Tag: bc

Should Yoga be Taught in BC Public Schools?

UPDATES: RESPONSES below added

 

 

The following is a real dialogue between a British Columbia parent who didn’t like the idea of their child doing yoga without their permission in what they thought was a secular school.  Note that the parent received no further communication after sending their time-consuming response below:

Original Email written by Teacher to Parent

Mrs. “Grade One Teacher” has expressed that you are concerned about ‘yoga’ done during Physical Education/ movement classes that I teach to the grade ones.

I want to assure you that there is absolutely no religious/nor any teaching of where ‘yoga’ has come from.  Instead, as per what the B.C. curriculum asks teachers to teach, ‘yoga’ or ‘stretching’ as we often  call it, is focuses on stretching our bodies safely to prevent injury. Some of the stretches are a little harder to do than others, and the students are always told and reassured to try out the stretches but to listen to their bodies and not do anything that will hurt themselves.

Part of the curriculum for Physical Education is to talk about ‘healthy living’ and students often talk about stretches that they do when they play soccer, baseball etc.  The terms ‘yoga’ and ‘stretching’ have been
used in class interchangeably, as many students practice yoga outside of school and recognize some of these stretches mimic yoga moves and stretches.

Please let me know if you have any further questions,

Response from Parent to Teacher

Hello “Teacher”

Sorry for the late reply.

Thanks for your email and for taking the time to send us an email in regards to our concerns.  You are correct that we are concerned.

Here is a quick link to show that we are not alone in our concern about the introduction of yoga into the public school system:
http://bismarcktribune.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/school-adds-yoga-to-physical-education-curriculum/article_824bc80e-4807-11e2-8f30-001a4bcf887a.html

Although I’m sure the Minister of Education wholeheartedly believes what you explain about yoga being ‘non religious’ a basic search will reveal that Yoga is absolutely rooted in Hinduism and eastern religious
practices.  We did not have any participation in the decision to implement yoga in the public school curriculum, nor do I recall being notified that this practice would be included in the curriculum, but I’m
also very busy so it’s absolutely possible that we missed the memo – and it’s not like I’m on the PAC even though I really wish I was.

For us it’s not about whether or not the the historical teachings of the religions are taught or not with yoga that concerns us. In fact, a neutral, unbiased course on all world religions could be quite
beneficial in helping kids understand more about the religious backgrounds of the students in their class and the world around them.t teach about different world religions at home for this very reason.  We have several friends who have turbans, for example, so we explain about the turban and Guru Nanak before we go to their home so they are not without understanding and can even engage in meaningful
cultural-crossing conversations.

However, what is happening here at Gray Elementary is not the teaching about yoga, but instead the *participation in* the physical movements of yoga, which is a spiritual activity involving the union of mind, spirit, and body which is even deemed dangerous by people who practice yoga at
the highest levels.

Simply put, to ask a child to *participate* in yoga, which in its very name comes from Hinduism and such practices, should not be included in a secular school system curriculum. Incidentally, I have several Indo-Canadian friends of said religions who agree with my position, even though they deem the practice to be beneficial to themselves.  They understand and agree that it comes from these eastern religions and are also confused as to its presence in the public school.

Our position is that because we enrolled our daughter in a *secular* school and we are not comfortable with our child participating in non-secular activities such as Yoga without our consent.  This would include Tai Chi, and other similarly rooted activities.  Stretching, inbthe way that a runner would stretch before a track meet, is absolutely fine, of course.  That is, unlike Yoga, is “just stretching”.

We thank you in advance for understanding our position as it pertains to parenting in relation to our daughters participation in school activities.

In a similar way, do not hesitate to let me know if you have any further questions and thank you so much for your hard work teaching our child.

Sincerely,

Parent

Response from School Principal cc’d to ‘unknown other recipients’

Good afternoon Mr. Parent,

Ms. Yoga-Teacher informed me of your concerns regarding the movement class.

Please be assured that if you choose for your daughter not to participate in the stretching class, an alternate activity will be found for her. Please inform either Ms. Yoga-Teacher or Mrs. GradeOne-Teacher if that is your wish.

Regards,

Response from Parent back to Expanding Party

Hello “Principal”,

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.  I’m very pleased with all the professional response we have received.  “Nice” Elementary is undoubtedly a great school and we are very thankful for all of you and your hard work.

We are still slightly confused, though.  Is it a stretching class “Daughter” will be doing, or will she be doing yoga?

As we have stated, we are fine with stretching (ie. track-and-field).

However, we are *not* fine with yoga. (ie. rooted in eastern religion(s))

It seems as though the two terms are now being used interchangeably as if ‘yoga = stretching’.  But yoga does not equal stretching.  Yoga is yoga. If we say ‘it’s fine for her to do stretching’ and then she ends up doing yoga, this would be a ‘challenge’.

On another note, please rest assured that we are not trying to be a pain.  My dad was a teacher and I know you don’t need extra admin added to your jobs.  However, I think we’ve presented a pretty good case here
on the topic of secular vs faith-based activities.

