The Victoria Times Colonist reports that nearly 600 British Columbia teachers will be absent from the classroom this fall because of budget cuts. The story unfortunately doesn’t answer the obvious question, “Compared to what?” But it does say that some 10,000 classrooms in the province already exceed legal limits on the number of kids. The response by Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid is intriguing. She says money going to schools has increased even though enrollment dropped by some 53,000 kids over the last eight years. Again we have to wonder, compared to what? But also, the loss of thousands of kids from the school system makes us curious about B.C. birth rates.