Culture in the Classroom Conference, Prince Rupert

Returning Home: Anthropological Research & Curriculum Development with Gitxaala Nation

Workshop part of the Culture in the Classroom Conference
Prince Rupert, April 27, 2007

This session documented and critiqued the ongoing research relations between UBC and Gitxaala Nation with an emphasis on our research and curriculum development within the context of the Forests and Oceans for the Future project. Drawing upon the project team’s research and curriculum development for Gitxaała we presented a perspective that places primacy upon First Nations epistemology and pedagogy in the development of an inclusive curricula. Forests and Oceans for the Future is an ecological knowledge research project based at UBC and conducted in collaboration with Gitxaała Nation. A key objective of the project has been to develop useful curriculum materials that maintain Gitxaała knowledge within the community. The underlying approach that has emerged is one that places an indigenous perspective at the heart of our work. This workshop was designed to share our experiences and to engage other educators in the process.

Here are some of the web link that will bring you to the specific resources mentioned during the workshops.

“Room 101” podcasts

“Room 101” is hosted by Michael Baker on KZUM 89.3FM in Lincoln, Nebraska and features interviews and talk about issues of education and schooling.

Wayne Ross is now podcasting “Room 101” from his web site. Check it out! You can listen to the shows (and subscribe to the podcasts) at my site. The podcasts are also available for free from the iTunes store.

Two podcasts are now available and more will be added in the days and weeks to come.

Rich Gibson, San Diego State University professor and co-founder of the Rouge Forum, talks with Michael about the schools-to-war pipeline and how the US imperialist project is reflected in the No Child Left Behind Act.

Peter McLaren, UCLA’s “most dangerous professor”, discusses the right-wing agenda for schools; his recent exchanges with Bill Ayers; and the growing efforts to dismantle the No Child Left Behind Act.

Upcoming podcasts will have interviews with Noam Chomsky, Nancy Patterson, Prentice Chandler, activist students from Lincoln, Nebraska and more…

Clipped from Where the Blog has No Name. Originally posted by wross at April 25, 2007 12:18 PM

Vancouver School Board Budget Process

Vancouver Trustees quietly sat through eleven presentations by concerned members of the community. Aside from an occasional question of clarification the Trustees had nothing to say. Perhaps it is hard to say anything in the face of a prolonged and sustained attack against public education. This year’s cuts will be almost 10 straight years of budget deficits for Vancouver. The cuts being made now may seem to some as minor and insignificant. Please don’t be fooled. Even the school board’s own budget materials make it clear that, from an educational point of view, what is being done is not in the best interests of maintaining a quality public education.

Delegations at last nights meeting were: Friends of the School Library; Race Relations Advisory Committee; Vancouver Inner City Education Society; Britannia PAC; Special Education Advisory Committee; CUPE 15; Queen Mary School PAC; Nightingale School; ESL Network; Mary Salley and children; Point Grey/Sty Wet Tan Secondary School Community.

Listen to the presentations here icon_mp3.png

Special Education Advisory Committee presentation.Download file

BCSTA Letter regarding Bill’s 20, 21 and 22

The BC School Trustee’s Association has written a letter regarding the recent education legislation. The following section relates to the School Fees issue and the role of School Planning Councils.

While we are also pleased that fees can be collected for specialty academies, we are concerned that including a requirement of School Planning Council approval for these fees muddies the water of accountability. SPCs have no direct accountability to the public {italics mine}, and continue to experience challenges in representation and decision-making. It is unclear how SPCs would reach democratically representative and locally accountable decisions in these matters. SPC membership can change significantly from year to year based on the availability and willingness of the representatives. It could also potentially alter the composition and focus of SPCs by encouraging individuals for or against a specialty academy to seek membership, rather than those interested in focusing on the broader improvement goals of the school.

We also have concerns about non-elected individuals making decisions that affect the allocation of public funds, since it is not just additional fees, but also district operating funds, that run specialty academies. This provision could also result in funding instability to specialty academies and jeopardize their ability to attract students.
As well, there are potential complications for specialty academies that are actually district programs but are located in a single school. The ability for a single SPC to not approve funding for a program at a particular school narrows a board’s ability to provide specialty academies to students throughout the district.

We urge you to replace the provision for School Planning Council approval of the establishment of specialty academy fees with a provision that provides SPCs with the opportunity for input.

