I am ANGRY. It’s time to not turn a blind eye.

Hold the Line - Support BC Teachers

I’m sure there are thousands of parents that are so happy their kids are finally back in school. Losing nearly a month of education not only puts stress on the teachers & children but also on the grade curriculum. Kids don’t remember everything they learned the previous year, with 2 months off from your regular job I’m sure there would be things you would forget as well, now add on another month.. and the stress of coming into ill prepared classrooms and schools.

Most of us have heard of the financial burden the British Columbia school’s are suffering right now. The budgets have been cut so drastically that the normal items teachers would purchase out of their own pockets aren’t an option right now.. they have to focus on feeding their own families.

My daughter is 3, she attends a Strong Start program inside a local elementary. She has been there for just about 3 years and always had the same teacher. She knows her teacher Kelly, and knows what to expect when she walks into the classroom. She bee-lines it to the craft table, gleefully gluing on sparkles, puzzle pieces, feathers and pom poms… coloring up a storm and letting her little brain go wild. That is MY favorite part of being there with her, watching her brain make connections, learn and absorb new activities. I was heartbroken to hear from her teacher that their budget is so small this year that they can afford construction paper, markers and crayons. Any other crafting items will have to be provided by the teachers. With 30 kids everyday, 5 days a week.. that’s a lot of supplies.

I am angry - Alivia at school

Immediately I was angry, I AM angry. Seriously, The budget is so freaking small that a dollar store trip is out of the question? How is that even possible with the amount of taxes I pay in this province!?

Well, now the news is even worse. According to this Vancouver Sun article, the government is now asking for money BACK from the schools to help fund their $40 a day promise to parents. So essentially… thanks for giving us money, then taking it out of our kids hands where they need it the most.

I don’t think I can think of a single school that does not have underprivileged kids attending it, the teachers and staff go out of their way to provide much needed supplies, food and clothing for these kids. OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS. The government seems just fine to ask us to keep paying for things, but isn’t directing our money where it needs to go.

If you aren’t angry yet.. you definitely will be after reading that article.

How you can help;

– Start by talking to the staff at your child’s school. Is there a need? Are you in a financial position to help them? My daughter’s snacks and craft items are included in the budget in her class so I plan to help by donating gift cards, snacks and craft supplies. If you are already out shopping, add an extra item or 2 to your bill and donate them.

– Fund raise with the classroom, when the teacher’s send home those cookie/book/whatever booklets, don’t toss them out, BUY something. Now more than ever the school’s need every extra cent they can get.

– Keep last years winter coats, rain boots and shoes. If they are in good condition, hold onto them and ask the office if they may be able to help a child in need at the school.

– ADVOCATE for your children! If you don’t speak up for them, who is going to? It’s easy to have a short term memory when it comes to things the government promises and doesn’t follow through on, but it is our responsibility to remember. Our children deserve the best.

– Not every parent can afford to, but if the $40 a day is just a bonus to you, think about paying a little bit of it forward right back into the school. From what I understand, cash donations made directly to the school qualify for a tax receipt.

– And lastly, the couponer in me shops in bulk… so if you are able and see a great deal on items that can be used in a classroom (the most needed items seem to be glue, tissues, markers, paper) STOCK UP. If even just a couple of parents in each class thought about giving back to the schools, they might just make it through this.

Do you have any ideas on how we can help? Share them in the comments!


  1. Good article 🙂 the other thing we need to do is keep the pressure on our government to properly fund our schools! If we all keep funding and fundraising without being vocal, then it will just continue.


  2. Pay attention to this year’s municipal elections and elect trustees who will speak to against all of these injustices. And, if each of us takes one person to the voting booth with them, that will help too.


  3. OK , we all want to help keep our desperatly cash strapped schools functioning , so that our children get the education they deserve. My concern is this is again downloading the cost back to parents and letti g this government off the hook. It is also inequitable as resource rich sectors of the community will get the needed supplies while poorer areas fall by the wayside. This is not how PUBLIC EDUCATION should function. This further erodes the public system and plays into private/charter system this government seems to be steering us towatds. I don’t have an answer except , again possibly sending recipts to government and asking that( no, demanding) they reinsert corresponding cash into your school district budgets.


    1. Phyllis, I agree that by helping out the schools yes, we are in a way letting the government off the hook, but how long did the teachers fight? What did they give up? How long are YOU willing to fight? I can fight, alongside the teachers, and help. That is my goal. I don’t have 10 years to fight to fix an eroded public education system, by daughter will nearly be graduated by then! Action NEEDS to happen now.


