Oct 5/15: Ed Policy: The Record Off The Record: Charter School Proponent Supports “Program of Choice”

Full agenda with attachments here.

1 Education-Policy-Packup-for-Oct-5-2015

2 Education-Policy-Packup-for-Oct-5-2015

Education Policy Development Committee 
October 5, 2015
James Bay Community School

Chair: Nohr
Not in attendance: (not assigned to Ed Policy): Leonard, Loring-Kuhanga (ex officio), Orcherton, Whiteaker

Territory Acknowledgement900

1. Approval of Agenda: Adopted
2. Approval of the Minutes: Sept 14/15: Approved. Lined Paper notes here.
3. Business Arising From Minutes: None.
4. Public Presentations (On  June 1 agenda, 4   was “Public Request to the Committee”): None

5. New Business (On June 1 agenda, 5 was “Correspondence Referred to the Committee” ):

AIntroduction of Student Representative: Superintendent Piet Langstraat: Welcome to returning Student Representative Willow Mak, SJ Willis Education Centre.

Student Representative Backgrounder: [September 2013 original motion to initiate Student Trustee]
• A different student from the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Group (developed by the former Superintendent in 2014 and now self-identified as the Association of Students), a group of students recommended by their principals or otherwise selected at their school to work with the Superintendent as representatives of the student voice in SD61, attends Standing Committee and Board meetings each month. These nine students meet every 6 weeks with the Superintendent. [This is probably the best way to establish student engagement in governance and interest in a possible future elected Student Trustee, as student councils have long been  politically inactive (re  District  politics) in SD61.]

Process for Student Representative Selection Jan 14 2015

B. Coastal Kindergarten Pilot Program Review: District Principal Learning Initiatives : Janine Roy 

Recommended motion (Recommended by District Principal, Learning Initiatives): That the Board continue to provide the Coastal Kindergarten Program of Choice at James Bay and South Park as supported by Staff, parents and the community. / Carried as amended : To provide the program as a pilot program for one more year, 2015-2016. / For: Ferris, Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters  Against: McNally

October 7/13 Ed Policy initial proposal: In public seats were Principal Jeff Mitchell from South Park Family School [a “school of choice” with no catchment area: if you can afford to drive your child here, your child can attend], a member of the South Park Parent Advisory Council,  Principal Elaine McVie of James Bay Community School, Tiffany Carlyle, Co-Chair of the School Parent Advisory Council , and Bonnie Davidson, founder the Victoria Nature School: ” For the past 14 years Bonnie have [sic] been passionately using music to help children create a strong foundation for learning to read and write, first as a music therapist and then as a classroom and learning resource teacher …Creating the Victoria Nature School and a community of collaboration focusing on shifting the current eduction [sic] system alines [sic] with Bonnie’s passions and values perfectly!

