BC Govt. one-upped for Bill 22

Nearly two years have passed since my involvement in a student rally in opposition of the upbringing of Bill 22, where I helped gather thousands of BC students to walk out in solidarity and in frustration over educational issues.Yes, the above video is, in fact, my video – one that gained more than 10,000 views overnight to help make the walkout a reality.

However, for the past two years it seemed the effort we put forward to launch this event didn’t go that far. Us students had a duty to go back to school and make the best for ourselves under whatever system was in place, because most of us really didn’t have time for this kind of advocacy. The BCTF went into a brief strike as the education situation continued to stagnate and it was unclear whether there would be any improvement in the situation. Skills training programs got cut, the student-educator ratio became the worst in Canada, and it seemed that just about everybody was out of luck.

Students from across Metro Vancouver protest overcrowded classrooms at a rally on March 2, 2012
Students from across Metro Vancouver protest overcrowded classrooms at a large-scale rally on March 2, 2012

After the election loss last Spring, I touched on how a big issue that our society in BC might face is a disconnect with younger people [SEE: Biggest issue B.C. will face under Liberals is a disconnect with young people.], who have been put through the trials and tribulations of a broken education system with disappearing scholarship opportunities, larger class sizes, and more stressed out teachers being treated like they have no idea about how to teach students.

So, when I woke up today I was expecting a usual morning. Prepare breakfast, read news on phone, walk to SkyTrain station, take newspaper from canvassers in front of the station, open it and read on the train. That part of the morning didn’t actually differ from the usual, but my outlooks for the day changed rather drastically when I read the front page of 24 and spotted the words opened today’s print of 24 to find the words “B.C. teachers awarded $2 million in Bill 22 fight” in decently large letters staring me right in the face. I read the article with a potent grin on my face.

B.C. teachers awarded $2 million in Bill 22 fight

The B.C. Supreme Court has ordered Victoria to pay $2 million to the union representing the province’s teachers, saying government was “playing politics” by trying to push educators to strike, and imposed unconstitutional legislation that limited collective bargaining rights.

In a decision handed down Monday, Justice Susan Griffin slammed the provincial government for creating Bill 22, a now-rejected law governing collective bargaining that was nearly identical to legislation previously deemed unconstitutional by the courts.

She said the ruling BC Liberals were trying to provoke teachers into a strike in 2011 by putting forward unacceptable suggestions during bargaining…..

[READ MORE – 24 Hours Vancouver]

The Supreme Court has had their say and it looks like it’s clear that students back then were sending the correct message to the B.C. Government and to everyone paying attention, in solidarity with our teachers and principals. Give yourselves a pat on the back, everyone. It’s now just up to the government to comply with this ruling and we will be rolling again in no time.

Below: a video summary of the action we took in March 2012.

“Samsung School” program in Port Coquitlam paves way for affordable, effective technology in classrooms

Port Coquitlam, B.C.'s Riverside Secondary School is the first Samsung School classroom in Canada. The classroom of the future, Samsung School is a complete digital education package that seamlessly connects Samsung software and hardware. Students are joined by Samsung Canada's executives HT Kim (President and CEO) and Philippe Lozier (Director of Business Solutions) as well as Port Coquitlam dignitaries. (CNW Group/Samsung Electronics Canada Inc.)
Port Coquitlam, B.C.’s Riverside Secondary School is the first Samsung School classroom in Canada. The classroom of the future, Samsung School is a complete digital education package that seamlessly connects Samsung software and hardware. Students are joined by Samsung Canada’s executives HT Kim (President and CEO) and Philippe Lozier (Director of Business Solutions) as well as Port Coquitlam dignitaries. (CNW Group/Samsung Electronics Canada Inc.)

I’ve always been displeased with the uprise of Apple iPads in schools across British Columbia. For their high cost, iPads provide less flexibility than cheaper laptops when typing is a necessity in school projects and provide less features and lower productivity than Android tablets like the Google Nexus 7, Galaxy Note 10.1 and other competitors. High costs in technology means there’s usually less to go around for students than with alternative, less costly options – which can create challenges, especially in an era where many schools face budget shortages and do not come close to being able to afford giving every clasroom technology for every student.

When I heard about this pilot program, it occured to me that the school where this program was put into a place is one where a good friend of mine I used to go to school with now goes to, so I contacted her immediately about it. She told me that while she wasn’t part of the class taking part in this program, she did know about it, and did manage to meet the president of Samsung Canada when he had visited the school.

If I had the same opprtunity to meet the president of Samsung Canada, I would have given him quite a handshake. I couldn’t be happier in knowing that the introduction of a program in a North American schools involving Samsung tablets is happening in my province, and in my metropolitan area. The per-unit cost of a Samsung Galaxy Note is less than an iPad, despite better specifications and better features that are suited to students like the S-Pen for writing and S-Note, Android 4.1 features like Google Now and split-screen multitasking. That means that more units can be purchased by a school for more students, and each unit can do far more than a usual iPad, improving educational output.

The below article on MobileSyrup (link) says that Riverview Secondary is currently the only North American school to be going through this pilot program, but I hope other schools follow suit soon. There is a video in this that contains a lot of positive comments from teachers, students and parents about the program.

http://mobilesyrup.com/2013/04/04/samsung-school-pilot-program-launched-in-bc-students-outfitted-with-31-galaxy-note-10-1-tablets/