I am writing this letter on behalf of the Giant’s Head Elementary School Parent Advisory Council executive.
As a parent of a student at Giant’s Head Elementary School, I would like to reassure those readers who do not have children in the public school system that parents are getting reporting from teachers. In my case, we have had meetings with the teacher on more than one occasion (both in person and by email) regarding my child’s progress. The quality of the ‘reporting’ that we have received has been more informative than the standardized report cards that the Ministry of Education requires.
On Nov. 18, we received a letter from Wendy Hyer, School District 67 superintendent, advising all parents that “despite teacher job action, the principal of a school is responsible for administering and supervising the school including … the program of student evaluation and assessment and reporting to parents.” Section 6(1) of the School Act states “that the superintendent shall carry out a system of education in conformity with the orders of the minister.” Ms. Hyer further goes on to say that report cards will be issued by the principal which will “include the student’s division, name of teacher(s), courses/grade, and attendance. In addition, the grades and comments for any classes taught by administrators are provided.”
Basically, the principal of any school will have to fill out report cards for all students that will be blank except for the above basic information unless they have taught a class themselves. My belief is that the Ministry of Education is attempting to make teachers look bad by mandating the issuance of these blank report cards. What the directive from the ministry really shows is the lack of understanding of the day-to-day reality in schools.
For those readers without children in the public school system, I would like to say this: the system is underfunded. Parents in our school are raising money for everything from the basics such as library books and classroom supplies to the essentials of a 21st century society that includes multimedia projectors in each classroom.
Our beautiful playground that was installed this year may have been partially paid for by government grants, but the remainder of the cost was raised from PAC-based fundraisers that included cookie sales, chocolate sales, fun fairs, flowers and magazines sales. All the items were sold by parents to other parents and their family members as well as members of our community. Yet, it appears to me that the Ministry of Education believes that my school has enough extra paper, printer ink and time, never mind the clerical support, to enact ridiculous measures such as blank report cards.
We received these blank report cards on Nov. 25. We can send a message to Minister of Education George Abbott, letting him know how we feel about wasting our school’s time and money, by sending that blank report card to Mr. Abbott. As mail to the Legislature is free of charge, it will not cost you to mail it to Mr. Abbott at: Parliament Buildings Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4. Alternatively, you can fax it to his office at 250 387-3200, or email him a scanned copy of the blank report card to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christy Tiessen, president
Giant’s Head Elementary School PAC