I was remiss yesterday for not posting what is perhaps the biggest story in our personal lives, the success of the efforts by my wife and other parents to keep my son’s school open.
The Victoria School Board had decided that 2 schools needed to be closed because of declining enrollments, or what they called “structural deficits” to their budget (oh how I HATE that term, ever since I started hearing the bureaucrats use it in Alberta in the early 90’s to justify 30% and more cuts to education budgets). Our son’s school, Cloverdale, was one of the two slated for closure. And if that wasn’t frustrating enough, what really ticked people off was that not 2 months prior to this decision, the same school board had voted to allow the school to pursue its goal of becoming a “traditional school,” in no small part as an effort to become a “school of choice” and therefor stave off declining enrollment numbers. But because of some very suspect math on the part of school board researchers, this decision was being reversed without even seeing if it would succeed.
After the initial stages of grief the Parents Advisory Committee, along with some dedicated parents (including my wife Sian) jumped into action. The adopted an absolutely impeccable tone, one of strong certainty without negativity or defensiveness, and built up a strong case for keeping the school open. And 2 nights ago, after almost 3 months of making the case, the Board voted, somewhat miraculously in my mind, to keep the school open.
I know there is a lot of problems with our education system, but my experience with this school and with the teachers who work there has so far been very positive. They identified early on that my son was having some trouble reading, and he got extra attention on this, and is now mostly caught up with his peers. They have a fantastic after-school program which isn’t just a place to dump your kids, but instead someplace where they get both intellectual stimulation and lots of physical activity. And if there was anything positive that came out of the School Board’s stupid initial choice to close the school, it was that the community around the school is much stronger now. Never let it be said that a bunch of individuals can’t make a difference. – SWL (edited for spelling; sorry)