I reported Wednesday that increasing numbers of students are enrolling in free, full-credit academic courses during the summer months, some of them taking the same course for a second time to try to achieve a higher mark.
"Some kids got in the high 80s and they want to get in the low 90s or high 90s," said Dan Wyper, who's teaching Math 12 for the third summer in a row. "Other students are lower down, 60 or 70, and are trying, obviously, to get an A."
So I asked Education Minister George Abbott Wednesday morning what he thought about the government paying for high achievers to take the same course twice.
"I don't think we view it as a serious enough problem at this point that we would want to intervene," Abbott said. "Generally, we want to see summer schools expand, we want to see yearround schooling expand... It hasn't been flagged for us by the Ministry of Education, nor, indeed, by any of the school districts at this point. We're happy enough regardless of what motive may bring a student to want to devote some extra time to improving themselves over the summer, that's great."
Neither the Vancouver school board nor the ministry was able to provide statistics on how many students take the same course in the regular school year and summer.
Abbott told reporters Wednesday morning that he hadn't decided whether he'd run in the next election.
He hopes to consider his future during a vacation within the next six weeks.
"I hope in quieter moments to reflect on whether 32 years of politics is sufficient or whether as a still young man who feels like he's in his 30s want to continue to be a part of politics," he said.
Abbott said seeing Liberal colleagues decide not to run again won't influence his decision.
"The great thing about being a British Columbian is that we can expect to live over 110 years- so I have to think about what to do with the balance of my life and politics may be a part of it," he said. "I've had pretty much a lifelong addiction to that, but I'd like to think at some moments that I may be able to beat it, as well."
Back to school
The Salvation Army kicks off its annual Backpack and School Supply Drive this Sunday until Sept. 11. Demand for the backpack program has reportedly increased almost twofold in the last three years, so sponsors aim to give 5,000 kids across the province backpacks full of school supplies for September. New school supplies and backpacks can be dropped off at participating Starbucks and Fitness Towns. Financial donations can be made at participating Staples locations or by texting "GIVEBC" to 45678 to donate $5. Students need five pens, four to six duotangs, pencils, 400 sheets of paper, a ruler, erasers, three binders, highlighters, correction fluid and a glue stick. Markers, geometry sets and calculators are also appreciated.
Not my name
After close to a decade as the Courier's education reporter, Naoibh, "it rhymes with Steve" O'Connor has moved onto other roles at the Courier. Instead, please send education-related story ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.