School-based management and School Planning Councils: the end of school boards???

Download Emery Dosdall’s power point presentation on school-based managment

Story breaks in Prince Rupert.
Privatized schools may be in the cards

By James Vassallo
The Daily News (Prince Rupert)
Thursday, February 23, 2006

According to documents obtained by The Daily News, the province is pushing ahead with a plan that would all but eliminate school boards, force schools to be run more like individual corporations and hire more business-minded administrators to run them, rather than promote teachers to the post.

“This program would put all of the power of budgeting within the hands of principals and school planning councils, whereas now all that goes through an elected school board,” said Marty Bowles, Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union President (PRDTU). “(Administrators will be) number-crunchers, not necessarily a person interested in the social issues of a school.”… To find out how to subscribe to the Daily News (we can mail the paper anywhere), please give us a call at (250) 624-6785 or call toll free 1-800-343-0022. Original Source

See also, previous entry on School Planning Councils.Province looks at more local control of schools
Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, February 24, 2006

The B.C. government is considering a plan to give principals and parents more control over public schools and a greater say over how education dollars are spent locally, Education Minister Shirley Bond confirmed Thursday.

She described the plan as “school-based leadership” and stressed that participation is voluntary for now. Some schools have already expressed interest in being part of the experiment, she added.

But Bond said her government has no intention of eliminating school boards.

The minister was responding to a story in the Prince Rupert Daily News on Thursday that said the province was pushing ahead with a plan that would all but eliminate school boards and force schools to be run more like individual corporations.

“At this point, there is no plan to eliminate public school boards,” she said in an interview with The Vancouver Sun.

“We’re going to have a discussion over the next number of months as we visit schools and school districts to talk about what the system should look like in the future.”

She was referring to a promise in the throne speech that she and Premier Gordon Campbell would visit every school district in B.C. to talk to educators, parents and students about how the system can be improved.

Bond said she wants to build on school planning councils that were introduced by the Liberal government to give parents a greater voice in their schools. The councils, which include the school principal, teachers and parents elected by the parent advisory council, meet regularly to discuss student achievement.

“This is just a concept that builds on the school planning council,” Bond said, adding the councils have been highly successful in many districts. “We’re saying how do we work together to coordinate and collaborate and bring parents and school staff and school planning councils into the decision-making mix together. We want to talk about
that collaboration and that’s the kind of leadership we’re talking about at schools.”

Two school districts — Prince George and Rocky Mountain — are already looking at how they can give more flexibility and decision- making to local schools, Bond said.

Parents want a role in their children’s education, she said. “I can tell you as a parent who went through the system, I didn’t feel like that on a lot of occasions. What we’re saying is they need to be meaningful partners in this discussion.”

She said she was disappointed to hear the plan characterized as a plot to dismantle school boards.

“That’s not in the mix at all. What is in the mix is how do we actually work more efficiently at the school level together.”

Tom Hierck, president of the B.C. Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association, said school-based leadership would allow schools to respond to the needs of their local communities rather than simply following directions from the ministry and the local school board. That would be a change from the “one-size-fits-all model,” he said.
“Experience shows we rarely get it right when we do it that way.”

Kim Howland, president of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, said parents will want to be assured t the change does not result in inequities in the system. But over all, she said the confederation, which speaks for parents on provincial education issues, believes the best decisions about schools are made by the
individual school community.

© The Vancouver Sun 2006

BC Budget 2006 claims to focus on children, but does it actualy fund their needs?

BC’s provincial government brought down their budget today in the legislature. Finance Minister Carole Taylor lauded her budget as balanced and primarily for children. The question remains: will it actually fund their needs?

An initial overview of the budget materials and commentaries shows indicates that, in terms of education spedning, we are only approaching 2001 funding levels. However, this does not take into account increased costs due to inflation or government mandated increases to salaries and MSP since 2001. BCTF Press Release
VANCOUVER, Feb. 21 /CNW/ – The 2006 provincial budget doesn’t address any of the critical issues that teachers fought to bring to the top of the political agenda through their strike last fall.

