Victoria Friday, February 7, 2020 11:45 AM

For the first time, B.C.’s children and youth in care will be recognized through a new supplement when funding is allocated to school districts next month.

This change will also expand priority funding to more children with mental-health challenges and those living in low-income families.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that years of neglect have left far too many of our most vulnerable children not getting the supports they need to be engaged and successful in school,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “Our government is doing things differently by putting the success and well-being of students first, while ensuring equity in the way we fund public education.”

Money allocated for this new supplement will be provided to school boards to deliver services based on local needs. These funds are intended for supports like trauma counselling, school breakfast or lunch programs, additional support in the classroom, recognizing mental-health issues and early intervention, or tutoring. Recognizing these students for priority funding will ensure the more than $6 billion in record operating funding is distributed in a way that better represents the number of vulnerable students in B.C. schools. The amount of money allocated for the supplement will be announced following Budget 2020.

This is part one of a two-phase plan to improve the way education is delivered in B.C., following the completion of a comprehensive review that examined ways to ensure every child has equal and consistent access to a quality education, no matter their circumstances or where they live. The review involved an unprecedented level of consultation, including all 60 school districts and over 350 education stakeholders.

Former youth in care already are benefiting from the post-secondary Tuition Waiver Program, and these changes will pave the way for success beginning at an early age. The move builds on broader government efforts, including the poverty reduction strategy TogetherBC, a Pathway to Hope roadmap for mental health, and prioritizing children and youth in care.

“We want to give every child and youth in care the chance to thrive and overcome challenges they could face,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “From an early age, right through school, high school and post-secondary, we’re working to support children and youth, help guide them and make sure they can access the services they need in order to succeed.”

In 2018, the Province appointed an independent review panel to undertake a review of how public education is funded for the first time in almost 30 years. The panel recommended making improvements to ensure greater equity, accountability and financial management, so all students are supported to reach their full potential.

As part of the equity recommendations, Indigenous students will continue to benefit from targeted funding for culturally appropriate support and services. There will also be added accountability through formal processes, so Indigenous parents, communities and governments can provide input into how educational services are delivered to their children. This builds upon ongoing work to prioritize Indigenous students, including a 30% increase in funding since 2016-17.

The Ministry of Education will work collaboratively with school boards and other partners to implement improved public accountability, including ensuring school districts:

  • engage parents, caregivers and community members in the development of school districts’ strategic plans, well in advance of setting their budgets, to meet student needs;
  • continuously monitor and publicly report on student outcomes, such as numeracy, literacy and graduation rates, so gaps in student achievement are identified and services can be planned based on proven strategies; and
  • ensure strategic plans and financial decisions are focused on improving student outcomes and meeting all students’ needs, including inclusive education, Indigenous education, students from low-income families and other vulnerable students.

These new accountability and transparency measures will give parents and caregivers a stronger voice, while making sure students’ needs are put first.

The ministry will continue to work on the remainder of the recommendations with school boards and other partners – including parents, support staff, teachers, Indigenous communities and inclusive-education advocacy groups.

This work will include testing and piloting strategies to improve how inclusive education is delivered so students receive the services and supports they need, when they need them, no matter where they live. Ongoing work will ensure the unique costs of running schools in rural and remote districts throughout the province are recognized and prioritized when funding is allocated.

“The previous government imposed decisions with no consultation, and that’s why we said all along that we will take the time necessary to get this right. We need to make sure all children can benefit from the changes we make,” Fleming said.

“We’re glad that the ministry is taking the initial step in moving forward with the necessary process of improving the funding model,” said Stephanie Higginson, president, BC School Trustees Association. “This process has given us critical information about the student population that was unavailable when the current model was created. We remain committed to working with the ministry toward finding a more student-focused way of distributing education dollars to local boards of education.”

Education funding is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

“The BC Green caucus supports the funding model changes announced today, particularly the emphasis on supporting vulnerable children and youth in care,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley. “Our collective goal must be to ensure that all children have the opportunity to thrive. This means continuing to work with our partners in the education system to find the best ways to fund the supports that our students need.”

Quick Facts:

  • Government is supporting B.C. students with a record $6.6 billion a year, which is $1 billion more than in 2016-17.
  • Since 2016-17, student enrolment has increased by 3.2% while, at the same time, education funding has increased by 17.1%, including a 30% increase to support Indigenous education and a 29% increase to support inclusive education.
  • More than 1,100 former youth in care are benefiting from post-secondary or trades training through the Tuition Waver Program program, which was introduced in the 2017-18 school year.
  • In early 2019, the Province launched TogetherBC, British Columbia’s first-ever poverty reduction strategy. It aims to reduce the province’s overall poverty rate by 25% and the child poverty rate by 50% over the next five years.
  • A Pathway to Hope, launched in June 2019, is a 10-year mental health plan, with an immediate focus for the next three years on improving wellness for children, youth and young adults, supporting Indigenous-led solutions, improving substance use care, and improving access and quality of care throughout B.C.

Learn More:

K-12 public education funding model implementation:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/resource-management/k-12-funding-and-allocation/funding-model

 

Two backgrounders follow

Education funding model review history, implementation

The Ministry of Education’s annual operating fund for K-12 public education is more than $6 billion and is distributed among 60 boards of education throughout B.C.