Why Model Schools Don’t Work

Information on the Model School Debate clipped from Where the Blog Has No Name.

The B.C. Liberals have been touting segregated schooling for students with disabilities as an educational “reform.”

B.C.’s Education minister, Shirley Bond, has also suggested the possibility that the provincial government might fund separate schools for Aboriginal studies or ESL students or based upon gender.

And, former B.C. Education Minister, Christy Clark, recently wrote in her newspaper column: “Segregation didn’t work as a general rule. But rules have exceptions.”

So, it’s good to see this op-ed in today’s Vancouver Sun, which states what is obvious to many: Students with special needs need special instruction from specialist teachers, not separate facilities.

A good source on inclusive education is the Whole Schooling Consortium.

Continue reading posting . . .

Sports, Recreation, and Poverty

Recent concerns with the establishment of a hockey academy at Britannia Secondary in Vancouver have led me to inquire further into the issues around sports, recreation and poverty. The new program, that has been discussed by the Vancouver School Board going back for about one year, has been presented as a program designed to meet a variety of needs at Britannia Secondary. One of the key objectives, it seems, is to address the falling enrollment in that school.

For enrollment issues see: BCTF Report; BC Min. of Ed. Press Release.

Discussions about the $1,400 per per student per year program have revolved around issues of equity of access. Is the program elitist? Are there underlying structural constraints that effectively make the program self selecting and exclusive so that students from low income families are excluded before they even come to filling gout an application? Time will tell on how this program works out but some recent research by UBC researcher Wendy Frisby, Chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Undergraduate Program and Associate Professor in Human Kinetics at UBC, can tell us a lot about the implications of poverty on access to community recreational facilities and, by extension on the impact of cost intensive sport programs.

A series of reports can be found on the web page of the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association that examine in some detail the implications of poverty for access to sports and recreation. Also of note is that the typical subsidy or lower cost approaches don’t work to include low income youth or women.

Dr. Frisby has also co-written a chapter for P. White & K. Young (Eds.) Sport and Gender in Canada. (pp. 121-136), Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press (2007), “Levelling the Playing Field: Promoting the Health of Poor Women Through a Community Development Approach to Recreation,” that builds upon a feminist analysis to argue for proactive ways to include low income women and their families that goes beyond the give a bursary approach. Download chapter.

School Fee Surveys -Province Wide

Find your district and complete your parent survey on school fees. If your district is not here contact your local District Parent Advisory Council or school Parent Advisory Council to find out what is happening. This is only a short list of the districts in BC where parents have taken the lead on finding a resolution to the school fees issue. The information listed below can be found on publicly available web sites hosted by school boards, schools, DPACs and PACs. For those interested simply run a google search using PAC school fees survey to replicate what I have done to find the following information.

Please make sure to only fill out your own district survey. These surveys are for parents only. Other community members and stakeholders are asked to respect this request.

International students = revenue source

A new research report, “BC international student revenue and FTE enrolment, 2001-02 to 2005-06,” ( ) highlights the significance of international students as a source of revenue for BC school districts. The report includes district-by-district tables of revenue and enrolment, and charts that illustrate growth over the last five years.

Here are a few points gained from the figures:

Revenue from international students (also known as non-resident or offshore students) studying in BC schools rose to $109 million in 2005-06, an increase of almost $10 million over the previous year. This continues a trend, and reflects a doubling of revenue since the 2001-02 school year.

International student enrolment also nearly doubled over the same period, growing from 4,083 full-time equivalent students in 2001-02 to 7,853 FTE students in 2005-06.

While overall revenue increased, sixteen districts had less fee revenue in 2005-06 than in the previous year. The Vancouver school district had the greatest drop in revenue, with a reduction of $570,000.

The districts with the largest revenue from international students were:
Coquitlam ($15.1 million)
Vancouver ($11.3 million)
Surrey ($10.7 million)
West Vancouver ($8.9 million)
North Vancouver ($6.9 million)

The district with the highest international-student-fee revenue relative to “regular” enrolment was West Vancouver.

Eight districts and the Francophone Education Authority had no revenue from international students.

Four districts increased their revenue by more than $1 million between 2005-06 and the previous year: Surrey, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, West Vancouver and Burnaby.

While the number of international students, and revenue generated, both continued to grow over the last year, the rate has slowed compared to previous years.

This item is from the BCTF’s web site in a list archive, at