Prince Rupert District Teachers Union president discusses funding on World Teacher’s Day

Editor:

It is somehow appropriate that on World Teacher’s Day (October 5), I would be making a presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, on how BC school funding is not keeping up with the rest of Canada.

Editor:

It is somehow appropriate that on World Teacher’s Day (October 5), I would be making a presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, on how BC school funding is not keeping up with the rest of Canada.

World Teacher’s Day has been celebrated across the globe on the 5th of October, every year since 1994 when UNESCO inaugurated the first World Teacher’s Day. On this day, teachers are to be honoured for their immense contribution towards the education and development of children.

And so, while appropriate it is somewhat ironic that today would be the day I would publicly share the fact, that in Prince Rupert our teacher librarians have been reduced by an extraordinary 72.7 per cent since 2001.

Our special education teachers, have been cut back almost by half at 42.1 per cent during the same time frame.

Across the province, FTE staffing levels for specialist teachers have decreased to 1 459 fewer specialist teachers in BC.

In April, Madam Justice Griffin of the Supreme Court, in her decision on Bills 27 and 28, which stripped class size and composition language from teacher contracts across the province said, that arbitrary legislation, rather than good faith collective bargaining, was seen by teachers as a message that “the government did not respect them or consider them to be valued contributors to the education system.”

She could not have been more accurate.  This is not how a government, or our society honours teachers for their commitment and dedication to the students of our province.

If funding for K-12 education in our province were restored to the 2001-2002 percentage of the provincial budget, an additional $1.6 billion would be available to meet the unmet needs of the students in our classrooms.

Surely, this is what the children of our province deserve.

Improving the education system in British Columbia and truly honouring the contributions of teachers in the province means meeting the needs of students with special needs, restoring illegally stripped class size and composition language, restoring learning specialist teacher ratios and caseloads, and restoring lost funding.

Joanna Larson

PRDTU president