Thursday, June 19, 2014


$2 billion. I am disgusted. Government negotiators claim teachers’ demands will cost that additional amount. I’m not disgusted by the number itself but by the spin. What is missing from this self-serving BCPSCA assertion is the truth that over the past decade $2 billion was channeled out of public education. Yes. Public education was reduced by $2 billion. School children were dispossessed of $2 billion that had been servicing their classroom experience. So, in fact, teachers are asking for funding that students and their teachers used to have. They are asking the BC Liberal government to return the money that they took away and spend elsewhere. Where and when was
this money withdrawn? It is unrelated to their salaries. Salary is not all that teachers talking about. They also speak of class size and composition with regards to their contract. For several years teachers took zero percent increases in order to sign contracts which included size and composition components because these affect working and learning conditions. The greater the class size, the less individual attention per student. Simple. Class composition considers educational and emotional needs of students and some students require assistance to achieve outcomes comparable to their peers. Some students need IEPs, Individual Education Plans which provide behavioural and or academic approaches and goals for success. Again simple. The more IEPs in a class, the greater the complexity of the learning environment for the entire class and the greater the burden on a teacher to effectively manage and instruct all his or her students. So, I repeat, teachers gave up salary raises in order to bargain for limits to class size and the number of IEPs per class. Then in 2002 the government destroyed those negotiated terms by removing class size and composition language. The Supreme Court of B.C. on two occasions now, has told the Liberal government that it’s dissolution of the negotiated contract was illegal. It has been told to fund BC public education to accommodate that earlier contract language. By the government’s own calculation that will cost how much? Yes, $2 billion. Teachers are asking this government for that which it is legally required to pay by the Supreme Court. They are asking the government to respect the rule of law.

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