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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

School Boards Budget Crisis..

It's becoming common for education news to be reporting a new school board is struggling with a looming budget crisis.  Funding shortfalls are common place.  Unexpected costs downloaded to Boards are also a problem. And I will be the first to admit that the schools need some solutions to the lack of services affecting our kids.

I think we really need to look at budget management also. I am not confident the Ministry of Education has the oversight ability they need.   It is not uncommon for local schools who find themselves tight towards the end of the year to "borrow" from the next year's budget.  I'm trying to find out more about how this works, but obviously am having some difficulties. I've heard of a school that was operating a full year behind due to this very type of spending. Unfortunately, haven't been able to get any information on the record yet. Just talk from admin staff/teachers off the record.

When a principal starts at a new school, some are unaware of the budget issues they are walking into.  You assume that you are walking in with a clean slate.  But not always the case.

I'd like to see more information reported about these issues as we see more and more districts in the news for funding shortfalls. Is the balanced budget requirement being observed and monitored responsibly?

Parents are asked what services we'd like to cut to compensate for funding shortfalls. Give parents the full story then. Not just the story you want us to hear.

We'd love your support!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Let Me Introduce You to Jasmine. Being Denied an Equitable Education

Please meet Jasmine. She's a wonderful little girl who is being denied an equitable education. Yes, she has some major challenges, but shouldn't we be taking care of her just as any other child in our school system?

There are some situations where special kids can not be mainstreamed.  But this does not dissolve our government from giving her an equitable education.

When our kids are told they must stay home from school for whatever reason, that should not absolve the Ministry of Education from their responsibility to educate.  When any child is required to stay home from school, there needs to be an adequate plan in place to ensure their educational needs are being met.

Jasmine and other kids like her are being denied an education because of their challenges.  Who is going to advocate for these kids?

Update: Jasmine's parents have taken the Facebook page down for personal reasons.

Friday, 5 April 2013

What Exactly ARE Your Parental Rights in Education?

Are you interested in learning more about your parental rights in education? We are having small gatherings across the Lower Mainland talking about parental rights and community involvement in education. Topics vary based on what's going on in your district. 

Personally, I would like to see a more open work history of our teachers. A teacher can be disciplined at one school and transferred to another without parental notification. Sorry, but that's not acceptable. These teachers spend so much time and have major influence on our children, this history needs to be disclosed to parents directly. 

What topics in particular interest you? Any questions about what you can do when you have an issue with school?

If you're interested in joining a discussion, or hosting one of your own, please give us a shout. We'll be happy to help out with any materials we can.

In partnership,

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Anybody Care About Their Education? - Special Needs Students Being Told to Stay Home

Spoke to a couple principals and a school board member regarding this issue and received some great feedback.

Kids are sent home when the school doesn't have the ability to properly take care of them or they are a major disruption to classes. This is NOT done lightly and only after consultation with the parents.  My concern would be this consultation process.  There is no set standard. I have heard of no formal District best practices either. It is up to each school to handle as they see is appropriate. I'm not sure I trust this method.  I'd like to see a set of provincial Best Practices. Parents come in a variety of forms and not all with the same social abilities as others.  This can be very problematic to fairness.

The parents I've spoken to, with 1 exception, were unaware they had any choices or input into how it's handled.  They thought they really had no choice so simply accepted what was being offered.  This is not totally the fault of the teacher or the administrative staff. Parents need to step up and ask questions. Complaining to a 3rd or 4th party isn't productive.  Parents need to be educated.

The other challenge I'm finding is the impact on families when kids need to stay home all or part of a day.  It can be a great financial hardship to arrange for this care. A parent or caregiver, who is not a teacher, is now required to pick up the slack.  I wonder if this extra cost is fair to the parents.  And more important, are these kids being denied a proper education because of a disability? That's the big question really here.  Budgets are not there to adequately educate these kids.  And families are not given extra money to help educate the kids.  So, who is advocating for their education?

Serious question here folks.. who is advocating for their education?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Sorry, Your Child Can Only Come to School a Half/Day? Really?

When is it OK for schools to tell parents their kids can not attend for more than a few hours? Where can I look for answer?

I'm talking to a woman in Surrey, who says her ASD child is not allowed to spend more time because they don't have the staff. WoW! We have a face to face meeting later in the week. Also have heard from a parent whose child does not have a diagnosis, but is in elementary school and has behaviour challenges. Runs outside, throws things, etc. And that child is told they can't come for a full day.

What are parents rights to getting an education for their kids? I'm going to read through School Act guidelines and see what it says. I know some Districts may have their own rules as well.

I understand that a child can not be in class when they are a danger to others, to themselves, etc. But, what is a reasonable excuse? There seem to be no firm guidelines or formal process. I know that when a child is made to stay home, they do not get additional funding for schooling at home.  

I think this is a big deal people!