“Teachers took tremendous risks and showed great courage in standing up for students’ learning conditions. Unfortunately, this budget suggests that the government learned nothing from our job action,” said BCTF President Jinny
Sims. Continue reading BCTF Press release here

David Shreck on Politics in BC
The Campbell government’s news release promoted the February 2006 budget with the headline “Budget 2006 Concentrates on B.C.’s Children”. Some say it could be called Sherry’s budget, in honour of Sherry Charlie, but she isn’t the only child whose name is associated with the Campbell cuts. An alternative is to call it “Ted’s Budget” in anticipation of the report that will be released by Ted Hughes on April 7th. The budget tried to support the claim that it concentrates on children by saying that an additional $421 million would be available to help vulnerable children and their caregivers; the fine print noted that the $421 million is over four years. If that makes budget 2006 the “Children’s Budget” then consider what the September 2005 mini-budget should have been labeled; that’s when Finance Minister Carole Taylor announced $143 million per year, $569 million over four years, in corporate tax cuts even though not a single word was said about that tax gift during the May 2005 election campaign. When the Campbell government had a choice it put corporate tax cuts a year ahead of restoring cuts to child protection, and it gave 35% more to corporations than to child protection. Continue reading Shreck’s commentary.

CBC news coverage
The B.C. government says child protection is its priority in this year’s budget, and has announced plans to increase spending on a host of programs for children at risk and families.
Full CBC coverage here.

CTV news coverage
VICTORIA — British Columbia’s “little ones” were the focus of a budget Tuesday that was dominated by spending on children but which also provided tax relief for homeowners and more money to train workers as the province faces a shortage of skilled labour. Download full story.

Globe and Mail news coverage

VICTORIA — Fuelled by a strong economy and with the 2010 Olympic Games in mind, the British Columbia government yesterday brought in a “quiet,” balanced budget that offered modest tax relief and sought contract peace with public-sector workers.Download full story.

BC Government Materials
Every new budget is an opportunity for British Columbia to take another step forward. Last year’s budget focused on seniors. This year, the budget concentrates on improving services that support, nurture, educate and protect B.C. children. BC Government Budget Highlights here.

Update on UBC Roundtable on the October Teachers’ Strike

parents.jpg On November 9th, 2005 UBC faculty members, parent organization representatives, teachers, and community leaders met to discuss the significance of BC’s longest lasting province-wide teachers strike. Presentations from Catherine Evans (BCSPE), Jinny Sims (Pres. BCTF), Paul Orlowski (Van. Teacher), Kevin Milsep (former VSB trustee), and UBC faculty members Charles Menzies, Stephen Petrina, and E. Wayne Ross discussed a range of issues related to the strike.

Quicktime video footage of this event is now available for viewing and downloading – see “Teachers’ Strike Forum Videos” in sidebar.

Every Kid Counts: BCTF Sponsored Education partners Conference


Over 300 parents, teachers, support workers, MLAs, Trustees, and community members met in Richomnd BC this past Friday and Saturday (Feb. 10-11, 20065) to discus the issue of class size and composition in our public education system. Parent reps from a wide range of PACs, DPACS, and also the BCCPAC joined in workshops and plenury discussions that explored the peer reviewed academic research that sheds light on the question of whether class size matters.

Webcasts of keynote addresses.
The opening plenary session on Friday featured a research presentation by UBC Education faculty member Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl and a personal refelction of a vetern teacher, Kate Noakes, from Fernie Secondary.

Dr. Schonert-Reichel drew upon her own research and that of colleagues through North America to make the case that smaller class sizes (less than 25 or 20 depending upon grade level) is a critical factor in creating positive learning outcomes for children in the K-12 system. The important question, according to Dr. Schonert-Reichel, is why? What is it about smaller class sizes that leads to better learning outcomes?

Drawing upon her research at hasting Elementary in Vancouver Dr. Schonert-Reichel has found that it is the relationships between students and significant adults in the school that is the special ingredient. And, by a significant majority these are caring relationships between teachers and students. The smaller the class size the more caring the teacher-student relations and the better the learning outcomes. Larger class sizes lead to a distancing of teacher from student as the teachers attempt to meet the core learning goals as prescribed by standardized tests and the stress of doing more and more with less and less. It is in this context that the composition of a class –i.e. the racial, linguistic, learning, and health needs of the students- come into play. In crease diversity of the students, increase the class size, and the learning outcomes plummet like a lead balloon.

Kate Noakes, a vetern BC teacher gave us the personal experiential view as a teacher in the public system. In a moving and sincere presentation in which the speaker seemed to be on the verge of tears, Ms Noakes outline the progression of teaching and the face and shape of her classes since she started teaching over twenty years ago. Taken together, the ‘objective’ presentation of the researcher and the moving testimonial of the teacher left no doubt in the audience’s mind that this would be a memberable event.

