Friday, October 21, 2011

Big brother and the Ministry of Education

You will be forgiven for missing Bill 3, introduced in the BC legislature on October 4th. I did. I was too busy thinking about the government's grand new plans for education. But in fact, they are related.

It is a change in the Freedom of Information and Privacy legislation designed, I suspect, to enable government's plan to extend and expand its IT infrastructure everywhere from health care records to student learning plans and who knows where else. A good overview and critique appeared in the Times Colonist today:

If you are wondering why the BC government has offered only a pittance to help address class composition and students with special needs - the answers are here. They need it all for their IT projects. In 2002 the government removed $330 million PER YEAR that was used for class size and class composition. Meanwhile the "Class organization fund" announced this month will get $0 this year, $30 million next, $65 million the year after and $70 million in year 4, with no promise of funding beyond that time.

At the same time, Telus has been quietly awarded a $1 - $1.2 billion project to do, well something.

Missed that announcement in the newspaper? Me too. I'm not sure if it ever was announced, but I found out about it here:, in a PowerPoint presentation by Jim Gorman, Deputy Minister of Education, to the School Superintendents Association. It's on page 27, right in the middle of 20 pages about Technology and Education. A full one third of the presentation focused on Technology, and not a word on class composition or students with special needs.

This comes after the grand debacle that is BCeSIS - $100 million wasted on a student information system that the government then paid another $250,000 to an independent reviewer to find out it doesn't work and can't be fixed.

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