Giving students the opportunity to learn outside the classroom is invaluable.
Learning about the Battle of Quebec while standing in Quebec City's Battlefields Park is much more impactful than hearing a teacher drone on about it in class.
Releasing salmon fry in the Tranquille River gives kids a better grasp on the environment than they would ever gain by reading a book.
And going somewhere like Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre to explore tide pools, touch a sea cucumber and collect ocean water while out on a boat to later study the plankton within are activities more apt to create a passion for marine biology than any frog dissection in science class.
A group of Grade 11 Valleyview secondary students taking biology won't get to experience the latter on a field trip next year, but don't break out the tissues yet, they're going to Hawaii instead.
Trustees discussed the trip at a school board meeting this week, debating the merits of the class jetting off to Hawaii for two weeks in February.
The biology teacher told trustees Hawaii is more appealing than the coastal Vancouver Island community because students could swim in the warmer water. He also cited potential links with the University of Hawaii.
The only trustee to vote against it said she felt the trend of field trips to exotic places could be perceived as elitist, available only to those who could afford it.
The district does have a hardship policy that mandates schools to subsidize students who can't afford such costly excursions (the Hawaii trip costs $1,200 per student), but we argue jetting off to Hawaii is inappropriate for another reason.
While there is no doubt Hawaii is likely a more attractive destination than tiny, rainy Bamfield, it is in our province, at least.
Further, such a trip supports the Canadian economy, not United States', which is something we are always keen to promote.
The Bamfield centre offers university courses that are recognized by the University of Calgary, University of Alberta, UBC, SFU and UVic, so it offers just as much post-secondary opportunity.
And these Canadian students are far more apt to be able to afford future studies in Bamfield than Hawaii while working on an undergraduate degree anyway.
We're all for learning outside the box, but not at the cost of rejecting viable learning opportunities in our own country.
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