Is Our Education System Headed for Success or Failure?

Review the Vancouver Sun’s Education Blog The Report Card for today’s forum of the future of education in British Columbia.

The forum is free: register here.

Guest speakers: 


Teachers were planning to distribute leaflets outside B.C. public schools Monday morning at the start of what is likely to be a three-day strike.

Because picketing is not legally permitted in this job action, schools were expected to remain open, with principals, vice-principals and support staff on the job. But almost all districts have cancelled bus services and are urging parents to make other arrangements for their children rather than sending them to school.

“It is not possible for school administrators … to provide appropriate supervision for more than 70,000 students,” Surrey, the province’s largest school district, says in a statement on its website. “Even if just a fraction of the total number of students were to attend, their safety and well-being may be seriously compromised.”

StrongStart Centres and child care programs on school property around the province are not expected to be affected.

The 41,000-member B.C. Teachers’ Federation is striking to show frustration over a lack of progress during year-long bargaining and its opposition to Bill 22, which the government introduced last week to force an end to the dispute and the limited teacher job action that began in September.

“We are simply fed up,” union president Susan Lambert said over the weekend, while apologizing to parents for the inconvenience.

Read full article here.

By JANET STEFFENHAGEN, Vancouver Sun March 4, 2012

Read more education news in The Vancouver Sun’s Report Card

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER – B.C.’s teachers will strike Monday, B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Susan Lambert says.

Lambert said Thursday morning the province’s 41,000 teachers “will withdraw their services” for three days, beginning Monday.

“We have a legal right strike for three days,” Lambert told reporters gathered at BCTF offices in Vancouver. “That’s our intention.”

If the provincial government’s legislation is enacted before Wednesday, Lambert said the union will consult its members about the next step.

Lambert said she recognizes the problems the walkout will cause parents.

“We understand that this will cause you concern,” she said, stressing the walkout is necessary to stand up to government bullying.

Read The Vancouver Sun complete article here.

By Evan Duggan with Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun March 1, 2012 10:44 AM

With a file from Andrea Woo

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Creating a National Reading Strategy for Canada:  About the National Reading Campaign

The National Reading Campaign is about creating a reading strategy for Canada. It is about engaging Canadians in exploring what a Canadian reading plan would look like, and what we would expect the key outcomes to be. In short, it is a campaign to incorporate and promote reading as a central feature of 21st century Canadian citizenship.

The National Reading Campaign had its beginnings in 2008, when a coalition of readers, parents, writers, editors, librarians, bookstore owners, teachers, publishers and distributors came together to assess and consider the changing reading habits of Canadians. Learn more about the Reading Coalition here.

The first forum, held in 2008, proposed that a National Reading Campaign be developed over the course of three Reading Summits. The first Summit was held in Toronto in 2009, the second was held in Montreal in 2011 and the third will take place in May 2012 in Vancouver.

Why do we need a National Reading Campaign?

Becoming a reader is at the very heart of responsible citizenship. But as we find ourselves caught in the fierce updrafts of an information hurricane, we often lose sight of what reading — as an intellectual activity — contributes to our sense of self, our cultural awareness, our capacity for self-expression and, ultimately, our notions of engaged citizenship and the collective good. Reading, after all, is about so much more than a technical act that allows us to communicate, consume media and perform the activities of daily life. To be literate is necessary, but it is not enough.

Read more about the Summit here.

~information and links from the National Reading Campaign website

The National Film Board’s Education Team is facilitating a workshop that demonstrates how to use in an educational setting. They are currently touring their BETA (a testing prototype) online content offer. Educators will be granted preview access to our BETA site, in order to begin using the benefits and tools of our online content offer in their own classrooms. These workshops will highlight new films, functions, resources for educators, thematic learning modules and hands-on activities that are customized to the meet the needs of students of all ages and abilities.

National Film Board in Your Classroom Workshop Info here

Please join us on Monday, 23 January from 10:00-11:15 am in Room 155 at the Education Library.

