New Home for SOS email discussion list

SOS was founded in April 2002 as a response to news that provincial education policies would require budget cuts totaling $25 million for Vancouver schools. PAC parents met in a Vancouver living room and within just two weeks, collected over 14,000 letters to Premier Campbell and then Minister Clark supporting the S.O.S. campaign. All education partners supported this extraordinary effort, including Vancouver school trustees and DPAC.

At a January 2003 meeting, SOS parents endorsed the principles printed here – guiding principles for all SOS actions.

SOS continues to act as a loose, non-partisan network of Vancouver parents concerned about the effect of budget cuts on public education.

Since it’s inception an open email discussion list has been in place. Until recently the list was run through my personal UBC faculty email services. To allow a more flexible and community-responsive set up the list has been moved to a stand alone server on the Learning Pool. To subscribe to the new SOS List click here.

Back to School for the Grad Portfolio – Ministry of education backtracks on grad portfolio requirements.

A surprise mid-summer’s announcement from the provincial ministry of education has pulled the plug -for this year at least- on the controversial grade 12 graduation portfolio requirement. Seem by many parents and teachers as a grand make work scheme the graduation portfolio requirements have been deferred for this year’s grade 12 students. While we wait the ministry will review the requirement. Perhaps the realization that a significant number of students would find themselves unable to graduate is behind the review, or perhaps fashion is changing in the ministry. Perhaps this apparent abrupt change in direction signals potential changes in ministry personal? About the only thing for certain is that for the time being the ministry is going back to school to examine the portfolio.

See comments on Nanaimo Edutopia.
See also, BC Trustees Association bulletin: Download file

Deputy Minister of Education Newsletters

The June 9th newsletter is surprisingly quiet on the teachers’ strike vote. Aside from a single column listing ‘successes to date on the bargaining front, the entire newsletter is dedicated to succession issues.

The June 16th issue consists primarily of a “BC counter point” (the deputy minister’s phrase) to Alfie Kohn’s work. Retired superintendent’s Ron Rubadeau is quoted in support of standardized testing to measure innovation and excellence. Mr. Rubadeau draws upon his experience as a special education person and claims that special ed children receive lots of testing and they “enjoy taking them.” Interesting defence. Not sure if the children that I know would agree with that.

The June 23rd issue finally contains a direct reference to the current BCTF/Government negotiations. The minister mentions it, repeats the line regarding number of contracts signed, and ends with a quote from the Minister of Finance, former CBC boss Carole Taylor.

The June 26th issue, coming out on the eve of the settlement, provides a salary comparision for teachers from the DM’s point of view. Since then it seems things have been silent on the newsletter front.

Download June 9, 2006
Download June 19, 2006
Download June 23, 2006

Download June 26, 2006

For previous messages click here.