School Fees Insanity

One of the first salvos in the school fee wars was fired across the bow of creative education last Friday in the Comox valley. As reported in the Comox Valley Record international educational trips violate the school act.

Comoz Valley superintendent, Jordan Tinney, cited legal advice as he gave his recommendation. One is left puzzled and confused as to how a trip, any trip, could be seen as a violation of the school act. I wonder if basketball and other sporting trips are next to be banned?

It’s too bad that the government didn’t act in a leadership role immediately upon the decision last September. Other things, however, were more important and the issue has festered until strange and seemingly ill formed decisions are now being made.

Update: Students demonstrated their concern by staging a sit-in at the Comox Valley School Board offices earlier this month following a school board decision to canceled a trip to Europe because of the school fee issue. Read article here. Story published in the Comox Valley Echo.

According the the Comox Valley Reader:

The answer is no, when it comes to School District 71 approving international trips for area schools. On Tuesday, the school board held a special meeting with students, parents, and teachers of Mark R. Isfeld Secondary about a proposed trip to Europe during spring break 2008. Superintendent Dr. Jordan Tinney started the meeting saying that approving such trips would contravene the Sept. 26, B.C. Supreme Court decision that disallows the practice of charging fees for educational programs. “Our legal opinion states not to support this trip for reasons of liability as well as it is not in line with the recent Supreme Court decision,” Tinney said in his recommendation to the board. [By Beth Scott, Record Staff, Jan 12 2007

For those interested in expressing their concerns directly to the school board chair, Ms Janice Proudfoot can be contacted at:
Phone: 250 338-8294
Fax: 250 338-4961

Teaching: The Movies v. The Real World

The Following commentary on tenth grade teacher, Tom Moore’s, movie review is quoted from Where the Blog has No Name.

“Tom Moore is a tenth grade history teacher in the Bronx and his op-ed in today’s New York Times deconstructs the Hollywood image of teacher as hero/martyr

In analyzing the recent film “Freedom Writers,” Moore argues that the “dangerous message such films promote is that what schools really need are heroes. This is the Myth of the Great Teacher. Films like “Freedom Writers” portray teachers more as missionaries than professionals, eager to give up their lives and comfort for the benefit of others, without need of compensation.”

While there’s plenty of room for more love and idealism in the classroom, martrydom is not the answer to the problems teachers and students face in schools. Moore says he doesn’t expect to be thought of as a hero for doing his job. What he wants is to be respected, supported, trusted and paid.

Moore says that “every day teachers are blamed for what the system they’re just a part of doesn’t provide: safe, adequately staffed schools with the highest expectations for all students.”

He’s right, of course, but here he seriously downplays the responsibilities that teachers share as part of the system.

It’s true that “one maverick teacher, no matter how idealistic, perky or self-sacrificing” will not transform the system, collective action among teachers choosing to work in the interest of students (as opposed to the corporations and the state) could turn the system upside down.”

Click here to read Tom Moore’s article in full.