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Ministry of Education Funding Model Review

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/administration/resource-management/k-12-funding-and-allocation/k-12-public-education-funding-model-review

In October 2017, government launched a funding model review to fulfill its commitment to ensure B.C.’s K-12 public education system receives stable and predictable funding.

The co-governors of B.C.’s K-12 public education system, the Province and the B.C. School Trustees Association, have worked together to develop a set of shared principles for the future funding model and establish a solid foundation for moving forward. The new model will be guided by the following principles:

  • Responsive: Allocates available resources amongst Boards of Education in consideration of unique local and provincial operational requirements.
  • Equitable: Facilitates access to comparable levels of educational services and opportunities for individual students across the province.
  • Stable and Predictable: Supports strategic, multi-year planning for educational programming and school district operations.
  • Flexible: Respects the autonomy of, and does not unnecessarily restrict, individual Boards of Education in the spending of their allocations to further student success.
  • Transparent: Calculates funding using a clear and transparent methodology.
  • Accountable: Allocates resources to Boards of Education in the most efficient manner, and ensures that resources provided are being utilized as intended

 

Input that has been provided to the Ministry is also accessible here:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/administration/resource-management/k-12-funding-and-allocation/k-12-public-education-funding-model-review/inputs-fmr

Fraser institute ranking information

This post is copied from a post from April 2016, with updates for current links.

 

The Fraser Institute has published their yearly, controversial, ranking of BC elementary schools:

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/report-card-on-british-columbia-elementary-schools-2018.pdf

While parents want data about schools, and to see how schools are doing, this is not a terribly useful, accurate, or helpful report. 

There is a BC government website that allows parents to access data about elementary schools:  http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/reporting/school.php

Here are two web posts that give some background information on how these results are calculated:

http://donaldgutstein.com/eight-distortions-and-other-problems-in-the-fraser-institutes-report-card/

“…

2. Twenty percent of a school’s ranking comes from differences between the results achieved by boys and girls. This artificially depresses the scores of schools with students of lower socio-economic status where, typically, gender differences are more pronounced.

Worse, and inexplicably, the Fraser gives more weight to gender differences than to the actual results. Gender differences in Grade 7 numeracy and reading tests (what happened to writing?) account for 10 percent each. The actual test results account for only 7.5 percent each.

3. Twenty-five percent of a school’s ranking comes from the percentage of tests “not meeting expectations.” This result penalizes low-performing schools by accounting for their low scores twice.

4. Ten percent of a school’s ranking comes from the percentage of tests not written in a school. This indicator was added in 2007 “to encourage schools to ensure a high level of participation in the FSA testing program.” It is a not-so-veiled attack on the BC Teachers Federation and parents who don’t want their children to write the tests.

That punishing the BCTF is the purpose of this component of the rankings can be seen by comparing the Fraser Institute’s BC and Alberta elementary schools rankings. This component does not exist in the Alberta report card where the union is not as activist in opposing mandatory testing.

…”

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/jack-knox-fraser-institute-school-rankings-fail-the-test-of-utility-1.888744

The annual Fraser Institute ranking of B.C. elementary schools is out, showing that — shock! — private schools perform better than those where the kids arrive hungry and get stacked up like cordwood in the classroom.

Of course the Saint Whoever schools rank well, is the standard response. Children are screened before being accepted, special-needs kids have better support and, as a retired teacher pointed out in a letter to the editor, class sizes “are smaller than most grade-school birthday parties.” If a parent is paying both taxes and tuition, the results better justify the extra outlay.

Sure enough, this year’s report showed that 19 of the 20 schools that tied for first place — including Victoria’s Saint Michaels University School — were independents. West Vancouver’s Cedardale was the lone public institution. The other end of the scale was just as predictable: inner city and remote schools that might as well be named Sisyphus Elementary, the students destined to push uphill boulders that always rolls back on them.

If the Fraser Institute results never vary, neither does our reaction: we all A) complain that the rankings are statistics-twisting nonsense, then B) rush to see how our kids’ school placed. Nature abhors a vacuum; parents know the report’s methodology leaves a lot to be desired, but in the absence of a more comprehensive way to measure the quality of their children’s education, they’ll seize on this one. To which Helen Raptis says “Don’t.”

