Province listens to concerns from parents, including Nanaimo advocacy group

By Spencer Sterritt
December 6, 2017 - 7:56pm

Six advocacy groups met with Minister of Education Rob Fleming and Premier John Horgan (centre) to lay out what they hoped to see in the future of B.C. public education. Nanaimo Parents Support Public Education/Facebook

NANAIMO — A Nanaimo public education advocacy group, along with five others from across B.C., recently held the ear of Premier John Horgan and Minister of Education Rob Fleming.

Sarah Miller, organizer of the Nanaimo Parents Support Public Education, met with the province on Dec. 1, alongside other groups to present six recommendations about how to improve the public education system.

Among the recommendations were to improve the rollout of seismic upgrades for schools, add more mental health supports for students and having individual schools complete location specific surveys.

“The needs are very different from district to district,” she told NanaimoNewsNOW. Through a survey system, she said schools would be able to deal with specific, location-based issues instead of broad fixes.

Miller said it seemed both Horgan and Fleming were open to their ideas and said many were already being discussed or implemented, such as tying the Mental Health and Addictions Ministry into education.

“Doing more preventative action when children are younger instead of waiting until they become adults the problems are much larger,” Miller said.

The only recommendation which received some pushback was to “expand the mandate of the Representative for Children and Youth in B.C. with additional funding for more staff.”

Miller said she and others were told the representative hasn’t traditionally taken such a role and the office is currently quite underfunded.

In a statement, Fleming said he “appreciated the input and recommendations the group made and we will consider them as we move forward. It’s clear after our meeting that we share the goal of making our good education system a great one.”

Miller said these recommendations are only the beginning of several changes needed in the province to provide the education she and others would like to see for future generations.

 

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