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LETTER: School ain't what it used to be

Dear Editor,

The grandchildren have started their new school year all excited to see old friends and to meet new teachers.

I guess they've spent the past two months helping out at the family farm bringing in the harvest.

No, you say, less than 1.5 percent of the B.C. population live on farms. So that means that school-age children don't work on the farm during July and August? When did that change?

Oh, you mean technology has reduced if not eliminated children working on the farm during the two summer months, like they used to back in the 1800s and early 1900s. WOW! Does the government know about that change?

So, what did the kids do during the summer?

Oh, you mean some parents had to take time off to take care of their children.....and grandparents had to help out, too! WOW!

That must have cost some parents lost wages....and some grandparents time away from their favourite retirement activities.

Oh, they have private summer camps for some of the richer children and there are other activities provided by the City's department of Parks, Recreation and Culture!

Does Abbotsford have such a department?

How much money did that cost the City taxpayers? Oh, it provided summer jobs for only a handful of college students!

Oh, you mean teachers had two months off.....with pay! Gosh, that's nice.

Some went back to university to upgrade their credentials.....that's cool!

Why are students in other countries doing better in school than our children here in BC and Canada?

Oh, longer school year, you say?

Why don't we have a longer school year to help prepare our children for life after graduation?

Oh, BCTF, you say! What does BCTF mean? Oh, that's what it stands for......they must be very powerful to prevent a change in the school year.

Oh, and the college and university professors don't want a change either, you say.

Well, what about changing the ten month school year into year-round education that would benefit students by reducing the time between semesters or quarters so that they don't have to spend so much time in September reviewing what they forgot from the previous school year?

Oh, BCTF, again. Gosh, those former teachers seem to be very powerful. Will that every change?

Oh, only after a very long strike that would impact on children and parents.

Oh, that is saddening to hear. You mean the teachers' union has a lot of power?

What about the parents and the government? Don't they have that much power?

Oh, they had that once but the NDP changed things back in the 1970s.

Well, can the current government change things and give parents and school boards the power that they used to have?

Oh, they are trying but it is a big struggle, you say.

That's saddening to hear.

Oh, well, time to take a photo of the children going into their school for the first time in months.

It must be very exciting for them!

I'll talk to them later in the day about their first day back at school....that will be fun.


(G.E. MacDonell)