Thursday, March 27, 2008

Foundation Skills differences discussed

“We fundamentally disagree”— Education Minister Shirley Bond speaking with CKNW's Michael Smyth, on the difference of opinion between the Ministry of Education and the BCTF over the Foundation Skills Assessment.

The Foundation Skills Assessments found their way to the airwaves of British Columbia’s most listened to radio station on Thursday. The 9-10 hour of the bill Good Show was turned over to examining the controversy over the testing, from both the viewpoint of the teachers and the Minister of Education.

The issue received a new focus with the decision last week by the BCTF to endorse the idea of a boycott of the tests for 2009, the resolution to boycott the tests was introduced by the Prince Rupert Teachers Union at the annual BCTF convention held in Vancouver.

Michael Smyth the Vancouver Province columnist, who is filling in for Good on the morning talk show, hosted the lively conversations which outlined the difference of opinions between the two sides. Smyth has written a number of columns of his own on the issue, expressing a strong opinion in favour of standardized testing for the schools of the province.

Thursday morning, he featured BCTF President Irene Lanzinger in the first half hour who made the case against the Foundation Skills Assessments as they are currently designed.

The second half hour featured Shirley Bond, the Minister of Education who is a proponent of the testing and believes that the teachers and their union are taking the wrong approach to the issue.

No new nuggets of information were unearthed from the hour, but you do get a better understanding of the hard lines that both sides are taking on the tests which are administered twice in a student’s elementary school cycle and once in their high school years.

Included in the hour long review of the FSA’s, were a number of phone calls from listeners, which provided a snippet of some of the emotional impact that the debate has generated in the province.

You can check the debate out for yourself by listening in to the CKNW audio vault from the 9-10 am hour for Thursday.

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