I am absolutely outraged this morning.
Children and teenagers who live in Surrey are facing a crisis for the 2010/2011 school year.
There is no more money. There is no more space. Non-stop development in the city is constantly drawing new families and students to the district and has been for years. Nearly every single school in this district is grossly over capacity, some to the tune of 300 + students. Portables litter school yards by the dozen at some schools, for all intents and purposes appearing like shanty towns.
Because the BC liberals have refused, time and time again, to address the situation, two schools have been forced to take extraordinary measures to deal with overcrowding and safety issues related to it, by staggering start times and extending the school day. There is simply no other way to make it work in schools where the halls are so crowded safety is an issue. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/02/11/bc-surrey-schools.html
I can’t emphasize enough that this crisis has reached a breaking point. Literally, the students are the one’s suffering from lack of space, shared books and other school resources because the province has continually and repeatedly refused to increase funding to the district. Don’t take my word for it – a quick google search of Surrey school district + lack of funding, or budget shortfall, will bring up pages of media coverage on it.
In a school system that has exploded so far beyond capacity, children will start falling through the cracks by the handful. It is inevitable.
It is shameful. Every time the Surrey school board approaches the government, they are refused. The liberals deflect by saying they just opened this school, or improved that one, or sent some new portables. They have blindly refused to see that these measures are nothing more than fingers in a dike that has far more holes than fingers to fill them.
What really scares me, is that the two biggest leadership hopefuls for the Liberals are Christy Clark, whose record as a previous minister of education is abysmal; and Kevin Falcon, who makes his home in Surrey just outside of his riding of Cloverdale and has remained silent as an MLA in representing Surry’s kids.
I looked at both their policy pages on education and saw a whole lot of nothing new but rhetoric. And even more, I saw things that might give a parent of a child with learning challenges false hope, which I think is really sick( he mentions supporting parents of autistic children and kids with dyslexia, but has no concrete action or initiative or even a promise that someone could hold him to, likely knowing full well parents in situations like these are struggling with the inadequacies of the current system supporter Mary Polak created. ) http://www.kevinfalcon.com/preparing-our-kids/
Christy Clark? I couldn’t find a damn thing on her site with regards to education, but then again, considering what she did last time around, that is likely a good thing. She doesn’t have a clue. What would either of these people do, right now, to fix the problem in Surrey?
I don’t want to hear from the liberals what they claim they have already done, I want to hear what they are going to do right now, today, to fix this embarrassment.
I want to see how strong their commitment really is to education and children, and I don’t want to hear vague noises. Neither do any of the parents, or teens in the two schools facing longer days and staggered hours.
John F. Kennedy once said:
We can’t wait 3 to 5 years for the ” system” to crank out a new school, we can’t wait even a year! The children of Surrey are in danger of losing their futures. This is an opportunity for the BC liberals to step up and do the right thing. Increase our funding. Fast-track a few new schools. Put your money where your mouth is and demonstrate commitment to our children.
The people of Surrey – and the rest of B.C. – are watching.