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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 2, October 2006

President's message

There are so many issues facing us as teachers every day in the classroom and we have only begun to put our collective energies into setting things right. Early indications on the implementation of Bill 33 class-size and class-composition changes are mixed. There are definite improvements in some schools and districts, while in others we need to wait until the data is available by early November to make a reasonable assessment. Bill 33 is a baby step. What is interesting, is the feedback from many teachers that they are being consulted about class size and composition for the first time since we lost those provisions in our collective agreement.

I and other representatives of the BCTF met with the Minister of Education on October 4. The minister appeared to want to include us in discussions of major education policy issues. It will be a challenge to have that happen because the BCTF, as the representatives of teachers, has been effectively excluded from the important role we should play in giving advice on educational matters. The minister affirms that the messages she hears from us in those meetings are the same messages that she hears from teachers in her visits to schools and locals around the province. We all agree that we have an excellent education system in this province staffed by highly qualified professionals and ably prepared support workers.

What we need to see the government do now is have an open and transparent discussion with all partner groups on what the priorities should be for education in this province. The achievement is everything bandwagon simply leaves out too much that is important about education, teaching, and student learning.

Together we must continue to use every venue to advocate for our students’ learning conditions and to raise our professional concerns around the bureaucratic testing that narrows teaching and learning.

– Jinny Sims

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