We want you to use our quick and easy email tool (below) to tell BC’s government leaders that it’s time to update the school design policy.
Here’s why: Many communities in BC desperately need new schools—to replace old schools that are seismically unsafe and contain health hazards like asbestos and lead, and to replace portables in communities that are rapidly outgrowing their existing schools. However, communities overjoyed to finally receive funding for a new school are dismayed to find out that the new schools are on average 30% smaller, and they lack important learning spaces.
This is due to the Ministry of Education’s policy (the “Area Standards”) that sets out how schools are to be built in BC and determines the amount of money that will be budgeted for construction of a school. BC’s policy allows for less space per child than other provinces with similar policies. The policy does not allocate space for art rooms, music rooms, adequate hallway space, washrooms, staff rooms, sufficient gymnasium space, and other necessities for successful inclusive learning. Space limits mean there is no allowance for quiet places for children to self-regulate. For more information, read PAN’s detailed description of these and other problems with the Area Standards policy.
The Ministry of Education has responded to concerns about this policy by stating that it plans to review the policy but in the meantime districts have “flexibility” to design schools as long as they stay within budget. This is not satisfactory: How can an art room, music room, quiet space, or auditorium be built if the policy that decides the budget does not allow for it to be included? What other necessary spaces, allowed under the policy, would have to be sacrificed instead?
Please take a moment to use our email tool to write to your MLA, Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside, Premier John Horgan, BC Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond, and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau in support of prioritizing the Ministry’s review of its Area Standards policy and ensuring that review is consultative and addresses the concerns raised. It is important not only to build safe schools; we must build the right schools for student success.
It’s quick and easy: On a device that allows you to send email, just fill in the form below and click “Create Email.” Your email will open; all you have to do is press “Send.” The email will go to the politicians listed above and PAN (so that we can keep count of the emails being sent).
These are the details of the email, if we were unable to open your email client you can copy and paste the message by hand.