Equal opportunity, a public service, the place to park the kids while we go to work. Each of our understandings about the purpose of public education is as varied as who we are and from which experiences we have emerged. In light of the political and scientific dilemmas we face today, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd, we have an opportunity to revisit the role and importance of public education in society. Spoiler alert. It is far more than a child care service for the economy.
Joanna Larson is a primary and special education teacher at an elementary school in Prince Rupert, located on the traditional territory of the Gispaxlo’ots and Gits’iis, two of the nine allied tribes of the Ts’msyen nation
What would you do if your task was to remove resources and supports from one of the most vulnerable populations in our communities? How would you do this without drawing the ire of those within those communities? And would it be possible to actually convince those very people to advocate alongside you for the elimination of those resources and supports?
A strong and vibrant public education system is the foundation for all that British Columbia is, and aspires to be. Public education should provide the basis for economic self-sufficiency, and improve social well-being across our province. It should unify our diverse and multicultural population into caring and cooperative communities. We cannot realize the promises of reconciliation with Indigenous communities without it. Our democratic institutions of governance would not exist without an educated public. These are the values I expected the John Horgan government to act on, but they do not reflect the current policy directions.