I should also state that I would not be whatsoever offended if Christmas activities were removed from the menu as well, and diwali.  all for the same reasons.

A kind of ‘solution’ that I was thinking about is to keep this kind of simple that would be permissible:  When “Yoga-Teacher” is doing yoga-related activities, “Daughter” (and anyone else who wasn’t comfortable doing yoga) could be instructed to do “standard track-and-field stretches”.  We would be fine with that.  We don’t want to make this annoying.

And on a final note, how does a parent get involved in the decision-making processes that lead to activities like these being introduced into the curriculum?

I won’t deny that I was pretty shocked that yoga had landed in my daughter’s grade one curriculum without even a consent form…

Thanks again for all of your feedback and response.

Sincerely,

Parent

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Stuff to Keep in Mind for Realtors, Tenants, and Landlords in BC

Here are some snippets of information that should help both tenants and agents.  When a property is for sale, there are some rules that need to be followed and some in particular are more relevant to common real estate transactions involving tenants.

First here is a link to the BC government tenancy guide page

Next, here is the actual PDF guide for saving in case it changes location above for whatever reason:

act_english

Now, here are the snippets that I thought are pretty important to have a firm grasp of.

From Residential Tenancy Act Guide

10.6.3 Selling and Showing a Rental Unit
When a rental unit is for sale or rent, the landlord must have the tenant’s permission or give the tenant proper written notice before showing the rental unit.
The tenant and landlord can agree to a schedule of viewing times included in a single notice. If there is no agreement, the landlord must give proper notice each time before showing the rental unit. The landlord must keep in mind that the tenant is entitled to reasonable
privacy and freedom from unreasonable disturbance. When a rental unit is sold, the tenant does not automatically have to move. If the new landlord or a close family member intends to move in, the original landlord must serve a Two-Month Notice to End Tenancy for Landlord’s Use of Property. For more information, see “Landlord Gives Notice to End the Tenancy” under Section 12.9
12.9 Landlord’s Use of Property
This applies when the landlord moves in or has a close family member live in the rental unit
sells the property and the new owner, or a close family member of the new owner, intends to live in the rental unit. Close family member means the owner’s or spouse’s father, mother or child
12.8 Two-Month Notice
The landlord must serve the tenant with two month’s notice where the landlord plans to use the property, do major construction or when the tenant no longer qualifies for subsidized housing. A Two-Month Notice must cover a full two-month period. For example, a notice given on March 15 would not take effect until the last day of May. When the tenant is for a fixed term, the move-out date cannot be before the final day of the fixed term.  A tenant that receives a two-month notice can move out earlier than the date specified on the notice, unless the tenancy is for a fixed term. The tenant must give the landlord at least 10 days written notice and pay the rent up to the move-out date. Where the tenant has already paid a full
month’s rent, the landlord must refund the rent. When a landlord ends a tenancy for landlord’s use of property, the landlord must give the tenant the equivalent of one month’s rent on or
before the move-out date. If that is not done, the tenant may withhold the last month’s rent. If
the rental unit is not used for the reasons given in the notice within a reasonable period, the tenant may apply for dispute resolution, asking for compensation equivalent to two months’ rent. At the hearing, the landlord should be prepared to demonstrate there was an honest intent to occupy, renovate, convert or demolish at the time the notice was issued.
Ending the Tenancy
A tenancy ends when:
  • The tenancy agreement is a fixed term that specifies the tenant will move out at the end of the term
  • The tenant or landlord gives notice to end the tenancy in accordance with the law
  • The tenancy agreement is frustrated by circumstances beyond the landlord or tenant’s control
  • The tenant move outs or abandons the rental unit
  • The landlord is granted an order by the RTB
  • The tenant and landlord mutually agree in writing to end the tenancy
A landlord and tenant can agree in writing at any time that the tenancy agreement will end on a specified date. The landlord or the tenant can draw up their own agreement or use the form Mutual Agreement to End a Tenancy. The written agreement can be part of a fixed-term tenancy agreement, specifying the tenant will move out of the rental unit at the end of the
fixed term.
11.1 Move-out Timeline
The tenant must move out by 1:00 p.m. on the last day of the tenancy. This means the
unit must be cleaned and all keys given to the landlord by 1:00 p.m. on the last day. A tenant who has not moved by 1:00 p.m. on the last day of the tenancy could be responsible for any costs incurred by the landlord. These costs could include fees the landlord paid to accommodate the incoming tenant and store their belongings until they were able to move in

12.2 Ways for a Landlord to Give Notice to End Tenancy
A landlord must serve notice using the appropriate Notice to End Tenancy form. Each form lists all the valid reasons and the amount of time the landlord must give. Generally, a landlord must give one or two months’ notice to a tenant, depending on the reason. However, a tenant that has not paid the rent on time can be given a 10-day notice. The landlord should keep a copy of the notice.
12.3 How a Landlord Serves the Notice to End Tenancy
  • By leaving a copy with the tenant or at the tenant’s residence with an adult who appar ently resides with the person. The notice is considered served the same day
  • By leaving a copy in a mail box or mail slot for the address at which the tenant resides. The notice is considered served three full days later
  • By attaching a copy to a door or other conspicuous place at the address at which the tenant resides. The notice is considered served three full days later
  • By transmitting a copy to a fax number provided as an address for service by the tenant. The notice is considered served three full days later
  • By sending a copy by ordinary mail or registered mail to the address at which the tenant resides or to a forwarding address provided by the tenant. The notice is considered served five full days after mailing
  • As ordered by the RTB
Sliding the notice under the door or using e-mail is not valid under the Act.
 