  4. Maybe step number one is to cancel ALL private schools and ensure the rich – including Crusty Crap’s kids- have to go to public school like the rest of the world. Then we’ll see changes to public education! Yes, I know, that’s not realistic, but sure would be nice. In the mean time, let’s push to stop FUNDING private schools, so that money can go back into public education, where it belongs.


    1. The only problem with that suggestion is that if all the private schools close there will be an overcrowding issue in all the public schools. Even more so than now. I agree there needs to be a change. A change for the better. First step i think is get rid of Christy!


  5. Okay a few points…
    1 what is your 3 year old doing in a publicly funded school?
    2 I don’t want my education dollars go to anything but K-12 as that is what our system is meant to be.
    3 Teachers are not responsible enough in some districts to know what should be supplied by the district and what should be provided by parents.

    I am tired of hearing there is no money in our system when there were raises taken. However do our kids need to be as wasteful as they are? Can kids be taught to bebkess wasteful and more creative with items?

    When I went to school we used bread tags and milk caps to count with that were donated by parents things didn’t need to be bought! Construction paper was reserved for card making and special circumstances. Egg cartons were used and other household “garbage” items.

    It isn’t $$$ it is common sense we need to put back in our classrooms and thinking outside the box!

    Your kids aren’t missing out because they couldn’t cut and waste paper! If you think they are you buy it! Their education does not depend on it!

    Just my opinion….

    Mom of 2


    1. Hi Shannon, to address a few of your questions…

      #1 – my daughter attends strong start which is a government funded program for early education. It helps to prepare kids for entering preschool/kindergarden by helping with routine, early learning and interaction with other kids, it is an extremely important program – you can read more about it here – http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=F652EE0BCB224DC4A51BE9765B50817D

      #2 – I don’t want my education dollars to go towards fighting a battle with the government that should have long ago ended, however we don’t have much of a say in that either.

      #3 – I agree, they aren’t responsible enough. However one bad apple does not a bad school make. Some teachers are absolutely amazing and resourceful!

      I agree wholeheartedly that growing up in our day was a lot different, there was a lot more resourcefulness with what we had available in the classrooms, we have turned into a very wasteful society and more of an instant gratification mentality.

      It is more then just cutting paper though, it’s using their imaginations, having different activities available to them. Classrooms are BARE until teachers start filling them, usually out of their own pockets!

      If you are angry about where your education tax dollars are being spend, GOOD. I am right there with you! Maybe in a different context, but there is waste that needs to be addressed and sooner rather than later.


      1. Children are way over scheduled when young and I don’t agree with pre-preschool. I understand having to work and putting kids in daycare but that kind of environment isn’t for kids that age group….my opinion.

        As for bare shelves? What happened to last years stock you can’t tell me it was ALL gone we are only a week in and if it is a program over and above a K-12 I would be screaming at the administration as you obviously pay for this program so it again is an administration problem.

        I have seen a school go from bad to better it takes doers. I would suggest you go to the PAC if the administration doesn’t answer your queations. Go to your school board office and ask to see the budget for your school you will see funds allocated for this stuff you just have to make sure it is getting spent where it should be!

        The money is there or the programs wouldn’t be running.


    2. Shannon, I teach in a grade 1/2 classroom. I have no levelled reading books in my classroom. There are no books in my classroom for a home reading program. I wonder how I am supposed to teach reading with no books? My shelves were EMPTY when I walked in the door to set up my room. That means it is very difficult to run an inquiry based program when there are no materials to explore with. I wanted to do a pastel picture tomorrow with the children, there are pastels, but guess what? No art paper for them to draw on. I could collect bread tags and milk caps until I am blue in the face and it STILL wouldn’t give me the things I NEED to run a rich program. Have you ever thought that you keep hearing that there isn’t enough money because there ISN’T enough money!


      1. Don’t get me wrong people I am very involved with my kids and their education. I am on the PAC for my school.

        Readers for a classroom are essential I would suggest you go to your PAC we paid for 2 full sets just last year and I know that was almost $3000 I hear you when you say there is no money but there is!

        I feel sorry that at your school your principal is not allocating funds properly that you don’t have classroom supplies.

        I think there is administration issues in your districts. But go to your PACs if they feel as I do I would rather buy books with the money than pay for busses for field trips!

        If you don’t have a PAC at your school than you should have a DPAC and they will help out if asked.

