Dear Minister Bond,
It’s time to get to work on improving and maintaining our provincial education system Let’s pass Bill 33.
Bill 33 is not a perfect piece of legislation. Upon close examination there are a number of serious flaws. (For comments click here and here.) However, Bill 33 is a place to start. It is also the fulfillment of a promise that Premier Campbell and Minister Bond made to the people of BC as part of the deal to end the October teachers’ strike.
Bill 33 recognizes the important issue of class size and composition. Well documented and internationally recognized research makes it clear that the combination of large classes and diverse learners undermines the education of all students. Reducing the size of classes and balancing diverse learning needs within the classrooms an important first step toward an effective education for all. However, if this is to work the government must ensure that full and appropriate resources are in place. To fail to do so will create the potential for pitting parents against parents, teachers against teachers, programmes against programmes as boards struggle to meet the legislative requirements in the absence of full and adequate funding.
At a minimum we would hope that the fixed cap on students with IEPs would be replaced with a double counting rule where each student with an IEP counts as two students thereby reducing the overall class size without placing any restrictions on individual students with IEPs.
Ideally this Bill would include funding provisions to ensure:
- sufficient classroom space
- educational aids and assistants for all students who need them
- additional non-enrolling resource teachers to support the classroom
- additional in-service and professional development to facilitate life-long learning for teachers upon who’s backs we heap growing expectations
Debate discussion and additional consultation can proceed, but for now we need to act. Let’s get Bill 33 into law now.