BCCPAC Press Conference
by Judith Ince
BCCPAC’s president, Kim Howland told a press conference today that, “BCCPAC members strongly agree that there was no crisis in public education until teachers went on strike. ” She said that because BC’s students continue to score highly on international tests, get into prestigious universities and graduate in increasing numbers, there is clearly no other crisis.
Moreover, she said, teachers are striking illegally and defying court orders; they should get back to work post-haste.The government’s responsiblity is to provide adequate resources for funding.
She reiterated BCCPAC’s opposition to class sizes being a part of the teachers’ contract.
A parent from Coquitlam said there has been violence against a teacher who does not support the strike; when pressed, however, he could give no details.
A student said because of the strike, she is missing her chance to apply to Harvard, Acadia, Oxford and Cambridge because she doesn’t have marks to submit.
Reporters asked the group some tough questions. Mike Bothwell (Citytv) said that although BCCPAC says it’s not choosing sides in this fight, Howland’s press release (not distributed to parents) echoed all the government’s main
points. Howland denied this.
Another reporter asked what BCCPAC has been doing for the past three years about growing class sizes and underfunding . Howland said the group has been “talking” about it to the government. I think it was this same reporter who suggested that her group seems to have been unsuccessful in persuading the government to give enough resources for, say, smaller classes. Howland said there is “no data” on the effects of underfunding.
Bothwell asked whether BCCPAC has been polling parents to find out their views. Howland said no, but she’s in “constant communication” with parents.
Howland said 40% of BCCPAC’s budget comes from the provincial government, but the rest rest comes from memberships.
As most of you can tell, there were some unfortunate errors and omissions in today’s press conference. The number of resolutions passed at BCCPAC AGMs urging the government to adequately fund education suggests that parents perceive a worsening financial crisis in education. BCCPAC laments the lack of “hard data” showing the effects of underfunding, but had it acted on a resolution passed in 2003 to track deficits in resources, it would now have two years of data on hand.
As to the funding of BCCPAC, the last Annual Report posted on its website says that 8%–not 60%–comes from membership fees. The Ministry of Education provides the larges chunk of funding (63%) as core and project-based funding. See Annual Report 2004 for details.
As a matter of interest, BCCPAC’s annual budget has jumped from $665,285 in
2001 2001 Annual Report to $853,361 in 2004, an increase of 28%.