IPE/BC Submission to Budget Consultation 2023

The IPE/BC submission to the 2023 Budget Consultation process calls for a restoration of the percentage of BC Gross Domestic Product  allocated to public education.  The oft-repeated “highest funding ever” mantra is misleading, at best, as the percentage of BC GDP for K-12 public schools  has declined signifantly over the last two decades.  IPE/BC is recommending a return to the 2.5% that was allocated in 2002.

You can read the complete submission here.

Inflation, bargaining and the impact of restrictive mandates

Contract negotiations for public school teachers and support staff are underway with the backdrop of years of mandate-restricted bargaining and a current period of mounting inflation. What has been the impact of these restrictions on the salaries and wages of those working in BC’s public schools and on the dollars dedicated to public education in BC?  Why has BC’s spending on education as a percentage of GDP slid from 2.8% in 2001 to 1.7% in 2021? Researcher and IPE/BC Board member, John Malcolmson, throughly examines these very timely questions in the latest IPE/BC Occassional Paper.  

IPE/BC Submission to Budget Consultations 2022

IPE/BC has submitted its recommendations for the 2022 provincial budget to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.  In doing so, we focused on the urgent need to place a priority on funding initiatives to support the most vulnerable learners, specifically recommending that the budget include additional funding for:

  • the inclusion of students with special needs.
  • access to adequate, nutritious food.
  • better provisions for health and safety, and
  • equitable access to technology.

You can read the complete submission here

 

 

COVID-19 Crisis Impacting Boards of Education Budgets

The practice of recruiting fee-paying international students to BC’s K-12 public education system was promoted by the previous Liberal  government and carries on today, deepening inequities between districts and creating a reliance on unstable revenue to cover gaps in funding.  The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in this revenue collapsing and the impact province-wide and on individual school districts is signficant. Find out the details in the latest IPE/BC research paper. 

Statement on the discovery of 215 children buried on the site of the former Kamloops Residential School

The Institute for Public Education BC stands in solidarity with the k’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation and the many families and communities dealing with the horrific confirmation that 215 children were buried on the grounds of what was known as the Kamloops Residential School.

We know that these children and thousands and thousands more over generations were stolen from their parents, imprisoned, and abused in institutions of church and state.

We understand that Indigenous people here and across the country are dealing with the anguish and trauma of this discovery and the pain of their own experiences.

We honor the generations of survivors and the children and youth who never returned.

We recommit to a vision of public education in which each and every Indigenous child is affirmed, supported, encouraged and valued.

We take to heart the TRC Calls to Action and will strive to ensure our work answers these calls. We call on all Canadians to demand that these calls to action are fully realized.

Occasional Paper Series

Occassional Paper #6     June 2022

Beyond Resistance to Privatization: Rebuilding and Reclaiming Public Education 

“As schools look toward post-pandemic recovery, teacher unions and researchers are at a crucial junction in the defense
of public education. Schools are key public spaces of collective learning and community care for children and youth. Privatization, in contrast, privileges individual and financial interests and undermines education as a public good.”

IPE/BC Fellow and BCTF Director of Information, Research and International Solidarity, Andrée Gacoin, reports on a think tank that focused on privatization  in public education and concluded that, beyond building awareness, what is needed is a clear articulation of what public education is for and why it is important.

Occassional Paper #5      June 2022

COLA-lite: Ready’s Inflation Adjustment for Sea-to-Sky Bus Drivers

BC’s public sector unions are currently locked in negotiations with the province over new collective agreements covering much of BC’s public sector. A key area of contention across several tables – in health care, education, and the provincial public service – is the rising level of price inflation overtaking the provincial economy.   Researcher and IPE/BC Board member John Malcolmson reports on the impact of inflation and the need to adequately address the compensation of public sector workers.

Occasional Paper #4    April  2022 

Inflation, Bargaining and the Impact of Restrictive Mandates

Contract negotiations for public school teachers and support staff are underway with the backdrop of years of mandate-restricted bargaining and a current period of mounting inflation. What has been the impact of these restrictions on the salaries and wages of those working in BC’s public schools and on the dollars dedicated to public education in BC?  Why has BC’s spending on education as a percentage of GDP slid from 2.8% in 2001 to 1.7% in 2021?  Researcher and IPE/BC Board member, John Malcolmson, throughly examines these very timely questions in Occassional Paper #4.