Ditto for David Johnson.

Raptis is associate dean of education at UVic. Johnson is an economics prof at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., and the education policy scholar at another think tank, the C.D. Howe Institute.

Both think the standardized testing on which the Fraser Institute rankings are partially based is useful — just not in the way the Fraser Institute is using it. The tests were never meant to be used as the education equivalent of TripAdvisor.

The rankings rely in part on the Foundation Skills Assessment taken by all B.C. students in Grades 4 and 7 to test their knowledge of numeracy, reading and writing (though note that in Greater Victoria, most elementary schools don’t go to Grade 7). If a parent really wants to use a yardstick to measure school performance, go to the Education Ministry website to look up that data, Raptis says.

But those tests account for just 45 per cent of an elementary school’s Fraser Institute ranking, she says. The balance of the weighting is based on indicators that haven’t been proven to affect school performance, but that are skewed against schools with a lot of kids of lower socio-economic status. The result is that a school full of poorer kids can be ranked below one with inferior test results.

Forget all the public-versus-private school talk, Raptis says. This is just an Orwellian exercise that pulls down good schools by measuring them with tools of uncertain usefulness. The low rankings of low socio-economic schools are inevitable, discouraging progress. It’s actually counter-productive, which is why the Times Colonist decided to stop publishing the Fraser Institute list a few years ago, she notes.

Johnson’s objections are different — and somewhat contradictory. He developed a more complete measuring system for the C.D. Howe Institute that incorporates socio-economic variables that the Fraser Institute ignores, he says. That allows schools in similar circumstances to be compared, allowing improvements can be made. “What you really want to do is look at schools that outperform similar schools and see what you can learn from that.”

Even then, forget saying with a straight face that School X, in 132nd place, is better than 445th-ranked School Y. We all like Top 10 lists, and there’s a sexiness to ranking schools one through 982, but Johnson scoffs at the idea of rating them that finely, particularly when doing so by focussing on year-to-year changes in the average FSA scores. In a small school, a handful of students who test particularly poorly or well can shift the marks dramatically. Better to put more weight on longer-term trends and the percentage of students who achieve at an acceptable level.

As it is, Johnson simply doesn’t find much value in the annual fuss. “I think it just annoys people.”

Consultation update from School Board Meeting

At the May 1st board meeting, there was a brief verbal report on the upcoming consultation process for the Edgewood Elementary and the French immersion program.

The superintendent reported that the district has been working diligently on consultation plan with the express purpose of reaching as many of the folks directly involved as possible, each household involved, planning to talk to each staff involved. They had initially had thought to provide handouts tonight, on further review, not quite ready for documents to be circulated. Good progress is being made. The goals of consultation are to learn what our constituents – students, staff, community – think from both a programming and where programs are offered perspective. The district is working diligently to ensure consultation process gets that info, and provide thoughtful feedback to the board that considers it. They are also making good progress to plans to provide an electronic process, for households as completing these surveys, where data will stay in Canada. 

There was also a brief update that discussions are taking place regarding consultation for Mackenzie and McBride.

Reminder for BCCPAC Proxies – AGM being held May 4th

If your PAC is a voting member of BCCPAC, we will reimburse your BCCPAC membership if we hold your proxy (or if you have your own representative).

The proxy voting form is available: BCCPAC_-Proxy-Vote-Form_Members_2018

Our delegates are Andrea Beckett, Trudy Klassen, Kim Pryschlak, and Sarah Holland – we can write the appropriate delegate names on the form for you, to make sure that everyone has the ability to vote, or you can write in a delegate and alternate.

If your PAC is a member (please see list below), please fill out the proxy, scan/take a picture, and email it to info@sd57dpac.ca.

Our delegates will cast votes for resolutions, and nominees for the board of directors of BCCPAC. If you like, you can direct these delegates to vote in a specific way, or to use their best judgement at the time  – just let us know.

Who are BCCPAC members in this district?

