Full Blown ‘Methinks’ Over BC Libs’ Education Funding Stats

I rarely post full articles from other media sources but this letter to the editor from the The Record (Feb . 11 2014) deserves the “full” treatment as it illustrates the full-blown irony of the BC Libs’ posturing on education funding that is $1,000 below the Canadian per pupil average.

B.C. education minister protests too much

Dear Editor:

Minister of Education Peter Fassbender made statements in support of the Liberal governments’ Education Improvement Act of 2012. He stated: “We’ve increased supports for students with special needs, including a 36 per cent increase in the number of full-time education assistants. Average class sizes are near historical lows of 19.3 students for kindergarten, 21.5 for grades 1 to 3, 25.7 for grades 4 to 7, and 23.0 for grades 8 to 12.”

Interestingly, these numbers are less than the class size numbers the provincial government stripped from teachers’ collective agreement. If they already exist, why would the government fight so hard to remove these limits? Twelve years of public money spent on court cases and appeals to ensure class size numbers that the government says it’s already providing?

Methinks thou dost protest too much.  Besides, having been a public education teacher in B.C. for over 25 years, I can tell you, the classes I teach have never been so large.

The needs of my students have never been so high and diverse. The librarian and resource teacher in my school work less than a third of the time they did 15 years ago.

My principal’s time has been cut in half. Families provide more funding than ever, through fundraising. Teachers spend an inordinate amount of money on classroom materials and resources.

I’m not sure where you’re looking, Minister Fassbender, but public education in B.C. has been depleted over the last decade, and it has now deteriorated to an all-time low. The public education system is underfunded, and teachers are crying out for help on behalf of their students.

The Liberals had 12 years to make this right. But they would rather spend more time and money in court than truly support public education in B.C.

Maureen Gilhespy, New Westminster teacher and parent

Author: Tim Lavery

Aim High Salmon Arm It matters

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