Public Education Advocates Newsletter
April 30, Issue #5
- BC Liberal education platform
- Green Party education platform
- BC Conservative education platform
- NDP education platform
- What can you do?
Summary of BC political party education platforms
BC Liberal education platform:
“A strong economy starts with a strong workforce and that means investing in education.”
- Immediately begin discussions with BCPSEA and the BC Teachers’ Federation to achieve a 10-year collective agreement with the BC Teachers Federation.
- Offer BCTF a salary increase based on the average of a basket of public sector settlements.
- Commit significant funds to address classroom size and composition.
- Support the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) “We owe it to our children to test and challenge them as they progress through school.”
- Work with school boards to enhance and expand vocational training paths in high schools
- Encourage partnerships between employers and high schools to offer improved opportunities and scholarships for students.
- Expand opportunities for students to begin apprenticeships before they graduate high school.
- Give school districts more flexibility in applying provincial funding for scholarships and awards to encourage student participation in trades and technical training.
- Provide help to school districts to co-ordinate regional sessions to review labour needs and opportunities.
Green Party education platform:
“The Green Party of British Columbia envisions the transformation of British Columbia’s public education system with tools to help educational institutions adapt to global ecological, technological, social and economic shifts. These policies focus largely on three area initiatives: curriculum development; adaption of a community-based model; and financial restructuring.”
- The long-term goal of the Green Party of British Columbia is that public education be universal and free at every level: primary, secondary and post-secondary.
- Capital funding programs should be encouraged, assisted, and co-ordinated between civic governments, provincial and federal ministries, and school boards to develop community schools which physically integrate community centres, recreation facilities, libraries and schools.
- Phasing private independent and alternative schools and programs into the public school system, without affecting the autonomy and objectives of these schools, should increase the diversity of the school system.
- Per‑user rather than per‑capita or per‑district funding of special needs programs should be provided, so that districts with disproportionately large numbers of students requiring these services receive the necessary funding.
- User fees for basic school services should be prohibited. Corporate funding of any kind should not be allowed in the public education system.
- We advocate for the creation of an Education Commission to establish a comprehensive framework for learning and curriculum development. The objective is to provide a range of choice and access to programs that will be appropriate for various learning communities and for the diverse needs of students of all backgrounds and learning abilities.
- A core curriculum aimed at literacy and problem‑solving should be retained. Certain subjects, which could be described as Life Skills Learning, are to be included, and an emphasis placed on putting an end to gender discrimination.
- Holistic schoolyard programs would be created, along with the greening of schoolyards, to integrate students with their communities and the natural world.
- Community-based education
- Communities should have more control over education. We recommend a restructuring of the school system based on a community school model. Greater control over schools should be transferred to local school boards from the provincial government in order to tailor policies to local community needs.
- Using a community school model, and reflecting a broader concept of learning, schools should be utilized for a variety of community functions. For example, library, art, and music facilities can be integrated with community facilities. Schools can seek partnerships with various community groups, including seniors, parents, cultural groups, and other educational institutions.
BC Conservative education platform:
“The BC Conservatives believe in the inherent value of education, and believe that society must dedicate sufficient resources to ensure that all children have an equal opportunity to succeed in life.”
- We believe that parents must have a meaningful and essential role in the public education system. Parental values and concerns must be reflected in the education choices available to their children.
- Parents also must be able to understand their child’s progress and development on an ongoing basis, which requires the implementation of comprehensive, ongoing testing. We believe in more clearly defined learning outcomes, ensuring alignment of revamped provincial tests to those outcomes.
- The BC Conservatives support the development of a new, continuous-improvement accountability framework. That framework should include provincially and locally identified outcomes and publicly reported results, which in turn would assist informed decision-making to improve both programs and student results in subsequent years.
NDP education platform:
“Improving learning conditions for our children—a key priority of the NDP”
- Improve learning conditions for our children
- Commit $265 million in addition to the current Learning Incentive Fund in order to provide students with the classroom support they need by hiring new teachers, education assistants, librarians, and counsellors. Putting additional focus on students with special needs, Aboriginal students, and ESL students.
- Restore provincial support for the BC Program for the Awareness and Learning of Science (Science World).
- Replace the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) test with improved assessment tools resulting from consultation with parents, teachers, and school boards.
- Take real and meaningful action on bullying
- Create province-wide standards for school codes of conduct.
- Ensure that students are respected, and that policy exists to deal effectively with homophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, and other forms of systemic discrimination.
- Preserve First Nations languages
- Support the preservation of threatened First Nations languages by renewing support for First Nations’ heritage, language, and culture.
- Related to collective bargaining
- Repealing Bills 27, 28, and 29, the infamous legislation that tore up legal contracts, and restore free collective bargaining in the health and education sectors.
- Establish a more effective governance system for the Workers’ Compensation Board to give employers and unions a greater role in decision making.
- Invest new resources to make the BC Labour Relations Board more efficient and effective in helping employers and unions to solve disputes.
What can you do?
- Consider voting in the advance polls May 8–11. Check with your district electoral office listed with ElectionsBC, http://www.elections.bc.ca/docs/deo_locations_for_web.pdf.
- Ask others to join our Public Education Advocacy e-mail list to read about the issues and get involved.
- Check out our Facebook page and become a friend. Join us on Twitter.
- Just released, The numbers tell the story, this easy-to-read pamphlet clearly highlights the loss of teachers and specialists, the worsening student-educator ratio, and the increased numbers of students with special needs.
- Visit Better Schools BC for a close look at the BCTF plan for quality public education.