Two more for the NPA

Eileen Le Gallais and Margit Nance bring the NPA roster to eight for school board. According to Lisa Newby there is, as of yet, no ninth candidate.

Please note -info listed is from a web search and comes with all the cautions regarding problems of accuracy and potential mis-identification. Once the NPA finalize their campaign website perhaps we will be able to double check the info posted below.

Info on Candidates

Margit Nance, Film Producer and Owner of Nance Communications Ltd. Nunatsiaq News

Betrayed: video identifies sexual assault victim
Nobody told a 14-year-old rape victim that the sentencing of her attacker had been made into an educational video.

Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — More than a decade ago, Elisapee, who was then 14 years old, was sexually assaulted in a small Baffin community.

Since then, Elisapee, now 31, has worked hard to overcome the trauma and put the past behind her for her sake and for the sake of her two daughters, aged five and seven.

But Elisapee learned recently that she’s been violated all over again.

This time the assailant isn’t the “family friend” who, in 1984, tied Elisapee’s hands behind her back with a ghetto-blaster cord so Elisapee couldn’t fight him off while he forced her to have intercourse with him.

This time Elisapee feels that the assailant is a group of people who should have had her best interests at heart — members of the territorial justice system and academics who have dedicated most of their careers to studying social justice and criminology.

Since 1985, details about the sexual assault committed against Elisapee, and her assailant’s subsequent sentencing hearing, have been repeated innumerable times in an educational video whose copyright holders, according to the video’s credits, are: Simon Fraser University, the NWT territorial court, Curt Taylor Griffiths and Margit Nance. (Nance is also the video’s producer, director and narrator.)

The detailed information in the video is so telling that some of Elisapee’s friends and relatives – who viewed the video at various training courses over the years — identified Elisapee as the victim immediately.

No informed consent

But none of Elisapee’s friends told Elisapee about the video because they assumed she knew about it.

They assumed that the producer obtained Elisapee’s prior informed consent — or at least that of her parents, since Elisapee was a minor at the time — before videotaping the sentencing hearing.

But Elisapee says her parents weren’t even told that a video about the crime she endured was being produced.

Nance, the producer, said presiding Judge Michel Bourassa vetted the video’s content. She said she feels no responsibility for what happened with the video afterwards.

The Video in Question: Arctic Bay the community and the circuit court []

Arctic Bay: the community and the circuit court, by Margit Nance

Eileen LeGallais – BEd, MEd Past Board of Directors Vancouver Association for Restorative Justice

Eileen is recently retired from a career in education, teaching primary, elementary, secondary and post secondary. The later years were focused on teaching English as a Second Language, Teacher Training and Counselling. Since retirement, interests have included volunteering for John Howard Society in the Youth Court Program, member of the Vancouver Family Court Youth/Justice Committee, co- chair on the Restorative Justice Sub-Committee, and reading for the visually impaired at UBC Crane Library. Other activities include Family, Tennis, Tai Chi, Language studies and travelling. Eileen was Vice-President of the Board from 2007-2008.

Choices on Tieleman’s Blog for Vision’s School Board.

Bill Tieleman: Tieleman’s picks for Vision Vancouver council, school and park board candidates

School Board – 4

Sharon Gregson – More than any other candidate, Vancouver School Board trustee Gregson stands out as someone Vision needs to nominate. A tireless advocate for children and parents, a recognized national expert on child care, Gregson is Vision’s only VSB incumbent.

Regrettably, some have criticized her competitive firearm target shooting hobby – which has nothing to do with her impressive record at the VSB, like winning the support of former NPA trustee Eleanor Gregory.

Patti Bacchus – A longtime advocate for students with disabilities who has served on the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council, Bacchus.

Mike Lombardi – A former teacher who also worked for the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, Lombardi’s background will make a difference.

Narinder Chhina – A business owner, Chhina is also active in multicultural organizations.

You can read my coments on what the candidates said here and here.

Is there a COPE/Vision Deal?

While Vision has been telling it’s candidates that a deal has been struck, this is the public word from Ivan Bulic of COPE when asked whether there was a deal in place or not.

The COPE Executive will be reviewing a number of recommendations from the COPE Negotiating Ctte.

