NPA's corporate school funding will lead education in wrong direction, says Vision Vancouver
Mayor Gregor Robertson joined Vancouver School Board Chair Patti Bacchus this morning to discuss Vision Vancouver’s education platform and dispute the Non-Partisan Association's ideas on school funding.
"Last week Kirk LaPointe and the NPA put out a disturbing vision for our public schools that included a promise to accept Chevron’s offer to fund and influence classroom programs in our schools,” said Bacchus in a press release. “That’s the wrong direction for education. Our school board platform puts kids first. We want to continue our work, supporting stronger schools, standing up for public education and making our school district an environmental leader."
When NPA’s mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe announced his education platform on Friday, he mentioned that the NPA would encourage funding partnerships that would assist with the school board’s constant funding problems.
“The Vision school board chair has turned down almost $500,000 in grants to support kids because the sources didn’t fit its rigid ideological views,” he said. “An NPA school board will not be bound by ideology that shortchanges our kids.”
The incident refers to the fact that Chevron donated microscopes that the school board rejected, because it didn’t want to accept corporate donation, while other school districts accepted the offer.
“The fact that Kirk LaPointe and the NPA want to open up our classrooms to corporate funding from Chevron shows what is at risk in this election,” Mayor Gregor Robertson shot back in a statement.
Bacchus says the board rejected the “Fuel Your Schools” program because of the negative influence corporate funding would have on teachers and students.
“This funding was contingent on Chevron being able to directly interfere with teachers and lesson plans. The NPA's Mr LaPointe and his school board candidates seem to think that turning to oil companies to fund our schools is the way to improve public education," said Bacchus. “What’s next? McDonald’s teaching nutrition?”
NPA also pledges for a better breakfast program with developed nutrition plans.
Drawing on his own experience growing up in poverty, LaPointe said he would partner with private-sector and non-profit organizations to develop breakfast programs that the City could co-ordinate.
“That way, each child would attend school properly nourished, with the potential to learn, develop and flourish," he said, saying the current government was not doing enough to support disadvantaged students in Vancouver schools.
Other aspects of NPA’s education platform include keeping neighbourhood schools open, supporting non-English speaking families by working with the school system and expanding opportunities for all students to learn Mandarin by offering electives in school and doubling the number of Mandarin bilingual schools from two to four.