        The money is out there. I feel for you if you have uninvolved parents but if you simplify fund raising for parents or need help it is out there just ask.


  6. and now after all this bargaining for better class size and composition on the backs of teachers wages we have so, so sadly been informed by our School District about addition $ cuts this year. Cuts that equate to lost people working with children! Not more – as promised by our government!
    As we have been told, due to budget challenges, our all important support staff ( Educational Assistances) will not be replaced on the first day that they are away due to illness.
    I wonder how the Ministry of Education would manage if their Admin assistant was not replaced the first day they were away due to illness.
    In most of our schools and classrooms, our Educational Support Staff are our hearts and souls of making things work and function for our children. Yes, they are not easily replaceable but having no one in their place leaves a pit of potential safety concerns yet unimaginable.
    This is a serious health and safety concern for all children and adults in our public education system!


  7. The StrongStart program is a drop in only, come and go as you please with your child. There is a facilitator, not a teacher. The program is set up to be open ended and for your child to explore: child led, and the parent is beside the child at all times. It is far from being a preschool.

    School supply lists vary from district to district. Paper reams, tissue boxes, calculators, and funny enough up to 24 pencils per student. If my child’s entire school population brought 24 pencils each there would be thousands of pencils in the school. Teachers cringe when they see stuff like this listed … because most times it is for the whole classroom. A donation is one thing and a basic supply is another. But is my 8 year old really going through 24 pencils in 10 months of school?

    Shelves and classrooms are BARE BARE BARE bones, some don’t even have shelves, those are coming from the teacher’s garage storage. They pack in boxes and boxes of educational supplies and materials to make their teaching GREAT and SUCCESSFUL – all from their own bank account. Imagine other jobs having to pay for the supplies needed to do the job. Weird right?


  8. I think its great that your trying to do something to improve the situation at your school. However I believe your focusing on the wrong thing and some of your facts are are simply not true. To start the money being paid back from districts is not to pay for the 40 a day. Its to recoup funds paid in advance for education services that were not provided. Image if your job paid you on the 1st of every month and then on the 3rd day you decided not to show up. Would your employer not have the right to request back the money the advanced you? Secondly when you compare 2002 funding to 2013 funding the province has spent close to 1 billion more in education. There are close to 40000 less students. The focus needs to be on figuring out where this money is being spent. The administration is responsible for budgets and the management of schools. I believe this is where the problem is. Both parents and teachers need to start having intelligent conversations with the people that actually run the schools.


    1. Finally someone else who sees the whole picture!

      I would love to see people actually go and see what is going on.

      The government is one thing but the administration is another!

      It should work out to be equal in every school but the only difference between the schools is the allocation of the funds.

      Go and see where it is being spent and stand up for your rights to know.


      1. Sorry but the PAC should not be required to provide funds for books and textbooks in schools. Those funds should be going to enrich the learning experiences of the students – not provide the basics.


        1. Enrich the learning you say….but if the basics aren’t there you might as well home school and buy the stuff yourself. As a parent all the fundraising that the PAC does should be to make sure the basics are there and covered and if they are not then back to administration!


    2. If you are going to compare 2002 funding to 2013 funding then you must also compare 2002 costs to 2013 costs. Compare the line items in each budget year. Take a look at the costs that have been downloaded as well. Ask someone who has had the job of budgeting and planning long term how many times the changes in their funding have come out of left field AND on short notice. Look into the “textbook money windfall” year in which the government, after years of downloading costs and underfunding schools, announced it had allocated extra money for the purchase of textbooks. Unfortunately the money had to be spent within a few short months or it disappeared. Some curriculum was in the midst of change and new textbooks were being developed but not yet ready for purchase. A wise administrator would have looked long term and saved some of the money for the following years so that relevant books could be purchased. Unfortunately, that was not an option. So the PR spin sounded great but the reality was much different. Yes, I think it is important to ask questions and look deeper.


  9. PACs are a huge help to schools. When I need supplies for Christmas/Mothers Day, etc. it is PAC that I turn to (gratefully) for funds. Without PAC, we wouldn’t have iPads or money to take a bus on field trips (yes, we have to pay for a school bus). Thank you to all of those who serve on PACs and work hard to raise money for our students! Those people who are interested in giving to schools should consult with PACs, as the money they bring in usually goes directly to students.


  10. Thank you for this post I did not realize schools were so under budget. My daughter just outgrew a pair of winter boots. I am going to call her school today and see if they could be used to help someone less fortunate,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *