Monday, November 10, 2014

Skool Daze!

Is anyone bothering to look over the cream of the crop running for North Vancouver School Board? Nineteen people chasing after seven positions.

In the City, seven candidates for three spots; in the District twelve people are vying to fill four spaces.

There's really not much chance that I'll spend hours looking at all of these people's Facebook or web pages.  (see below) I have though seen the sudden flurry of activity on Twitter - My God! What busy beavers these people suddenly seem to have become! It's nice to know that those charged with overseeing our children's education can express themselves in 140 characters or less.

I did read the North Shore News' profiles of all nineteen people. What's actually kind of sad is that you would have to look long and hard to find any difference between them all.

Have Kids? YES!
Active in PACS? YES?
Think we should sell schools? NO! (Unless we really need to.)
Montessori, IB? YES!
Role of School Boards? Community Voice! Planning and Finances! Something about communication with the Province!

Since what was on the NS News site didn't tell me anything, I did visit the websites for the eighteen people who had them.

No matter what your political stripe, the recent battle between the BCTF and the Liberal government was the single biggest issue for anyone involved in education. It's staggering that only one candidate even hinted that there are problems with how the Province handles education.

If you support the way that Christy handled those negotiations I want to know. And regardless of what you think, I want to hear about how you view the relationship between the Province and local Boards.

If you, as a School Board candidate, haven't thought long and hard about this I sure as heck don't want you on the Board.

And one more thing - if you're running for School Board you should realize that spelling and grammar do count towards your final grade.


Anonymous said...

And who was the candidate that didn't "love" the BC Liberals?

SteveE said...

Barry, I'm also struggling to see who to vote for. I can't find a candidate that is promising something that can be measured. They all promise platitudes such as advocating for the "universal right to an excellent education for all children". How would that be measured? What are the current indicators? What are the targets?
On the North Vancouver School District Profile, Grade 7 Numeracy has declined from a FSA score of 89% in 2001 to 76% in 2014. I can't find a candidate that is looking to address the issue of quality of education by putting numbers to it. If FSA scores continue to decline shouldn't every incumbent school trustee be considered to have failed? If you are addressing quality of education, what indicators are you proposing?
All candidates make it a point to mention that their children are in school. Its not clear to me why that would makes you a good trustee. I would much rather vote for a childless candidate with measurable targets than a candidate with children at school but no targets associated with their election slate.
Hopefully you can point to some additional info or a candidate that makes an attempt to provide some way of measuring their success?

Barry Rueger said...

Hopefully you can point to some additional info or a candidate that makes an attempt to provide some way of measuring their success?

@SteveE - you're joking, right?

It is truly staggering how every candidate says the same meaningless things, almost word for word.

Anonymous said...

I went to the all candidates meeting in Seymour last night and it was a packed house.

The candidates were all decent, but still it seams like they are afraid to be specific about what they would do. The only candidates that were specific were Hazen Colbert and Len Laycock, but they were both rude talking over the other candidates. Hazen even went so far as to accuse Connie DeBoer of secretly accepting developer contributions because the building she works in is owned by one. That's a bit o a stretch and you came across as a bully.

Len Laycock said something that made me shiver he said 'regardless of what the law is, I will do this'. Politicians shouldn't be so cavalier about violating provincial laws. Most of what he said I agreed with, but then he kept interrupting other candidates which tells me he lacks self control or doesn't respect others.

I thought Roger Bassam and Doug Mackay-Dunn were the best, and thought the moderator did a great job. Glad to see so many of my neighbors out.

Anonymous said...

I went into the meeting thinking I was going to vote for Robin Hicks, and now I won't be. He gave some lame answers and publicly stated something that is factually incorrect. He said that we have to accept the density that Metro Van sets for us. This is completely incorrect and should be publicly corrected by the Mayor. Nothing compels the council to approve a single unit, they could stop redevelopment entirely and there isn't a single thing Metro could do, so to give the room the impression that Metro is driving the development is completely inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Please do not vote for any incumbents. They have done a terrible job and are not accepting any responsibility for their lousy decisions.

