So, budget cuts are coming to your school district. Our school boards have been clear: these cuts will have impacts on your child, their classmates, classroom services and programs and your local school. We get it, you are angry. You want you child to have the education they deserve — we can afford it in this rich province we live in. But if you want that to happen you will have not just be angry but act — and not alone.
Maybe you’ve never done anything like this before. Where to start?
Find other parents to join you. Talk to other parents of your children’s friends, those waiting with you when you pick up at school, the parents you meet at the park — any where. Talk to each other. Ask them what they’re worried about losing for their kids with cuts to your school districts budget. Find your shared concerns. Ask them to join you and get their contact information — phone and email.
Get online, when you have a small group. Consider using Facebook, forming a group for yourselves to communicate. Let us know about it and we’ll promote it here to help you find other local parents.
A face-to-face meeting can be helpful in organizing and growing your group. Communicate with to pick a date and place. It can be at a home but if you’re expecting more than 10 consider booking a room at your local community centre or library (usually free or very cheap to book) is easy.
- Advertise your meeting online with a Facebook event page. We’ll post this too if you let us know.
- Come to the meeting with a goal. You are there to organize and to mobilize. An information portion of the meeting is important — report on the most recent information on what is happening at your school district and with provincial education funding — but once that is done focus on action. This is about applying pressure on government, not just talking about the problem of underfunding. Don’t get stuck in the weeds.
Some ideas for action:
- Be vocal. Speak out at your school board’s next meeting. Send a delegation to speak or speak individually on different topics.
- Go postal. Write letters to your MLA. Don’t forget to send copies to the education minister, the premier and opposition education critic, maybe even your school board trustees. There’s a great letter template to get you started here. All the contact information for BC’s MLAs is here.
- Be caffeinated. If your local MLA has a regular coffeehouse, drop by. Let them know in person that you’re not happy with education funding.
- Be social. Start a local social media campaign. Reach out to your representatives by twitter and Facebook. Do it together.
- Be visible. Hold a local rally, a protest picket or a “burma shave” (gathering at a busy intersection to wave signs to commuters). Or reach out to other groups and organize one of these together (These are already in planning in some communities).
- Be playful. Have a professional development day coming up? Hold a “playdate” at your MLA’s office. Bring sidewalk chalk! (Check our resources section for more information how to organize one and what to bring).
- Have fun. It makes the work easier. Does your action involve clowns or jugglers? Are you delivering “low hanging fruit” baskets? Get creative…
Set concrete goals for your plan. Know the how and who before you leave the meeting. Delegate and deadline the tasks needed to achieve it.
Plan to communicate. Know how you’ll keep each other informed on progress after the meeting and when to meet again.
- Post your action to social media with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. Others can learn and be insprired by your actions, letters and tactics. Use #hashtags so others can follow along. Use pictures to inspire. But ask permission before posting pictures of other people’s kids — other parents might have different ideas about privacy than you do.
- Inform your local media know what you are doing so they can cover it.
Follow us on twitter for updates.
Ask for help. If you need help reach out to us. We’ll do our best to answer your questions, provide you media contacts or media release templates and organization tips.