Improving Equity And Accountability – it’s a very promising title! Today, the Ministry of Education released the report from the panel that conducted the funding model review of BC’s education system.
While the scope of the report was funding for public school districts in general (capital funding and independent schools were out of scope), our reaction pertains to how the recommendations could impact students with disabilities and complex learners. The content of our submission to the panel earlier this year summarizes our areas of concern.
We’ve been asked by the Ministry of Education to provide feedback and I’m sure our Facebook support group members will have quite a bit of it.
An early favourite recommendation is:
“The Ministry should establish a provincial accountability and reporting framework for the K-12 public education sector, including common principles and templates. This framework should have three to five broad, system wide goals that are specific, measurable, and focused on student outcomes. The Ministry should monitor
school district progress against these goals and work directly with school districts experiencing difficulty in meeting their objectives”
We loved this comment in particular:
“Accountability seems to be focused on the mechanisms for generating funding and not connected to the utilization of funding to support student achievement. It is the Panel’s view that to foster a culture of continuous improvement in student outcomes through more equitable educational opportunities, there needs to be a greater focus on how funds are utilized by Boards of Education to improve student outcomes, not just the allocations themselves.”
As one of the group members put it, “I was reading this part like YES GIRL”
Overall, our early reaction to these recommendations is very positive but there is no question that some of the recommendations are concerning to families as well. We’re glad to hear that the Ministry of Education will take more time to review the recommendations to direct the plan for implementation. BCEdAccess looks forward to engaging in further discussions about the key points in this report.
We’re most interested in how any changes will improve equitable access, and the quality of educational outcomes for students. Improvements in accountability would also be a huge gift to our families.
As an organization, the most important thing we need to understand with any new funding model is the change in the path of advocacy for families of students with disabilities and complex learners. While we await the new funding model, we will continue to advocate to government at all levels to act now to improve supports and education for those students.