Many perspectives to state of education in B.C.

Spring break is here along with daylight savings time; hopefully some resolve will come before classes resume.

Pacific Daylight Time starts Sunday, March 11. Remember to change your clocks Saturday night. Personally, I’m looking forward to having more daylight at the end of my work day.

With the teachers out on strike for three days, the status at the time of this writing, parents have been making alternate arrangements for children.

Haldane Elementary reported one child had been dropped off Monday morning but was picked up inside of an hour. Chase Secondary had no students at the school.

School District #73 trustee Denise Harper stopped by to talk about the situation for students in Chase. Harper was first elected to the school board in 1993, her experience rounding out her assessment of the state of education in B.C.

Harper’s focus is on the students.

“I volunteer at the schools whenever I can, feeling most effective when I can be in the midst of the children,” she said.

She frequently spends time at schools in her jurisdiction. This focus is the same for teachers, she notes. They just want to help the students get an education.

Progress and resources are bogged down with policy and it can be frustrating for all concerned. The currently vacant primary school in Chase one example.

While the building sits empty there are costs associated and lost revenue that could be better spent educating the students. At this point, dollars are spent keeping a vacant building due to strict policy adherence. Harper is actively looking for solutions and has attempted to better manage school board resources.

We talked about the statistics the Fraser Institute has published on its website, and how the data is suspect due to the action of teachers over the past year. Marks on the FAS tests used have been submitted at best sporadically, because many teachers don’t agree with the assessment.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from playing with data over the past 40 years, its integrity is only as good as the diligence taken to ensure accuracy. When one looks at the Fraser Institute reports, there are obvious gaps in some years where the data makes no sense.

There can be value in finding trends in the Fraser Institute data base, Harper agreed, but the information as presented should be taken with a grain of salt. She said rural schools come with challenges not present in the larger centres and therefore comparison of numbers requires supporting information to clarify.

Harper spoke of her efforts to bring more variety in the scope of training, especially at the high school level when students are preparing to enter the workforce. She said any progress has been extremely slow in this economic climate.

Though the overall population is aging in the Chase area, the children are important citizens worthy of attention. They are the future of our community, and their teachers care about the state of education in B.C. enough to take action.

Spring break is here along with daylight savings time; hopefully some resolve will come over the next couple weeks until classes resume once again.