Voting members:

  • Beaverly Elementary
  • Blackburn Elementary   (received)
  • College Heights Elementary (Ecole)    (received)
  • College Heights Secondary
  • DPAC SD#57 Prince George   (received)
  • Edgewood Elementary
  • Glenview Elementary   (received)
  • Hart Highlands Elementary
  • Heather Park Elementary   (received)
  • Heritage Elementary
  • Kelly Road Secondary  (received)
  • Lac des Bois (Ecole)
  • Nukko Lake Elementary
  • Peden Hill Elementary
  • Pineview Elementary
  • Prince George Secondary
  • Quinson Elementary   (received)
  • Southridge Elementary   (received)
  • Spruceland Traditional   (received)
  • Vanway Elementary

Non-voting members (membership not received by deadline, according to BCCPAC):

  • Duchess Park Secondary (PAC is contacting BCCPAC to check on this)
  • Morfee Elementary

SD57 electoral areas

The Ministry of Education announced in April that it was changing the electoral process for School District 57 from an at-large system (7 representatives elected from the entire district), to an electoral area system with one representative from Mackenzie, one from the Robson Valley (McBride and Valemount), and 5 representatives from the Prince George area.

Links to two recent articles:

http://thevalleysentinel.com/156205

http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/opinion/editorial/victoria-holds-all-the-education-cards-1.23265685

 

Parent Resources for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in BC schools

https://www.sogieducation.org/parents/

SOGI 1 2 3 Parent Resources were created in collaboration with BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) and the BC Ministry of Education to answer parent questions about what SOGI-inclusive education looks like in BC schools.

What does SOGI mean?
SOGI stands for sexual orientation and gender identity. Since we all have a sexual orientation and gender identity, it includes all of us. Every student understands and expresses their gender differently, with interests and choices that are common or less common for their biological sex. Some students may be unsure of their sexual orientation. Others may identify specifically as lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, cisgender, or other. A SOGI-inclusive school means all of these experiences and identities are embraced and never cause for discrimination.

What is changing?
SOGI is one of many topics about diversity discussed regularly in schools, such as when educators speak about race, ethnicity, religion, and ability. SOGI-inclusive education simply means speaking about SOGI in a way that ensures every student feels like they belong. There is no “SOGI curriculum.” SOGI is a topic that can be addressed throughout many subjects and school activities. Educators have expressed a need for more SOGI resources and training to ensure all students feel confident being themselves. SOGI 1 2 3 is simply one more way that educators can find the resources they need and learn from each other.

What will my child learn?
SOGI-inclusive education is about students having conversations about the SOGI diversity in society and the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect. Teachers are best equipped to determine what is age appropriate for their classrooms. For example, some students are raised by single dads, grandparents, or stepparents, while some do not have a mom, and some have two. An effective K/1 lesson on family diversity will teach students that families come in all shapes and sizes. Another lesson may discourage students from saying “that’s so gay,” which directly impacts the welcoming atmosphere of schools. SOGI 1 2 3 lesson plans are an optional resource for educators. They align with your provincial curriculum and are meant to be customized by educators as they desire.

Correspondance at School Board meeting regarding possible changes to electoral areas for school trustees

There appears to be discussion about the Ministry of Education changing the current at large election of trustees in this district to areas, such as 5 trustees from Prince George, 1 from Mackenzie, and one from the Robson Valley.

According to the current student numbers, this is the registration of students per city for current public schools in SD57:

City Sum of Enrolment Percentage
Hixon                  33 0.2%
Mackenzie                596 4.5%
McBride                136 1.0%
Prince George          12,307 92.3%
Valemount                230 1.7%
Willow River                  29 0.2%
Grand Total          13,331 100.0%

Catchment and Capacity Consultation Update from SD57 board meeting, April 10th

At the April 10th school board meeting, the report from the March committee of the Education Services Committee was presented. One item listed in the minutes relates to the Catchment and Capacity Consultation, which is currently in development.

