For Immediate Release: February 7, 2012
The Coalition of Progressive Electors is calling for five additional days of school for students: a return to a school calendar that is better for children and better for learning.
“We call on the VSB to reconsider the number of school closure days,” said COPE Education Committee member Jane Bouey. Fellow committee member Al Blakey pointed out that the current 10 days of closures the Board introduced to try to make up for provincial funding shortfalls adversely impacts vulnerable students most. “These shorter weeks not only have a negative impact on learning outcomes, they also have a significant impact on poor families who need to scramble to find child care,” said Blakey.
Bouey added, “The board may save some money but we have not yet had a clear assessment of how much has really been saved. Meanwhile parents and the community are forced to make up the shortfall in increased child care costs, increased community centre costs, and added family stress.”
Bouey and Blakey both pointed out that there was never any educational justification for the closures, like the one families faced this last weekend. “Our plan would be to reduce the closures from ten to a maximum of five days and have the school calendar revert to what it was before these additional days were removed from the instructional year,” said Bouey.
“During the election campaign we heard over and over again from parents that they oppose these disruptions. There is no doubt the province has put the school board in a difficult financial position, but dramatically reduced instructional time for students is not the way to solve the problem,” Bouey contended.