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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 4, January/February 2006

President’s message

As we begin 2006, teachers and students continue to face challenges in working and learning conditions. Teachers’ courageous stand highlighted the critical need to address class size, class composition, and specialist support for our students so that every student can have her/his needs met. We have raised public awareness about the challenges faced in our classrooms and the need for additional resources.

Our actions led to over 330 additional teachers being hired to address the most egregious class-size and class-composition issues. This month, as I visited Prince Rupert, Terrace, and Kitimat I saw first-hand that we have achieved only minimal relief to these serious problems. When I met with teachers, trustees, principals, support staff, and parents, they all voiced the need for additional resources to address the challenges faced by our students and teachers. One school I visited could have used more than the entire additional staffing for the whole school district.

We are continuing to press for the necessary changes at the Learning Round Table, and next month we will host a major conference entitled "Every kid counts! A call to action on class size and composition." We need action now. In addition, we are meeting with Vince Ready and urging him to recommend to government the restoration of full-scope bargaining, including the legal right to strike.

You will have received your SIP fee rebate cheque—a direct result from our actions in the fall. This is a fee rebate for 2005–06. Even though your fee will continue to be deducted each month you are being rebated in the form of a cheque from the $40 million in Ready’s recommendations. Teachers’ unity, courage, and professionalism brought us through a very difficult period and we’ve emerged stronger than ever. We must continue to pull together and hold this government accountable for implementing the changes so sorely needed in our classrooms and our communities.

Thank you for the amazing work you do every day.

Jinny Sims

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