Coalition of Progressive Electors members and supporters are saddened by the death of long-time COPE school trustee Dr. Pauline Weinstein who died on February 14 of complications following pneumonia. She was 78.
A well-known teacher and outspoken advocate for students, Weinstein was first elected as a COPE school trustee in 1981. She was instrumental in introducing far-sighted programs addressing racism, sexism and poverty in Vancouver schools. She also pushed for programs for special need students, expanded school support staff, limited junk food in schools, and was able to get a collective agreement with teachers without going to binding arbitration – a first in over 12 years at the VSB.
As chair of the School Board in 1985, Weinstein lead the opposition to Socred Premier Bill Bennett’s massive cuts to essential education services. When Weinstein and her COPE colleagues refused to buckle under, Bennett fired the entire Board. In the subsequent 1986 by-election, Weinstein and eight other COPE candidates swept back into power in an overwhelming public show of support for COPE’s stand on public education. Weinstein retired as a trustee in 1990.
"Polly Weinstein was a remarkable and tireless champion for students and for public education in Vancouver,’ said former COPE trustee Ruth Herman. "She was the main force behind the fight-back campaign of the 1980s."
Weinstein was raised in Calgary, studied mathematics at UBC, and started her teaching career in 1960 at Killarney Secondary. She was head teacher at Prince of Wales Mini School and later obtained a doctorate in mathematics at the University of Oregon. Weinstein finished her career as an assistant Professor in Mathematics Education at UBC.
Weinstein is survived by a son and daughter. Notice of a memorial service will be announced when arrangements are completed.