Building Servant Hearts

Leading with Heart

Politics and Polarization in BC Education Continue

I have been retired from my career as a public educator for about a year and a half but I try to stay up to date with the developments in BC education.  After reading the media reports on the latest ruling by the courts against the BC Government I am disheartened by what continues to transpire in public education in British Columbia. It clearly appears as though little if any progress has been made in the seemingly never-ending confrontation between the BC Government and the BC Teachers’ Federation.  The BCTF is claiming a victory as a result of the decision and the Provincial Government is now going to appeal. The actions taken as a result of the court decision are a continuation of what has become the status quo in BC public education.

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I am not taking sides on this continuing issue. I felt compelled though to point out that I believe that over the years a considerable amount of damage has occurred in public education as a result of the constant bickering, negotiating, law suits and court action. As a strong supporter of public education for over 34 years I am worried that more parents will choose alternate ways of education rather than public schooling. It is a shame that this battle will continue.

Get Rid Of The Politics And Do What Is Right

I know this may sound simple and I recognize there is a tremendous amount of history behind this struggle. I lived it for the majority of my career and I do not have any regrets for the time spent in education. I worked with and observed many dedicated and committed educators doing great things for students and families. But I am frustrated. I feel it is now time for someone or one side to let go of the political debate and polarization and do what is right for our students, families and communities.

It is time for both the Provincial Government and the BCTF to model what we want students in school to learn. Things like respecting one another, cooperation, collaboration, listening, mutual understanding, empathy, and mediation. These are the skills and attributes that are so necessary in producing effective and contributing members of our communities.

Envious Rwandan Educators 

photo-2The reason I am so disheartened and feel compelled to write this is that in the country of Rwanda, where I am currently serving as advisor for the Wellspring Foundation for Education, the teachers, administrators and policy makers would be so envious of the BC education system.  They would only hope that there could be a similar level of funding provided to districts, resources available to teachers to implement instruction, have modern and well- maintained schools, and be provided with ongoing professional development and training.  Not many of the schools that I have visited come close to what is provided to districts and communities in BC.

The education system here in Rwanda cannot currently provide the same level of instruction and opportunities offered in BC.  There is a long history of struggles in this developing country including the struggle in developing a successful education system. However, the Rwandan government has recognized the importance of a high quality education system for the ongoing development of Rwanda. They are taking great strides to improve it and are doing so with success. What is so amazing is that there is such a willingness to learn and to work hard to improve. A lot of it is being done with few resources. Teachers and administrators are so interested in learning and are grateful for any assistance and support provided. They do not take for granted the support  available to them. Perhaps in BC we have taken the state of public education for granted and in our desire to want and look for more, we have forgotten our main purpose.

Time For Education Advocates To Voice Concerns

The mission of the Rwandan Government is to educate the youth so they will have a brighter future and become the leaders and contributing members of Rwandan society.  This sounds very similar to what we have been attempting to do in BC but it has been sidetracked. Perhaps it is time to put aside differences, put politics aside and to return to what the real mission of education is. The one that our Rwandan neighbours are so committed to. I believe we have a vast majority of educators in BC who wish to get back on track. But I am not overly optimistic that unless the Provincial Government and the BCTF move off of their respective positions this will occur. If there are more of you who feel the same way as I do perhaps it is time you let your feelings be known as well. I urge you to. 

Claudio Morelli

About Claudio Morelli

Maximizing the strengths and growth of individuals has always been my mission and passion. As a former Superintendent of Schools\CEO I have now transitioned into a season with a renewed mission. Initiating and fanning the flame of men who seriously wish to enhance their presence in the lives of their loved ones is my current passion. I have experienced a lifetime full of trials with much success, with some failures, and with many mistakes. Six decades of life has taught me that the investment and presence in building lasting relationships is critical to a lifetime of fulfillment.

10 Replies

  1. Interesting post Claudio! I had never heard on this topic. Believing in the value of education, I sympathize with your feelings and definitely for the Rwanda people. It’s unfortunate that many goverments chose to spend on wars than in schools.
    Bless you for what you do!

