One of the things I enjoy most about living and working in Vancouver-False Creek, is that within a couple blocks of my home and office, I get to hear the energetic sounds of children playing outside Elsie Roy Elementary. It is a terrific sound of vibrance and life in the middle of the bustle of downtown. I often think about how fortunate we are to have an education system that is one of the best in the world, but I also recognize how much more we can do.
We have been very successful at creating wonderful neighbourhoods in our riding. Over the last several years thousands of new residents have chosen to make downtown their home. That includes families raising children. Historically, parents with young children left the city for the suburbs, but that has changed.
Those choosing to raise children downtown are very responsible and enlightened families. Not only are their children growing up in a diverse, vibrant neighbourhood, rich with arts and culture, but they are contributing to the well being of our environment by having a much smaller footprint than if they lived in lower density communities.
British Columbia schools produce some of the most successful students in the world. Our education system is ranked among the best in the world.
The Conference Board of Canada produced a comprehensive report card that determined that British Columbia is the top-ranking province on education and skills.
Ranking education in the entire world, British Columbia places an incredible third overall behind only Japan and Finland.
We should be very proud of those results. For Vancouver-False Creek, there is more good news.
After years of planning, a new elementary school called Crosstown Elementary has just completed construction at International Village. The first of 500 new students have moved in.
BC Hydro recently proposed to build a new elementary school to replace the Lord Roberts Annex and to build the Coal Harbour School, all for free. They would also provide daycares and park improvements. This project has been withdrawn because the city could not meet the requirements. I still remain hopeful some of the plan might be saved.
The Olympic Village neighbourhood has been remarkably successful and has brought even more young families to our area.
The Vancouver School Board has the construction of an elementary school at Olympic Village identified on its future capital plan. I want to ensure that it gets built and families in the Olympic Village benefit from a school.
Our riding has a concentration of schools, and an ever increasing number of families. Three existing elementary schools, a fourth under construction and a fifth being planned, are in the riding. Several secondary schools surround us, such as King George, Kitsilano, Britannia, Prince of Wales, and Eric Hamber.
Today’s families are not the same as when folks of my generation went to school. Today’s students are also very different now than even 10 years ago.
What I’m hearing is that student’s learning requirements are not the same for the entire student population. Technology is driving rapid changes, both in how students learn and in the preparation necessary for them to eventually enter the workforce.
Parents are saying they need more flexibility in how they are engaged, because their family schedules and dynamics are diverse.
I truly admire our teachers and administrators for their efforts in education in such rapidly changing times. Parents tell me how impressed they are with the teachers that have such an important role in their children’s development.