Education Forum, 2014

Thank you so very much for joining us at the Let’s Talk about Education Forum hosted by Mike Farnworth and myself on December 2.  It was certainly an evening of learning and education for the three MLA’s present.  I  heard feedback on how useful it was to hear from Rob Fleming, MLA from Victoria-Swan Lake and Opposition Spokesperson on Education.  I have attached a copy of this power point presentation for you to review and to share with others.

I have also heard form a number of parents who weren’t able to join us and they shared similar concerns about reduced resources and varied resources from school to school.

For me, some of the biggest learning was about whose voices and concerns we were hearing and why we were hearing them.  It dawned on me during the course of the evening that we have been hearing loud and clear from teachers (and teachers who are also parents) over a number of years that our public education system is not as robust and resilient as it once was.  We have been hearing from teachers for a number of years that they are less and less able to access resources whether it was new teaching materials or teacher support for the classroom.

Over the past year or two, we have been hearing more from parents with children of additional learning challenges.  We have been hearing that their children aren’t able to get the teaching/learning support they need in order to reach their full potential.

It’s only been in the last 6-10 months that we have started to hear from parents of typical learners about how they too are now noticing the change in their child’s learning environment.

It has struck me that the reason we started hearing from teachers years ago is that they have been closest to the learning environment and they started seeing the reduction in resources first.  They saw the crisis coming. They saw what was happening and have been trying to tell us where public education was headed.  The next group to sound the alarm has been the parents of children needing additional resources.  It took a few years, but they started feeling the growing crisis and have been very active in sounding the alarm.  The final group to recognize the impact of ongoing budget cuts on public education are the parents of typical learners.  These parents often aren’t able to see the impact because their children continue to perform well enough in spite of reductions in service and support.  But that is no longer the case.

What I heard on that Tuesday night is that we have a public education crisis and that parents of all learners are starting to hear enough stories to know that all of our children are being impacted in some way.

Next Steps:

The Provincial Budget will be tabled on February 17 and School District 43 will be starting their budget deliberations likely toward the end of March and into April.  I will be watching both processes carefully and can share with you through this email distribution list what I learn as these processes proceed.

I will also let you know when and where there are opportunities to share your stories and to lend your voice to the debate and conversations that will be taking place at the school board table and at the Legislature.

I would ask you to share these emails with other parents as you see fit so that they too can better understand how public education is being compromised.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or concerns.

If you would like to receive my regular electronic monthly newsletter about all the goings on at my constituency office and in the Legislature, just let us know and we can add your email to our monthly distribution list.

Wishing you and your family a warm, wonderful and peaceful holiday.