Details of these recommendations and any subsequent decisions will be released after the Executive have had an opportunity to fully consider and decide on the recommendations.

COPE had been asked if they could “confirm the story that Frances Bula broke this morning on her blog regarding the numbers of seats allocated to each party in a COPE/Vision agreement?” It was suggested that the public announcement of the agreement was to take place this coming Tuesday. Perhaps Bula’s announcement will alter the way things work out.

Despite there still being [early Sept. 9] no notice on either COPE or Vision webpages, the press release has gone out confirming the details. The only hold back is that COPE’s general membership must vote in favour of the deal September 14.

QEA Parent Offers Suggestion for Fast-tracking the Rebuilding of U Hill Secondary

Guest commentary by Eric Mazzi, QEA Parent

First I want to summarize why this is a crisis. Three U-Hill students testified last week to Trustees about the atrocious learning conditions (e.g. sitting on dirty floors, denied opportunities for science classes, etc.). Particularly poignant to me were the young women students at U-Hill who testified in March that they sometimes must eat lunch in the washrooms. Yet, arguably, these are the lucky students. 100’s of other Kindergarten-to-12 students are “shipped out” in busses and cars to schools 10km or more away because they have no neighborhood school, and thus no choice to walk or bicycle. These students not only miss out on before-/after-school educational opportunities, research clearly demonstrates they are at risk for an unhealthy lifestyle and premature mortality through increased risk of obesity (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc.). Research even shows students who walk to school have stronger social networks with more friends and acquaintances, therefore those denied neighborhood schools are literally denied friendships. These hardships and risk factors have been involuntarily imposed on UBC students for 8 years, and will continue until new schools are built.

Since the formal adoption of UBC’s CCP in 2000, the need for schools has been urgent but the province has repeatedly denied funding. The past cannot be undone, but it seems clear the way forward is to get the new UBC schools built ASAP. However, VSB’s current public proposal is to conduct design and planning for the new secondary (at old NRC) for 1 year, with occupancy January 1, 2011. Design and planning for the new elementary school is not planned to begin until January, 2010, with occupancy beginning September, 2012. Quite frankly, I worry that because VSB facility planning resources are (to quote Chris Kelly) “flat out,” that VSB may have difficulty even delivering on their proposed schedule.

So my simple recommendation made to VSB is that UBC Properties Trust be hired to manage the design and construction of the new secondary school. With their proven track record of moving construction forward, I believe the new secondary school could be occupied September 1, 2009. If an arrangement can be made to at least authorize funds for design & planning in the next couple weeks, the first public consultation for the new school design could and should occur in mid-September. Of course UBCPT should be paid management fees, but it seems very likely they could deliver net cost savings through economies of scale and sheer volume of experience managing construction at UBC. I would go so far as to recommend UBCPT manage design and construction of the new elementary school as well, but I anticipate some reluctance because that site is not on university land.

Deputy Minister of Education -Report on Education (new series)

James Gorman, Emery Dosdall’s replacement, has finally released his first Report on Education. Following Mr. Dosdall’s last report we wondered if the new ND would follow in his footsteps. Well the answer is yes, but no. The first newsletter comes out with the announcement that it will now be a monthly affair. One thing that must be said about Mr. Dosdall (whether one agreed with his a approach or not) was that he was first and foremost an educator. Mr. Gorman falls more firmly within the career technocrat mold. He has held several posts more akin to chief financial officer then chief educator and, at least in this newsletter, it seems to show. Read it here.

Read past issues of the former DM’s newsletters here.

Involved PAC Parent Suports DPAC ByLaw Proposal

Patti Bacchus, a parent actively involved in her children’s school PACs and as a volunteer on district level committees has this to say about Vancouver District Parents’ Advisory Council’s proposed bylaw change:

I will be recommending both the PACs I belong to to vote in favour of the at-large system for DPAC as I agree that we need to fill the vacant executive positions. While in theory it would of course be preferable to have full geographic representation (and I’m not at all convinced the three relatively arbitrary areas we have give us any guarantee of wide representation as things stand), in practice we need to do what we can to fill spots with people who are interested in serving. Perhaps by doing that we can expand the DPAC presence into areas of the city that may not be as connected as they could be as there would be more people to do that outreach.

