BC Budget and U Hill Rebuilding Plan

Education and the 2009 budget – Report Card

It’s always a challenge in the lockup to figure out what money is “new” and what has been announced previously. Take the capital spending, for example. The budget promises $1.3 billion over three years to replace, renovate or expand K-12 facilities (including seismic upgrades). But as we found out, that is for projects already planned or underway.

This might suggest that the rebuilding of U Hill has been delayed for three years. If K-12 capital project (i.e. building) is for planed or underway projects U Hill is out of consideration in terms of the ‘underway’ category. We would need some details to understand what constitutes fitting under the ‘planned’ category. Does the fact that there is not agreement in principle in place at this time for U Hill mean that it is outside of the ‘planned’ category? Let’s hope not.

VSB on U Hill Delay

UBC/UEL capital project bylaw delayed – News and Media Releases

UBC/UEL capital project bylaw delayed

Vancouver, B.C. – (February 16, 2009) – Vancouver’s Board of Education has delayed passage of the capital project bylaw for new secondary and elementary school facilities within the University Hill Secondary School catchment area pending approval from the Ministry of Education.

The bylaw, which was scheduled to be introduced this evening, would authorize the school district to convert and expand the existing National Research Council (NRC) building for a secondary school and construct a new elementary school on the current site of University Hill Secondary School.

The Vancouver school district has completed and submitted all work required to move the project forward, but is yet to receive approval from the Ministry for the capital project bylaw.

The Vancouver Superintendent of Schools, along with other members of senior staff, is in contact with Ministry officials concerning the delay in this project. Trustees will also be writing to Minister of Education Shirley Bond to request a status update and communicate the urgent need for project approval.

It is the Board’s expectation that the capital project approval process will be expedited by the Ministry so that the capital project bylaw can be brought to an upcoming board meeting.

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U Hill Schools on Pause AGAIN!

U Hill Secondary Parents Advisory Council

Late breaking news – VSB will defer passing capital funding by-law for rebuilding university hill schools by direction of high level Ministry of Education staff.

We need to let our MLA and premier know that we need our schools and we need them now!

We have set up an automatic email form for you to use. Please consider sending an email right now!

You can find the automatic email page here http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/menzies/email

BCCPAC Stupid Me Email and Survey Monkey Poll

Someone is trying to organize a survey monkey poll on Ron Broda and the BCCPAC. The following email is circulating:

Is your PAC a member of BCCPAC?
What is your opinion of the current difficulties facing the Board?
Let’s tell them what you think
Survey closes February 18th


No information was provided as to who is actually behind this. Nor is there any information provided as to what use will be made of the information provided. Though it doesn’t take much to figure out that is is not being done by BCCPAC nor is it supportive of said organization

Broda is back at the helm of BCCPAC

This just in from BCCPAC -that was quick.

Ron Broda reassumed his full responsibilities as President and CEO of BCCPAC on Tuesday, February 10, after a brief leave of absence. An e-mail was prepared to send to members, but due to technical difficulties with our e-mail system this could not be sent until today. Any comments or concerns should be directed to info@bccpac.bc.ca .

Trustee Vdovine on Fraser Institute Rankings

Education community responds to this year’s school rankings Stepan Vdovine

Here is an example of a principled leadership position from the West Vancouver Board of Education. Board chair Mary-Ann Booth has written a very well articulated letter to the editor of the Vancouver Sun – read it below.

In Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows, I was particularly pleased to read Meadowridge’s Hugh Burke comments in the Maple Ridge Times this afternoon, expressing a consistent position he has held for a number of years (Meadowridge is a private school, consistently ranked among the top 10 schools):

“[FSA] don’t measure the development of curiosity, of determination, of reflection, of honesty, of kindness, or of morality […] The problem is, this measure does not tell us much that is worth knowing about either the students or the school, and it does not allow for intellectually honest comparisons between institutions.”

Burke might be in business of serving education on a silver spoon, but he is, none the less a widely respected educator.

There appears to be a fairly united front against ranking schools. There are specific things that can be done and have been done in other jurisdictions (Ontario) to prevent the Fraser Institute’s degrading exercise. In BC, the Minister of Education has not acted on her position, neither did her predecessors. There is little reason to think she will. So can the public pressure make a difference, or does this very wide and public outcry gives the Institute a greater profile and even further unwarranted attention?

Thoughts, anyone?

Fraser Institute and Maywood Community School

This news article highlights some of the incongruities of using the scores from standardized tests to rank schools.

Tale of one school, two ratings

Maywood community school in Burnaby was described a month ago by a group of visiting international educators as a model for urban schools challenged by ethnic diversity and poverty.

This week, Maywood — an elementary school in the shadow of the Metrotown towers — was handed a more dubious distinction: a next-to-last position in the Fraser Institute’s annual ranking of B.C.’s schools. (Download full article)

Ron Broda, BCCPAC President Takes Leave of Absence

Dear Members;

As many of you know, there have been a number of very unfortunate developments lately. The fact is that the current Board is divided. The Board will change at our AGM in May and the new Board will be starting with a clean slate. You, dear members, are responsible to do your own due diligence and elect candidates for the Board who truly have the best interest of students and BCCPAC at heart.

There are also long-standing issues that predate this and even the last two Boards. There is a plan in place to address these issues. It is the now complete Governance Audit and the implementation of its recommendations. That process needs to be slow, deliberate and well thought out.

The Governance Audit was initiated as a result of a series of member resolutions asking for changes.

This year we have begun the process of consulting with members, as identified in the Audit Report’s recommendations. Following those consultations, there will begin the process of writing a new Constitution and Bylaws document, also as identified in the audit’s recommendations. I urge members to attend the Governance Audit Member Input Sessions. Your input will help build a better BCCPAC.

In the last edition of Newsbytes you were informed that the Board’s next meeting will be a facilitated discussion, held to assist the Board in addressing current challenges. The announcement stated that Past President Howland and former 2nd Vice-President Tedrick had been invited to attend. They did not know about the invitation until after NewsBytes was published and are unable to attend. The meeting will include an independent mediator, as was always the intent.

Last year I made a very difficult decision to stand for election to this position. I had been on this Board for three years. I knew the challenges that I faced and the time commitment I was making. Frankly, the most logical decision for me personally would have been not to seek election, but I could not bring myself to walk away from this organization.

If the time I am spending devoted to BCCPAC was dealing with our true purposes, I would be very satisfied and invigorated, as the achievements that we have made have sustained me to this point; however, I am spending far too much of my time attempting to put out unnecessary fires.

I have decided to take a step back for a while. I will be reassessing the role I have in BCCPAC’s future. I will also be doing some deep strategic thinking about developing an effective plan to improve this organization.

I am taking a temporary leave beginning today. I have not yet determined how long that leave will be. I will be back well before the AGM. During my leave 1st Vice President Ann Whiteaker will assume my duties as identified in BCCPAC’s Constitution and Bylaws.

Hoping to return for the future for ALL of our children.

Ron Broda, President & CEO


Statement from Vancouver Board of Education concerning use of Foundation Skills Assessment data to rank schools – News and Media Releases

Vancouver, B.C. – (January 30, 2009) – The Vancouver Board of Education is opposed to the misuse of the data collected from the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) tests to rank schools in British Columbia.

The testing of reading, writing and numeracy through the FSA produces data that represent a snapshot of student achievement in relation to particular areas of the provincial curriculum.

The basis for the ranking is limited to two curriculum areas—Language Arts and Mathematics—in two grade levels. Any valid ranking that proposes to assess schools against one another would have to take into account a much broader range of curriculum areas, as well as many other factors that contribute to the meaningful aspects of schools.