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

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