What happened to BC public education over the last 15 years? How did it get this bad without pause? Where has this direction come from? The BC Liberals of Christy Clark. Any illness, any chronic decline, any problem that causes systemic dysfunction, requires a complete diagnosis.
First, the causes. Let's go back to the start. Bills 28 & 22 that stripped collective bargaining from the BC Teachers Federation. The 10 years plus court battles it sustained. The simultaneous decline in the funding of education. School Boards trapped by law to absorb the pressure and take the heat. Downloading the costs of supplies and activities no longer funded onto parents and Parent Advisory Councils. The 2014 BCTF strike and the infamous clause E80, dictating class size & composition. The political failure of "Parent Bribes". The change to Per-Student Funding to continue the slide.
The effects followed fast and furiously. 240 school closures in the Liberal era. Forced competition between communities to keep their schools open Delays of a decade or more for the schools seismic upgrades program. Lead showing up in the drinking water. Years of neglected maintenance everywhere in the system. Overcrowding of existing schools going unaddressed. The abandonment of true Special Needs education where the numbers showed it necessary. The creation of wide-spread inequality in education delivery and outcomes.
Is there a cure? It should be obvious by now what does not work and who will continue the same treatments. What is needed is a new therapy, a new regimen to begin to heal this, a diagnosis to stop the bleeding.
Sarah Millar (@waitinginBC) is a working mother, activist, organizer of parent advocacy for education, photographer and Huffington Post blogger who has devoted her energies to assessing this disease. She brings a full diagnosis and possible treatment prescriptions for May 9th to The View Up Here.