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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 2, October 2006

Letter to Premier Campbell

I am writing to engage your government in a discussion about the priority focus for BC public schools.

On Friday, September 8, 2006, I had the opportunity, along with all other members of the BCTF Executive Committee, to participate in the dialogue with the Dalai Lama at the Orpheum. Lorne Mayencourt spoke at the event on behalf of the provincial government and expressed your government’s commitment to many of the themes of the dialogue. MLA Mayencourt referred to the meeting that you participated in with the Dalai Lama earlier that day.

I was pleased to hear that your government is concerned about the education of the whole child. The dialogue stressed the importance of the social aspects of education that are essential to ensuring a society of caring and compassionate citizens.

The Ministry of Education has made student achievement the focal point of most of its initiatives. It would seem that the objective is to increase or improve student achievement through a variety of accountability measures that include frequent testing of student knowledge. However, what the "achievement" agenda lacks is any emphasis at all on the social aspects of learning. Achievement is important, but it is only a part of the student learning process and should not exclude other important discussions about education that need to occur.

I would propose that we open up the dialogue on education in BC. This would include listening to all points of view and not narrowing the focus on teaching and learning to simply what can be measured on a standardized test.

We should welcome the visit of the Dalai Lama as an opportunity to broaden the dialogue on education; to begin to look at all aspects of educating the whole child. I have written to you because I know you are committed to making BC the most literate jurisdiction on the continent and because of the remarks made by Mr. Mayencourt on your behalf at the Orpheum. I am most willing to meet with you to discuss these matters further.

– Jinny Sims

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