Feb 24 - PAN/PENS Public Education Panel (click for a flier)
WHAT'S HAPPENING TO PUBLIC EDUCATION in BC?
To RSVP and reserve child minding
When: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 from 7:00 - 8:30pm
Where: Bayview Elementary - 2251 Collingwood St., Vancouver (in the gym)
Government policies and funding decisions are dismantling the democratic foundations of public education, undermining social equality and increasing pressures to compensate through fundraising and corporate sponsorship. Most recently, the ministry of education is pressuring the VSB to achieve 95 percent capacity in order to secure seismic funding. What does this mean for the future of public education in BC? What can we do to help return public education back to its core communal values?
Come with your questions and concerns and join us for a panel presentation and discussion with the Public Education Network Society (PENS) and the Parent Advocacy Network for Public Education (PAN). Find out how you can make a difference in simple but effective ways.
PENS is an influential advocacy movement that launched the Charter for Public Education and has united stakeholders from across the educational landscape in advocating for public education for over a decade.
PAN is a grassroots collective of parents from across Vancouver schools who share a commitment to public education. Their mission is to connect parents and PACs across the district to support one another in advocacy.
William Bruneau is Professor Emeritus at UBC who writes widely on musical, cultural and political matters. Was an elected VSB Trustee between 1990-1993.
“What's Really Essential in BC Public Education? Coming to Terms with Curriculum, Teaching, and Governance.”
John Malcolmson has been a researcher for CUPE for over 30 years, with a focus on public education and finance, justice issues and social policy analysis.
"Changes in Government Funding Policies: How they undermined both Quality and Equality"
Maggie Milne Martens a parent of 3 children in Vancouver, an art educator and art historian. She is a founding member of the Parent Advocacy Network.
“Administrative efficiencies, low hanging fruit, and other myths: Restoring a vision of quality Public Education for ALL children.”
Moderator: Helesia Luke
Please RSVP for the event!
Childminding is provided (free) but registration is required by Feb 22nd.
(Not a PAN event)
Saturday, April 2
Equitable Access to Education
Keynote: Advocating for the Advocate with Birgitta von Krosigk
February 19, 2016
“We are failing our future.”
Parent Advocacy Network for Public Education and Families Against Cuts to Education Respond to BC Budget 2016
VANCOUVER — To the great disappointment of the Parent Advocacy Network (PAN) and Families Against Cuts to Education (FACE), and to the detriment of our children’s education, the BC government again cut education funding in Budget 2016. A further $25 million in "administrative" cuts will be taken from public education this year. By contrast, private school funding is increasing by $48 million, for a total of $358 million in tax dollars going to private schools.
“Last year’s round of ‘administrative’ cuts saw Boards cutting crucial items like school buses, custodial services, and even Education Assistant hours, so these cuts directly affect our children,” said Jennifer Stewart, parent and co-founder of FACE. “There is nothing left to cut and we are hearing more and more frequently about Boards closing entire schools in order to achieve ‘administrative’ savings.”
The government says that it is committing more funding than ever to education; what the government doesn’t say is that the increase is only enough to cover negotiated wage increases, and does not even match the rate of inflation, let alone cover rising costs. This is an effective hidden cut to the operating budget, in addition to the outright ‘administrative’ cuts.
“The Budget demonstrates that public education and our children are not a priority for government,” said Andrea Sinclair, parent, PAC Chair, and co-founder of PAN. “Prior to BC Budget 2016, we campaigned for the government to listen to the Finance Committee’s recommendations for increased funding for public education. Citizens across BC signed the petition and sent postcards to the government, but they were ignored.”
“It is shocking that the government has money for a ‘Prosperity Fund’ when many vulnerable children come to school hungry and school boards are struggling to provide breakfast and lunch programs,” said parent and PAN co-founder Maggie Milne Martens.
Jennifer Stewart says that FACE and PAN will continue to advocate for adequate public education funding: “Education is a promise we make to our children, an investment in the future of our province, and a societal good that benefits all. When we fail to fund it adequately, we are failing our future.”