The workload of the volunteers who sit on the executive is already very heavy and I fear that may be having the unintended consequence of dissuading others to get involved. I really appreciate the time and commitment our small executive has put into representing the parent voice in the district.

On the other issue of whether it is appropriate for trustees to be meddling in the affairs of the parent group, particularly trustees who are not current parents (PAC members), I am disappointed that Trustee Gibson is, according to what I’m reading on the listserve at least, opting to put considerable effort into this issue which I believe is outside her jurisdiction. As for the board chair’s comment [Oct. 10, 2007 Committee III meeting] about funding DPAC, [and thus being able to decide on DPAC’s organization] this is equivalent to the education minister telling BCCPAC how to run its affairs as the MoE funds it. I would hope that these elected officials, who have had just this weekend received what the Vancouver Sun calls “a stinging indictment” in a paper by former West Van Superintendent Doug Player and former BCTF president Kit Kreiger, would be focused on leading our school district out of the alarming direction it’s be heading under their watch, instead of fussing over how the parent group organizes its representation.

The Sun piece reports “Doug Player and Kit Krieger — both retired — have come together to produce a stinging indictment of the B.C. education system, saying its leaders are afraid to lead, millions of dollars are wasted every year on administration and the Liberal accountability agenda is killing innovation…and they decided to speak out — largely, they say, because education leaders such as superintendents, trustees and principals aren’t doing so for fear of retaliation by government.

“B.C.’s education system is under assault, not by critics but by silence — silence from the very people who should advocate for the best for our children,” Player and Krieger say in a paper submitted to The Vancouver Sun.

“Perhaps superintendents and principals fear that the minister might reconsider a soon-expected decision to remove a pay freeze on their salaries. Perhaps trustees fear retaliation, dismissal or further amalgamation by a ministry that seems to think that schools thrive on turmoil rather than stability and sound policies.”

A stinging indictment indeed. Clearly Gibson and her colleagues have their work cut out for them. Perhaps they should leave it to PACs to decide how they want to be represented. and get on with their jobs, and stop leaving it to groups like DPAC , SOS, FSSS and other parent groups to do all the work of stand up for our students and a quality public education system that meets the needs of every learner.

Welcome Back

Welcome Back to the new school year. The Deputy Minister’s newsletters contain general comments that warn of impending operational changes in the ways in which school districts are managed. The BCTF has been on the airways with concerns over how much parents have to shell out to pay for schooling. And, districts across the province are once again facing significantly lower enrollments as the trend toward fewer school age students continues.

It will be, I am sure, an interesting year ahead.

Education items from budget speech

Excerpts from BC Budget relating to education

Budget 2007 provides $633 million over three years in increased funding for K–12 education. This is in addition to the $132 million allocated in previous budgets, for a total funding increase of $765 million over three years. This increase includes funding for negotiated settlements of $94 million in 2007/08, $188 million in 2008/09 and $284 million in 2009/10.


Overall, the K–12 budget increases an average 2.3 per cent per year, and fully funds the negotiated settlements reached earlier this year with employees in the K–12 sector, as well as an increase to the Teacher’s Pension Plan contribution rate.

The negotiated settlements in the education sector balance the interests of taxpayers and employees and allow parents, educators, students and administrators to build the best possible education system. In addition, the teacher’s compensation agreement, the first to be successfully negotiated since 1994, contains a number of initiatives, including enabling rural and remote school districts to attract teachers to more difficult to fill positions.

The average per pupil funding for 2007/08 is estimated at $7,910, an increase of 4.1 per cent over 2006/07. Per pupil funding is projected to continue to rise to $8,430 by 2009/10. There were about 12,300 fewer students in 2006/07 than the previous year and enrollment is projected to continue to fall about 1 per cent per year over the fiscal plan.

Independent schools will receive additional grants of $43 million to increase the share of government funding of programs that provide physical, health, intellectual and psychological services to students with special needs, giving families more choices in their children’s education.

Full government info can be found here.

Counterpoint and analysis of the budget can be found on the BCTF Research Webpage. According to the BCTF research the budget increase is closer to 2.54% next year as opposed to the 4.1% the government claims.