Good morning. My name is Samantha Connolly and I am going into grade ten at Esquimalt high school.
This rally has four demands: a fair settlement for teachers, smaller class sizes, student and parent involvement in education, and reducing public funding for private schools. I am going to talk about two of these demands and how they impact students: class size and reducing public funding for private schools. Less than ten percent of British Colombia students attend private schools. But who wouldn’t want to go to private school? Private schools are able to provide better educational opportunities. It is not hard to see why. Private schools openly advertise what public education is fighting for: small classes.
And who wouldn’t want smaller classes? Private school classes in Victoria have fifteen to twenty students. In that class you don’t have to wait long to get your question answered. Among my peers, our endless struggle is how to find new ways to prop our arms up until the teacher has time to help. With fewer students, I bet teachers have time to give thoughtful feedback on every assignment. Teachers would always have time to stay around after school to help students. No worry of overwhelming marking later that night. Further more, would smaller classes not allow all students to get more close attention from the teacher, including students with special needs? And private schools have the funding to provide more support and more resources for students with special needs. These are things advertised in any private school brochure. So who wouldn’t want to go to private school?
But that is not all private schools have. The Saint Michael’s University campus is beautiful. Who wouldn’t want an attractive school? You won’t find peeling paint. And I bet when you watch a film in class, the curtains shut. Those are the basics. There are also multiple, large gyms, squash courts and a fitness center. And that is just for sports. The music program has three large classrooms, along with practice rooms and student lounges. Who wouldn’t want that learning environment?
Private schools have smaller classes, better resources for students with special needs and good physical facilities. Again I ask, who wouldn’t want to go to private school?
I don’t. I want all the things private schools have in my neighborhood public school; in a school where every student gets the same level of education; in a school where no one has to pay for a good education. The quality of your education should not depend on who your parents are, what neighborhood you live in, or your household income level.
Every student deserves small classes
Every student deserves educational resources
Every student deserves a functioning and attractive school building
And every student deserves to be able to pursue the education they want
That is what this fight is about, and that is why I am here supporting teachers and quality public education for all students.
Thank you, and let’s keep working together give every student a good education.