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Friday, 14 June 2013

We Are Here and Working Hard!

I apologize for the lack of information over the last couple weeks. We are working hard in the "back room". Growth and support has been fantastic! Now for some upgrades and less interesting work to support that growth. 

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: We are looking for volunteers to help with research. I am creating a portfolio of articles on the evolution of education in BC over the last 25-30 years. If you have information to share, please give me a shout! 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Discussion Needs to be on Professional Accountability vs Teacher Quality

We have had lots of discussion here at BC Partners in Education on Teacher Quality. And although we should always strive for excellence in our teachers, the discussion needs to shift to Professional Accountability amongst all in our education system.

Professional Accountability

Partners in Education wants to ensure that each part of the education system (elected representatives, administration, systems or processes and teachers) is accountable for their role in the quality of education children receive.
Partners in education will encourage parents to use their electoral rights to hold elected representatives accountable for the decisions they make.
Partners in education wants to see transparency at the administrative level to better understand how and why decisions are made and to be able to address them on behalf of parents.
Partners in education will challenge systems or processes that don’t support transparency, parental input or the best interests of children.
Partners in education knows that we are fortunate to enjoy many fantastic teachers of the highest quality across this Province, but we also want to see professional accountability, to ensure that where standards are exceptional they are recognized and where standards slip, action is taken to remedy the problem for the benefit of the children.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

BC PIE Advocating for Excellence - For the Kids

Education advocacy for BC Partners in Education means working for a stronger provincial system.

We advocate for excellence and stability in education.  BC PIE believes that stability and excellence is paramount to healthy schools. Professionals in the education sector must show all-around superiority in their work history to effectively teach our kids.  Teachers and staff have a great amount of influence over our youth and excellence is of major importance.

An education advocate is NOT someone who advocates for costly, inefficient policies.  We DO advocate for involvement from all partner groups such as, but not limited to: Parents, teachers, admin staff, community leaders, business, government, and union. We DO advocate for fiscal responsibility so our education funds are used wisely.  We DO advocate for stability to ensure our kids have the best possible chances for success.  And we DO advocate for excellence in our professional staff and for them to be rewarded for such excellence.

Education advocacy needs to have the sole purpose of working towards improving our education system for our kids.  And that's what BC Partners in Education is here to do!

We'd love your support!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

BC Conservative Party Member Alan Forseth on BC Partners in Education

Thank you very much for the amazing letter Alan! It's time to make some changes and we are very honoured to have your support!

Name: Alan Forseth


Subject: Keep up the work you are doing!


Alan Forseth
Kamloops, BC

May 29th, 2013

Hello Melanie ...

As you know I am very active politically as a member of the BC Conservative party, and so I
read and follow a number of areas of interest.
Having been through the education system in the mid-60s to mid-70s ... having my own
children go through it ... and now my grand-children ... I know and value the importance of
ensuring that current and future generations MUST be able to receive the best education
It seems the past two decades have seen an on-going civil war between government and
teachers, and I truly hope that news and more productive ways of creating a healthier
environment can be found.
Let me say, that is one reason I was pleased to see the formation of your group (Partners in
Education) as it appears your Mission statement -- and the end goal of your group -- can
possibly be one of the ways to help in bringing that about:
Mission: Develop the highest level in standards of education, through inclusion and
Please keep me in the loop, as I wish to stay informed on your work.

Alan Forseth

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

What's the Answer to a Healthy Collective Bargaining Process?

How do you feel about the collective bargaining process between teachers and governments? It's pretty clear that the current process is not working for BC. Everybody in the Province feels the impact of a poorly run education system.  Some feel it's the time process is made more public with all of us having a large stake.  

The Premier has submitted a 10 year plan for education as part of the BC Liberal response to some of the challenges. The BCTF has their own "plan" for a better system.

I'm not sure what the exact answer is, but I know we need stability.  We need better services for our special needs kids. We need curriculum choices to fit personalized interests and needs.  We need excellence in our teachers and staff.  And last but not least, we need engaged communities.

I'd like all partners in education to have more input into the policies in education that affect us all.  

We'd love your support!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Origins of BC Partners in Education

Letter from the Founder

May 20, 2013

Hello Friends,

I am a married, stay at home mom in the Lower Mainland. I have an 8yr old son with autism and a 9 year old daughter.

I first became interested in politics a few years ago after my husband introduced me to Twitter. We were in the middle of a major teacher’s strike and our children were just beginning in the public system, I wanted to be informed.

Initially, I was very judgemental of the way government was handling the negotiations. Most of the active Twitter users were education activists and gave me a skewed view of reality. After being invited by BC Education Plan staff to attend a focus group, I became aware that perhaps the situation is a little different than is being presented online. I asked a lot of questions of teachers, administrative staff, parents, community members and our government. 

I have been a BC Liberal Party member for a couple of years and am very excited about the possibility of a 10 Year Contract with the BCTF. There are many changes I’d like to see to our education system to keep it strong and moving forward. Stability is a key component. I am also hopeful the new BC Liberal team will be able to form a cooperative relationship with the BCTF. I am also hoping for a major review of public education. With a child on the autism spectrum, special needs services are a huge concern to me. 

I’d like to see some of the funding challenges tackled by creating partnerships with other Ministries and businesses in our communities. The Ministry of Children and Families, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education all need to collaborate and come up with practical ways of making sure our children are well prepared for a bright future.

It’s my desire, and that of BC Partners in Education, to help all partners in education acquire the tools they need to effectively and collaboratively solve some of our challenges in education.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting equal representation of all education partners in BCs education system. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes strong communities to maintain healthy schools.

In partnership,
Melanie Anderson
BC Partners in Education

We'd love your support!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

School Boards Budget Crisis..

It's becoming common for education news to be reporting a new school board is struggling with a looming budget crisis.  Funding shortfalls are common place.  Unexpected costs downloaded to Boards are also a problem. And I will be the first to admit that the schools need some solutions to the lack of services affecting our kids.

I think we really need to look at budget management also. I am not confident the Ministry of Education has the oversight ability they need.   It is not uncommon for local schools who find themselves tight towards the end of the year to "borrow" from the next year's budget.  I'm trying to find out more about how this works, but obviously am having some difficulties. I've heard of a school that was operating a full year behind due to this very type of spending. Unfortunately, haven't been able to get any information on the record yet. Just talk from admin staff/teachers off the record.

When a principal starts at a new school, some are unaware of the budget issues they are walking into.  You assume that you are walking in with a clean slate.  But not always the case.

I'd like to see more information reported about these issues as we see more and more districts in the news for funding shortfalls. Is the balanced budget requirement being observed and monitored responsibly?

Parents are asked what services we'd like to cut to compensate for funding shortfalls. Give parents the full story then. Not just the story you want us to hear.

We'd love your support!