Vancouver public school enrolment hit by loss of faith

East Van 1


Re: High cost of housing driving out students, June 20

The Vancouver school board (VSB) believes declining enrolment in Vancouver's public schools is due to families leaving the city for cheaper real estate. This mistaken belief obscures the real problem.

Families naturally leave Vancouver for all sorts of reasons, but the children who leave with them are more than replaced by children born or moving into Vancouver.

According to BC Stats, the number of school-aged children living in the Vancouver school district has increased every year since 2008, for a total increase of 2,600 more children in the city.

The VSB's enrolment, on the other hand, has declined in every one of those years resulting in 2,000 fewer children in public schools.

What appears to explain the drop in VSB enrolment is that a growing proportion of parents - including Premier Christy Clark - are enrolling their children in private schools.

Vancouver's public schools, which took in 88 per cent of children in 1997, now enrol just 73 per cent of the children living in the city. This is a decline in market share equivalent to the loss of over 10,000 children.

These observations suggest a dramatic loss of faith in public schools. Sadly, the problem cannot be solved until the VSB acknowledges that it exists.

Julee Kaye and Gregory Lawrence Vancouver

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