  • McNally: When the initial proposal came to Ed Policy in October 2013 to vote on the Program of Choice Application: Coastal Kindergarten to begin September 2014, the motion carried 8 for 1 against . The same vote occurred at the November 18 2013 Board meeting.I was the one vote against.I like this idea : children outdoors, connecting with the environment and with the traditions and language of the people whose traditional territory we’re on.   But these activities should be offered District-wide.On many occasions a teacher, administrator and class will present their school-developed activity / program at an Education Policy or a Board meeting. This  program concept could have been developed that way, and as a great idea it is being emulated in other schools as parents and staffs collaborate.However, other schools and school communities don’t require that an education assistant be assigned to the class specifically to support the outdoor activities, when that EA could be supporting children in classrooms that demonstrably  need EA support.   Salt Spring schools do these activities with parent support. As a special education teacher for 22 years in this district I have seen the provincially instigated erosion of support to children with designated special needs. I saw children with very different needs put in groups of two or three or more in one classroom so one Education Assistant could do what he or she could to meet all their needs with resulting untenable schedules for CUPE workers. I can’t support taking  an Education Assistant away from critical support needs of students n another school  in order to support this program when students in some schools are struggling to survive at whatever level you’d care to define “survival”. The BC Ed Plan emphasis on “school choice” creates competition amongst schools for the $6,900 per student funding that comes with the student. Schools that lose “customers” lose that  entire per pupil amount though the school’s infrastructure costs remain the same. In SD61 13 “Programs of choice” and 155 Board authorized courses are scattered around various schools. Middle schools and Secondary Schools schedule exciting and glitzy open houses early in the New Year at which they showcase their “brand”, to entice customers. Are we going to see this in K-5 schools as well? Until the current BC government changed Sections 2 and 74.1 of the School Act students were expected to attend their neighbourhood school, anchors of their communities. Obviously, there is an issue of inequality of access and opportunity: families that  can afford to drive to programs across town can attend these “programs of choice”, while others face barriers to access. Highly respected US education writer Diane Ravitch  has written extensively on the negative effects of the “choice” movement on public education. The  “Dr. Greg Forster” quoted in  the supporting document is a Republican Evangelical who works for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, and is a senior fellow of  the Kern Family Foundation that funds Charter Schools, obviously working toward privatization of the public school system.  Is this the kind of support SD61 wants? 3 Education-Policy-Packup-for-Oct-5-2015forsterThis statement is unsupported by research.
  • Nohr: In support of this motion. The program met the needs of many vulnerable children, and had lots of happy campers.
  • McNally: This program is unsustainable and elitist. SD61 can’t pay for a CUPE Education Assistant in every kindergarten class that wants to do this. We already don’t have enough EAs to cover needs. [See Craigflower appeal here at A.6]
  • Orcherton: In support. There is lots of choice in personalized learning. This will keep on; it will spread and it is spreading. Hope to make it work across the District.
  • Paynter: Can’t support at this time. Support in broader application and would like to revisit in future. Will support in future when more information is available about rollout.
  • Watters: With regret not supporting; could if it was part of rollout across the District. How do we expand this across the District?
  • Ted Godwin, VCPAC rep: Can’t draw a conclusion yet; the pilot program is not finished. There is no plan to go forward in terms of sustainability. There is no sunset clause. Possibly run it for one more year  to draw conclusions after the 2 year pilot is finished.
  • Superintendent: The program has a January enrolment so a decision  now will affect that. There is not enough information to come back to the Board a week from now with a report. Could extend pilot by one year and do a thorough investigation of the 2 years.
  • Watters: Hoping the information isn’t just on how great the program is. Want information on affordability.
  • Motion to amend: Extend the pilot program by one year. / Amendment carried. For: Ferris,  Nohr, Orcherton, Paynter, Watters Against: McNally
  • Nohr: Look deeply into administration budgets to fund an EA in the next program, along with some creative planning around EAs so school or creative effort to have designations done at kindergarten to get an EA in the class.

C. Ministry of Education New Curriculum AnnouncementDeputy Superintendent Shelley Green

  • Paynter: Would the release time mean less instructional time? There is some commentary on that on the media already regarding this year’s instructional hours.
  • Superintendent: Probably. But at VCPAC meeting on Tuesday  there was good support for some adjustments to the calendar to accommodate this.
  • McNally: Am I right on  this: the idea is the training in the new curriculum will have to be done without release time covered by teachers on call since the Ministry’s $1 million for   training this year does not cover the costs to Districts for TTOCs, and we’re supposed to figure out how to do it. And what is the $1 million for, then? Who gets the money?
  • Superintendent: Correct. The money goes to pay for travel time for participants,  videos etc. It’s a train the trainer model.
  • Paynter: We should develop a District position on what we like and what’s working.
  • Superintendent: There has been ongoing feedback to the Ministry from  various groups. Interesting to think about the feedback loop to the Board.
  • Associate Superintendent Kitchen: Have been many drafts and rewritten drafts. A work in progress.
  • Deputy Superintendent: Regarding the graduation requirements alone, it took 3 years of meetings all over the province to talk to people just about that one aspect. The feedback loop will continue.
  • Superintendent: Curriculum implementation is usually a 6 or 7 year process.
  • Orcherton: Has been lots of opportunists for teachers to have input beyond the “100”. We would have heard from the GVTA if there was a problem with that and we haven’t.
  • GVTA Pro-D rep Cindy Graf: Teachers have sent in questions especially regarding the Science curriculum.A big concern is the Aboriginal Education piece -we don’t have the resources to do it.

