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September 29, 2016

  1. Myth-busting the government and Fraser Institute’s spin on education funding
  2. Update on the Foundation Skills Assessment
  3. Opportunities for members—BCTF employment opportunity and Ministry committee posting
  4. Speak out on improving the Canada Pension Plan

Myth-busting the government and Fraser Institute’s spin on education funding

fsa2Alex Hemingway, the Public Finance Policy Analyst at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, has a new analysis online that breaks down education funding claims by the government and Fraser Institute and exposes them for the myths they are. By going through their own data, he found that even the Fraser Institute had to admit (reluctantly!) that BC provides the second lowest per-student funding in Canada. Share this excellent analysis on your social media accounts! Or re-tweet Alex's post.

Update on the Foundation Skills Assessment

FSAFor the last few years, the BCTF has been working productively with all of the education stakeholders as part of the Advisory Group on Provincial Assessment. This group has been looking at ways to move forward on provincial assessments that are less harmful than the current regime, like the FSAs. One of the key areas of broad agreement amongst the partner groups is the need to protect any school or student assessment data from third parties, such as the Fraser Institute.  

The BCTF has been clear with government throughout this process that, while we're prepared to accept an assessment that will provide some provincial-level and district-level data for planning purposes, our participation in developing the new assessment and our assistance in implementation is dependent on school and student data being protected from misuse by third parties. It was expected that the mechanism for protecting school and student data would be approved in the spring. Unfortunately, this has still not happened.

Recently, though, the government has asked school districts to pilot a “new FSA” prior to any clarity on the issue of school and student data protection. This is unfortunate, as hundreds of hours and much good work has gone into finding a way forward. The BCTF does not want this work to be for naught.

After seeking clarity several more times from the Ministry of Education since August, the BCTF Executive Committee is at this point advising all members not to volunteer for this elementary assessment pilot and to inform their staff representative or local union if they are asked to do so.

The Minister of Education has indicated that a decision will be made within the next couple of weeks, and the BCTF looks forward to clarity and, hopefully, to resolution on the important point of protecting school and student data from misuse.   

There is further background information on the portal here, outlining the history of the Federation's opposition to the FSA and the attempt over the past six years to find alternatives. If you haven't already read it, please do so.

Opportunities for members—BCTF employment opportunity and Ministry committee posting

The BCTF currently has an opening (seven-month term position) for an assistant director in the Federation's Field Service Division. The position supports assigned locals in contract enforcement, bargaining, political action, communications, and the handling of a range of professional, health and safety, social justice, and Aboriginal education issues.

The Ministry of Education is seeking six BCTF members willing to serve as the Federation's representatives to the Ministry of Education's review of the Board/Authority Authorized (BAA) program to align BAA courses with the revised curriculum. Click here for more information.

Remember to check the BCTF's Opportunities for Members page regularly for similar postings throughout the year. 

Speak out on improving the Canada Pension Plan

In June, all of the provincial finance ministers signed an agreement in principle for enhancing the Canada Pension Plan to benefit workers across the country. However, the BC government refused to approve the major changes by the July 15, 2016, deadline. Instead, Premier Christy Clark has opted to launch public consultations.  The BCTF wrote Premier Clark to encourage her to support the CPP enhancements, but we need your help in advocating for a stronger CPP. If BC does not sign off on the major changes, it could jeopardize the entire deal for all Canadians.

You can provide your input online or via email. Learn more about the benefits of an expanded CPP from the Canadian Labour Congress.

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