Thirty years ago, school supply lists were quite short, perhaps just two items: pencil crayons and a geometry set. But for a number of years now, the lists have become very long and often include two types of paper: photocopying and toilet. How did we get to this point?
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.
As a parent of three young children, and a practising scientist, I have some strong opinions about the direction of our education system and at this point I believe that we are heading in the wrong direction.
The saddest part to me is how much of the public buy into the "lazy, greedy" teacher persona that our government portrays in an effort to justify its constant underfunding of our public schools.
"I will not be buying these essential items for my children."
As a mother of two high-school aged kids and an educational consultant, I see first-hand the struggles that students and parents face. With the new changes to the curriculum I see the potential for these challenges to increase exponentially.
Each time I tried to imagine what personalized learning would look like in overcrowded classrooms with outdated technology, my mind sent me 404 error messages. Nothing computed.
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.