Overall the conference provided a useful opportunity to meet with parents, teachers, and other community members from across the province. It was refreshing to have an opportunity to actually engage in discussion and to hear a real diversity of opinion being expressed in a constructive and positive fashion. At the end of the conference I was left with a feeling of optimism that parents and teachers share an important concern and have the combined capacity to make a real difference for our children.

School Budget Season Opens with Projected Deficits and Cutting

Vancouver School District faces yet another potential deficit budget for the 2006-2007 school year. VSB district management projects a budget shortfall of between $3.22 and $10+ million in their presentation before the VSB’s standing committee on finances (Committee V). VSB Budget documents:
1. 2005/2006 Holdback Funds
2. 2005/2006 Amended Annual Operating Budget
3. Proposed 2006/2007 Budget Process/Timeline
4. Preliminary Projection 2006/2007 Base Budget

In every year the provincial treasury holds back a percentage of the total district budget. VSB has received its 2005-2006 hold back funds with an additional sum of $540,000. Due to the projected budget deficit for next year VSB senior management recommends not spending the money on children now. They would rather put the money aside to cover upcoming 2006/2007 costs. The projected budget deficit could have very serious impacts of students in the VSB next year. It remains to be seen how the new center-right NPA school board will respond. The previous center-left COPE board managed cuts and services withdraws over the previous three years by focusing all available funds to the front lines and directing service cuts to non-enrolling areas of the district budget.

The budget deficit figures are ‘worst case projections’ and assume that there won’t be another $1.99 million in 2006/2007 (the VSB hasn’t received written assurance yet from Shirley Bond, but all the other roundtable stakeholders have. If the $1.99 is funded for next year that would mean that the underfunding could be as low as $1.23 million).

The big column is “Potential Costs of Outstanding Issues” (ranging from $3.7 – $7.5 million!) These costs are mostly pension and benefits, and could be nailed down much more precisely (and should be before decisions are made). For example, estimates to harmonize salary grids vary from $2 to $4 million, which is not acceptable for effective planning.

The final numbers come down from on March 10, 2006. So until then we’re speculating. The majority of the board decided they will refer the issue of spending holdback funds to the next board meeting. Some of the NPA trustees were recommending that we wait until March 10th to decide whether to spend the holdback funds – which leaves it pretty late in the year for hiring supervision aides and other people that contribute to the learning environment of our children. Other NPA trustees thought we should just put the money in the bank for next year. The COPE trustees thought we should spend the money budgeted for this fiscal year in this fiscal year.

The first public budget hearing is Thursday March 9th at 7 pm (a day before we actually know how much we have to spend?!). The second set of public hearings is Monday April 10th and April 11th (if needed) at 7 pm. Stakeholder meetings will be conducted separately from parent consultation, which means we won’t get to hear each other’s concerns and perspectives.

Here’s what was budgeted in the holdback funds

$90,000 Secondary Enrollment Teacher Support
$216,000 Student Support Workers
$56,000 Supervision Aides
$190,000 Student Information System – Hardware

Prepared from report by Claudia Ferris (Van DPAC)

Online Petition to Keep BC’s Provincial School Completion Certificate!

Further to my (Dawn Steele’s) earlier note about the Ministry’s plans to stop issuing school completion certificates for students with special needs who meet their Individual Education Plan goals, an online petition has now been set up by Web-savvy mom Tamara Hurtado at:

Please take a moment to sign the petition and pass this along, urging relatives, friends and ordinary citizens to help us reverse the Ministry’s decision.

The attached position paper addresses a serious concern re the Ministry of Education’s new policy re graduation of students with special needs. Since the paper is rather long, the essense of the issue is summarized below:

Former Policy:
Students who successfully complete all of their graduation requirements receive a certificate (known as the Dogwood) from the Ministry of Education. For students whose curriculum is modified, and who complete all of the goals outlined in their Individual Education Plan, the Ministry issues a school completion certificate.

New Policy:
The Dogwood certificate will continue to be issued by the Ministry of Education for those students who successfully complete the graduation requirements. However, the Ministry will no longer issue a school completion certificate for those who follow modified curriculum and successfully complete all of the goals in their IEPs. Instead, the Ministry is leaving up to the districts to decide if they will issue a school completion certificate locally.

The Issue:
The message sent is that some kids’ efforts count and are “worthy” of recognition by the Ministry and others are not. The Ministry claims, in its policy documents, to “value the contributions of all students.” This policy change devalues those students efforts. The new policy also seems to fly in the face of the Ministry’s policies on inclusion by excluding these students from their credentialing process and leaving up to districts to decide if it is worth the paper to photo copy a certificate.

