Resource info for BCTF Conference, Nov. 13-14, 2009

I’ll be facilitating a workshop on “What do parents want,” at an upcoming  BCTF conference (Public Education: Protecting our children’s future).  I did something similar a few years ago (click here) and will draw upon some of the same resources.  However, several years later I have a few different ideas.

For one thing, as parents themselves mature along with their children’s progress through school, one’s ideas of what is possible shifts.  Along with such life cycle changes our expectations take on different forms and, one hopes, matures.  The frantic hopes and desires of the kindergarten parent becomes replaced by a more sanguine attitude as our children move through the intermediate grades.  A new bout of anxiety emerges with adolescence and the transition to high school.  And then, if we’ve made it through to grade 12 a healthy sigh of relief as they make the transition into adulthood and hopefully get a chance to live the ups and downs of their own choices in life -fore better or worse.

I look forward to seeing this workshop develop and to meet the different people who will become participants as we explore what it is that parents want for their children in our public schools.

Declining Enrolment in the News -Again

West-side Vancouver parents in the news again on enrolment issues.  Over the last two years west-side parents, , Eric Mazi, Julee Kaye, Greg Lawrence (veterans of the Save QEA campaign), have argued hard to keep their small neighbourhood schools.  Part of their campaign has been to argue that the enrolment drop faced by VSB is not ‘real.’  Part of the attack of the enrolment drop has targeted private schools.  That is, Mazi and others have suggested that VSB is being out competed by the private sector and thus losing enrolment.  I have reviewed census data and school enrolment data for the past several years at several points over the past years and the thing is that private school drain thesis doesn’t hold water (for a previous comment click here).

In my February 2007 comment I concluded:

Based upon the BC Ministry of Education data we can infer that private schools in Vancouver have been able to pick up some students from the public system but the growth in the private sector can not be seen to have occurred totally at the expense of the public system.

Furthermore, declining enrolment is not just a local issue, it’s a national one.  Ultimately, the enrolment issue is a political question being fueled, in this instance, by parents who are working hard to ensure that their access to a privileged resource is maintained.

From the Vancouver Courier: ‘Activists’ question school enrolment information

Parents of Vancouver school students say the school district has misrepresented the reason for continuing drops in enrolment.

Enrolment fell by 250 students this year. Conventional wisdom suggests families are fleeing over-priced Vancouver properties for cheaper digs outside the city, but that argument isn’t borne out in statistics, according to Eric Mazzi, who calls that explanation a myth perpetuated by school boards.


Update: Vancouver Sun Reporter, J. Steffenhagen picked up the courier story today. She adds the following comment:

This year’s enrolment has fallen by 250 students. The suggestion that families are leaving Vancouver because of high housing prices isn’t supported by statistics, according to parent Eric Mazzi. He says the school-aged population in the city is climbing while the Vancouver school district enrolments are plummeting.

Without the full data it is hard to comment effectively.  However, one thing that I wold be interested in learning is the reduction in international fee paying students and whether that is any part of the enrolment decline.