Vancouver Sun reporter, Janet Steffenhagen, brings us an informative and positive story about successes in aboriginal education. Her story is a fitting companion to the federal government’s apology.
Aboriginal educators find hope amid dismal student results
Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, June 13, 2008
Kathi Dickie began working with aboriginal students 25 years ago when she was employed as a home-school coordinator in Fort Nelson, tracking down truants and other students who were missing from school.
She knows from that experience — and her years at a residential school — about the troubled relations between aboriginal families and the public school system. She’s also familiar with dismal statistics that suggest aboriginal teenagers entering high school are just as likely to drop out as they are to graduate.
Yet she has found reason for hope. “I’m seeing a change,” Dickie, who later became a teacher, said in an interview, pointing to the federal apology for residential schools, a recent agreement giving B.C. first nations more control over their children’s education and gradual changes in provincial curriculum to recognize aboriginal history and culture.
Tonight’s school meeting was a disappointing event. The ‘final’ proposal is to approve, subject to securing funding, the rebuilding of the high school at the NRC site and to convert the current high school into a second elementary school.
This does sound okay at first. However, there are some serious problems.
- the timeline adds a full year and a half to the move in time. What was originally promised as a Sept. 2009 opening for a rebuild high school in the old NRC Building is now projected as a late 2010 opening.
- the second elementary school will not open until sometime in 2012.
- all of this is contingent upon securing funding. However, as of June 11th there is no agreement in place to proceed. The school board said that there is a piece of property owned by the school board that might be transferred to the province but they would not say anything further about that except that if the transfer of the undisclosed property takes place there will be enough money to rebuild the schools.
We need you to keep the pressure on. The school board needs to know that we need our schools and that the delays are not appropriate.
You and your neighbours will have received this week a postcard from the UNA, the UEL residents, and the two U Hill Parent Advisory Councils asking you to email the school board and the province. Please do this. We have set up an easy email web site for you to use. The URL is http://www.rebuilduhill.ca.
The complete report can be download here.
. It is also on the VSB web site http://www.vsb.bc.ca
There will be an opportunity to make a public presentation to the school board on June 19th. The school board will make it’s final decision on June 25th.
Vancouver Board of Education to consider final Educational Facilities Review Phase One recommendations – News and Media Releases
Vancouver, B.C. – (June 11, 2008) – The Vancouver Board of Education trustees have received final recommendations following an extensive first phase of its Educational Facilities Review and public consultation to improve education program facilities, support innovation and develop strategic education plans that move toward operational sustainability.
The recommendations, if accepted by the Board, would lead to new opportunities in public education for the Dunbar to UBC area with a new elementary school, new secondary school, seismic upgrades for existing schools, modernization of facilities along with new programs and services for students including expanded French immersion.
In order to implement this plan, discussions with the Ministry of Education are under way to transfer property not currently used by the Vancouver Board of Education to the Ministry. The proposed property transfer would provide sufficient funding for the new secondary and elementary schools, and assist with modernization programs.
Home – Save Queen Elizabeth Annex: Home
Good News – June 11, 2008
VSB staff presented their final proposal to the Board of Trustees tonight. We are all delighted to see that closure of QEA has been taken off the table!! Please see the VSB’s short news release on the VSB’s website.
We are delighted by the latest version of the plan, while it is not all we were hoping for it is a vast improvement over the original proposal to close and sell QEA. Delegations may speak to the board of trustees on June 19th after which the trustees will vote on June 23.
We cannot thank you enough for your support.
Trustees want FSA changes
Assessments should reflect ‘socio-economic factors’
Jennifer Moreau, Burnaby Now
Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Burnaby school trustees are calling on Education Minister Shirley Bond to reflect socio-economic status in foundation skills assessment tests – provincewide reading, writing and math tests for grades 4 and 7.
See also, The Report Card, by Janet Steffenhagen (my source for this story).
Adlai Fisher, UBC business faculty member and Queen Elizabeth Annex parent activist, is the subject of persistent rumours around a potential run for school board. Bright, energetic, passionate, and totally commited to excellent education for his children, Adlai has been a driving force in the QEA campaign these past several months. Suggestions have been made that Clarence Hansen, newly nominated as an NPA candidate and current VSB school board chair, has approached Adlai. Whether any of this are true remains to be seen. Adlai would be a good candidate for the NPA. While I have disagreed with his approach during the recent educational facilities review I think that he would make an excellent trustee.
Questions about the impact of differential wealth and access to political power very often appear in everyday political debates. Typically, many people will either reduce, deflect, or deny the impact and implications of socio-economic differences. This is often the case in particular struggles where a particular advantaged group might accept that at an abstract or societal level socio-economic factors have a bearing, but not in terms of their specific situation.
Clyde Hertzman’s work at UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnership provides some clear evidence of the impact of differentials in wealth and also points the way toward effective solutions. Key among them is that areas that do not have adequate social support should be attended to and in other wares, where higher wealth provides adequate resources to begin with , are not as critical to attend to.
Society’s influence on child development would not necessitate it becoming a public issue if its influence were random across the population, or uniformly beneficial. But, in Canadian society, as in most of the wealthy countries of the world, society’s influence on child development is neither random nor uniformly beneficial. In Canada, inequalities in child development emerge in a systematic fashion over the first five years of life, according to well-recognized factors: family income, parental education, parenting style, neighbourhood safety and cohesion, neighbourhood socioeconomic differences, and access to quality child care and developmental opportunities. By age 5 a ‘gradient’ in early child development emerges, such that, as one goes from the families with the lowest to highest incomes; least to most parental education; and least to most nurturing and interactive parenting style, the average quality of early child experiences increases. This pattern is known as a gradient because it does not have a threshold. In other words, it is not just a question of poor children getting a ‘bad deal’ and the rest of our children ‘being in the same boat.’ Threats to healthy child development are found across the entire socioeconomic spectrum, though at increasing intensity as one goes from top to bottom. Thus, a concern for a good start in life is one that should unite families from all walks of life, and not separate the poor from the non-poor.
Read full report: Download file
West Side parents change VSB plans
Teresa Sheward, Vancouver Courier
Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2008
To the editor
Re: “Stall in facilities review raises hopes of parents,” June 6.
I write to clarify some misconceptions in this article, due to relying on the admittedly “speculation and rumour”-based opinions of Charles Menzies.
Menzies fears that “there may be a special solution for the West Side” but not for all the schools that “don’t have well-connected, politically active parents, who have the wealth and the internal connections to keep their schools.” Implying that wealth and internal connections are what created conditions for the postponement and change of VSB plans is not only offensive and inaccurate, it is surprising, given his alleged understanding of the issues.
I have had a lot of critical comments thrown my way over the past few months on this topic. However, I have to say that this is one of the nicest comments; that is, to have an “alleged understanding.” It might almost be a compliment. If my understanding is alleged it allows that I might not in fact really understand what is going on. This should allow me to plead ignorance. What do you think? At any rate is is always delightful to hear a well trained lawyer talk about not having resources or political connections and making it clearly an assertion as opposed to merely alleging the fact. 🙂
Young trustee won’t run again locally
School board trustee Stepan Vdovine will not be running for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows board of education in November’s election, but might be on a Vision Vancouver slate of candidates for the Vancouver school board.
He said although he feels for the district because of the upcoming challenges – because of declining numbers, some schools in the district might have to be closed – he feels there are a number of strong candidates running for the board of education in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.