Sunday, February 24, 2008

Susan Semonick On Schools - Feb 24, 2008 - Special Education Forum February 13th

Attended the Special Education Forum February 13th

Special Ed Inquiry Update

There were 27 parents at the Special Education Inquiry Progress meeting. The Special Education Steering Committee reported that Mr. Gorman, Deputy Minister of Education, and several of his staff received their report with great interest. We were told that what appeared to be most shocking to the Deputy Minister and his staff was that the Board of Education for School District 35 and its Superintendent, Ms. Beaumont, have chosen not to participate in the opportunity to have round table discussion in this matter.

It would appear to the public that the Board is dismissing and ignoring the concerns presented by this Steering Committee and the many parents of students with differing educational needs. According to the report prepared by district staff and accepted by the Board of Education on January 22, 2008, it seems that they feel all needs are being met and they are very happy with themselves. Apparently, approximately 365 students who were previously designated as having special needs no longer have them. They have miraculously been cured and their challenges no longer exist. I wonder, of that number how many are still in school? How many are on the streets?

The Board appears to be wearing rose-colored glasses. Perhaps if there would be proper staffing in the first place we would not have to spend endless dollars on Project Resiliency and Restorative Justice. Don’t get me wrong; I think these programs do serve a need. What I am saying is if there were proper assistance happening earlier, there is a great possibility these programs would not be required as much.

We have cuts in staff time at the school level. Yet, at the district level there are always positions being posted more people at the top to govern than there are to educate if ask me.

As early as 2003, this board has taken the stance of that the students’ needs are being met; if there are problems they can be fixed by more money. It is very clear that regardless of whether you had an endless source of money coming in, if the Board continues to do things the way they are currently doing them, the needs of the students will never be met. I give this Board a failing grade when it comes to ensuring that every dollar possible goes to direct student services and NOT FOR “minor raises for board members ” (their opinion not mine), failing business ventures, and to outside public organizations.

The LTA, CUPE 1260 and parents are planning a bus trip on February 25th to Victoria to the BC legislature to see Opposition Education Critic David Cubberley, and hopefully Minister of Education Shirley Bond, to discuss the Special Education Inquiry Report's recommendations. They will no doubt be raising concerns about the Board’s excuse that the School Act prohibits trustees from meeting with them to discuss the 10 local recommendations in the Report.

Respectfully submitted;Susan Semonick

No comments:

Post a Comment