LETTER: Don’t blame lack of interest in online learning for Surrey Connect’s failures

LETTER: Don't blame lack of interest in online learning for Surrey Connect's failures

The Editor,

Re: "German teacher truly dedicated," the Now letters, Jan. 30.

I appreciate you publishing Dr. Jen Marchbank’s letter expressing disappointment and sorrow due to the Surrey school district’s decision to axe the last German course.

In this millennium, when online learning is the present and the future, I disagree with the statement that "the loss of German is indicative of a change in educational interests among Surrey residents."

Surrey residents are interested in taking online courses. Surrey residents and people from the entire province are not interested, however, in accepting customer disservice.

As a parent of former Surrey Connect students, who are taking online courses at another public school district, I can guarantee you that interest and enrolment are not always causes as the school district has claimed. Lack of interest and low enrolment can be effects. Let me share some of my experiences with Surrey Connect.

My children signed up to take summer courses a few years ago. With limited teacher hours and limited textbook department hours, my kids lost most of the summer waiting to start their courses. As September approached, we gave up on Surrey Connect. My children took the same courses at their school, losing the opportunity to take one more elective, missing the chance of going beyond the minimum required to graduate.

Would you show interest when you call a school and nobody answers the phone? Would you support a school that loses your registration papers? Would you trust your most precious treasure to a school that gives your child a one-year deadline to complete a course, only to change it to six months, and again to less than three months? Surrey residents, like me, have answered: No, no, no, no.

The loss of the German course and the declining enrolment are consequences of a failure in leadership. Surrey Connect stopped being "any time, any place, any pace" for students. In presenting low enrolment as a cause for cutting staff and programs, the district shows being out of touch with residents. It lacks "leadership in learning." Does the school district intend to address this managerial crisis? Surrey residents hope the school district does – immediately.

Martika Jacques, Surrey

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