More on Gregson

From the Vision Campaign website:Sharon Gregson | Vote Vision

Sharon’s work has involved advocating for quality, affordable care and early learning for Vancouver children. She supported the Garibaldi and Queen Elizabeth Annex parents when their schools were threatened with closure, advocated for new funding sources for UBC schools, pushed for opportunities for input into the Educational Facilities Review, and supported teachers who spoke out against high school classrooms that exceeded size and composition guidelines.

Advocating for new funding? Pushing for input opportunities?

Here’s an example of how former COPE Trustee Sharon Gregson advocated for new funding:

On 6/3/08 8:12 AM, “Sharon Gregson (trustee)” wrote: “I agree wholeheartedly that the situation cannot continue at UBC. However, to shrug off the provincial responsibility is not appropriate at this stage either. Education is funded at that level and I’m not just talking about the new schools as obviously that should be their number one prioroty (sic) to fund in this District. I am also refering (sic) to the renovations and modernization that is urgently required during seismic upgrading – renovations that are far more efficiently done during the seismic process. Right now the province has stopped that funding – since they started on the seismic upgrading issue.

As we all know, the District has been asking and now demanding capital at UBC for years and the District has, as far as I can see, jumped through all the hoops that the province has erected…and still the province plays games with kids lives by ignoring the problem.

I have been responding to all the emails from UBC parents urging them to put pressure on the Premier’s Office – after all it is only estimated that $17 million will be gained from the disposition of the Annex – all it would take is the Premier to decide this is one of his pet projects – after all he is the “mega mayor” – and the issue would be at least partially resolved. $17 million at the provincial level is a drop in the bucket for them to look like the good guys and save the day.

Advocating for new funding involved telling parents who’s children are being bussed out of the neighbourhood and who’s children attend school in a ‘decrepit’ building to lobby harder. Apparently 17 million is “just a drop ion the bucket” and with proper lobbying the “mega mayor” could be convinced to spill some our way.

Here is another example of the former COPE Trustee’s advocacy for new funding:

On 6/3/08 7:37 AM, “Sharon Gregson (trustee)” wrote: I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for parents to contact the Premier’s Office directly (and to do it this week even if they have done it before) – as well as the MLA – without additional provincial funding commited (sic) for these capital projects the Vancouver Board of Education cannot adequately meet the needs of all the children in the Dunbar/UBC area. Time really is of the essence and additional pressure is urgently required.

Shifting responsibility to a different level of government is a sadly typical response of our politicians. What we need now are people who are willing to stand up and accept responsibility and to search for real solutions that can be effectively implemented. It is easy to stand in opposition and criticize those making the tough decisions. The true test is being able to make the decisions that need to be made, not saying ‘gee, sorry, it’s not my fault, but I’m in your corner.’

We need trustees who’s record of making decisions is clear. We need trustees who have real plans and programs that invovle more than urging parents to lobby harder.

2 thoughts on “More on Gregson

  1. Charles, I agree 100% with your assessment here. It pained me a great deal last year to see supposedly “progressive” trustees wrap themselves in feel-good touchy slogans, while doing nothing to improve the shameful status of public education on this part of the district. And they were clearly aware that in the end, they were just perpetuating the hardships imposed by VSB on many (many!) UBC / UEL children. I guess “all children are equal, but some children are more equal than others”.

    I too received Gregson’s “go away and lobby your MLA”-e-mails. Sadly, I don’t have any evidence that she’s done anything else for our kids, or for the District in general.

    We don’t need talking heads that can wave progressive banners and repeat easy slogans, while just administering the status quo. We need courageous, resourceful trustees that can make things happen, that can produce change, that have a vision for the district, and the courage to make it happen.

  2. Hi Charles. This comment is in reference to the Irving Loy blog comment below…the comment feature doesn’t seem to be working on that posting…To be clear: the Vancouver Secondary Teachers’ Association has not expressed any opinion on Sharon Gregson’s hobby/recreational activity of shooting. Our concern rests upon her advocacy around giving Canadians the right to carry concealed weapons. While we would support her right to express her views and have whatever opinion she wants, supporting carrying concealed weapons is not something teachers can be associated with. Guns and school violence are serious professional concerns for teachers. I myself as a secondary school teacher had to remove a gun from a student who entered my classroom. It was a frightening and tense situation. So you see, that secondary teachers democratically decided they could not endorse her because she is on the record advocating that Canadians have the right to carry concealed weapons is not a personal slight of Sharon Gregson. It’s a demonstration that teachers take the safety and well being of our students, and society at large, very seriously, and we’re not shy about sticking to those principles. For anyone to make this a personal issue devalues the very real safety concerns that are shared by educators and parents alike.

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