Why are so many parents opting out of B.C.’s renowned public schools?

A lot of individuals don’t understand how public education has changed since they went to school and this article explains how it has changed over the years. Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.

But this is a heck of a lot easier to achieve with the advantage of specialist teachers, ubiquitous technology and teacher training. Public school districts receive about $7,800 per student for operations (not including capital expenditures) from government. Private schools receive up to half of that amount in government subsidies—in addition to the $10,000 to $20,000 parents pay annually. In short, policymakers will need to invest more in specialist teachers and teacher training if they hope to make personalization a reality in public classrooms.

Children With Disabilities in B.C. Schools

Rick Moore, parent of a severely dyslexic son, compares the history of disabled children in B.C. schools to the closing of mental health institution Riverview Hospital. “Inclusion, even though it was the right thing to do, was never sufficiently funded,” he says. “I’m still cynical about whether the government is sincere about making inclusion of disabled children work.”

1950s: Public schools don’t educate children with developmental abilities because it is widely believed that they cannot learn. So parents of disabled children start to set up their own independent schools.

1977: Premier Bill Bennett begins subsidizing independent schools—giving schools up to 35 per cent of public school funding per student—and enrollment grows consistently over the next decade.

1980s: Disability activists, going against the thinking of the 1950s, now push for disabled students to be educated in regular classrooms instead of at isolated specialized schools. Private school growth slows over the next decade as disabled students are integrated into the public system.

2002: Then-Education Minister Christy Clark removes the B.C. Teachers’ Federation’s right to negotiate class size and composition, which teachers argue hurts students with special needs. Growth in private school enrollment speeds up again, with the portion of B.C. students in private schools increasing from nine to 12 per cent over the next decade.

2014: The decade-long legal battle over class size and composition comes to a head during the teachers’ strike. The deal that ends the strike includes $400 million to hire specialized teaching aides and limit the number of special needs children assigned to each teacher.

2015: The Supreme Court of Canada will consider whether the B.C. government illegally removed the BCTF’s right to bargain class size and composition back in 2002.

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