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The Accessible BC Act: A Vehicle for Parent Advocacy

Updated: Nov 30, 2023



Advocacy: Your Opinion Matters

Weekly, at least two parents contact me looking for reading remediation support for a child who is struggling with literacy. These parents reside in communities all over the province of British Columbia, but they share one thing in common: their children are all in school districts that are refusing to provide students suffering from reading failure with an effective reading intervention delivered by a properly trained reading remediation teacher. These are districts that are denying students their basic human right to read.


The stories that parents tell me of their journey to get their child to proper reading reading remediation are heart-breaking, and they share some common threads. Most parents realize early on that their child is struggling with literacy. When they express their concerns, the school staff tells them to 'wait and see.' When the parent tries to push for testing, they are told that "testing doesn't happen until grade 4." Another waiting period ensues. When grade 4 comes, the parents are told that there are a lot of kids in line for testing and testing could take a few years. At this point, parents who can afford to have their child tested privately, often take that route. After the testing, the psychiatrist refers them to me for private remediation.


This is not how our education system is supposed to work. It is descriminatory to deny struggling readers the supports that they need to overcome reading failure. It also creates a two-tiered system. Students who are from families who cannot afford to spend $10,000 to get private assessment and private remediation have no way to overcome reading failure. The school districts in BC that have ineffective elements in their school-wide reading systems need to remove those ineffective elements. If we want change to happen, then we need to advocate for students who struggle with literacy in a way that will be heard. Now, there is a mechanism through which we can do just that: the Accessible BC Act.


The Accessibile BC Act was passed in British Columbia in 2021. The act states that "an organization must develop a plan to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to individuals in or interacting with an organization." In addition, an organization must establish a process for receiving comments from the public on the organization’s accessibility plan, and barriers to individuals in or interacting with the organization. This means that you now have a simple mechanism through which you can share how the denial of essential special education supports has affected you child's abiliity to access education. I strongly urge you to take the time to give feedback so that there is data to support what we already know: denying students their basic human right to read is a serious assessibility problem.


Click here for links to feedback forms for BC school districts and to a link to the BC Accessibility Act


Click here to view a sample letter that I made to help parents get started on their feedback. Feel free to use it or to share it with other BC parents of struggling readers who are being denied access to proper support.






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