Vancovuer DPAC Math Forum Postponed


TO: All elementary and secondary PAC chairs/school DPAC reps

FROM: Vancouver DPAC executive

DATE: Friday, February 29, 2008

The following late breaking news from Vancouver DPAC

SUBJECT: Hamber Math forum, scheduled for next Thursday, March 6, has been cancelled!


Due to reasons not completely clear to Vancouver DPAC, two key participants pulled out of the math forum at the last minute forcing the need to reschedule the event later in the year. The forum was initiated by parents at Hamber in cooperation with the District Parents Advisory Council. In response to parent interest and direction, Vancouver DPAC had been planning such a forum for several years. As a result of a fortuitous coincidence (math literacy and improvement is a school growth objective at Eric Hamber) and local parent interest, a forum had been planed for March 6th. The forum would have had a panel presentation involving a UBC faculty member who specializes in the area and the head of the provincial math PSA. The Hamber principal would have been the moderator. However, at the last moment the moderator and the PSA head pulled out. The reasons are not particularly clear.

Math curriculum continues to be a serious area of concern for many parents in Vancouver. Anecdotal reports suggest serious dissatisfaction with the structure of high school math and a rising tide of parents seeking private out of school tutors for their children.

The BCSPE is currently running a survey on the subject. See earlier post for additional detils

Vancouver Courier Article on U Hill and QEA

The Vancouver Courier ran an article on the need for a new school in the university area. In the article the author presents the issue of need for news schools on campus. After introducing the issue around the need for a new high school and the motion passed by the parents’ advisory council at the high school, the Van Courier author then turns to a commentary from the media rep from Queen Eliz Annex. The discursive effect of this is to use the words of the QEA parent to question the validity of the U Hill PAC decision.

Kaye also questions whether the University Hill PAC represents a majority of parents. “Some of them may have gotten involved with the PAC precisely because they had strong views on the need for more schools, so there may be a minority of parents that feel that their child’s been forced to eat lunch on the floor for so long that they don’t care how many other children have to suffer to remedy that situation,” she said.”

The narrative structure of the article models ‘balance’ while in effect promoting a particular perspective (this is not atypical in the media world -it’s standard practice in fact).

The piece starts as a story about parent concern regarding the facilities at U Hill. The issue of conflict -parent versus parent- is introduced early on, and then picks up with the quote of the QEA parent.

The QEA quote, about midway thought the piece, acts to shift the issue from the need for an improved learning facility to the authenticity of the parents at U Hill. The quote does this in two ways. First by suggesting that the U Hill PAC is comprised of parents who are solely focused on getting a new school. Second that these parents do not represent the majority of the U Hill parents. Conclusions? Anything from the U Hill parents will be biased, non-representational, and should be discounted.

To suggest that the U Hill PAC thinks a new school is appropriate is reasonable. To suggest, however, that the U Hill Parents are only focused on a new school is misplaced and inaccurate -of course the Courier author is careful to avoid making such a claim themselves. They use the words of the QEA parent to make this point. Doing this allows the Courier author to avoid the necessity to check the facts while also allowing them to build the narrative toward an embedded critique of the U Hill Parents; that is, they are a group who are single focused on the needs of their own children and who “don’t care how many other children have to suffer;” as quoted in the Courier article.

All stories have a slant. To ask for pure objectivity is to misunderstand the role that language and writing play in our society. One should assume a semblance of accuracy -and the Courier author has done that though effective quotation of key people in the story. One might wish for a different slant -perhaps one that focussed on the situation at U Hill without itself engaging in pitting one parent’s voice against another’s. That would have been unique. Though I doubt it would have been as ‘engaging’ a ‘news’ story.

I would like to think that honesty and openness are the way to go and that the end goal never justifies the tactics one uses to win. I realize that is a naïve view point -but it is one that I would think lawyers and athletes and academies and most other people would appreciate. Apparently not. If there has been one take home lesson for me in all of this it is that the capacity to believe that ones personal interests trump all others extends across many sectors of society; even those whom one might feel would be more open to ideas of justice and fair-play. My critique is not for the journalist -they are doing their job. My critique is for those who entrap themselves within their particular vantage point and in the process become incapable of seeing other perspectives with empathy or.

