Back up ‘feel good’ statements with funding

Are more resources coming for influx of Syrian refugees?

It makes me angry when politicians make “feel good” statements that sound like they are going to take issues seriously, then don’t follow through with the financial resources needed to ensure everyone in the community has their needs met.

In regards to the refugee influx to B.C., Premier Christy Clark recently stated publicly that “we are going to fund their children when they go to school, of course, and support them in finding the counselling services… that they need.”

I would like to know where the funding is going to come from for this, when the students we already have now in our schools are not receiving the amount of learning support time and counselling that they need to be successful. Not just classroom teachers need to be hired in order to service these newcomers, but specialist teachers and support workers such as counsellors will also need to be added.

The education system in this province is already severely under-funded and we don’t have the human resources necessary for our most vulnerable students to be successful, and now you are planning on adding more students to that number? Infrastructure needs to be added before these people arrive and that would mean hiring a lot more teachers and support staff. Is that happening?

In Surrey, we are overflowing in some schools and don’t have physical space for a large influx of students. Where will they be placed? Remember, more portables means costs downloaded onto the budgets of our local school boards as the province will not fund them.

Immigration Minister John McCallum recently stated that “we want (refugees) to have the right support for language training.” Does that mean special classes will be formed or will the children simply be placed in existing classes and expected to survive without any more human resources being added to the system?

In short, we have so severely under-funded our education system that we cannot currently support the needs of the students we have now, let alone if more are added without proper funding.

More care needs to be taken with where these people will be relocated to. Perhaps we should be considering placing those with children in school districts that have declining enrolment and empty schools rather than in Surrey that is overflowing.

 

Arlene Laing

Surrey

 

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