Textbooks are a basic part of school. BC just “can’t” afford them.

Textbooks. They seem like a pretty basic part of school. Many of us have memories of being handed these tomes each September and returning them in June. Along with school nurses, full-time counsellors in each school and the daytime custodian, this fixture is a thing of the past for many schools.

It seems our province and our schools are “too poor” to afford enough textbooks for each student in each class. They are not in the “affordability zone” for our kids, like they were for us.

Instead, teachers are using reams of paper at the copy machine — if there’s paper. Or two or three students are sharing a textbook, which means not taking the books home for homework or parents driving textbooks around the neighbourhood at night.

Often the textbooks that are available are old. Meaning they are out of date, falling apart and frequently moldy. Kids are using the same books (literally) as their parents did 30 years before.

It should be noted that some schools are doing better than others. They provide their students with new textbooks through PAC fundraising or by simply charging parents for them. Unsurprisingly these tend to be schools in more affluent areas. It’s all part of a universally accessible education for our kids.

Does your kid not have textbooks?
Do they share their textbooks with other students?
Perhaps your MLA would like to explain why we can’t afford them for all our kids?
Go visit them and ask.

Thanks to Keith Baldrey for asking teachers about the state of textbooks for their classes. A selection of the responses to his question are below. Sorry, they’re screenshots. You can see the stream of responses to Keith’s tweet here.

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