The BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) had been receiving a grant annually from the provincial government. The grant traditionally been $100,000 or more and has paid for the basic operation of BCCPAC. BCCPAC provides an umbrella organization for local Parent Advisory Councils to meet, debate issues, and engage in policy discussions at the provincial level.
While I don't always agree with BCCPAC positions, I am a firm advocate of parents having a voice and being engaged in education discussions. Often, parent advocacy groups have been instrumental in pushing for improvement in our school system, such as seismic upgrades, stopping school closures and fighting for adequate funding. In fact, one has to wonder if the cuts to BCCPAC come as this groups has taken a more vocal position about underfunding issues.
In a typically George Abbott fashion, he told the parents group that they would receive support from the Ministry in a "non-financial" manner. I wonder what this looks like? Moral support?
Parents are understandably outraged. One parent wrote on her blog: "Christy Clark and crew just slapped the face of every parent in this province." (http://lailayuile.com/2011/09/12/and-so-the-punishment-begins-and-parents-are-the-target/)
Parents, just like teachers, have been integral in sustaining a system that is chronically underfunded. Sadly, much of the work done by parent councils is fundraising to make up for the lack of funding available to schools. This is sometimes for the extras (such as field trips), but more and more it is to pay for necessities in schools, such as playground equipment and emergency preparedness kits. Parents are rightly frustrated that they are footing the bill for what should be a fully public and free education system.
Christy Clark and Geoge Abbott have just alienated another partner in public education. Who will be next?