||Volume 19, Number 6, April 2007 |
We have teachers teaching and students learning under very challenging conditions. Despite having a record surplus, this government has not allocated the necessary resources for our schools. Education funding has not kept up with inflation. While we have seen some improvements to class size this year, teachers know that we have thousands of classrooms where class size and class composition have no educational justification.
At the same time, as teachers are struggling to meet the needs of students under very difficult circumstances, this "liberal" government is moving ahead with their own agenda to dismantle a publicly funded public education system. Instead of giving teachers the tools they need, they have chosen to use the legislature to hammer teachers and public education. In a matter of days the government used Education Week to introduce Bills 20, 21, and 22. Not one of these bills gives teachers the resources they need to deliver education programs that meet the needs of students. Not one of these bills addresses the fact that we have an unprecedented number of school closures, or that we have thousands of children who have a four-day school week because of underfunding. Not one of these bills addresses the need for improvements to class size and support for students with special needs, nor do they address the need for specialist teachers (teacher-librarians, learning assistants, counsellors, ESL, etc.)
Instead of giving teachers the tools we need, this government has chosen to target teachers and locally elected school boards. They have created further bureaucracy, as there will be new superintendents of achievement. How bizarre. Just give the professionals the necessary resources.
We know what is happening in our schools. We must continue to talk about the impact of underfunding, the need for specialist support for all our students. There are many who will try to distract us, but we must continue to use our voice to advocate for our students, for our profession, and for a publicly funded public education system. We are not alone.