Have your say on rural education

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett urges public input

Do you have ideas about rural education and how our provincial government can better meet the needs of students, parents, schools and communities in rural areas like ours?

If you have ideas, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Education Linda Larson and I would like to hear them.

We’ve been asked by Premier Christy Clark to develop a Rural Education Strategy. We aim to create a strategy that presents long-term solutions for the unique challenges that face our rural school districts and communities.

Our B.C. Liberal government knows children and families in rural British Columbia need the best education we can give them, close to home.

However, we know that when it comes to improving our approach to education, parents and those with first-hand experience of the current system know best what challenges exist and how we can address them most effectively.

That’s why we’ve created a way for you to join a discussion on how to improve our rural education, so your insight can inform a draft discussion paper, which we will then open up for further online comment and discussion at regional meetings in our communities.

Once we have consolidated all your feedback, we will use it to shape our final report on an integrated rural education strategy, which will include recommendations for future action on rural education.

One aspect we’re looking for feedback on is the important roles our schools play in the social, cultural and economic lives of our rural communities. As any of us who have grown up in rural communities can attest, our school buildings often work overtime as spaces for before- and after-school childcare, community groups and local sports teams.

In order to develop our strategy, we’d like to get a broad sense of the diverse uses for schools in rural communities across B.C.

I encourage you to contribute your experience and ideas to the discussion, the first phase of which will be open until Jan. 9, 2017.

To find out more, visit http://engage.gov.bc.ca/ruraleducation/ or call my constituency office at 250-395-3916.