Sunday, April 10, 2011

BCSTA and "Waiting for Superman"

I have to admit I had a bit of a giggle upon reading Janet Steffenhagen's blog entry about my tweet:

But the more I thought about it, the more I hope that some Trustees will take the BCSTA to task for showing this film at the BCSTA Annual General Meeting.

In the BCSTA policy manaual (, all of which has been democratically decided by BCSTA members, they state:

"BCSTA believes that public funds used for education in schools in the province should only be expended in schools under the direction of a board of education constituted under the provisions of the School Act."

And yet Charter schools, by their very nature, are not under the direction of locally elected Boards. In fact the "charter" in Charter School is a legal exemption from the usual laws (typically State laws) that would apply to other public schools running under a public school Board. That's what a Charter School is.

So why is the BCSTA showing a film whose central message is that public schools under the direction of locally elected Boards are the problem, and Charter schools are the answer? Why is the BCSTA using its member's funds to showcase a blatantly pro-Charter School movie?

Stephen Hansen, of the BCSTA, replied to my tweet: "With a strong public system nobody needs to win a charter school lottery to get a good education". Agreed. So why isn't the BCSTA using every moment of its AGM to advocate for a strong public system? Several alternative film showings come to mind...what about "School: The Story of American Public Education", "Race to Nowhere", "A Community Concern" or "August to June"?

If you are reading this and planning to attend the BCSTA AGM, I suggest you ditch the movie showing and have coffee with your colleagues and discuss this excellent critique by Diane Ravitch: The Myth of Charter Schools (NYT)

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