Shane Nelson said...

Hi All, Shane Nelson, district school trustee candidate.

I guess it's not a hot button issue, but I have a clear, measurable goal of setting up online video streaming and archiving of public school board meetings. I understand there's been problems at the board with major motions passed without sufficient support or discussion, with the minutes glossing over any contrarian points of view. The board should reflect the will of the people and without a good archive of what's going on the people have no idea what's happening.

I also intend to work on increasing student engagement. Both the North Van PAC and the gallop student poll shows engagement drops of the longer a student is in school. This is a major problem and we simply must turn this around. The NVPAC poll isn't as detailed as the gallop poll so the first step would be to improve on the data we have, with the second to work toward improving engagement levels. The gallop poll has some good indicators on how this could be done.

I've already added to my website videos from the all trustees debate, check it out!

Good luck in choosing who to vote for. General voting day is this Saturday, Nov 15!

Barry Rueger said...

As noted "If you're running for School Board you should realize that spelling and grammar do count towards your final grade."

And it's a "Gallup" poll, not "gallop."


SteveE said...

I have a clear, measurable goal of setting up online video streaming and archiving of public school board meetings

Shane, nice to hear from you. A few comments:
1. While online video streaming is a nice goal, there is no cause and effect relationship with better governance. It seems you are suggesting that quorum is not being met at trustee board meetings, that due process is not being followed and that resolutions are therefore invalid. Is that what you are saying?
2. The Gallup poll is across the USA, doesn't have regional data (that I can see) and may not be applicable to BC.
3. You mention that the Gallup poll may have good indicators, but don't mention what those are?

Anonymous said...

I think having a reliable and full record of the public meetings is essential to transparency and I tip my hat to Shane for raising it.

A few years back I attended a school board meeting and there seemed to be a lot of confusion about what had been passed in a previous meeting. Maybe I caught them on a bad night, but due to some staff changes there was no record available in the meeting.

SteveE said...

Yes, I suppose the benefit is that we will see how chaotic the meetings are, especially if no-one is taking minutes or following up on previous meeting minutes.

Shane Nelson said...

Thanks for the grammar nit, Roger. My wife is an academic editor but I am simply an IT guy - mistakes like that slip by me from time to time. If I could I would edit my comment to correct it...

Regarding the need for live streaming and video archives - I've heard reports the meeting minutes are inaccurate in that they don't reflect the minority concerns in the meeting. The feeling of having a public eye on the meeting can hopefully improve the quality and effort the trustees put into discussing the issues. Videos will also give the press an opportunity to confirm on their own the events which happened at the meeting.

The Student Gallup Poll and the North Van Pac both have polls indicating student engagement falls off with each year attending school. The NV PAC poll isn't detailed enough to give us an idea why but the Gallup poll is. I believe these are the questions which indicated, among 600,000 US students that engagement falls off the longer school is attended. "My teachers make me feel my schoolwork is important. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good schoolwork. My school is committed to building the strengths of each student."

Sorry have to run, more leafleting to do before election day. I apologize for any grammatical or spelling errors ;)

Lyle Craver said...

The other election issue not mentioned in the kickoff message was whether a candidate is prepared to sell school properties.

No question they could use the $$$ but once sold the land is gone forever and SD44 has already sold or redeveloped several key properties.

SD44 was denied selling off a piece of Braemar by District Council but what are the plans from here?

This whole issue didn't get nearly the mileage I expected in the School Board campaign.

Lyle Craver said...

Sorry folks, I missed a key point on the proposed sale of Braemar Elementary lands - DNV has no say over the disposition of school property located in the District.

However this particular property sale was contingent on the attached development proposal getting approved by DNV Council which was denied so the deal fell through.

I apologize to anyone who got the impression from what I said to think DNV Council has any say over SD44 real estate transactions.

The only say DNV has is when subdividing or variances are applied for which Council is free to grant or withhold - and their criteria may or may not match that of the School Board.