On April 8, 2013, Premier Christy Clark visited Lord Tennyson Elementary School in Vancouver. There with the backdrop of photogenic students, Clark announced funding for seismic upgrades to 45 high-risk schools across BC — including Tennyson.
“Absolutely nothing is more important than keeping our kids safe,” said Clark in her speech at the school.
And why did she announce the funding just eight days before the launch of an election campaign?
“Earthquakes don’t wait until elections are over,” Clark said. “I am going to make sure we do the things we said we were going to do right up until the writ is dropped.”
In 2005, the BC Liberals promised to complete seismic upgrades to high risk schools by 2020. Eight days prior to the 2013 election, Clark renewed that same promise to British Columbia parents.
Last week, she broke it. Continue reading Hit your government like a ton of bricks. Before your kids get buried under them.
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.
Organize Continue reading Organize!
Updated: July 8
The provincial budget delivered a double-whammy to School Districts across BC this year.
The budget fails to provide school districts with the funds to pay for increases to such as the provincially-controlled MSP and BC Hydro rates, as well as to absorb the costs of inflation. Many of the boards had already begun their budget development processes for the 2015/16 school year and likely anticipated this budgetary pressure.
What they didn’t anticipate that boards must now find an additional $29 million in ‘administrative savings’ in 2015/16. Then there’s the another $25 million to be cut in 2016/17, and another cut in 2017/18.
So cuts are coming to your school district. Boards are clear too, these cuts will have impacts on your child, their classmates, classroom services and your local school.
What to do about it? Continue reading What’s getting cut from your School District’s budget? And your kid’s classroom?
As school boards make cuts to implement this budget, parents’ anger will return.
Many parents might drift through the budget announcement hearing little the high-level ‘analysis’ of a ‘balanced budget’ from the media. Day-to-day, they’re just trying to make a living and do their best for their families. Most have other more immediate concerns.
This will change. Continue reading BC Budget 2015: So, whose kids go under the bus first?
Sharing your stories is what this is about. Tell your MLA. Tell the media. And tell each other.
1. Use the #MLAPlaydate hashtag when sharing, it’ll be easier for others to share. If you also add the MLA’s name it will help people to see the scope of playdates.
2. Tell the MLA, or their staff, your concerns and questions as a parent about schools being closed and your worries about your child receiving a quality public education. Then share them on social media.
3. Share the fun and creative activities your playdate is engaging in. Others can learn from what you are doing and have more fun because of it. Post some pictures — show us your chalk art, pirate hats, games or signs. But ask permission before posting pictures of other people’s kids — other parents might have different ideas about privacy than you do.
4. Talk to each other. Find your shared concerns.
5. Talk about what is going to happen tomorrow or next week if schools do not open. Do you want to hold another playdate or do something else? When? Will it be at the same or a different office? If you haven’t already, find a way to stay in contact and to grow your group. Pace yourselves, right now it seems unlikely this race is a sprint.
6. And have fun with your kids. They’re what your stories are about and why we’re doing this.
You’ve spoken to the MLA, or more likely their staff, and expressed your concerns about schools being closed and about BC’s public education. Now what?
Occupying an office isn’t the challenge.
Occupying your kids is.
You’re a parent. And it’s a playdate. Bring things that will encourage the kids to interact and something for their downtime. Things that will give you time to talk to the other parents.
Continue reading Playdate activities. What to bring.