The Huffington Post

Posted: 1/17/12 10:57 AM ET

Some of the Internet’s leading websites, including Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, WordPress, and BoingBoing, will go dark tomorrow to protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). The U.S. bills have generated massive public protest over proposed provisions that could cause enormous harm to the Internet and freedom of speech. My blog will join the protest by going dark tomorrow. While there is little that Canadians can do to influence U.S. legislation, there are many reasons why I think it is important for Canadians to participate.

Read full article here.

by Michael Geist

The Vancouver Sun

January 16, 2012. 5:47 pm • Section: Report CardSTAFF

The B.C. government has appointed Dianne Flood as acting commissioner for teacher regulation until a permanent commissioner can be found.

Flood will handle reports about teacher conduct and competence and will decide whether to order investigations.

The Education Ministry announced the appointment Monday, saying Flood has extensive experience in administrative law. She was an executive director in the Attorney General’s Ministry and a former chair of the Property Assessment Appeal Board. She has also served as an assistant deputy minister with the Manitoba government and vice-chairwoman of Manitoba’s Municipal Board.

The commissioner will play a key role in the new teacher regulation branch, which replaced the B.C. College of Teachers this month. It’s responsible for regulating 67,000 B.C. educators who work in public, independent and First Nations schools.

While on the topic of appointments, I need to correct an earlier post that said Theo Vandeweg is B.C.’s  new independent schools inspector. In fact, he has been acting inspector since the unexplained departure of Ed Vanderboom. The competition for the full-time position closed Dec. 20, and the ministry said it’s received applications from a number of very qualified people.

Including one from Vandeweg, my sources say.

By Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Vancouver Sun January 11, 2012

Provincewide tests of reading, writing and math will proceed as planned in B.C. elementary schools next week, with principals and vice-principals reluctantly taking on the work that’s usually performed by teachers.

The B.C. Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association asked government to cancel this year’s Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA), which is administered annually in Grades 4 and 7, so as not to increase the workload for administrators who are already exhausted from the effects of the teachers’ job action, president Jameel Aziz said. But the ministry insisted the tests must go ahead.

As part of their job action, which began in September, teachers are refusing to write report cards, attend staff meetings, supervise students outside of instructional hours, complete paperwork, communicate with administrators or administer provincial tests.

That means principals, vice-principals and other excluded staff will also be responsible for delivering and marking provincial exams in Grades 10, 11 and 12, despite the fact they may not have the necessary expertise in the subject being tested, Aziz said.

Read full article here.

By Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

5:00 PM 01/10/2012

DELTA – A feast was held today to celebrate the signing of a second Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement (AEEA) for Delta, with partners committing to support Aboriginal student success and bring a greater awareness of Aboriginal culture and history to all students.

Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements are a commitment by school districts, local Aboriginal communities and the Ministry of Education to work together to support Aboriginal students. Delta’s first agreement was signed in 2005, and the initiative has proven to be successful. Over the past ten years, six-year completion rates have risen for Aboriginal students in the district from 37 to 60 per cent.

With the new AEEA, the commitment to Aboriginal students is being enhanced. During the past year, community members, students, parents and educators came together to develop this second AEEA for Delta. The new AEEA is based on information learned from the first agreement and answers to the question, “What would success look like for our students?”

Read full article here.

Province of British Columbia Newsroom: BC’s Online News Source

The Vancouver Sun  January 11, 2012. 2:59 pm • Section: Report Card

A second public forum on child poverty will be held in Vancouver this month to discuss B.C.’s dismal performance on this front.

It’s a continuation of a discussion sparked in September by Seymour teacher Carrie Gelson when she wrote an open letter to the people of Vancouver on behalf of her disadvantaged students.

The forum will be held Jan. 25, 7-9:30 p.m. at Langara College. Panelists include Gelson, Clyde Hertzman of the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC and Dr. Barbara Fitzgerald, a UBC pediatrician, among others.

Find full details here.

Fitzgerald is behind a movement called Mom-to-Mom, which sees professional women, mainly from the UBC area, helping mothers living in poverty. Read about that here.

By Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun

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