“The Superintendent discussed first consultation steps that may be taken regarding possible changes to school catchment areas as directed by the Board of Education at its meeting held February 27, 2018. She noted that an option that should be considered related to the Duchess Park Secondary School family is including Edgewood Elementary School in the Kelly Road Secondary School family effective when the new Kelly Road Secondary School first enrolls students in September 2020. The superintendent advised the Committee that further information on planned catchment and capacity consultation would be brought to the April 9, 2018 Education Services committee meeting.”

 

Members of the DPAC executive who have attended some of these committee meetings are aware of upcoming consultations regarding a variety of recommendations in the district, but much of this information cannot be made public at this time by us. Information on this will be going out to parents from the district, and we can note that the district is talking very seriously about consulation with the community. These plans are still under development, but this particular item has now been made public at a board meeting.

 

Additionally, other consultations were listed in a handout at the board meeting:

  • Edgewood Elementary School catchment area
  • Options for French immersion programming
  • A possible capital project for a new elemtnary school on teh site of teh former Blackburn Junior Secondary School
  • A review of school catchment areas for all Hart Elementary Schools
  • Possible further consulatation with the Spruceland Traditional school community regarding future programming

The first two items will be brought to the board at their May 1st board meeting, and the next 3 will be discussed in their Education Serivces meeting in May.

 

There is also a recommendation that the Superintendent be directed to advise the District of Mackenzie and the Regional District of Fraser Fort George that SD57 welcomes proposals for the use of surplus space at Mackenzie Secondary School, and that the Superintendent continue communciation with McBride stakeholders to involve those stakeholders in decision making regarding school programming Kindergarten to Grade 12 in McBride.

Summary of the Seven Themes, Key Findings and Recommendations from the “BC Rural Education Report”, March 2017

Our trustee representative, Sharel Warrington, presented this summary at our DPAC meeting last night, and gave us permission to post it on our website.

The full report can be accessed here: http://sd57dpac.ca/2018/03/bc-rural-report-education-published/

 

Summary of the Seven Themes, Key Findings and Recommendations from the “BC Rural Education Report”, March 2017

Prepared by Trustee Sharel Warrington

for

District Parent Advisory Council Meeting April 9th 2018

 

Theme:  Funding Opportunities and School Closures

BC Rural Education Report Key Findings:

“There is a lack of understanding amongst stakeholder of how the k-12 public sector funding allocation system and governance structure work which impacts the relationship between boards of education and stakeholders.”

“Stable and predictable funding is critical to education.  Although the current funding model provides supplements for rural school districts, funding based primarily on enrolment does not reflect the higher costs of delivering comparable programs and services in low enrolment and remote environments.”

Recommendations:

  • Undertake a comprehensive review of the k-12 sector funding allocation system to better reflect the operational and educational realities of operating schools in rural and remote communities
  • Continue to provide targeted funding outside of regular operating grants to address unique rural issues such as transportation and housing
  • Help boards of Education to keep schools open where it makes educational sense to do so and where communities may be adversely impacted by closure

Theme: Access to Quality Educational Programs

BC Rural Education Report Key Findings:

“Statistical achievement data confirms there is a gap between the educational outcomes of rural and urban students. The gap is even larger for rural Aboriginal students.”

 

“Educational programs that tap into the local culture and/or economy of the region help foster strong connections between students and their rural communities.”

 

“Rural students do not have the same level of access to educational programs and extra-curricular activities as their urban counterparts.”

 

“There are many innovative ways to deliver quality educational programs, in addition to brick-and-mortar facilities, including virtual, facilitated and experiential options.”

 

“Innovative programming and solutions to educational challenges are being implemented in schools across the province; however, the effectiveness of these programs and solutions is not being explored systematically and successes are not being shared widely.”

 

“Teaching in a multi-grade classroom environment can be difficult; many teachers in rural and remote schools are new, and they often have limited access to classroom support.”

 

“Lack of access to specialist services, long travel times, and high costs in some rural schools and communities are contributing to long wait times for special needs assessments and, therefore, delays in receiving services.”

 

“Transitioning to larger communities, whether for work or further education, is difficult for rural students.’