A further concern is the loss of accountability for these students, since the Ministry will no longer require that districts submit data regarding the graduation of such students to the Ministry.

Thanks to Cathie Camley of LDA – BC Tri Cities for bringing this to our attention. I urge parents, PACs, DPACs and other organizations that are offended by this mean-spirited attack on students with special needs to make their views known to the Ministry, MLAs and local media.

Dawn Steele

Download position paper

Education and the BC Government’s Throne Speech

Iona Campagnolo, BC’s Lieutenant Governor, opened the provincial legislature today (Febraury 14, 2006) with a speech that places a heavy emphasis upon edcuation. The speech builds upon the neo-Liberal provincial government’s four and one half years of radical transformation with promises of continued change. In language evocative of early 20th century political experiments and great leaps forward, the Lietenant Governor promised that: “British Columbia’s great transformation has just begun.”Edcuation segment of the throne speech (full text here)
Download in pdf format

Harnessing the Power of New Knowledge and Creativity

The transformational force of knowledge and technology is reinventing our world. The new world is a truly global economy, driven by information, ideas, and discoveries.

It is a creative economy, where art and culture are the building blocks of innovation, invention, and understanding. Your government wants to unleash the talent, creativity, and skills of all who live here.

Education is the key to that endeavour.

Over the coming months, the Premier and Education Minister will visit every school district in B.C. They will meet with educators, parents, and students to seek their ideas for positive change in education.

Your government wants to hear from teachers in their staffrooms and from students in their classrooms. It ran on a pledge to communicate directly with all teachers in B.C. – and it will act to make that possible. It wants to listen and learn at the community level, at the new Learning Roundtable, and at a first-ever Teachers’ Congress, to be held later this year.

Although the education budget will go up again this year, we must ask ourselves how we can use that funding to best serve students.

The information your government has recently collected and published on class sizes gives us new data for discussion. It points to the need for legislative changes that will ensure all school districts live within the current class size limits established in law.

If there are variations that make sense for students, parents should have a say in those decisions. While superintendents should be required to approve those decisions, school boards must ultimately be accountable.

The issue of class composition is even more challenging and demands a rational discussion. What more can we do to help all students in every classroom?

How can we better help those with special needs, in public schools and independent schools alike?

Are there ways to better maximize the benefit of our capital investments in education?

What more can we do to ensure greater accountability to taxpayers? What is the appropriate mix of local autonomy and flexibility in decision-making?

How might we modernize our curriculum to ensure it offers relevant instruction for the modern world? What changes might be made to give our students a better understanding of our province’s rich, colourful history and a fuller appreciation of our Aboriginal heritage and culture?

What new content should be taught about the importance of forestry, mining, energy, agriculture, and sustainable stewardship to our communities and our economy?

How can we foster a culture of excellence in teaching and learning that builds upon individual strengths and celebrates achievement?

All of these questions oblige us to open our minds to new possibilities for improving public education. We will not succeed in providing our children the best education if we fail to ask the critical questions and refuse to consider changes that will make our education system the best it can be.

We must aspire to make public education more relevant to students’ needs and more accountable at every level. We must aspire to excellence in teaching and learning, through greater choice and flexibility, and new opportunities for parental involvement.

This is your government’s vision for education and literacy.

It is an agenda of transformative change that looks at the new world through new eyes, with new intent to act.

The Internet offers incredible potential in that regard. This year, your government will initiate a new “virtual” school to provide B.C. students a new option for learning that is accessible from their local schools and within their homes.

Supported by Network BC, it will offer a full range of courses that will especially benefit students in rural communities. It will enable students to construct high quality programs of instruction that are more relevant to their individual interests and that are open for learning at any time, at any pace, and from any place.

The virtual school will also provide free, on-line tutoring to help secondary school students successfully complete their studies. That tutoring service will be extended to earlier grades in coming years. Several jurisdictions have successfully developed cyber schools and British Columbia will not allow our students to be left behind.

All British Columbians will have equal opportunity to benefit from the knowledge economy.

In 2006, your government will fulfill its commitment to bridge the digital divide by bringing high-speed Internet access to 366 communities across B.C. that previously lacked broadband access. New steps will be taken to extend that access to First Nations communities, working in partnership with the federal government.

Your government will continue to encourage the full participation of parents in their children’s education. Parents will be critical drivers as we transform education services across our province to meet the needs of their children.