In my professional work I teach students about issues related to First Nations and communities. Many of these young people come with fixed viewpoints and perspectives that are very often locked in place. They fear examining their understandings, to explore where they hold misconceptions, and where their own vested interests interrupt their capacity for empathy. I see my role in those places as working through the fear and worry so that at the very least these students can examine in an intellectually safe place their very often misplaced assumptions. My role in that place-at least as I see it- is not to convince or compel, it is to provide a place to hold out divergent viewpoints, to take a risk to examining perspective that may be flawed. In that process my hope is that at the very least the students leave with a better understanding of their own perspective, if they can transform through the process, so much the better. I have seen some amazing work produced by these students. One hopes that something similar will at the very lest emerge on the other side of the VSB’s plan.

Site Meter

Post-Secondary Education Facing Serious Cutbacks

Facebook | Stop the SFU Teaching Cuts

SFU is facing a huge budget deficit because of chronic underfunding. Because of this university budget crunch, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is being forced to cut an extra 9% from the budget for sessionals and TAs on top of the 22% cut last year.

Similar cuts are hitting UBC, U Vic, UNBC, and other public post-secondary institutions. But, very little is heard of this in the news. Sometimes the cuts seem small -the 1.8% across the board cut in the Faculty of Arts at UBC, for example. But the ongoing cumulative effects of such cuts is an overall worsening of the situation.

In the middle of one of the most expansive post WWII periods of growth, in the face of an Olympic construction boom, our provincial government is squeezing the public education system. It begs the question why?

Motion Passed by U Hill Secondary PAC, Feb. 13, 2008

In a meeting that reflected the rich multicultural and linguistic diversity of our school, U Hill Secondary PAC passed a strongly worded resolution supporting the renovation of the NRC Building into a new high school and the conversion of the current high school into a new elementary.

The PAC also discussed the importance of communicating our needs to the Trustees and the general public. Notifications in Korean, Chinese, and English are currently being drafted.

Whereas there is a clear and pressing need for rebuilding and expanding the existing schools in the University Hill area, and

Whereas it is the responsibility of the provincial government, though the local governance of the Vancouver Board of Education, to provide capital funding for all educational facilities in the public education system, and

Whereas the University Hill Parents Advisory Council consider the equitable access to quality education in a child’s neighbourhood as the right of all children, and

Whereas the University Hill Parents Advisory Council has been lobbying for more than five years for improved facilities,

Be it resolved that the University Hill Secondary PAC support proceeding immediately, as per the VSB EFR-Phase 1 plan, with the renovation of the NRC Building for completion by September 2009, and the conversion of the current U Hill Secondary into a new elementary school

Moved and carried. February 13, 2008.

亲爱的家长朋友们, 학부모님께,


我们的学校正处于危机之中: 校舍拥挤不堪, 设施严重不足. 虽然我们现在拥有优秀的学生和杰出的教师, 可是如果没有新的学校, 很快我们将失去一切.

* U-HILL 中学学生数量已经超出正常状况的60%
* U-HILL小学学生数量已经超出正常状况的20%
* 每天有232位小学生不得不乘校车去本社区以外的多所学校

学校局听到了我们的呼吁并提出了修建新学校的计划, 但学校局的计划必需经由理事会批准. 而如果我们不能让理事们了解我们对新学校的迫切要求, 他们将不批准学校局的计划. 理事会将于3月5号对该计划进行表决.

请在三月以前向学校局理事们打电话, 发电邮(E-MAIL) 及写信发出我们的呼声. 为了您的孩子有良好的学习环境, 请告诉各位理事们: 我们的孩子需要新学校!


U HILL 中学家长会 有更多详情.


우리 학교가 지금 중대한 기로에 서있습니다. 학교 건물은 비좁고 불편합니다.
우리 학생들과 선생님들은 정말 우수하지만,
우리가 새로운 학교를 얻지 못하면 사정은 금방 나빠질 수 있습니다.

* U-Hill Secondary 는 학생수가 160% 로 과포화되어 있습니다!
* U-Hill Elementary 는 학생수가 120% 로 과포화되어 있습니다!
* 매일 232 명의 초등학생이 지역 밖의 학교로 통학을 해야 합니다!

교육청 담당자는 우리의 사정을 들었습니다. 그래서 우리 학생을 위한 새하교 건축 계획을 갖고 있습니다.
그러나 우리가 진정으로 원한다는 것을 교육청에 알리지 않는다면, 그 계획이 허가가 나지 않을 수도 있을 것입니다.
교육위원들이 March 5, 2008 에 결정을 하게 될 것입니다.

우리학생들이 새학교가 필요하다는 것을 적극적으로 알리는 것이 정말 중요합니다.
벤쿠버 교육위원들에게 3월의 결정 전에 전화하고 이메일하고 편지 등을 통해서 의사 전달이 필요합니다.