The existing landlord must receive a request in writing from the new owner before the notice can be served. The notice must indicate that the purchaser requires vacant possession in order for the purchaser, or close family member, to move in. When a new owner wants to use the property for any other purpose, the existing landlord cannot serve the Two-Month Notice to End Tenancy.
12.10 Major Construction
Major construction means:
  • Demolishing the rental unit or doing major renovations that require the building or rental unit be empty for the work to be done. When possible, renovations should be done without evicting the tenant. For example, if the renovations require the unit to be vacant for a short period, the tenant could be relocated and later return to the unit
  • Converting the rental unit to a strata property unit, a non-profit co-operative or society, or a not-for-profit housing co-operative under the Cooperative Association Act
  • Converting the rental unit for non-residential use, such as a shop
  • Converting the rental unit into a caretaker’s premises The landlord must have all required government permits and approvals in place before issuing the notice for any of the above reasons.
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Ingenuity: A Byproduct of Quality Problem Solving

My mom sent me this link to a recent TED Talk where a gentleman named Wade Davis very eloquently and convincingly talks about how Shell and other industrial giants should pack their bags and get out of Northern BC’s dodge.  During the presentation he displays some of the prettiest pictures I’ve ever laid my eyes on and he talks of how the native people of the area need our help defending themselves.  My knee-jerk reaction was to side with him and jump on board but within a few seconds I started thinking about my friends who live in Kitimat and other such northern towns.

What this presentation didn’t address (and of course I don’t expect him to get into other views since he only had a few minutes) was the fact that the world is full of systems.  Some of the systems are broken or not working well.  Due to our world’s system, there is a demand for things like oil.  If there wasn’t, Shell wouldn’t be looking at opening up shop in BC’s north.  Bad things are typically not produced if there isn’t a hunger to consume them.

So since there is a global hunger for resources and that doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon, would it not be better to openly invite industry as long as they agree to meet stringent environmental criteria rather than saying “Go and destroy Africa or Brazil if you want but don’t you touch my Canada with your dirty oil machines.”  That, my friends, is not really any more longer-term thinking than the people who are moving in to grab some quick oil.

We as people need to get back to the basics of problem solving, and businesses in particular.

Billy is walking down a forest road when he encounters a big log blocking his path but ravines on both sides.  He only has a jack knife and a few hours of food and water left.  What should he do?

Wade Davis would suggest he just pack up and hope to make it home again

The mining companies would suggest he pull that knife out and start hacking as fast as possible at the log so Billy can get through and on with his money plans.

Wade doesn’t consider that we can’t simply turn back and the mining company doesn’t consider that hacking for the sake of hacking might not be the best use of energy.

What we really need here is a new and creative solution.  Maybe Billy should use the knife to create a shovel out of a piece of the log and then tunnel his way under the obstacle. Or maybe he could just cut a piece of the log open and harvest enough ants and bugs out of it to feed his hunger to get him back to where he can choose another route.

The point is, we have to really think about all parts of the system when we make decisions, not just the part that we are directly involved with and care about.

This also makes me think of a really interesting company called M & R Environmental.  I recently had the honour of meeting one of the owners of this company as well as read a brief biography.  As far as I understand it now, no one was really recycling oil cans in BC before they came around. Some were attempting to do it, and some were doing it fraudulently (not doing it at all).  The problem in a nutshell, was that there wasn’t an easy way to get the oil out (hazardous waste) and no one wanted to pick up and carry a bunch of air (empty oil cans).   But M & R came in and after much struggling and creative thinking, solved the problems and turned it into a viable business that not only created profit for them but helped significantly the environment.

Can we not do the same in mining and oil?  I’m just throwing it out there. I’m not trying to take sides but instead suggest that our ability to solve problems effectively is the problem.
Now enter government regulation.
Some people are against any form of government regulation, but I, on the other hand, think that it has it’s place.  Take, for example, franchising.  In Ontario you have to disclose many things when you sell a franchise to someone, but in BC it’s the wild west and buyer beware.  Needless to say, a lot of abuse is happening towards franchisees in BC.  Same goes for food safety.  Restaurant owners get annoyed by the food inspectors and know that they don’t perfectly work, but at the end of the day they all know they are important and that it’s better for the greater good to have some standards rather than serving up ecoli burgers to innocent victims.

Government should say ‘Sure. Build a mine by this lake but make sure that you follow this list of rules.”  Then we can all get metal to make our forks and coins and even make a few bucks instead of turning Wade’s pictures into tar pits.

 

 

 

 

 

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