Author: Mike ZlotnikAs your responses to the three crucial issues facing public education come in, we will add them to this list.
How could we better support our public education system (financially?) so that the ESL students, cognitively challenged children and other marginalized groups of kids would feel more comfortably and confidently included?
How does class size matter to individual student's over-all development?
Which way will benefit the ESL students more in the long run, speaking their mother tongue at home or communicating in English at home? Does it even matter?
I am concerned about the influence of open-boundary and school-choice policies upon certain schools. My dissertation and work in this area was highlighted in the Vancouver Sun this week â€¦ Pete McMartinâ€™s column on November 11th, 2010.
academic-achievement scores are of concern to many educators. I believe that the education system should give serious consideration to implementing year-round schooling as a way to increase time-on-learning which, when carefully implemented, can increase student learning.
Three Critical Issues: Declining enrollment.
An aging population and a lower birthrate have resulted in declining school enrollment. This decline is the stated cause of many school closures, school amalgamations and school district restructuring.Funding
Lack of sufficient funding and the current funding formula have compounded the problem of declining enrollment. As a result smaller neighborhood schools are being closed in favour of larger central schools. The consequences of this trend are larger classes, distance from the local neighbourhood, and increased bussing, and the demise of many specialty programs (particularly in the arts).
Lack of co-operation among the education partners.
In my opinion the various groups are more concerned with issues that affect them personally rather than those which best serve the public education system.
Obviously funding is going to be an overarching issue but no matter how much money there is, we still have to acknowledge the following:
Insufficient funding and support for ALL children to learn optimally. This is intolerable! Confusion and sense of futility when it comes to how to address this with the effectively.
Too much emphasis on measuring and ranking students and schools and producing a narrowly defined "future workers" (rather than inspiring learning, innovation and building a stronger, healthier society).
The tendency toward â€˜One size fits allâ€™ mentality with children and learning.
Children are not valued enough in our society. There are cuts being made to education left, right and center. The government can afford to put a new roof on BC place or spend millions on olympic advertisements yet they can not afford to keep music programs and school counsellors in our public schools. The cuts to public education need to stop and greater resources allocated to our most precious and important members of society. Children are the future of our society and we should be investing in them in order to invest in our country.
Issue #2: The threat of privatization.
If public schools become privatized, undoubtedly some children will be left at a disadvantage while others will be privileged. This will be based on socioeconomic status leaving some children without equal opportunity to the best possible education. This is what happens with our post-secondary education system, those who cannot afford to pay the high tuition costs are left without the opportunity to further their education and make better lives for themselves. If our public schools become privatized, only the wealthy children will have the best choices in programs, books, field trips etc, leaving those children who come from low-income or poor families to attend the schools without as many resources.
Issue #3: Teacher's salaries.
I am not a teacher nor do I have children but I plan on having kids in the near future. Children spend 5 days per week, 6 hours per day, 10 months every year in school. In many cases, teachers spend more time with our kids than parents. They have one of the most important jobs in our society, just as important if not more important than doctors and lawyers, yet their salaries do not reflect this importance.
Issue #1 — A progressive perspective on "21st century learning", transformative or incremental
Issue #2 — Coming to terms with the new technology environment
Issue #3 — Making inclusion a 21st century learning practice
Welcome to the PENS Blog on public education! Our bloggers include parents, teachers, education researchers, and other strong supporters of public education in BC and in Canada. Taking the lead is Bill Bruneau, Professor Emeritus UBC, ex-Vancouver School Board trustee, ex-President of his faculty association, and ex-president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers.