B.C. teachers’ union fires at government for lack of teachers, supplies

2018/19 will be the second school year with the BC NDP in charge

As teachers gear up for the new school year starting Sept. 4, the BC Teachers’ Federation says classrooms are still lacking sufficient resources.

Teachers are relying on 20-year-old textbooks and a lack of equipment, president Glen Hansman told Black Press Media, and children remain on wait lists for special education teachers and other services.

“Overwhelmingly, our members say they don’t have teaching materials, or enough teaching materials, to teach the new curriculum,” Hansman said. That new curriculum emphasizes “hands-on” learning and has been phased in over three years starting in 2015. As of 2017, it has been mandatory for all students.

READ MORE: More students, more pressure in B.C. school system

Hansman has been travelling across the province’s 60 school districts before school starts. Among the things he’s seen are broken Bunsen burners and not enough physical education supplies.

“The previous government and the current one have put a big emphasis on trades programs,” he added, “but I can tell you the equipment that is available in a lot of trades and technology rooms don’t look anything like what is used out there in the field.”

An education ministry spokesperson said in an email the province was in the process of “identifying what additional resources and supports may be required in schools,” to be done in consultation with teachers to make sure supplies mirror what’s needed in the field.

Hansman said the province must be the one to pay to fix these issues, but that’s not always what happens. “Our members and parents spend way, way too much of their own money buying basics for classrooms,” he said.

READ MORE: Horgan promises new school funding formula in B.C.

Indigenous curriculum needs supplies: BCTF

In 2015, B.C. introduced a component on aboriginal history into classrooms, in response to the 94 recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on the residential-school system.

Hansman said First Nations parents have voiced concerns in the last year or so about their children using social studies books that are outdated and don’t meet reconciliation guidelines.

“We share that concern, and this is a problem in school districts across the province,” he said. “The most transformative peice the new curriculum is that Indigenous content and history has been woven into all subject areas and at all grade levels.”

The province had set aside an extra $190,000 in the 2017/18 year to implement 17 newly approved Indigenous language curriculum documents.

Another $260,000 is being spent on the UBC-led Indigenous Teacher Education Program, which will be delivered to 20 Indigenous students in Williams Lake and Quesnel.

‘Time to get the ball rolling’ on wait lists

A lot of holes still need to be filled, Hansman said, to comply with the 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that allow teachers to once again negotiate class size and composition as part of their working conditions.

“The $600 million [from the NDP’s February budget] is the cost of putting those teaching decisions back. Beyond what the court has ordered, there hasn’t been any change really, on the side of the operational budget.”

The education ministry said “the vast majority” of the 3,700 new teacher positions have already been hired, including 390 more special education teachers and 140 more teacher psychologists and counsellors. Another 1,000 education assistants have been hired to help kids who need more attention.

The province said it’s looking into how to spend another $5.6 billion, the ministry told Black Press Media, part of which will focus on ways to “improve supports for students with diverse abilities.”

When it comes to capital spending, Hansman applauded Education Minister Rob Fleming for the string of seismic upgrades at more than a dozen schools in the past year.

“The conversation needs to be, where are the other pulls? All the other accumulated issues around wait lists for students with special needs that need to be assessed, making sure the support is there, that teachers have the tools to do their job,” he said.

“We’re going into a second school year now where the NDP government is responsible. It’s time to get the ball rolling on these things.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rampage come from behind to beat Ice Demons

Prince Rupert scored five goals in the third period to secure the win on Jan. 18

City of Prince Rupert still waiting on street light upgrades

Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure said work would be complete in 2018

How sweet it is: Sugar Shack is back for ninth year

On Jan. 23 the popular Francophone festival in Prince Rupert kicks off with a social

City of Prince Rupert to explore funding for Kwinitsa airport ferry

New roll-on, roll-off berth would be called “Rupert’s Landing”

RCMP asks again for public’s assistance to find Binh Tran

Tran was last seen around the 1600 block of Park Avenue on Dec. 11

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read