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PRIORITIES FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION

A Brief to the Ministry of Education from the BC Teachers’ Federation, August 2017 

Education Funding: Professional Development and In-Service

The issue

During the past 15 years of austerity budgets in education, one of the areas especially affected has been funding for profession learning by teachers. Too often when the many priorities were examined, this was one area excluded. Some districts had funding for profession development in the collective agreement, although many did not. Even those with provisions were stuck with amounts from the last local negotiations—almost 25 years ago—with costs increased even though funding did not.

Background

Many elements of teaching have changed and teachers need support for keeping up with these changes.  This is particularly the case with the revised curriculum, changes in the structure of courses, increases in technological change, and the need for teachers to infuse Aboriginal ways of knowing throughout the curriculum.

Support to better meet the needs of students with special needs is also high on the priorities for professional learning.

Access to professional learning in all areas of the province must be planned for, given the geographic dispersion that produces barriers to equity.

Professional learning here is being used to encompass two types of activity. In-service is the training needed to carry out specific areas that governing authorities have identified—such as a new student information service, privacy requirements, or new areas of curriculum. Professional development is the teacher having the autonomy to determine what they need to learn to effectively provide high-quality educational service. Both of these require funding.

Key recommendations

Recommendation 1

That the Ministry of Education provide grants to school districts based on a minimum of $1,500 per teacher per year ($60 million) for each of three years to support time and learning resources needed for the implementation of the redesign of the entire curriculum from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Recommendation 2

That the Ministry of Education work with the BCTF to develop a plan to support the availability of a wide variety of in-service opportunities in all regions of the province to support the implementation of the new curriculum and the enhanced Aboriginal content.

Recommendation 3

That the Ministry of Education provide additional non-instructional days during the 2017–18, 2018–19, and 2019–20 school years to support the implementation of the revised curriculum and enhanced Aboriginal content.

Recommendation 4

Abandon the changes made to the School Act and other statutes made by Bill 11 (2015), and instead work with the BCTF and other provincial education partner organizations to develop a plan to support a wide-range of mentorship opportunities for certificate holders in all school districts around BC.

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