My Public Investigation
A public school teacher confronts his anxiety about private education in BC.The stone-cold fact that both sides agree on is that public school enrollment has declined by about 10 per cent over the past 10 years, while private school enrollment has been steadily rising.
Last week, I had a brief but spirited chat with Susan Lambert, catching her between office and car on her cell phone. I asked her if there is intent to decrease the standards in public schools in order to give an advantage to private institutions. "There is a deliberate encouraging of falling standards," she answered. I asked if there was any evidence for this position. "A lot," she countered.
She continued, "There is the legislative encouragement for those to seek private alternatives. Parents can be compensated for private lessons, say, if they enroll their child in a hockey academy or in tennis lessons. They can claim the costs and be reimbursed. Not only that, but they can get credit for it -- be given P.E. (Physical Education) credit."She tells me that our education minister proudly announced that B.C. now places eighth in the world according to an international educational assessment. "We used to boast of being number one," she claims.When I asked her where the increased private school enrollment has come from, she could not give me a breakdown, only that it has increased steadily over the past 10 years and now sits at around eleven per cent of total school enrollment. She attributed this shift to "declining standards under this government."