D. Motion : Watters: That the Board formally dissolve the District Gay Straight Alliance Advisory Committee in order to reflect that the District GSA currently functions as a club. / Carried. Unanimous.

E. Motion: Watters:

Watters motion E

Discussion of both D and E together was unavoidable because of the complex relationship between them . Watters provided  a history of the evolution of the District GSA referring to the Consultation flowchart in Policy 1163 , Policy 4303 Discrimination and the accompanying  Regulation and TOR (both of which were ahead of their time in 2004 but which need updating now.) Watters indicated that she would move to amend “E ” by striking everything after “dissolved”.

  • Watters: A formal Ad Hoc Committee was established in 2004, an evolution of a 2002 “working committee”. The results are the 12 pages of Recommendations that came forward in  Regulation 4303 Discrimination, with Terms of Reference for a District GSA at the end. The TOR is problematic in that it includes groups that no longer exist. The group continued to meet after the terms of the TOR were satisfied, as GSAs at school and as a District GSA Club. The Ad Hoc Committee was never formally dissolved.
  • Paynter: Could we amend the Regulation? [At this time in SD61 Regulations are the purview of senior administration.]
  • Watters: This Committee was based on Policy 1220 Community Advisory Committee, Policy 1220 from 1971. Need to dissolve the Ad Hoc Committee and review Policy and Regulation 4303.
  • Orcherton: Who is the membership of these clubs?
  • Watters: No one appointed from employee groups except an Associate Superintendent and me as a Trustee.
  • Associate Superintendent Whitten: Membership includes CUPE, teacher sponsors, parents, students.
  • Orcherton: The Advisory Committee was going to report back to the Board  What will happen to the motion that was coming forward? Would like to reconvene the Committee to deal with this.
  • Watters: Regulation 4303 was ground-breaking at the time in 2004. We are standing on those shoulders going forward. The Club doesn’t want to be taken over by the Board.
  • Superintendent: The District GSA is truly a club. Their primary purpose is not writing a Policy.
  • Whitten: Post-club meeting could have an hour of anyone interested in talking about Policy can stay. That would be more inclusive as other groups could be there, with a 5 pm start.
  • McNally: In support of this motion. Anyone can bring Policy to the Board, according to Bylaw 9210 The Development of Policy.
  • Paynter: Now seem to be still tasking the GSA with development of Policy.
  • Watters: Will be moving to amend, in reference to Policy 9210 The Development of Policy.
  • Orcherton: When this first came forward stated importance of educating everybody in the community. Don’t want transgender kids’, parents’ voices lost but need wider input and maybe including  doctors.

Vote on D: Carried unanimously.
Back to E.

  • Watters: Policy can’t educate people while developing the Policy.
  • Orcherton: Ok, once the Policy has been developed. This is an accepting District. Might be more difficult on the mainland in certain areas. Have tried to get self-educated. Need to develop some education at the same time. Recommendations will no doubt point to the education piece.
  • Ferris: Motion to amend E:  strike everything after “dissolved”. / Amendment carried. Unanimous.
  • Orcherton: Not saying what we’re doing with this once it’s rescinded. Could it be resurrected?
  • Watters: We can’t task the GSA with this by motion since it’s a club.
  • Ferris: Anyone can bring a Policy proposal  forward for the Board to consider, so the GSA could still do that.
  • Vote on E as amended: Carried. Unanimous

6. Notices of Motion : None

7. Adjournment (On June 1 agenda 7 was “General Announcements”,  8 New Business and 9 Adjournment.) : 8:25 pm

About Diane McNally