    1. Claudio Morelli

      Thanks Katina. Education is so important. I agree with you. Actually in Rwanda the government has made great strides in education during a prolonged time of peace. I am blessed to be able to serve here. I also enjoyed and learned so much from working in BC during my career as an educator. It is hard when politics gets in the way. Appreciate your comments.

  2. Gillian

    Hi Claudio,
    I understand your frustration and actually it is sad to watch the system in BC destroy itself. I do not understand why the government is so intent on not moving forward with the educating of our children. By the damage caused at the school level it will and has done already, cause major problems in the educating people in the trades. The government got rid of lots of programs etc for people who wanted a career in the trades such as electricians, carpenters, plumbers etc..Positions that require a qualifications ticket to show they are qualified in the trade they spent time and money on taking the courses to become qualified. Some take 5 years! Before the present government was elected the province provided a lot of help for individuals who made the choice to get into a trade, in order to make a living. Of course now we see after quite a few years of little or no support for this it’s affect on many many people who some have been forced to go find work in other provinces! Not a good thing at all. Not everyone can be an academic, but lots can and have had a back up plan to have a trade so they would be able to make a living if the academic road did not work out for them. It is a shame and very sad to watch the BC government systematically degrade and disregard it’s children’s future and the future of what could be a flourishing province. Misconception is, that BC is a big place so politicians I guess see it as nobody will notice what is really going on, and by the time they do/have it is too late! To me although a huge responsibility running a province or country, the very least these people who got voted into office could do is to ensure a future for our children and our province of BC!

    1. Claudio Morelli

      Thanks for your comments Gill. My time in Rwanda has given me an appreciation of what we do have at home in BC and how well the teachers, administrators and Boards are doing despite constant challenges. I hope that some progress could occur. Appreciate your participation.

  3. Stephane

    Thank you for this insightful post Claudio!
    As I was reading this article from my Rwandan perspective, I was reminded of Rwandan Proverb that says “A cow recognizes the value of its tail when it is cut”! I have quite a similar feeling with regard to what is happening in BC while in Rwanda millions of kids are just happy to be given the grace to sit in a classroom!

    1. Claudio Morelli

      Thank you Stephane. I appreciate your insights from Rwanda and so thankful to be serving in a country and with Wellspring to be able to assist in getting more children in schools, classrooms and seats. I hope that my fellow educators in BC begin to understand how fortunate that they are.

      Kind regards, Claudio

  4. Phil Reilly

    Another great article, Claudio. I’m still relatively new to the school system, with our children at the local elementary but I too share your frustration. Frankly, I’m amazed at what I hear, and read about in the news. The continued jarring will ultimately cost our children’s learning, and education is far too important to be left in the hands of those who’d rather have a playground scuffle. I’m not at the stage of voting with my feet and pulling our children out of the public system – I’m too committed to community based learning, but if things don’t improve then you are right, I’ll look elsewhere. Perhaps you need to share your findings from Rwanda to a far wider audience. You have good and important things to say.

    1. Claudio Morelli

      Phil your comments definitely affirm my fears of more parents like you who have concerns and if the “scuffle” as you say continues will look elsewhere. I am considering sending a link to those who may be interested as I believe more need to express their feelings. Thanks so much for contributing.

      Kind regards, Claudio

  5. Dave P.

    Hello Claudio,

    It is wrong that politics effects teachers so much. Good will needs to be developed and both sides need to negotiate in good faith. Why can’t the BCTF begin by thanking the Ministry for the 5 billion dollars they put into
    the B.C. school system to make it world class. It seems too simple and it is difficult to understand why this technique isn’t used. Lawsuits and the other strategies being used are costly and they don’t build the positive relationships required to get the most favourable result. I always have hope that things will change for the better. It is about time.

    David

    1. Claudio Morelli

      David, it is time to do what is right for the education system. I read a book a while ago called Getting To Yes. It is a leadership classic and it probably might be a good time for the government and BCTF to have a look at it. Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated.

      Regards from Rwanda, Claudio