Letter: Kootenay Lake District parents concerned about ramifications of Bill 11
To the Editor:
Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education
PO Box 9045, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC, V8W 9E2
Dear Minister Fassbender:
Re: Bill 11, The Education Statutes Amendment Act
We write to you as representatives of the parents of almost 5,000 students in the Kootenay Lake School District who are gravely concerned about the ramifications of Bill 11 on the future of our children’s education.
This legislation severely inhibits the participation of parents, trustees and teachers in the delivery of public education, and increases the power of those farthest away from the students.
The planned changes to the School Act stifle the voice of parents. Parents provide valuable insights to school planning and operations with the best interest of their children’s education as their top priority.
However, this legislation will eliminate their involvement in school plan development and limit their involvement in the establishment of specialty academies. Consultation after the fact does not equate with involvement during the process.
Parents are also concerned about the changes to the permitted uses of student information. The legislation as presented is very vague in this regard and raises concerns about the privacy of sensitive information about our children.
Furthermore, the Kootenay Lake District Parents’ Advisory Council fully supports the recent resolutions of the BC School Trustees Association and the contents of the April 23 letter from the School District No. 8 Board of Education.
Not only are parent voices being repressed, but the authority of our locally elected representatives is being severely eroded. Boards of Education are being forced to comply with mandates emanating from the office of the minister or face the threat of replacement by a non-elected non-locally accountable political appointee.
On the contrary, locally elected school trustees are best placed to govern school districts in a manner that reflects the values and needs of the students and their families living in their communities.
We join with Boards of Education, teachers and others in calling on the government to withdraw this legislation and redraft it following extensive consultation with all partners in public education.
Kootenay Lake District Parents’ Advisory Council