Apr 19, 2010

Packed hall for public education

VANCOUVER—The hall at John Oliver Secondary School was filled with parents, students, staff, teachers and politicians – all united in their support for fair funding for Vancouver schools.

CUPE 15 member Elizabeth Dollaga was one of the speakers at the event. Dollaga, who has been a Special Education Assistant (an SEA) at Laura Secord Elementary for the past 14 years, talked about the important role that education assistants play in making education more inclusive and integrated.

“In my 14 years working with special needs children, despite having a multitude of different roles, it is a delight in going that extra mile in support of teachers, students, families and communities. I just wish this government could do the same,” said Dollaga.

Eric Hamber Secondary student Rachel Ha said that the BC government is hypocritical in telling students they are the leaders of tomorrow, but not investing in their education.

An open mike session at the end drew a wide range of speakers, including Special Education Assistants Aurlee Parpara and Amanda Leung – both of whom are members of CUPE 15.

CUPE 15 president Paul Faoro said that it is important to see the community come out in support of the programs and services that the Vancouver Board of Education is standing up for.

The forum was organized by the Stop School Cuts Coalition of Vancouver to highlight the drastic proposed cuts to the VSB budget.

And while the focus was on Vancouver, signs up on the walls in the John Oliver auditorium with the funding shortfalls facing other school districts emphasized the point that provincial underfunding of our public schools is a broad and ongoing problem.

COPE 491