What is a Right? late Breaking BCCPAC Resolution.

One late resolution for the BCCPAC highlights the topic of rights. It’s actually a mechanism designed to limit the capacity of students and their parents to ensure that children received an equitable and effective education.

By framing the resolution in the context of human rights the authors of this resolution have cleverly shifted attention from the collective right of students in general to have access to adequate educational services and the right of workers to have a modicum of control over the conditions of their work to one of individual rights. Paradoxically this particular assertion of individual rights runs counter to the individual rights of other students. It further attempts to challenge the notion of ‘labels’ as in someway denying and undermining individuality.

Given the high cultural value placed on individuals in our society this should perhaps not be surprising. And, that one individual’s rights may run against the grain of someone else is part of the problem of a society based solely upon the rights of individuals.

What is needed are compromises that recognize the impossibility of unbridled individual rights. As a parent of children with special learning needs I can honestly say that I don’t want more than one or two of them in the same class. First, I want my child to be able to learn to the best of his abilities. If he is one of 2, 3,4, or more such students in a class of 25-30 I know that he won’t learn and that others in the class will lose out as well.

I can appreciate that some parents have a hard time accepting that their child might have a learning disability, for example, and want to reject any type of label or designation. Other parents want their child forced into what ever class they want, when they want, devil take the hindmost, let the class size go up and the composition unbalance. But if we really want to place the learning needs of all children front and center then we will have to recognize that some limitations are required -especially if our government is unwilling to fully fund the real cost of public education.

The resolution should really read: “No rights for learning. Let us pile as many kids as we can into every class. Let us wait until conflict erupts between parents and let them fight it out to determine who will get to stay in the class.”

Read on to see the resolution in question. New BCCPAC Late Resolution

#20 – Ensuring the Rights of all Students.

BE IT RESOLVED:
That the BCCPAC advise all education partners that limiting the number of students in classrooms based on designations or labels is discriminiatory and as such, legislation or employee contracts must not contain wording that promotes or creates such limits.

Submitted by the Victoria CPAC

Rational:
On February 24, 2006 we received BCTF’s recommendations to the learning roundtable. #4 states, “Section 76.1 of the Act {school act} be amended to ensure that no class, except a class that enrols only students with special needs, either enrol or integrate more than two (2) studenst with special needs or more than one (1) student who meets the definition of a student with special needs (low incidence)”

VCPAC believes this is a violation of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The current debated on class size and composition includes discussion on placing limits on the number of students, labelled as having special needs, permitted in any given classroom.

Decisions based on the unique needs of each student are sound education practice. Decisions based on group characteristics are inherently discriminiatory. Belonging in a classroom is an individual right and should be supported unconditionally.

Many believe that classrooms are experiencing difficulty due to the wide variety of student learning styles and needs. This is a training and resource issue, not a reflection of the quality or value of our children.

One thought on “What is a Right? late Breaking BCCPAC Resolution.

  1. I agree with your analysis on this resolution. Upon examining a few of these resolutions I too found that several of these were either poorly worded or, alternately, veiled attempts at accomplishing something through misdirection.

    Check out the resolutions # 9 Mandatory Graduation Requirements of 30 hours of Volunteer Work.

    They tied funding for managing mandated volunteer work through the school with approving mandatory 30 hours of volunteer work.

    Hmmm…Besides asking for volunteer work to be mandatory (a bit of an oxymoron) are they saying that:
    – all volunteer placements must be made through the school,
    – they need funding for administrating part of graduation portfolio requirement but not other aspects (currently the coordination of the graduation portfolio is unfunded)

    Resolution #9 was done without any reference whatsoever to the five hours of minimum service activity that is already mandated by the graduation portfolio “teachers” (though I could not find any reference to the 5 hours in the MoE portfolio graduation manual!!!).

    All the proposed 2006 BCCPAC resolutions can be found here:
    http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/who_are_we/organization/AGM2006_Disposition_of_Resolutions.pdf

    Simone

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