BC Liberals renew calls for NDP intervention in Vancouver school hours

BC Liberals said on Wednesday that weeks after it was revealed that Vancouver students were receiving well below the number of instructional hours required by law, Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside has yet to offer a response to families.

“The minister’s lack of action or even a response has been incredibly frustrating for Vancouver students and their families,” said MLA Jackie Tegart, Opposition Critic for Education. “My colleague, MLA Michael Lee, first wrote to the minister more than two weeks ago sharing the concerns of many of his constituents. Since the minister has remained silent on the issue, worried families are still anxiously waiting for an explanation.”

It has now been several weeks since concerns were first raised that students within Vancouver’s School District 39 were receiving only 8.75 hours of instruction per week, far below the minimum-required 25.5 hours of instructional time as is required by law. On Wednesday, Tegart issued a letter to Minister Whiteside that seeks clarity on whether the ministry provided the Vancouver School Board (VSB) with approval to reduce instructional time below the minimum required by law.

“Families fear that under the Vancouver School Board’s current model, students are missing vital parts of the curriculum and are falling behind,” said Lee, MLA for Vancouver-Langara. “The minister needs to provide students and families with a clear explanation as soon as possible and commit to immediate action that will ensure our students receive the same quality of education across the province.”

The BC Liberals have also requested that the ministry require the VSB to amend its Restart Plan to immediately comply with the instructional time requirements under the School Act and provide full-time instruction as soon as possible.