Victoria: With a focus on ensuring all British Columbia children are given every opportunity for success, BC Liberal Leadership Candidate, Todd Stone has unveiled a plan to make sure B.C.’s education system is preparing students for the jobs, opportunities, and economy of tomorrow.
“Providing top quality education for our kids is one of the most important things we can do not only to help families now, but also to ensure a strong future economy for our province,” said Stone. “This commitment starts with the best possible early childhood education opportunities, a robust K-12 system, and then affordable post-secondary training to prepare graduates for the future economy.”
The plan includes ensuring all classrooms across the province have the best equipment and technology, no matter where they are located; A commitment to building new schools faster and being more innovative about school construction in rapidly growing communities; As well as helping smaller, rural schools continue to provide top quality education despite lower enrollment.
“As a Tech CEO, I am proud of BC’s leadership as one of the first jurisdictions in North America to make coding a required part of the school curriculum,” said Stone. “My commitment is to expand technology education even further so all B.C. kids have the skills to fully participate in the knowledge economy.”
When it comes to post-secondary education, Stone is focused on affordability, while at the same time encouraging students to pursue study in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines and other in-demand skill areas. This includes expanding student loan debt forgiveness programs and other financial incentives and creating a rental housing subsidy program for out-of-town students who need housing financial assistance. Stone will also advocate to expand B.C.’s Education Savings and Training Grant to $1500 per child. As an additional measure, Stone would pursue industry partnerships to create tech start-up incubators within post-secondary institutions. These would allow the next generation of tech leaders to develop new ideas and technologies while still in school.
Other commitments include an investment in more StrongStart Centres for early childhood education on top of a record investment in 75,000 new childcare spaces and subsidies for families announced as part of Stone’s Renewed Relationship with Families agenda last week. As well as greater emphasis on Mental Health supports and education in schools, and more parent participation in the education system.
First elected in 2013 from the riding of Kamloops-South Thompson, Stone is serving his second term as an MLA and is the opposition critic for Municipal Affairs. Married for the past 17 years, he is the father of three children, all still in the K-12 school system. Prior to entering public life, Stone was the founder and CEO of a successful tech company.