Langley students and teachers are back to school today, and hopefully this will be a better year in the public school system than 2011-12 was.
One of the most disappointing things about the past school year was a year-long work-to-rule campaign by teachers, who were upset that they were getting nowhere in negotiations with the provincial government over a new contract.
While their frustration was understandable, the length of the job action and the effect on students and families was disturbing. Teachers refused to do report cards and would only in special circumstances meet with parents to let them know how their child was doing in school.
Thus, for most students, there was no co-ordinated approach to learning from school and home. Study after study has shown that when teachers and parents are able to work together, students will learn more and get much further ahead.
Thankfully, the B.C. Teachers Federation and the provincial education bargaining authority reached an agreement over the summer months, and there will be no job action this year. The BCTF is still angry with the government and will be working toward its defeat, as is its right, but there is a contract in place. Whether a new government, should one be elected, will come up with a better deal remains to be seen.
There should be report cards and proper consultation with parents this school year, and that is to the benefit of everyone — teachers, students and parents.
Here in Langley, it is good that the provincial government has finally recognized the pressure on schools in Willoughby. A new elementary, Lynn Fripps Elementary, opens today and construction on two other schools is underway. At last the province has worked to deal with the large number of students in the area.
Langley School District has a new superintendent and there appears to be more harmony between the board and superintendent than there was a year ago. Hopefully, this will lead to some important steps towards improved learning outcomes in Langley.
Education has never been as important as it is today. The ability of young people to live independent lives as adults is directly related to a good education, and the school system is a key part of that.
Here’s hoping for a successful school year.