Langley Special Education Inquiry Report

The Langley Special Education Inquiry Report, released in January 2008, was a joint project of the District Parent Advisory Council, CUPE Local 1260, and the Langley Teachers’ Association. Key findings of the report include that there has been an historical underfunding of special education in BC that has led to overcrowded classrooms and unmanageable caseloads for teachers. The Inquiry also found that graduation levels for special needs kids are 10 points below the average for all students.

Read the Inquiry Report here or read a Tyee article about the Report.

Forget Oil, the New Global Crisis is Food

This recent article from the Financial Post summarizes a talk given by Donald Coxe, a global portfolio strategist with BMO Financial Group. According to Coxe, the price of food has been rising dramatically, reflecting higher oil prices, increased demand for ethanol (which is made from corn), and increasing demand for meat and dairy products from countries like China and India, whose middle classes want to eat like North Americans. Some of the statistics include:

  • Raw food prices have increased 22% over 2007;
  • Price of corn has increased 44% in the past 15 months;
  • Price of wheat is up 92% over 2007;
  • Consumers paid 6.5% more for food in 2007.

Read the full article.

P3s Just Put the Bill in Another Pocket

This is a great article by Craig McInnes of the Vancouver Sun. In it, he questions the veracity of claims that provincial public debt has been reduced. In reality it is simply being replaced with other payment obligations such as those contained in P3 arrangements.

To read it click here.

TILMA and Boards of Education

This discussion paper by Joan Axford, Secretary-Treasurer of SD 63, gives a good overview of the TILMA and its potential impact on boards of education in BC. It raises a number of important questions including:

  • How will the TILMA’s purchasing thresholds affect boards of education? What will the costs of using electronic tendering systems be? Will boards still be able to use their purchasing power to support local economies?
  • How will TILMA affect the ability of boards to develop policies that may be seen as restricting or impairing trade and investment? Policies such as banning junkfood or limiting corporate sponsorship in schools appear to contradict the TILMA.

Axford also makes a number of recommendations including that BCSTA advocate for the exemption of boards of education from the TILMA. This is what BCSTA’s members voted for at the last AGM and there is ample evidence that it would be in the public’s interest if boards were exempt.

To read the full paper, click here.