In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the government of Oceania has an entire Ministry that uses all forms of media to create a false reality. In British Columbia today, the Government Communications and Public Engagement office has a budget of $37,900,000 to ensure that you have the correct view of what the B.C. Liberals do for you with your money.
The B.C. Liberals have been cutting funding and supports for public schools. This year alone the government asked school board to find $25 million in "administrative cuts," last year it was $29 million. So this one-time funding announcement is not what I consider to be an addition to funding, but rather a reduction in this year's cuts.
But my joyful relating of this good news will be dampened by the knowledge that there is no funding to make possible the full implementation of the new curriculum. It's as though my students have been given the keys to a car without any money for insurance or gas or maintenance or even driving lessons.
Things are worse. They are so much worse. I cannot express how bad things are getting. It's because I love the work so much, that I have to leave. I've spent the last two years thinking about going. I've felt increasingly sorrowful that I simply cannot do all that these kids need and deserve me to do.
B.C.'s Charter for Public Education is a public owned document, which stands as a testament to everything we as a community want and expect from our public school system. It is a document long forgotten somewhere between the never ending war against our public schools, funding cuts and dragged out court cases.
Personalized learning will mean that more often than not your child will be interacting with his/her personal computer while completing courses online. It makes so much sense to try to sell this doublespeak version of "personalized" to parents. It's so much cheaper to buy a new computer than to pay a teacher's salary year after year.
Yes, I've bought the materials in the boxes that I'll be hauling to work each day this week. And yes, I sincerely wish that I hadn't had to go out of pocket to make sure that my students get the best education that I can give them. The underfunding of public education in B.C. has already taken enough out of me. I refuse to let it take who I am as a teacher, too.
Then there is the issue of school supplies. I have watched the list steadily lengthen over the years. This year alone, I have spent $300 just so my children can have adequate supplies for school. Not to mention that their supply lists include ridiculous items like Kleenex, photocopy paper and Ziploc bags. If our schools don't even have the funding to supply children with something to wipe their noses with, then like one parent said to me, "What's next, toilet paper?"