Recommendations:

  • Develop targeted strategies to close the urban-rural gap in educational outcomes for students in collaboration with Boards of Education
  • Support rural schools to build on local strengths, develop innovative programming tailored to the surrounding community and share promising practices provincially
  • Ensure equitable access to educational programs, services and extra-curricular activities for students and professional learning opportunities for staff regardless of where they live.
  • Ensure that rural educators and administrators are well-supported to provide quality educational programming within complex learning environments ( i.e. multi-grade classrooms
  • Increase support to students to ensure that they are prepared for post-secondary, career and life transitions within and outside of their rural community
  • Improve access to technological tools, software and supports that encourages innovative educational programming, including opportunities to collaborate between schools and school districts across the province

Theme: State of School Facilities

BC Rural Education Report Key Findings:

Use it or lose it’ approach to facility maintenance funding makes it difficult for rural school district to undertake larger-scale maintenance projects, leading to higher deferred maintenance costs and facility deterioration.”

 

“Rural school districts have limited funding options to help them ‘right size’ their school facilities in the context of enrolment decline.”

 

“Specialty program space and equipment, such as shop/trades, requires upgrading in order to adequately prepare students for the workforce.”

 

“Technology and connectivity are important in delivering educational programs and engaging with parents; however, there are many schools in the province reporting limited or no access to new technologies and/or the internet.”

Recommendations:

  • Establish more flexible capital funding criteria to allow for: greater optimization of space; extend the useful life of facilities; ensure access to state of the art equipment and enhance community use of rural school space
  • Ensure that all rural schools have a minimum level of access to technological infrastructure and internet connectivity to support 21st century learning and that this access keeps pace with technological advances

Theme:  Community Use of School Facilities

BC Rural Education Report Key Findings:

“Community groups and the public are experiencing barriers to using school facilities in some communities – owing to factors such as insurance costs and user fees.”

 

“Boards of Education in rural school districts do not always have the budget to fund initiatives outside of their core educational mandate in support of community programming.”

 

Recommendations:

  • Work with Boards of Education to streamline and improve community group access to school facilities for non-educational purposes
  • Improve cross-government coordination in order to integrate public services/supports (e.g. counselors, mental health workers, social workers) within rural schools for the benefit of both students and the broader community

Theme: Staffing and Human Resources

BC Rural Education Report Key Findings:

“Rural school districts are experiencing great difficulty recruiting and retaining qualified staff for educational, administrative, and operational positions.”

 

Recommendations:

  • Work with rural school districts to identify their staffing needs and develop local action plans to ensure that their needs are met
  • Implement a coordinated strategic recruitment program to attract qualified education sector professionals to rural schools
  • Offer incentives to staff in rural school districts to reduce turnover and increase stability for students in the classroom

Theme:  Stakeholder Engagement

BC Rural Education Report Key Findings:

“Public reporting and stakeholder engagement practices by Boards of Education vary widely across the province. A number of stakeholders expressed frustration with the level of information being provided, the perceived lack of planning, as well as with coordination between public sector organizations.”

 

Recommendations:

  • Encourage local/regional governments and Boards of Education to work together for the benefit of their communities (e.g. joint facilities planning, community plans programs/services, etc.), and report out publicly on outcomes.
  • Strengthen public reporting from Boards of Education to their stakeholders, including Strategic Plans, Facilities Plans, and regular financial updates.

 

Theme: Partnerships and Shared Services

BC Rural Education Report Key Findings

“Rural school districts often have limited administrative capacity and subject matter expertise compared to their urban counter parts (i.e. Human Resource capacity/expertise, Information Technology Support, long-range facilities planning, etc.).”

“A great deal of cooperation and coordination is happening across rural and remote school districts in response to educational and operational capacity issues; however, these practices are not being shared widely across the province.”

“There is a significant interest in exploring further shared service initiatives between school districts and across other sectors where possible.”

Recommendations:

  • Continue to address capacity issues in rural school districts and find efficiencies for the benefit of rural school districts by establishing new and innovative shared services initiatives, including partnerships outside of the K-12 public sector where feasible.
  • Facilitate a conversation between school districts and external technological partners to enhance facilities, equipment and learning opportunities in rural education across B.C.