This year, a new province-wide Parents’ Education Network will be launched to provide parents with up-to-date information on programs and research that can help their children excel in school. The Parents’ Education Network will help parents answer questions and engage in discussions about the challenges, opportunities, and possible solutions they see in education.

Parents want greater access to information in education. Your government committed to publish annual reports for all public schools on the key statistics relating to class size, class composition, and teacher hirings, terminations, disciplinary actions, and professional development. That commitment will be fully realized this year.

It will also act on its pledge to establish a teacher employment registry that is administered by the College of Teachers, to publicly report the names of teachers disciplined for misconduct involving emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.

New investments will be made to give all British Columbians new options and better access to higher learning. Your government is creating 25,000 new post-secondary spaces – the largest expansion in advanced education in 40 years.

Additional steps will be taken to allow new transferability of credits for students attending accredited private post-secondary institutes.

All of these measures will help British Columbians gain the education and skills they need to successfully compete in the new knowledge economy.

We will need more skilled workers in energy, construction and related trades, forestry, mining, agriculture, engineering, and technology. Filling all of those jobs requires us to expand training for British Columbians and to compete for more foreign-trained workers.

There is no place for parochialism or provincialism in the new world. Your government will work with other provinces and the federal government on a national action plan for skills development.

It will act this year to further expand the provincial nominee program. It will act to expedite the flow and credentialing of foreign-trained workers who are needed now to meet domestic demands.

The Industry Training Authority will expand its programs in trades training and apprenticeships. New initiatives will be launched to encourage employers to renew their efforts and investments in skills training.

The new global economy is ultimately driven not just by mastering what we have learned, but by the pursuit of new knowledge. As such, more will be invested this year in new research aimed at leading discoveries and commercializing their potential.

Your government will work with B.C.’s technology industry to pursue its vision for a comprehensive technology strategy. The BC Hub strategy will transform our approach to technology research, commercialization, and capital expansion, with new efforts to integrate science, technology, and knowledge into our resource industries, agriculture industry, and manufacturing economy.

British Columbia is becoming world-renowned in life sciences and biotechnology. We led the world in fighting SARS and continue to lead in genome research. Both are critical tools as we prepare for the next global pandemic.

Genome British Columbia is producing ground-breaking discoveries that will benefit our natural resource industries, our environment, our agricultural industry, and the future health of our population.

Major new research investments will be made this year to support the work of Genome BC and to accelerate discovery in spinal cord research through the Rick Hansen Man in Motion Foundation.

Your government will work with the Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon Division, to establish a research chair in primary prevention of cancer.

A new B.C. Foundation for Natural Resources and Engineering Research will also be launched this year. It will support advanced training, research and development, technology transfer, and commercialization in natural resources, engineering, and applied sciences.

This will help keep our resource sector competitive and sustainable in the face of challenges like the mountain pine beetle, while growing new sectors and fueling economic growth.

Alternative energy will form an integral part of your government’s expanded energy vision. It is a critical part of your government’s goal to improve air and water quality, and fisheries management.

That goal also obliges us to set new goals in conservation. The updated energy vision will include new conservation targets to help make British Columbia electricity self-sufficient within the decade ahead.

Your government will also provide the financial thrust to create a leading edge new digital media centre at Great Northern Way, through a collaborative partnership of UBC, SFU, BCIT, the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, and the private sector.

This will confirm B.C.’s global reputation as a leader in digital media and will further stimulate opportunities for growth in digital entertainment.

The promise and peril of high-stakes accountability

by Sandra Mathison and E. Wayne Ross
Original Source: BCTF Teacher Newsmagazine.

“Educators today are besieged by a movement that demands higher and higher scores on standardized tests. Anyone who has looked carefully at these tests knows that they are loaded with trivia—questions that most successful adults cannot answer and would indeed scorn to answer. Our children are being fed intellectual junk food, and we would do well to insist on a healthier educational diet.
– Nel Noddings, “War, Critical Thinking, and Self Understanding,” Phi Delta Kappan, March 2004.

The high-stakes-accountability road has been taken in many countries, especially the USA. Changes are occurring that suggest Canada is headed down the same road (for example, the Fraser Institute report card on schools, the Ontario School Secondary Literacy Test as a graduation requirement, provincial tests of reading, writing, and math at the elementary and secondary levels, and a media that implicitly supports high-stakes accountability). While there is great promise offered by the rhetoric of high-stakes accountability there is also great peril. We should take advantage of what is known about the false promise and the unanticipated perils of high-stakes accountability, and map an alternative route.