우리의 관심을 교육위원에게 알립시다!

U Hill Secondary 학부모 운영위원회
자세한 소식은 홈페이지를 통해 보실 수 있습니다 : Allen Blakey Phone: 604-433-6844
Ken Denike Phone: 604-889-0564 /
Carol Gibson (Vice-chair) Phone 604-734-6610
Eleanor Gregory Phone: 604-737-1980
Sharon Gregson Phone: 604-505-5725 (cell)
Clarence Hansen (Chairperson) Phone: 778-239-9602
Don Lee Phone: 604-325-9474
Allan Wong Phone: 604-437-6074
Shirley Wong Phone: 604-897-8389 (cell)

Please copy your email to:

University Neighbourhoods Association Suports Rebuilding Area Schools

Members of the University Neighbourhoods Board of Directors passed a strongly worded motion February 12, 2008 in support of rebuilding schools west of Blanca in the University areas. Strongly supported by resident directors Mike Feeley and Sharon Wu, the Board voted 5 to 1 to urge the Vancouver School Board to get on with it and build the schools that neighbourhoods children deserve.

Read the UNA’s letter to the VSB.

A Message from the University Hill Secondary PAC Executive

Parent Advisory Council Meeting

The Vancouver School Board (“VSB”) is currently engaged in a public consultation process regarding their proposal for changes to schools in our area. Discussion of the proposal will be on the agenda for the next general U Hill Secondary PAC meeting:

All U Hill Secondary Parents are invited.

Time: 7:00 pm
Date: Wednesday, February 13
Where: U Hill Secondary School Library

VSB Proposal: Background

VSB’s plan includes the renovation of the former NRC building into a new secondary school for 675 students, and the rebuilding of the current U Hill Secondary School on Acadia Road into a new elementary school. If this plan is approved, the UBC area will have two needed elementary schools and an expanded and renewed secondary school for our children. However, there is no guarantee that we will get these new schools. The approval of these new schools depends upon the approval of the entire proposal by the elected school trustees at a public meeting on March 11, 2008.

The VSB does not have the money to pay for the conversion of the NRC building into a high school. A UBC plan for financing the renovations was rejected by the provincial government. In order for the VSB to fund the building costs of a new secondary and elementary school they are proposing to close the Queen Elizabeth Annex and sell its property, and downsize Queen Mary Elementary School.

Understandably there is significant concern being expressed by parents from Queen Elizabeth Annex. We understand how they feel about closing their small school located on the eastern edge of Pacific Spirit Park. Nonetheless, we strongly encourage parents with children in the University Hill area to become involved in the process of rebuilding our neighbourhood schools.

The U Hill PAC executive considers that most of the proposal (given the overall political and fiscal context), represents a very effective use of educational resources.

Let the VSB hear your VOICE!

We encourage you to consider the proposal and to complete the online feedback form that can be found at: VSB Feedback Form

Our school team will be making presentations to the VSB on February 7 and February 11 (in advance of our general PAC meeting on February 13), and we will provide any final feedback to the VSB on February 15. Please feel free to contact the parents on the school team if you wish your views to be considered in these presentations: Birgit Eder: Charles Menzies: Jonathan Vogt:

Additional Information

For more information on the VSB’s proposal, please see the VSB’s Educational Facilities Review webpage.

Also, some of our students have organized a facebook group in support of the rebuilding effort. Rebuild U Hill We encourage you to join and to pass the information along to your family and friends.

Presentations to the Trustees Feb 11, 12

It was a full house Monday at the Vancouver School Board offices.

Twenty presentations were made to the board among which were myself (Charles Menzies), Birgit Eder and others from the U Hill Secondary PAC, Mankee Mah from U Hill Elem PAC, Catalin Ristea(U Hill Parent), and Mike Feeley (UNA and parent) and a group of U Hill Secondary students who spoke and showed a video. Other speakers included several parents from Dunbar area preschools, a team from Queen Elizabeth PAC and also a group of Queen Elizabeth students. The remaining speakers, aside from an advocate for a Mandarin Immersion program, were from QEA and spoke in varying degrees of passion about the importance of the annex.

The trustees asked very few questions.

The same show repeated itself on Tuesday evening with an overwhelming number of presentations from QEA parents. Lutz Lampe (UBC/UEL area parent) and Nancy Mahoney (representing the UNA Schools Committee) addressed concerns of Vancouver residents living west of Blanca.

UHill Elementary PAC report on the Presentations to the Trustees Feb 11, 12 UHill Elementary PAC
Delegate Presentations Feb 12 UHill Elementary PAC