VICTORIA, B.C. - Today the Minister of Education announced masks will be required in B.C. schools, but with many exceptions. The B.C. Green Caucus welcomes improvements to safety and the funding behind it, but is concerned today's announcement will not clarify expectations and potentially contribute to continued confusion within school communities.Read more
SHAWNIGAN LAKE B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Green Party says the next government needs to do more to support public schools to cope with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as improve long-term funding. The B.C. Greens are promising a start of an immediate $200 million increase to the education budget per year for the next 3 years, as well as to improving long-term funding.Read more
MAPLE BAY B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Green Party, highlighted the party’s education platform and reiterated her commitment to lowering the voting age to 16 today at a campaign stop in Maple Bay.Read more
VICTORIA, B.C. - Today students and teachers return to the classroom under extraordinary circumstances. The B.C. Green Caucus is requesting the Minister of Education issue an unambiguous statement reassuring every school district in B.C. that there will be no cuts to operating funds after September 30th.Read more
VICTORIA, B.C. –B.C. Green MLA Adam Olsen for Saanich-North and the Islands welcomed the news that after three weeks, the union representing Saanich school workers and Saanich School District 63 ratified a new contract deal enabling 7,300 students to return to the district’s 18 schools.Read more
VICTORIA, B.C. - “The B.C. Green Caucus has always focused on ensuring public schools receive the funding and support they need so that they are the first choice for all British Columbians,” said MLA Andrew Weaver, B.C. Green Party leader.Read more
VICTORIA, B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Greens spokesperson for education, issued the following statement in response to the release of the education funding review report. The review of the K-12 education funding model was a policy commitment included in the Confidence and Supply Agreement and carried out by an independent expert panel with extensive stakeholder engagement.Read more
NEW WESTMINSTER B.C. – B.C. Green Party Candidate (New Westminster) and Education Spokesperson, Jonina Campbell, released the following statement in response to the B.C. 2017 Budget:
“I am disappointed in the 2017 budget. I am at a loss by a government who just lost a lengthy court battle to have Minister de Jong declare that education is ‘the single most important service that government operates and funds.’ I am at a loss as to why this province was made to go through a very expensive court battle, only to hear now what needed to have been said years ago. For many of our teachers and parents, Minister de Jong’s declaration has left them shaking their heads.Read more
A number of constituents recently contacted Andrew Weaver regarding the high cost of upgrading high school courses. To start the new year, and in anticipation of the upcoming provincial budget to be tabled in February, Andrew wrote to the Minister of Education to ask that he consider removing the barriers to educational access that his government put in place in May 2015.
A non trivial component of the government’s surplus has come at the expense of those who can least afford it. Cuts to those seeking to upgrade their high school education to pursue work and educational opportunities do nothing more than perpetuate the poverty trap.
The text of the letter is below.
Text of the Letter
January 4, 2017
Honourable Mike Bernier
Ministry of Education
PO Box 9045, Stn Prov Govt
Dear Minister Bernier,
I’m writing to you today in light of concerns that constituents have brought to my attention regarding the high cost of upgrading high school courses.
Since the subsidy was removed in May 2015, adults now face a fee to upgrade grade 11/12 courses, generally $500-$550 per course. This fee is placing a huge burden on families and individuals looking to upgrade their high school education and pursue work and educational opportunities.
I have learned that at the South Island Distance Education School (SIDES) in Victoria alone, there are hundreds of students who are unable to afford the fees of upgrading their courses, and thus remain on the waitlist; many more don’t even apply to join the waitlist, discouraged from doing so when they learn the cost.
In particular, these fees harm those who are seeking to upgrade their courses at secondary schools, since only courses taken at postsecondary institutions are eligible for tax deductions, reimbursement under RESPs, or the Adult Upgrading Grant.
This situation leaves a significant gap in our support for students, leaving those who upgrade their courses at secondary schools to pay course fees and to go without the financial assistance that benefits students at postsecondary institutions. It is not always an option to attend a post-secondary school: many low-income individuals need the flexibility of distance learning to enable them to balance their studies with their work.
I have heard from families who are struggling financially to help their children cover the costs of these courses. For others, the cost is too high a barrier to overcome, preventing motivated individuals from upgrading the courses they need to attend college or university, and therefore foreclosing the opportunities that would otherwise become available to them.
Currently, the BC Government is penalizing people who return to school, and preventing so many from upgrading their education and realizing the associated opportunities.
Please act to make adult education more accessible. This would be best achieved through reinstating the subsidies to these courses. In the absence of these subsidies, I ask you to extend the eligibility requirements for upgrading grants, to encompass students who upgrade their courses at secondary schools.
MLA, Oak Bay-Gordon Head
Mat Wright, Press Secretary, Office of Andrew Weaver, MLA
+1 250-216-3382 | [email protected]
For the foreseeable future, it seems likely that British Columbians will have to watch as the decades long dance of dysfunction between the BC Government and the BCTF continues to play out.Read more