Members confused by education minister’s message
Most members will have received the recent e-mail from Minister McRae trumpeting the appointment of a Superintendent of Reading and urging teachers to step up their efforts despite results from a recent study showing BC students at the top in literacy.
Absent from the message is any acknowledgement that this government has made it increasingly difficult for teachers to serve the needs of all students and no amount of effort is going to compensate for severely diminished resources, social inequality, and poverty.
The BCTF has met with the minister and other members of government many times and pressed vigorously for increased funding for education (now one of the lowest levels in Canada), improved staffing, and specialists in place to support learning.
In October a presentation was made to the Select Standing Committee of the Legislature on Finance that clearly illustrated the degree to which support for public education in BC is being eroded. A summary of the brief can be read at: http://www.bctf.ca/
Given BC’s funding levels relative to other provinces, it is easy to see why our class sizes have increased, more classes have larger numbers of students with special needs, and the numbers of specialist teachers has declined. To correct this situation, just to get to the Canadian average, would require 5,800 more teachers. This means that BC teachers are presently making up the difference, shouldering an ever-growing burden.
Additional background on the position the BCTF has taken in relation to many factors affecting the provision of education is contained in Better Schools for BC, A Plan for Quality Public Education: http://bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/
Given the time of year, members may wish to respond to the minister’s message with wishes for education of their own.