“Parents will need to keep an eye on the media this weekend to find out if schools will be opening Tuesday morning. [Which would be Wednesday in Prince George school district]
“(I)f there is a deal even at the last minute, we will do everything possible to open schools right away,” Surrey’s superintendent of schools Jordan Tinney said in a letter to parents Friday afternoon.
Veteran mediator Vince Ready was scheduled to meet with the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association’s chief negotiator Peter Cameron and B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker Friday afternoon.
“Even if we heard about a deal as late as Monday evening, we could open on Tuesday with our normal shortened opening day routines,” the letter states. “We have been informed by BCPSEA that if there is a deal, likely the process and timing for schools opening will be part of those final conversations with the BCTF. We are asking that parents watch the media and our website.” ”
Interesting survey – full summary available here:
August 29, 2014 – A softening of public support for teachers in the ongoing labour dispute between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Government now puts backing for both sides in a virtual tie with days to go before the scheduled start of the new school year.
These are the findings of a new survey, commissioned and paid for by Angus Reid Global, that also show British Columbians have little hope for a deal before schools are supposed to open Tuesday September 2nd, and show parents making alternate plans.
The online survey shows 36 per cent of respondents are most inclined to support teachers in the dispute while 35 per cent back the BC Government. One-quarter (23%) say they support neither side. Support for teachers among parents or direct caregivers to children in school is also split, with 38 per cent taking the teachers’ side over government’s (34%). This represents a softening of support for teachers among parents/caregivers from an earlier ARG poll conducted in June, when they said they supported teachers two-to-one over government (49% to 25%).
Different survey from BC Federation of Labour: http://bcfed.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Rep_InsightsWest_BCFederationofLabour_26Aug2014_FINAL-jm.pdf
“New public opinion research commissioned by the BC Federation of Labour and released by Insights West offers very encouraging results for teachers. It shows the general public—and especially parents—overwhelmingly support teachers in our job action.
“As we head into September, this poll clearly tells us that British Columbians are on side with BC’s teachers and what they are standing up for,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the BC Federation of Labour. “The public, especially parents, want the government to respect teachers and invest in public education.” “
CNC will be offering the following Pro-D courses this fall:
To register, please call the Continuing Education registration desk at 250.561.5801.
If you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Phone 250.561.5848 Ext: 5372
Toll Free 1.800.371.8111 Ext: 5372
There are some fascinating research on the issues of class size and composition. Some useful – and Canadian – documents that may be of interest related to class size are:
Another personal report, by DPAC Chair.
I wanted to go into more detail about the discussion that was had about class size and composition at the BCCPAC meeting, and at previous BCCPAC AGMs.
I had put in a paragraph in my previous report: “Back in 2006, a resolution that was passed at BCCPAC was: “That BCCPAC advise all education partners that limiting the number of students in classrooms based on designations or labels is discriminatory and, as such, legislation or employee contracts must not contain wording that promotes or creates such limits.” I think it’s important to note that we want and need funding, supports, and resources for all our children, but we shouldn’t deny students access based on a group characteristic. There must be a better way of doing things. My notes say “but make damn sure to protect the money!”. Again, very much an avenue for further discussion, on how to best manage issues of student need and teacher workload.”
It’s really easy to misinterpret the BCCPAC position on this, especially in the current environment of mistrust. I have to say that all of the parents who have worked on this have children in the schools, and have dealt with a lot of these issues personally, with their children. Not one person in that room was in there from the point of view of “let’s do this as cheaply as possible!”, or “our system is perfect as it is!”.
We all know that it’s possible to have a really workable classroom with 30 students – if they’re the “right” kind of students – and a completely unworkable classroom with 15 students – again, if they’re not the “right” kind of student.
Class size and composition are a method of trying to match resources to individual children. It’s a way of saying that we have a complicated system, we have all these children with individual needs, we have to match them with classes and teachers and education assistants and resources and manage teacher workload – let’s make it simple and limit it by number of students and by number of students with particular identified challenges, who are designated and officially labelled.
But is this the best way to do it? We again all know about the “grey area” children – the ones without designations or labels or directed funding. How do these students fit with class size and composition? The answer is that they don’t. And they need support as well.
Do we need to have students officially labelled and designated before we can offer support to them? We shouldn’t.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t want funding for individual students! Very much, we want to protect that current level of funding, and then generate more funding for these other needs. Some strong words were used about the necessity of protecting funding.
So the goal was to focus on the needs of each individual child. Every child is special, every child has special needs. Some have more needs than others, some are more difficult to teach than others, some will be easier to teach.
How do we flip the way we look at it, focus on the needs of each child, and how do we match that with appropriate class sizes, teacher workload, education assistant workload, supports, and money?
I don’t think there’s any one formula that will do that. I think this needs to be a discussion that’s had with every teacher, every principal, for each class. We wanted parent input into this – but I do think that we all recognized the pivotal role of the education professionals.
What are a couple of problems with this sort of model?
Well, one is reporting out and seeing how this works. It’s really easy to pull up a report of all class sizes over 30, and all those that have over 3 students with individual education plans. It’s less easy to track, are each individual student’s needs met?
If we can’t measure it, how can we manage it?
How can we best measure it, how can we best manage it, how can we best tell if it works – and how can we trust that it’s being done for the benefit of our kids?
Let’s have that discussion – a respectful discussion, on how our education system can best meet the needs of all our individual students, in such a way that supports all our students in their ability to thrive and succeed in life.
Can we use the provincial voice of BCCPAC to get our education partners in a room, together, and work on this, with a respectful joint discussion?
Teacher workload is very much a contract concern, and should be dealt with in fair bargaining, and reach a fair negotiated settlement.
Meeting the needs of all our individual students, though – that’s a discussion that should be had by all of us who are involved in the system. I don’t think BCCPAC has the one, true, answer to the solution – but I firmly believe that we can use all of our partners in education to come up with a better answer than what we currently have.
We have all these dedicated, experienced people involved in the education system. We can do better.
Sarah Holland, DPAC Chair
…This is not to say there are no issues in the system, that class composition isn’t a concern or that there aren’t some classrooms with more than the ideal number of kids in them. No education system is perfect. No matter the country you can always find problems without digging too deeply. And we should never stop trying to achieve broad excellence.
But we should also never be afraid to recognize how good an education system B.C. actually has, and this is a testament to those people who stand at the front of the classroom every day. You don’t get the kind of outcomes that B.C. does, get the kind of accolades its education system has been receiving recently, without one of the finest teaching corps anywhere.
Occasionally, it would be nice to hear something positive about what is happening in B.C. classrooms, rather than the usual din of pessimism that doesn’t reflect reality.
As sent to DPAC:
Superintendent of Schools Brian Pepper is pleased to announce the appointment of Christa Barnes as vice-principal of Morfee Elementary School, effective August 1, 2014.
We wish Christa all the best.