For over a decade, education stakeholders – including teachers, parents, First Nations and school boards – have called for changes to address inconsistencies and potential gaps in the way education is funded. Throughout the review, most partners also noted that the way education is funded doesn’t keep pace with the new curriculum and the way students learn in school today.

Government worked in partnership with the BC School Trustees Association to create guiding principles, ensuring improvements are responsive, stable and predictable, flexible, transparent and accountable.

The Independent Funding Model Review panel presented a final report on Dec. 18, 2018, with 22 recommendations along three themes: equity, accountability and financial management. To understand what these recommendations would mean for students in the classroom, working groups were established in spring 2019. Members included parents, support staff, teachers, inclusive education advocacy groups and First Nations.

Final reports were completed in October 2019, and working groups noted that some of the recommendations would be relatively straightforward to implement, while others – like how government funds inclusive education or online learning – would require extensive work to ensure there would be no negative, unintended consequences for students.

Read the independent review panel’s final report and recommendations; working group reports; submissions from education stakeholders; and find out more information about the funding model review here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/administration/resource-management/k-12-funding-and-allocation/funding-model

Implementation plan

The ministry will implement recommendations with a two-phase plan.

Changes for the 2020-21 school year include starting to implement 12 of the 22 recommendations (specifically recommendations 2, 3, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22). These include the new supplement to recognize vulnerable students, strengthening targeted funding policies for Indigenous students and accountability improvements. More information about these recommendations can be found in the panel’s final report.

During Phase 2, the ministry will continue working with partners to:

  • modernize inclusive education policies and the way services are delivered and funded, so all students have a level playing field;
  • modernize the delivery of online learning programs over the next three school years to better support the new curriculum and ensure every student has consistent access to a quality education, no matter where they live; and
  • support students’ transition to post-secondary and the world of work with expanded career-focused programs in their graduation years.

The ministry is committed to collaborating with education partners to monitor progress, ensuring the strategies that are proven to work best to improve student outcomes are identified and implemented.

What people are saying about the education funding model implementation

Andrea Sinclair, president, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) –

“Parents across the province have stated the importance of having our children’s mental health as a priority, and we are thankful to the ministry for listening. BCCPAC strongly believes that the ministry is being prudent by ensuring some of the implications of the new funding model are studied further before being implemented. We will continue to represent parents by providing input to ensure all students are supported fairly so there is full equity, transparency and accountability in education funding.”

Jennifer Charlesworth, B.C.’s representative for children and youth –

“This is a positive move toward creating better educational and life outcomes for children and youth in care in B.C. I am very encouraged that the Ministry of Education has followed through on key recommendations from our office’s 2017 Room for Improvement report. I appreciate the efforts of ministry staff to spearhead these important changes, as well as the input of the BC Teachers’ Federation, school trustees and school superintendents, to collaboratively address the learning needs of children who are often very vulnerable as a result of their life experiences.”

Kimberly Alaric, former youth in care and member of youth advisory councils (provincial MCFD YAC and Okanagan YAC) –

“As a former youth in care, I believe this change would have assisted my school in further supporting the struggling youth within the community. This would have helped my school put a greater focus on the extra supports some kids in care need. Although I was fortunate enough to have access to the breakfast program three times per week, for some students this may not be enough. Since aging out of care, I have taken advantage of the Provincial Tuition Waiver program. This program has not only allowed me to earn a post-secondary education, it has allowed me to transition into adulthood virtually debt free.”

Paul Faoro, president, CUPE BC –

“On behalf of the more than 27,000 CUPE members working in the K-12 system, I’m pleased that our union was included in the review process. We are broadly supportive of the recommendations that are being implemented, and we will continue to work with the provincial government to ensure that our public education system is fully funded by provincial revenues. The previous government’s unilateral and confrontational approach to education policy and funding was extremely damaging to student outcomes, and we strongly support Minister Fleming and the government’s broad and inclusive consultations to ensure that education funding is focused, transparent and provides the greatest level of opportunities for students to succeed.”

Teri Mooring, president, British Columbia Teachers’ Federation –

“It’s reassuring to see the government moving forward with changes to the education funding model in such a measured and purposeful way. I am pleased to see the minister of education commit to spend more time working with teachers and other stakeholders on the remaining recommendations, especially the funding for inclusive education.

I also want to congratulate the government on adding a supplement to support children and youth in care. Whether it’s hot lunch programs, mental health supports or extra counselling, we know those students need more, and I am thrilled to hear help is on the way to them. It’s an incredibly important change that will help undo some of the damage done by the previous government.”

Karla Verschoor, executive director, Inclusion BC –

“Inclusion BC is encouraged to see better outcomes for diverse learners is a priority for government within an enhanced accountability framework. Also, the government’s commitment to ongoing engagement with districts, parents and groups like Inclusion BC is a positive response to the concerns raised during the funding model review. Taking the time to test and pilot new strategies for improving classroom supports will provide much-needed clarity for families and school districts as inclusive education moves forward.”

Tracy Humphreys, founder and chair, BCEdAccess

“As an organization of families of children and youth with disabilities and complex learners, public accountability is a top priority. We are encouraged to see more parent and guardian input into school district strategic planning and budgeting. Prioritizing Indigenous students and children and youth in care is the right thing to do and will support many of the students who are a part of our advocacy work. We look forward to continuing work with education stakeholders on some of the more complex panel recommendations, to prioritize equitable access to education and inclusion for all.”

This on BC govt Website go to the link here

 

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