As most of you will know, after the next election I intend to return to the classroom. I have always loved being an educator, and I have always been passionate about ensuring that our public education system is providing the very best for all our children.
I believe that investing in our children’s education is the best investment we can make. For societies that believe every child deserves a fair chance, a strong public school system is the best way to make that happen.
Educated children will be more empowered, healthier, have a broader perspective and contribute more to society as adults.
Across British Columbia, children have returned to the classroom. I remember as a teacher and principal how exciting September can be. But it can also be a stressful time, as teachers and students return to under-resourced and crowded classrooms. Parents and teachers want what is best for students, but our present government does not share that commitment.
We need to properly invest in public education. This is what parents want. This is what society needs. But the BC Liberals have taken our public education system in exactly the opposite direction.
We need a provincial government that will be more respectful to education professionals and trustees. This means collaborative decision-making and predictable funding.
Instead, the BC Liberals have been all over the place. The government forced cuts to education by requiring districts to make over $50 million in service reductions. Then, they gave half that money back to school districts at the last minute.
The government squeezed transportation budgets for rural schools by freezing the bussing funding for years, then suddenly threw some money at districts to help cover bussing costs for this election year.
A few quick fixes in an election year will do nothing to repair 15 years of damage that has been done to our public education system. We have over 16,000 classes in British Columbia that do not meet the Province’s own guidelines for class composition. The underfunding of your child’s education is ongoing and deliberate.
The people of Columbia River Revelstoke have shown their support for public education over and over again. Voters here have rejected the BC Liberals’ decision to send more and more money to private schools while forcing the closure of rural schools. And voters here have rejected the BC Liberal decision to give the richest two per cent in BC a $230 million tax break while removing funding from classrooms.
I’ve been honoured over these last 3 terms as your MLA to fight for your issues, and to stand up for public education. Together we have made it clear to the BC Liberal government that public education is a top priority for the people in this area.
Norm Macdonald is the MLA for Columbia River–Revelstoke. He can be reached at 1-866-870-4188 and firstname.lastname@example.org.