About the Parent Advocacy Network
The Parent Advocacy Network for Public Education (PAN), formed in 2015, is a grassroots collective of parents from over 49 schools (and growing) across Vancouver who share a commitment to public education. Our mission is to connect parents across the district to support one another in advocacy. The network enables us to share information, experiences and stand together in protecting public education.
About Families Against Cuts to Education
Parents and citizens who care about public education came together in 2015 to form Families Against Cuts to Education (FACE). We believe public education needs to be a priority again, that public education is more important than politics, that a strong public education system benefits us all, and that all children must be able to benefit from high quality public education.
Media Contacts For PAN - Andrea Sinclair, 604-240-9834, firstname.lastname@example.org
For FACE - Jennifer Stewart, 604-790-9929, email@example.com
© 2016 Parent Advocacy Network for Public Education. All rights reserved.
Helpful documents can be found here. More may be added in the near future.
VSB2021 Strategic Plan and Public Consultations
As you are aware, the VSB is seeking feedback from parents, staff and students on the creation of a new Strategic Plan (this is different to the Long Range Facilities Plan and the input being sought for that).
Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, its important we as parents provide input and have our voices heard! The strategic plan will have real implications for funding decisions around programming, staffing and resource distribution across the district.
This is a great opportunity for parents/guardians, teachers, stakeholders - everyone - to give their feedback! We need to capitalize on this chance and encourage everyone in our networks to fill in the survey, candidly and thoughtfully.
What is the Strategic Plan?
The Strategic Plan is a blueprint that sets the educational priorities of the Board for the next five years. To review the last Strategic Plan (2011-2016) go to http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/publication-files/VSB_StrategicPlanandgoalsJan302012.pdf
The Strategic Plan is based on the following questions:
How should I get involved?
1. Fill in the survey - http://fluidsurveys.com/s/VSB2021/ - Deadline is Feb 21
The VSB has released a 3 question survey for parents/guardians to complete and allows for open comments - http://fluidsurveys.com/s/VSB2021/
The deadline for the online survey is Feb 21 and it is important that as many parents as possible participate.
The strategic plan will have real implications for funding decisions around programming, staffing and resource distribution across the district.
2. Attend the Ideas Fair on Thurs Feb 18 at Prince of Wales Secondary, from 4-7pm
This will be an open public forum, drop-in style.
3. Attend the Open House on Thur Apr 21 at Sir Charles Tupper Secondary, from 4-7pm
This will be an open public forum, drop-in style.
Issues to consider that relate to our PAN mandate for high quality, accessible and equitable public education for all children are noted below - these may assist you in answering the survey.
-Choice schools are not accessible to all and can undermine diversity in neighbourhood schools. Neighbourhood schools are the key to community strength. The Board should prioritize and advocate for their preservation. Surplus capacity should be addressed through rightsizing and/or partially repurposing spaces.
-All schools should provide ongoing supported curricular elementary education in Visual Arts, Music and drama, and have access to a library staffed by a teacher librarian.
-Resources (learning materials, musical instruments, sports and science equipment) must be equal across schools, not dependent on the fundraising ability of individual PACs and communities.
-Expand food programs to children at risk and continue to advocate with the ministry for more poverty reduction funding.
-Children with special needs should be provided with intervention programs, workers and teachers trained to build the specific skills and independence they require to succeed and integrate.
-The new curriculum’s emphasis on personalized and hands on learning, collaboration, creative problem solving and technology must be supported with funding for sufficient training, staffing, and appropriate spatial requirements necessary for its implementation.
-The advancement of technology in schools must be balanced by careful consideration of child health, child privacy and the cost of equipment/infrastructure. It should not come at the expense of relational building between teachers and between students.
-All schools and not just new schools with Neighbourhood Learning Centres should have adequate space for arts, recreation and services that would serve the unique needs of each community
How can I get information updates going forward?
PAN will continue to send updates via email and through our website, but you can also sign up for VSB email updates - http://eepurl.com/bOeJV9 or follow them on Twitter @VSB2021
They have also posted an informative animation video: https://youtu.be/p1tWow4vKUQ
PAN updates and news, partner events, and other timely information relating to public school advocacy in and around Vancouver, BC.