After 15 years of unconstitutional legislation, cuts to services for students, and school closures, the new BC government delivered a Throne Speech that is a big step in the right direction. That was the response of BCTF President Glen Hansman after hearing the Lieutenant Governor’s address to the Legislative Assembly.
“The last 15 years have been very difficult for teachers, students, parents, and entire school communities. It’s both a relief and exciting to finally have a government that values public education. I am looking forward to seeing the revised provincial budget on Monday, September 11, and what comes a few months later with the full budget in February. The Thone Speech makes it clear that significant new funding is coming. That will make a real difference this school year.”
Hansman also expressed optimism in the government’s respectful approach to working with teachers and other education partner groups.
“Working together this year, and over the next several years, we can ensure our education system gets the funding and policy changes it needs to resolve 15 years of neglect.
Other members of BC’s public education community also expressed optimism.
— Lesli Boldt (@LesliBoldt) September 8, 2017
— Mike Lombardi (@LombardiMike) September 8, 2017
— Keven Elder (@kevenelder) September 10, 2017
Hansman did not that there are challenges ahead with teachers shortages.
“One key challenge that has to be a priority is resolving the teacher shortage across BC, especially for teachers teaching on call and specialists. This is a big challenge, but entirely solvable in both urban and rural areas. The BCTF is committed to working with the government and school districts to develop a robust recruitment and retention strategy.”
Hansman said he is also looking forward to a review of the education funding formula and ongoing work with the education stakeholders on properly supporting the revised curriculum and Aboriginal education initiatives, expediting seismic upgrades, and getting new schools built in growing communities.
“We have a lot of work to do on a lot of issues in education, but it’s very reassuring to know that we have a government committed to a collaborative and supportive approach.”