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BCCPAC delegates develop parent action planMay 31, 2014

Author: Webmaster

It was crazy busy Saturday as parents attending the BCCPAC annual general meeting elected new leaders and debated resolutions intended to improve the experiences of public school students.

Nicole Makohoniuk of Vernon will become the new president when Terry Berting of Burnaby steps down June 30. Other board members elected or re-elected this weekend are: Ayesha Haider of Burnaby (second vice-president), Angie Carlyle of Qualicum (director) and Tracy Wright of Langley (director) .

They join first vice-president John Puddifoot of Vancouver, treasurer Susan Wilson from the Slocan Valley, director Bonnie Krisher from Comox Valley and director Darlene Campbell from Prince George who are all in the middle of two-year terms.

In passing resolutions, delegates directed BCCPAC to advocate for:

–          Government funding to cover the cost of all improvements to pay and benefits for K-12 employees through increases to school district operating grants. Delegates said they don’t want a repeat of what happened recently when the government required boards to absorb the 3.5 per cent increase negotiated with support staff.

–          Revisions to the public school funding model to ensure student services and classroom supports are protected and not degraded by new and inflationary costs.

–          Increased counselling resources in elementary and secondary schools. Ratios of one counsellor for 500 students are much too high, delegates said.

–          More transparency and clarity from school districts on their preliminary budgets so that parents can provide meaningful input
.

–         Alternatives to school suspensions.

–          Reports to parents when their students are removed from classrooms for disciplinary reasons.

–          Greater parent involvement in issues related to student learning conditions.

–          A requirement that all teachers update and maintain their skills to the level expected of newly certified teachers. (I`ve received a lot of feedback on Twitter about this, and can only hope comments will be posted below.)

–          The BC Teachers` Council to complete its review and update teacher standards before the start of the 2015-16 school year.

–          Expanded training at universities to better equip new teachers to teach diverse populations.

–          Inclusion of aboriginal residential school experiences in social studies classes at all school levels.

Several resolutions prompted a lot of debate but weren`t approved, including calls for:

–          Changes to the math curriculum to ensure that students have mastered basic skills by Grade 6. Delegates expressed several concerns and questioned what would happen to students if they hadn`t mastered the skills by then. The resolution was referred to BCCPAC`s curriculum committee for further study.

–          A ban on the use of forced seclusion or isolation rooms in school when students are out of control. The room was split on this issue, with some delegates saying that seclusion or isolation might be the only way to keep everyone safe, on some occasions.

–          Processes to ensure that students have the right to participate in extra-curricular activities and they aren`t denied these opportunities as punishment for bad behaviour or poor marks. Again, delegates were divided, with some insisting extra-curricular should never be used as coercion and others suggesting kids might learn a lesson if denied an opportunity.

I am a guest blogger for BCCPAC and do not speak for the organization.

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