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Nations parents have voiced concerns in the last year or so about their children using social studies books that are outdated and don’t meet reconciliation guidelines.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

Murder charge formally dropped against woman accused in downtown Chilliwack killing

Stay of proceedings ordered for Victoria Purcell; Kirkland Russell to be sentenced for manslaughter

ACES grows the love of gardening with annual seed exchange

The event will be returning to Harrison Mills Community Hall on March 1

PHOTOS: Spirit of the People Powwow

Family Day weekend powwow was a colourful, vivid celebration of Indigenous culture

WATCH: Latest Heritage Minute episode filmed near Hope and features some dark local history

Airing on Feb. 20, the 60-second film tells the story of the Asahi and features the Tashme Museum

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Most Read