EDITORIAL: An education in irony

With full-day kindergarten, ongoing development, it's obvious Surrey needs more schools built.

Back to school is filled with ironies this week.

It is ironic that teachers are on what they call a strike at the same time the school system undergoes the biggest change in many years – making kindergarten a full-day experience. Their strike is confined to not doing administrative duties. They are on duty in the classroom.

It is also ironic that nowhere will full-day kindergarten have more impact on classroom allocation than in Surrey – the largest, fastest-growing school district in the province, where approvals for new schools have dropped to zero.

The third irony is that the provincial government is mounting a vigorous defence of its inactions by pleading poverty, as a result of voters rejecting the HST. Education Minister George Abbott cites the HST vote, when it comes to teacher raises and building new schools. Yet at the same time, this government has forced school districts to pay out large sums to allegedly reduce carbon emissions. This money ends up in the pockets of private companies, and has come directly out of the classroom.

Back to school should be a time of optimism. After all, the education system is a major factor in shaping children into adults and making them good citizens of the future.

There are many great teachers in Surrey, and they deserve to have the best possible conditions so that students can learn and thrive.

Full-day kindergarten should also be a positive. In an age where information multiplies exponentially each day, young people need to be prepared for it as early as possible. Yet in Surrey, classroom space is at a premium. Full-day kindergarten requires twice as many classrooms.

Surrey has many young students who will be going into kindergarten, this year and in coming years.Yet the province has been slow in allowing new schools and classrooms to be built in Surrey, although it did find some money to deal with classroom space needed for the expanded kindergarten.

Despite efforts by many in Surrey to bring this growing imbalance to public attention, the province has been silent. The last new school to open, Adams Road Elementary, already has portables on site.

Development isn’t slowing down in Surrey, but the development of school space is.

Both Earl Marriott and Lord Tweedsmuir Secondaries are going on a staggered block system this September, to allow more students to be housed in schools that have run out of space. This scenario will only expand in the future if no new space becomes available.

While the province and school district must be cognizant of development and enrolment trends when committing money for schools, and not overbuild, it is obvious that more classroom space will be needed in Surrey for a long, long time. There are still areas of Surrey which will be developed over the next 10 to 20 years, and the cost of land and housing suggests that there will be many young families will continue to move to Surrey and occupy new townhouses and single-family homes for the foreseeable future.

Yes, there are many areas of the education system which need to function better. That’s pretty obvious this September. But a healthy dose of optimism about the future won’t hurt.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta artist John Horton named to Order of British Columbia

Honour for significant contributions made to the appreciation and safety of B.C.’s coastal history

Man arrested in ‘after-hours club crackdown’ in Whalley, Surrey RCMP say

Police say they received information about clubs, parties ‘springing up’ at commercial properties

Former White Rock mayor, MP shares community connections via YouTube

Gordie Hogg aims to highlight those who’ve impacted South Surrey, White Rock

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read