Fascinating article on special needs in the classroom: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Special+needs+classroom/10161867/story.html
“School districts in British Columbia are holding off telling parents the start of classes will be cancelled next Tuesday amid fresh negotiations aimed at stopping the teachers’ strike.”
“Mediator Vince Ready met with the teacher’s union and the employer into the evening Friday after agreeing to stay involved for a second day of talks.
Ready indicated the two sides in the B.C. teachers’ strike are still far apart, but said it was worth convening the bargaining teams to see if progress could be made.”
“Mediator Vince Ready will once again be speaking with both the BCTF and the school employers association Saturday afternoon.
Talks involving the teachers union and the government ended for the day at around 10:30 p.m. Friday night.”
“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.” “
The school year appears increasingly unlikely to start on time, although early Tuesday evening the Ministry of Education confirmed a meeting is expected to take place Wednesday in Victoria between Education Minister Peter Fassbender, B.C. Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker and the government’s negotiator Peter Cameron.
But it’s possible schools won’t be closed too far into September. A deal could be reached, or the employer could apply to the Labour Relations Board, arguing that essential service levels have been breached.
In September 2011, a Labour Relations Board decision written by Mark J. Brown found that schools could be closed for up to two weeks without “serious and immediate disruption to the provision of educational programs.” A similar ruling has not been sought in the current dispute.
Beyond two weeks, Brown ruled that disruption to education would vary depending on a student’s grade or the time of year in which the disruption occurred. But even at that point, he would allow teachers to strike one day a week, with their pay reduced accordingly.
A return to a partial strike is not completely out of the question — teachers in Vancouver were sent a survey asking if they supported continuing the full strike, moving to a rotating strike or returning to work under a work-to-rule regime. The B.C. Teachers’ Federation said many locals sent out a similar survey, but it would not disclose the results.
While a media blackout covers negotiations, there was speculation on social media that a B.C. Public School Employers’ proposal related to the court case might be holding up the bargaining process.
Part of the BCPSEA proposal E 81 states that “(w)ithin 60 days of the ultimate judicial decision, either party may give written notice to the other of termination of the collective agreement. If notice is given, the collective agreement terminates at the end of that school year, unless the ultimate judicial decision occurs after the end of February, in which case the termination takes place at the end of the following school year.”
When the proposal was introduced back in June, chief negotiator Peter Cameron and Public Service Employer’s Council representative Lee Doney said in a news conference that the clause was instituted as an interim solution until the B.C. Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court of Canada make their ruling.
“I think that’s a very pragmatic and creative way to deal with a problem that both parties are stuck on. It says, ‘Let’s put it on the back burner and when we see the ultimate decision we can decide whether we want to renegotiate from there,’” Doney said, according to a transcript of the news conference.
But Mark Thompson, professor emeritus of industrial relations at the University of B.C.’s Sauder School of Business, said the risk of this clause outweighs any benefit for the province’s 40,000 teachers.
From the link: “With the start date for British Columbia schools in question, parents are looking for child care options for their children come September. Below is a list of some of the programs being offered in northern British Columbia. If you have any tips on child care programs in Prince George, Prince Rupert, Fort St John or points in between let us know by emailingdaybreaknorth[at]cbc.ca or by joining the discussion on our Facebook page.”
Thanks to Inclusion BC’s advocacy efforts and those of families across the province, the Ministry of Children and Family Development will be providing additional Supported Child Development funding to cover in-school hours for families with special needs children currently accessing services.
What does this mean?
Any family who receives services under the current program are eligible to receive additional funding to SCD/ASCD service providers in the event of school closures due to the ongoing labour dispute. Supplemental services will be offered to families of school age children with special needs currently receiving SCD/ASCD services upon request.
Just like regular SCD/ASCD services, the supplemental SCD/ASCD services are intended to ensure inclusion of children and youth with special needs in child care environments. This initiative will provide additional supports that families of children with special needs may require due to the lack of school programs for their children. These supplemental SCD/ASCD services are in addition to the $40 per day Temporary Education Support for Parents recently announced by the Ministry of Finance.
We want to thank the BC government and the Honourable Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development, for listening to the voices of Inclusion BC, the families and our member agencies across the province.
We spoke, you listened and you acted.
For more information, visit www.bcparentinfo.ca
An announcement Sunday that teachers will resume picketing this week is bound to disappoint those were still hoping that B.C. public schools might open on schedule Sept. 2.
Jim Iker, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), told hundreds of union members who had gathered in Kamloops for a special representative assembly and summer conference that they have more work to do before they’ll get a fair deal with government.
“We need to increase the pressure once again,” he said, while declaring that pickets will soon be in full force across the province. “We have asked our locals to ramp up the pressure on schools boards and local MLAs.”
The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association had said it would lift its lockout until Sept 2 for teachers who wanted to partake in previously arranged professional development during the final week of August or prepare their classrooms for the coming school year.
It now appears that won’t be happening.
Iker also urged members to begin thinking about how they can influence school board elections in November. “Right across this province, teachers need to take an active role in electing school board trustees who will advocate for public education,” he said. “We need to push candidates to find out where they stand on issues like underfunding, bad-faith bargaining, unconstitutional laws and contract stripping.
According to a tweet from Global BC’s Keith Baldrey, the BCTF distributed a memo to members this weekend titled: Intensify the pressure and stay the course. It called for rallies outside the offices of Premier Christy Clark and Labour Minister Shirley Bond, he tweeted.
“Folks, this dispute will go long into September,” Baldrey added.