Kids fun ruined by COVID rules

Dear Editor:

With all the fear and propaganda, studies and polls out there, I just wanted to share my family’s outlook regarding fall sports and programs to ensure there is no misunderstanding.

We have four kids, and their afternoons and weekends are typically packed with programs. From sports, to dance, swimming lessons and active kids programs at the Y, Girl Guides and Cub scouts, our children do it all. Or did, until spring break that is. We have always been a busy family, and like it that way.

This fall, however, is going to be a different story, at least when it comes to organized sports and programs. I want to make sure I am being perfectly clear though, while this change is due to COVID, it is not due to fear on our part. It is due to the ridiculous protocols forced upon us as a result of this COVID hysteria.

It does not make sense to me to pay full price for partial programming, or to sign up my daughter for Girl Guides Trex, for instance, because she loves camping and hiking, while their own posted protocols forbid overnighters and camping into 2021.

I have not paid for (nor used) my Y membership since March and have just recently cancelled due to reduced occupancy, no hot tub, and kids programs and swim lessons set to resume in October.

Tackle football with no pads, baseball with no games, Girl Guides over the phone, dance from home.

We made the decision in July. We will not be wasting our family money on half programs at full or even increased prices. We had a family meeting, we told the kids we are not doing it, but what we would do was all that expensive touristy stuff that we always say no to.

And we did. Wibit, dinner on Bernard, the Pipe Coaster in Revelstoke, ice cream at every dairy and popular stop along the way, and camping, lots and lots of camping.

I understand, and it saddens me, that there are some sports organizations that are going to struggle and some that may just be lost. It is shameful that this fear has been taken so far. But it is not up to me, and I am not running a charity. When I sign up my kids for a sport or program, I need value. Currently, there is no value, just fear and propaganda.

So for these reasons, don’t expect the Frank kids this year. We will be instead filling our weekends and afternoons with high-risk activities such as camping, fishing, swimming at the beach, hugging the grandparents, dinner with friends, shopping at the mall, and bike rides. Should any activities arise that do not feature ridiculous COVID protocols, maybe we will see you there.

Jeff Frank, Kelowna

Education system stuck in the past

Dear Editor:

Back to school with the coronavirus presents many difficult challenges and raises profound questions about how we do schooling.

The teachers’ union controls the administration of schools. B.C. spends more than $6 billion every year on our school system and we have lost control of decision making.

During the pandemic, the Horgan NDP government quietly bought a collective agreement protecting the interests of B.C. teachers.

Teachers appreciate this contract not because of the compensation increase, but because it empowers the teachers’ union to control the administration of education.

If the information age has changed the world, then what’s happened with schooling? Every organization and aspect of life has been transformed by information technology and innovative personalized services. But not schools. Rip van Winkle would be comfortable today in our classrooms and schools because they function much like they did 100 years ago.

Schools are stuck in an organizational structure that was adopted in the mid 19th century.

School is a lock-step single path system organized around age segregated classrooms, with students sitting in desks in rows dominated by teacher lecturing.

Schools run six hours a day for only 185 days per year — that’s only 15% of the year for only 15% of the population.

Yet, we know so much more about how children learn and how to enrich the learning experience. So much more is possible.

Our children ought to have expanded options with personalized year-round learning opportunities in a variety of learning environments that include engaging computer-assisted instruction, distance-learning options and a variety of instructional approaches.

If schools are for learning, then why isn’t anyone talking about it? The pressure to send kids back to school is all about child care. Teachers continue to get paid well while neither instruction nor childcare services are provided.

If parents guided the funding, they would invest in more creative and responsive programs and services for their children. Public funding could be directed to offer kids better safe options to play, learn and grow together. It is rather odd that neither teachers nor the school board speak out for reforming schooling or championing high expectations for student achievement. School districts competently account for expenditures, but fail to evaluate effectiveness.

So where does this leave us? Change is needed. Who will lead to innovate our very old deep-rooted school system?

Bobbe Wemock, Kelowna