Public Education Matters

On the evening of Wednesday, August 31st, advocates, community members, and politicians gathered at Vancouver’s Douglas Elementary for the “Public Education Matters” forum organized by the Parent Advocacy Network (PAN) and hosted by the Douglas PAC.

Erica Jaaf of Douglas PAC welcomes attendees.

Alex Hemingway of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives BC Office presented his report entitled “What’s the real story behind BC’s education funding crisis?” (The real story is that the BC government underfunds public education and uses misleading figures to obscure the underfunding.)

Alex Hemingway, CCPA

Andrea Sinclair of PAN next presented on advocacy: what it means and what it looks like. Advocacy means standing up for what you believe in. Andrea discussed how groups like PAN and FACE advocate in various ways for public education. She also explained the division of responsibilities within the education system.

Andrea Sinclair, PAN

Jen Stewart of FACE and PAN joined Alex and Andrea on the panel for a question and answer session, which included many thoughtful questions from the audience.

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Alex Hemingway, Andrea Sinclair, Jen Stewart

An informal networking and discussion session followed. FACE had an information table and a video booth set up (to collect videos for our next edition of “Can You Hear Us Now?”; more info on that soon!).

Catherine Shaw (left) represents FACE at the information table.

It was an informative and energizing way to prepare for the upcoming school year and all the advocacy that lies ahead. Many thanks to PAN for organizing and Douglas PAC for hosting.

If you have a Facebook account, you can find PAN’s Facebook Live broadcast of the evening here.

Next advocacy opportunities:

  1. Richmond Schools Stand United is organizing a rally on Saturday September 17, at 4:30 pm, outside MLA John Yap’s office in Steveston. Find the details here.
  2. The BC Legislature’s Select Standing Committee on Government and Finance will be holding public consultations around the province in September and October in order to prepare its recommendations for Budget 2017. Please register (beginning Sept. 6) to speak up for public education as a budget priority; alternatively, you can make a written, audio, or visual presentation and/or complete an online survey. Find information on registering, making submissions, and dates and locations here.

Upcoming event: 

On October 5th, The Tyee is hosting an evening called “The Future of Public Education: Beyond the Headlines.” Jen Stewart of FACE and PAN is one of the speakers. Find more information and buy your tickets here.