176 schools closed since 2002 and more on the way

The Tyee, British Columbia’s online news magazine and journal of discussion has harvested some interesting statistics from the BC Teachers Federation website, numbers that show that if closing schools were an Olympic event the the BC Liberals would, as they say, own the podium.

Crawford Kilian, has posted a fascinating article on the numeracy and politics of school closures with the rather shocking detail that since 2002, the Liberals have overseen the closure of some 176 schools across the province, with 2010 promising to add rather significantly to that total…

(from  the blog a town called podunk, click on the link below to see the entire article atowncalledpodunk.blogspot.com/2 … 9043795869 )

I’m no expert but the funding formula does not help rural areas or smaller communities.

I have no idea how to solve the situation in Prince Rupert.  I do not think that the middle school is the educational panacea it is purported to be.  It’s not a disaster either, but this was a funding decision not an educational one.  And now we are faced with another school closure that will heavily impact our neighbourhoods.

I have also wondered why more districts do not submit needs budgets despite the illegality of running a deficit.  Are boards willing to put up with being the agents of what is in reality the province’s dirty deeds?  Or, are they afraid that any kind of rebellion will give the province the opportunity of amalgamating school districts like the regional health authorities.  Who would blink in that contest?

Just as a start, perhaps the parents of Roosevelt, Westview, and Port Ed children and anybody else with an interest in education in Prince Rupert should send letters to the ministry explaining their concerns/outrage.

The erosion of provincial support for public education in the last 8 years has been so relentless that at times I’m tempted to see it as part of a plan that has, as its end point, a completely and deliberately compromised public system.  It also seems to be part of a wholesale abandonment of small town B.C. by the current government.

As for D White’s comment, I think the trustees, as a provincial group, are getting braver, but not yet brave enough.  There are too many loyal and obedient BC Liberal trustees to achieve the unanimity required to resist the trend from Victoria.  I think there is a very real possibility of the regional health model being transferred.  However, I think the public would be very concerned about that type of change in public education.  Somehow the logic of health authorities with big regional budgets might not be so welcome at the local school level.

The idea of affected parent groups writing Victoria seems a lost cause, in my view.  I think the government stopped listening to anyone opposed to its ideology long ago.  I simply don’t believe they are listening now. 

Sad (no, tragic), in a so-called democracy.  And now the Olympic bills will start rolling in, and I suspect things will start getting really difficult for local authorities in the forgotten “heartland”.  I wish I felt more optimistic, but I’m afraid it just doesn’t seem warranted at this political moment.