I am concerned about the future of public education in British Columbia.
The B.C. Education Plan is very short on details, but I am most concerned that narrower core competencies are to be delivered by technology, which is bound to be extremely expensive. Will funds go to buy computers for teaching and data collection instead of for teachers’ salaries and smaller classes?
Technology is powerful, but the relationship between teachers and their students will always be of paramount importance in any education system. We want schools to produce creative, thoughtful, flexible, knowledgeable and self-confident young people. This can be achieved by rich, integrated, hands-on classroom experiences provided by teachers who know the backgrounds and needs of their students.
It worries me that the new B.C. Education Plan makes almost no mention of art and music, except for a short reference to these (along with sports, leadership and science) as subjects that might be taught outside the classroom.
How is this to be done? Are we heading toward the privatization of teaching these subjects, for families who can afford them? These subjects are essential in a balanced, modern education. Their presence in the school is what nurtures our students’ creative sides and is the reason some give for staying in school. These subjects should not be optional; they are an important part of the curriculum.
I value public education and worry that with a lack of funding and the hasty introduction of a new education plan, more parents will decide to send their children to private schools. I worry that the support of private schools by this government may hasten this change, and we will become more of a have/have not society.