Update from PAN – Next Meeting Monday November 14th

TAKE 5 – The 5 Minute “Power of Advocacy” Challenge

PAN, in cooperation with parent and advocacy groups — 
Vancouver District Parent Advisory CouncilFirst Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy CoalitionRichmond Schools Stand UnitedSurrey Students NowComox Valley Families for Public EducationFamilies Against Cuts to Education BC— recently sent letter calling on the Government of Canada to direct infrastructure funding towards urgently needed seismic upgrades in British Columbia’s public schools. Doing so will enable the federal government to ensure the health and safety of thousands of Canadians (most of them children), provide post-quake emergency shelters, and meet its goals of investing in social infrastructure to lay the foundation for Canada’s future.

We question why our children’s safety is discussed in the context of political games and priorities and treated as an education budget item.  We believe public school buildings should not be linked to the education budget. In a province with a massive budget surplus, it is unacceptable that tens of thousands of children go to school every day in high-risk schools that will collapse in even a moderate earthquake.

To reinforce this important message to the Federal Government, TAKE 5 is a quick way to reach more Members of Parliament (MPs).

Please TAKE 5 to support this collective effort and send an email to your local MP asking for a meeting to discuss how they too can help the federal government meet this critical safety need. All MPs should be made aware and asked to speak to the issue.

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Using your Postal Code, find the email for your Federal Member of Parliament (MP).
  2. Copy the text of our form letter email (doc) (pdf) — you will need to edit it to be a bit more personal to you (e.g., where your child attends school, add your address as a constituent, etc). To find out the seismic status of schools in your area, see the government’s Seismic Mitigation Progress Report, September 2016.
  3. Attach a copy of our PAN letter to your email.
  4. Add parentadvocacynetwork@gmail.com to the CC field so we can keep track of how many emails are sent and to which MPs.
  5. Hit SEND.


United we are STRONGER! The more pressure they feel from more people, the more our government will be forced to listen and act.

PAN Calls on Federal Government to Fund Seismic Upgrades thru Infrastructure

On October 20th, our children, teachers, staff, and administrators in public schools held the “Great BC ShakeOut” drill and practised “Drop! Cover! Hold on!”

PAN and in cooperation with parent and advocacy groups–Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, Richmond Schools Stand United, Surrey Students Now, Comox Valley Families for Public Education, Families Against Cuts to Education BC— we sent a letter to the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities asking the Government of Canada to direct infrastructure funding towards urgently needed seismic upgrades in British Columbia’s public schools. Doing so will enable the federal government to ensure the health and safety of thousands of Canadians (most of them children), provide post-quake emergency shelters, and meet its goals of investing in social infrastructure to lay the foundation for Canada’s future.

We asked the question – Why is the safety of our children discussed in the context of political games and priorities and treated as an education budget item? The structural and seismic safety of public school buildings should not be linked to the education budget.

In a prosperous province with a massive budget surplus, it is unacceptable that thousands of children go to school every day in high risk schools that will collapse in even a moderate earthquake. Seismically upgrading schools is an urgent matter of public safety, and as such it needs to be prioritized and well funded.
As a follow-up to our October 20th email letter – which was CC’d to relevant federal Members of Parliament – PAN members and those from the other advocacy groups are now reaching out to their local MPs asking for meeting to discuss how they too can help the federal government meet this critical safety need.
Please read and share the letter within your networks. And even if your MP wasn’t sent the email letter, we encourage you to send an email asking to meet and discuss the letter. The more pressure from more people, the more they will be forced to listen and act.
PAN Op Ed Published – “Making Schools Safe For Children Shouldn’t be a Political Issue”
As another tactic to draw greater attention to the seismic safety issue within our schools, a member of PAN also penned an Op Ed piece that was published in the The Province on Wednesday, October 19, 2016.

Very much like our federal letter, this article explains the facts and figures regarding the glacial pace of seismic upgrades in BC how retrofitting existing buildings isn’t the best answer for our children’s safety.

Please read the Op Ed and share on social media and within your networks. The goal is to create more attention to the public safety issue of seismic upgrades during October while the ShakeOut exercise is still topical.

Govt Select Standing Committee – Education Priority & Parent Feedback

We asked for your help and you gave it! Thank you!
PAN presented to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services(SSC) on September 19th and during our presentation we were asked a number of questions. Due to time constraints, two questions were “takeaway” items for us and thanks to your 110 responses we tallied up the answers and submitted this response.
We all know it to be true but to see the cumulative data and the story it tells is still shocking. Funding for education is on the backs of parents! The data from these questions clearly illustrates again how much parents are funding schools and how much has and continues to be taken away from our children.
Additionally, public education was a consistently recurring theme among presentations and feedback given to the SSC.
Below are parent and advocacy groups who also made presentations on education that we have been given or are publicly available. If you have another presentation to share, please let us know (parentadvocacynetwork@gmail.com).
First Call Public School Funding Forum – Mon Nov 7, 3-5pm

Join members of First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition at SFU Woodwards November 7, 3-5 pm, for a dialogue among professionals on the status of BC public school funding. Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) researcher Alex Hemingway and other panelists experienced with vulnerable student populations will discuss the issue in an interactive setting with questions such as:

1. How well are students with special needs, Aboriginal students, immigrant and refugee students, students living in poverty and students in foster care being served in BC’s public schools?
2. Is there a difference in the current school-based supports for students with extra challenges compared to the past?
3. In an ideal public school setting, what resources need to be in place to best meet the educational needs of these students?
The goal of this dialogue is an open sharing among professionals. Due to the importance of the issue and its implications for BC families, the public is invited to attend and participate. We look forward to seeing you there!
Next PAN Meeting – Mon Nov 14, 7pm @ the Tipper
Our monthly meeting is coming up fast and will be on Monday November 14th at the usual place, The Tipper (private room at the back) at 7pm.  We look forward to seeing many of you there as we have much to discuss and need your input.
AND if you aren’t able to attend a meeting but you can be more involved in the work happening behind the scenes or can take on a small project, email and let us know. Attending meetings is just one thing – there are a great many others things that need doing.
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