What is high-stakes accountability? It is most often manifest in systems of accountability called bureaucratic-outcomes-based accountability. These are systems in which students, teachers, and/or administrators are accountable to a central government authority for demonstrating success on a small set of common indicators of student performance. And there are tangible consequences at the individual and school level for failure.The promises of high-stakes accountability

There are a number of promises and assumptions that are part of the rhetoric of high-stakes accountability:

* Teachers will teach all children and have uniformly high expectations.
* Outcome measures will motivate teachers to teach well and students to learn well.
* Achievement differences based on race, ethnicity, gender, and first language will be eliminated.
* Students not well served by public schools will be.
* School credentials will be more meaningful.
* Meaningful schooling outcomes (at the individual and organizational levels) can be captured by annually administered census standardized tests.
* High school graduates will meet workplace expectations.
* National and international market competitiveness will be enhanced.
* Measurement techniques and technology are up to the task.

This last point is important because faith in educational measurement assumes that single standardized tests are valid for the purpose, that the important outcomes of schooling can be captured with a standardized test, and that the scoring and reporting of scores are trustworthy.

The perils of high-stakes accountability

The perils of high-stakes accountability, in large part, stem from the underlying assumptions of the promise of high-stakes accountability.

* Treating everyone the same all the time does not constitute fairness.
* External motivation (based largely on punishment) is not the only, or the best way, to get people to change, and in fact diminishes a love of learning.
* Consequences, rewards, and sanctions have unanticipated and undesired impact—like defining the curriculum as that which is tested, increasing drop-out rates, increasing the number of kids in special education.
* The professionalism of teachers is diminished because it is assumed they cannot be trusted to do the right thing or a good job.
* Uniform and single measures of learning are just bad evaluation practice.
* Annually administered standardized tests capture only a fraction of academic expectations (the curriculum cannot be covered in a one-shot test).
* Annually administered standardized tests capture nothing about other important schooling outcomes (citizenship, social development, work habits, antiviolence).
* When social indicators are used for important decision-making there is a high likelihood the indicators and the uses of those indicators will be corrupted.

Authentic accountability: An alternative

There is an alternative to high-stakes accountability—authentic accountability—a more locally based although still public system of accountability where schools are accountable to parents and the public for how well a school is educating its students and about the quality of the social and learning environment through the use of authentic and multiple indicators.

There are four basic principles of authentic accountability:

1. Improvement. Use of a wider range of strategies to improve the quality of schools and learning, such as professional development.
2. Equity. Closing the race, ethnicity, and class achievement gaps and overcoming the consequences of poverty and racism, through the provision of health and social welfare care as well as academic care.
3. Democracy. Control over and responsibility for schools must be grounded in sound principles of participatory democracy, such as informed involvement of local stakeholders.
4. Informing the public. Providing accurate information about the functioning, successes, and problems of public education, such as information about libraries, health care, availability of enough and current textbooks, clean and equipped bathrooms, and so on.

Authentic accountability is characterized by:

* local authentic assessments.
* school quality review model.
* low-stakes standardized testing in literacy and numeracy.
* annual local reporting by schools to their communities.
* consequences at the school level, not the child or teacher level, for failure.

The rhetoric of outcomes-based accountability is appealing—who wouldn’t want all kids to succeed and high-school graduation to be meaningful? It is imperative that teachers, school administrators, trustees, parents, and students work together to champion authentic accountability, an accountability based on shared democratic responsibility and not on simplistic signs like test scores.

Sandra Mathison and Wayne Ross are professors in the Faculty of Education at UBC.

Public Education Research Projects

In 2002 and 2003 graduate students enrolled in my anthropology methods course conducted a series of research projects on public education. At the core of these projects was a concern with the impact of changes in legislation and funding on the K-12 public education system in the lowermainland, specifically Vancouver. These five reports document a range of situations from the nature of media coverage of education issues through to the impact on inner city schools of the withdrawal of funding that has beset public schools since 2001.

Project Reports from 2003
EXTRA! EXTRA! Public Education Chokes on Cup of Campbell’s Soup (media representation of education). Download file
Keeping it Together: Challenges for Inner City Education in Vancouver. Download file

Project Reports from 2002
Clark and Campbell Sitting in a Tree, C-U-T-T-I-N-G. Download file
Effects of the Wrecking Crew: Maintaining the House of Education in Vancouver’s Inner-City. Download file
Cents and Sensibility: The State of Special Education in Vancouver. Download file