Occasional Paper #3     August  2021 

COVID Crisis Impacting Board of Education Budgets

This paper examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Board of Education budgets in BC, specifically detailing the loss of revenue from the international student fees.  Implemented by the previous Liberal government and continued by the NDP, the practice of recruiting fee-paying international students to BC’s K-12 public schools to address funding gaps has been adopted by many school boards despite the dangers of relying on unstable funding. Researcher and IPE/BC Director John Malcolmson has examined the 2021/22 school district budgets, adopted by boards in June, and analyzed the significant impact of the loss of this revenue, overall and on a district-by-district basis.

 

Occasional Paper #2          February 2020

Education Funding Models in Canada: Patterns of Similarity and Details of Difference

This technical report summarizes how education funding is structured and distributed in each of the Canadian provinces. Political and social factors influencing public education and how it is funded include neo-liberal ideology, competition with other public services, and the impact of public school advocates. Education is the responsibility of provinces in Canada and the details of how funding is distributed vary according to province. However, there are some common questions and increasingly common patterns in the funding models. Equity is a central intention built into Canadian funding models, although the approaches are subject to contestation. Funding decisions have been increasingly centralized in provincial governments and away from school boards, with boards being eliminated in some provinces. Property taxes are becoming a decreasing source of funding, with provincial revenue from other taxation making up a greater proportion.

Occasional Paper #1      June 2018

The Many Faces of Privatization

Public funding for private schools may be the most obvious way public education in British Columbia is being privatized, but there are other less obvious privatizing strategies at work. This is a working paper for an IPE/BC workshop that offers analysis of 1) the common narratives that legitimize and promote privatization thus drawing the public into a manufactured consent of privatization and 2) specific contexts in which this privatization in manifest, such as personalized learning (especially with technology), choice programs, school fees and fund raising, business principles of school administration, corporate sponsorships, fee paying international student enrollment, and publicly funded private schools.

IPE/BC Submission for BC’S 2021 Budget Consultation

IPE/BC has submitted its recommendations to BC’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services for the upcoming year’s budget. Our submission reflects IPE/BC’s basic values and focuses on the following:

  1. Recognizing that public education is in the public interest and a critical element of our democratic society.
  2. Focusing funding initiatives to support the most vulnerable students.
  3. Avoiding a return to austerity to be able to recover from the damage of previous austerity measures.
  4. Defunding private/independent schools.
  5. Planning to incorporate remedies for the climate crisis in all areas of public education.

You can read the submission here.

We welcome feedback in our efforts to support public education in BC.

New Publication: Education Funding Models in Canada

NEW PUBLICATION

IPE/BC is pleased to announce a new publication based on our Structure of Education Funding research project. This descriptive study focuses on how public education is funded in each of the provinces: Education Funding Models in Canada: Patterns of Similarity and Details of Difference.

The technical report begins with an analysis of general funding patterns and the elements that drive them. Equity is a central intention build into Canadian funding models, although how best to achieve this is the subject of contestation. Funding decisions have become increasingly centralized in provincial governments, resulting in a decline in the autonomy of school boards, with boards in some provinces being eliminated altogether. Property taxes are decreasing sources of funding with provincial revenue from other taxation making up a greater proportion. The report depicts how much funding is provided and how funding is distributed in each province, but does not evaluate the (in)adequacy of funding.

We found most provinces fund education on a per-student basis, and only the provinces with the smallest number of student have cost-based education funding. Funding for the inclusion of students with special needs is a source of particular contention in many provinces and currently two competing models exist: a model based on the identification of specific and individual student needs and one based on a statistical model estimating the likely prevalence of special needs within school districts. Both models are currently used, and discussions of their appropriateness are ongoing.

Half of the provinces directly fund private schools and three fund Catholic schools. Other forms of privatization within the public school system are increasingly common. Every province gives school boards and schools the right to fundraise using techniques such as international student tuition fees, revenue generating academies, and school building fundraising by parents and students.

IPE/BC appreciates any feedback on this technical report.