New spirit of cautious optimism in SD40 – VOICE salutes P4PE and new Superintendent

The emergence of a new parents group, New Westminster Parents for Public Education (P4PE), can only be seen as positive and helpful in the effort to improve education in New Westminster and, indeed, in the entire province. Parental involvement in education should always be welcome in this regard.

VOICE New Westminster has been encouraged to see recent opinions expressed by parents involved with P4PE in so far as VOICE has been making almost the same – if not the same – points about the New Westminster school district (SD40) since our inception seven years ago in January 2007.

The widespread dysfunction that has plagued the administration and governance of SD40 for so many long years is something clearly evident to even the most casual of observers. We therefore want to encourage the members of P4PE to keep up their vocal pursuit of change in SD40.

There is, however, one aspect of P4PE that does concern us and that is the close relationship that several of its self-declared founding members have – or have had in the recent past – with the very organization that has supported and enabled the aforementioned dysfunction to take place in SD40.

We certainly hope the formation of P4PE is not merely an effort to rebrand previous political efforts and special interest agendas with the intention to distance the new group from the debacles of the past – debacles which have put the New Westminster school district into such a terrible financial situation.

Nevertheless, we are sincerely hopeful that P4PE represents the same desire for positive change that VOICE has been articulating for almost a decade now (and which some of our members have been articulating from long before that).

We are also encouraged by the commitment of SD40’s newly-appointed superintendent whose actions have recently put the school district on the path toward sustainable, sound decision-making and management practices.

It all adds up to a new spirit of optimism – cautious optimism, but optimism nonetheless – that things may finally be falling into place in SD40 and that the kind of true change VOICE has been advocating for over the past several years may now be within sight.