December 15, 2016
- Latest news on implementation of the Supreme Court of Canada win
- Updates on grad years curriculum and timelines
- BCTF Job Opportunity—Magazine Editor
- BCTF President responds to BC’s PISA scores
- Taking a stand against health care privatization
Latest news on implementation of the Supreme Court of Canada win
Throughout the past week, discussions about implementing our Supreme Court of Canada win have been ongoing. The representatives of the BCTF, the provincial government and the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) continue to meet and have more dates set for the first week of January. The Federation continues to push for a staged implementation commencing in January. With a $2.24 billion budget surplus for this year, we know the government can provide districts with the necessary resources to get it done.
Locals and school districts have now been asked to meet and provide information about some parts of the restored language related to school and district processes like school-based teams.
As this process continues to unfold, it's important that teachers and parents stay engaged and discuss the benefits of the stripped language for students and their learning conditions. If you haven't yet read the restored language, please reach out to your staff rep or local office. The Federation has also created grants to assist locals in conducting school visits in January so members can learn more about their local language and processes.
Over the winter break, please take a few minutes to watch and share on your social networks these two videos from the Federation's President and Vice-Presidents. The first is a message to teachers and the second is a message for parents.
Updates on grad years curriculum and timelines
The Federation's second Education Change Bulletin is now online and provides important updates on the new timelines for implementation of the revised curriculum for Grades 10-12. The bulletin also provides details on transition timelines and how they relate to the credits students need to graduate. At this stage, it is important that there is a school staff curriculum committee in place to address site-specific and local issues related to curriculum implementation. Those committees should be asking: With the 10-12 curriculum still in draft form until July 2018, what course offerings will be made available in 2017-18? Read the full bulletin for more information and advice.
BCTF Job Opportunity—Magazine Editor
The Federation is currently looking to fill a term position (11 months) for an Assistant Director in our Communications and Campaigns Division. The role is an integral part of the Federation's communications efforts with members and the broader public. In addition to various internal communications responsibilities, the position is also the Editor of our flagship magazine, Teacher. Visit the employment opportunities page or simply download the specific posting for more information. The deadline to apply is January 13, 2017.
BCTF President responds to BC’s PISA scores
Every three years, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) releases a ranking of the education systems of entire countries, states, and provinces. These rankings are based on a single test given to 15-year-olds. While British Columbia scored very well, there are many problems with PISA. BCTF President Glen Hansman responded to the results in a statement released to the media:
“Like other organizations that try to rank schools, PISA uses incredibly narrow criteria to offer sweeping conclusions that overlook important aspects of education and cultural differences across the world. PISA uses a specific worldview that is based on narrow competencies and competition, and are therefore inappropriate for international comparisons. They are also wrongly used by governments across the world to set education policy and discredit teachers. The PISA results do not deserve the attention they get and shouldn't be taken seriously. Doing so inappropriately narrows the focus of a well-rounded and culturally appropriate education.
We want our students to be creative, thoughtful, and civically engaged-not just good test takers. BC's education system is as good as it is because of the hard work of our professional teachers and support staff. But, increasingly, our province has had to rely on parent fundraising just so schools can have basic supplies. There are real problems in BC schools that need to be fixed because of years of underfunding. That's why BC's focus should be on restoring the collective agreement language that was unconstitutionally stripped from teachers' collective agreements as soon as possible. Timely restoration of that language will reduce class sizes, allow more specialist teachers to be hired, and inject much-needed funding into schools and classrooms across the province.”
For more on the problems with PISA, you can read a piece by academic Yong Zhao who calls for more creativity and less uniformity. Also, dozens of education academics from around the world wrote a piece in The Guardian expressing deep concern about the impact of PISA tests and called for a halt to the next round of testing.
Taking a stand against health care privatization
A new analysis by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Alex Hemingway is an important read for all Canadians concerned about the potential privatization of health care. The BC Supreme Court is currently hearing a case brought forward by Dr. Brian Day in his attempt to undermine the foundational laws supporting our public health system. Hemingway's blog post, The crumbling case for two-tiered health care, deconstructs the myth that private health care is somehow more efficient. He writes, “the biggest source of waste and inefficiency in the Canadian health system is actually the private, for-profit sector.”