already recieving. Which is obviously not working since he is now not only not progressing in his work but regressing. What I am to do?????

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        • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

          Hi Rebecca. Has an Individual Education Plan (I.E.P.) been developed for your son? This will identify what adaptations he may need to his learning to help him achieve his full potential in school. I suggest you check back with the school to see if an IEP is in place. If it is, you might want to meet with the school to see if it needs to be re-evaluated. If there isn’t an IEP you might want to request that one be developed.

          I hope this helps.

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          • Lisa says:

            An IEP will not be developed until a psych ed evaluation has been performed. If the evaluation is performed by a school district psychologist this can take years to achieve and the report will be framed around what is available in that particular district’s budget. If the child is deemed learning disabled they will receive learning support (typically no EA unless special needs)if they need one on one help in a resource room some districts no longer have them and the parents will have to decide whether they can afford to pay for outside tutoring. In the case of dyslexia, the most recognised method of teaching dyslexics to read is Orton Gillingham. There is no OG help available to dyslexic children in BC schools and so parents like myself have to pay out of pocket for this. IEP’s are typically framed around what is available within the particular district.

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        • Elaine Harrison says:

          Hi Rebecca,
          One of my two sons growing up had a hard time reading and still does at 25 yrs old. I suggest you try to read with him at home as much as possible. In our region we have a peer reading program whereas volunteers will do extra reading with your son. There are many reasons why he has a hard time reading. My advise is to get help in every way possible as soon as possible.
          Good thoughts for you and your son
          Elaine

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          • rebeccalee says:

            Yes is has just been assesed by the district phycologist and has an iep. She scored him high percentil in most areas, except when it comes to his phonic skills and math skills. At this point he cannot at all keep up with his class and even with an iep he cannot get the kind of teaching he needs. Not because he doesnt have a good teacher but because there is only one teacher and many other kids.
            I read to him all the time, he eats very healthy, hes been to a natropath, is very phyically active and leads a balanced life.
            Today they did recommend that tutoring program you mentioned. It is very expensive and the cost would be all on me.
            I feel my son is being lost on the system and there is nothing I can do about it…

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            • rebeccalee says:

              Thankyou all for your posts. They are much appreciated!

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              • Lisa says:

                Hi Rebecca
                Don’t know if it’s helpful or not but my younger son has an OG tutor who is fantastic and she’s $30 an hour (she’s in Surrey). I would be delighted to put you in touch if that would help. I take my youngest to her twice a week. I pick him up at lunch and drive him half an hour each way and pay $60 per week because there is no program available in the district.
                BTW does your son have an EA. I was told by our district my son didn’t qualify for one because he’s coded “Q” but as he couldn’t function in a classroom without one he now has 10 hours per week. Might be worth looking into.

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  23. Carolyn says:

    “The most popular types of changes policymakers offer are structural: class size, revised report cards, block scheduling, or small schools. But remodeling the kitchen does not make food taste better. Structural changes will lead to success only if reform includes building in capacity for standards, strategies, and self.” excerpted from http://www.wholechildeducation.org/blog/five-levers-to-improve-student-learning
    I need a visual to understand the structural changes and the “other” policy changes happening to increase quality of learning and student outcomes.

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    • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      Have you seen our BC’S Education Plan video? This might be a good place to start.

      http://www.bcedplan.ca/bcedplan_video.php

      Your suggestion about a visual is a good one. I’ll connect with our graphics folks to see if we can put something like this together soon.

      Thanks for your comment!

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      • Heather says:

        A good visual might take the form of a logic model (as I mention in my post above). Show people the intended inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes expected from the new BC Education Plan.

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  24. Melanie A says:

    I would like for Ministry staff to get out to the schools and explain the BCEdplan. How is it different?

    Many teachers and staff I’ve spoken to think this is just another initiative that goes by unfunded. Why is it important to us? How can we help?

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    • Moderator Mike Moderator Mike says:

      We go out every chance we can to promote not just the Plan per se but the work that is being done here and across the province to support it. The Plan, remember, is a vision, and that’s just the starting point. What we are really moving towards now is a conversation and a demonstration on what is changing. Curriculum is changing, grad standards are changing, and so much more. A look at our Actions pages will show what is being done to realize the ideas in the Plan:

      http://www.bcedplan.ca/actions/

      As for how you can be involved, there are lots of ways. This site obviously is one of them. Another is to take part in or perhaps host a community engagement conversation of your own around education and the changes you’d like to see. Our EdCafe toolkits are available for this if you like:

      http://engage.bcedplan.ca/tool-kits/

      We also encourage you to talk to the teachers and the administration in your school. They are the ones best positioned to tell you what they are doing to make the education system even better and how you can be involved. And your school’s PAC and the district DPAC are other avenues you may wish to explore.

      Early in the new year we will also be launching a new version of this site. Some of your questions about the Plan and our new direction and work will be clearer then. Hope this helps!

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