Whitehorse:  Saying he has heard loud and clear from constituents that they don’t support it, Klondike MLA Sandy Silver is urging the Minister of Education to withdraw proposed changes to the school calendar.

"I’ve spoken to members of the Robert Service School Council, read letters to the editor from former staff at the school and received about 100 letters from parents who also oppose the change to the calendar,” he said.  “It’s time for the Minister to start over and he can begin by giving stakeholders adequate time to consider changes.”

A common theme from parents was the lack of consultation by the government on the proposed changes.

“There was almost no time to consider the proposals and it was done in the middle of the Christmas holiday,” he said.  “Much time and effort has been taken to develop current calendars in ALL communities; what is the rush to change all that?  Many parents were also upset that the status quo was not even an option.”

Silver believes the proposals are more about ideology than education.

“This is really a right wing agenda cloaked in a calendar initiative,” he said.  “A common calendar concept is being used to push a Yukon Party conservative ideology about teachers in the Yukon.  For years now, based on the conservative think tank the Fraser Institute, the Yukon Party has been trying to push schools to work more days. Schools and school councils, with the needs of students in mind, not the opinion of a political organization who ultimately seeks the privatization of schools, have found that more instructional hours during the day, during the cold season, works better for northern students.”

While there is little appetite for change in the Klondike, Silver said he is open to a discussion on the topic.

“The Minister might want to look at rolling out the Dawson model to all schools and set up consultation as to whether or not that calendar is right for Whitehorse; as this is the current schedule we use, and it has produced great results,” he said.  “The only negative to the calendar, historically, was the departmental exam schedule, determined by British Columbia. These exams are now mostly scrapped and are therefore not an issue anymore.”

The Yukon Teachers’ Association also opposes the changes.


For additional information contact: 

Jason Cunning 667-8942