Class size and composition are key issues in the current labour dispute between the British Columbia Teachers Federation and the BC government.
In 2002, the ruling BC Liberals unilaterally stripped away provisions in the teachers’ contract that governed the makeup and number of students in each class. The teachers sued the government over their actions, twice. And the teachers won both times. The government is currently appealing their loss and refuses to follow the courts order that class size and composition conditions be restored.
The teachers and the government’s negotiators have been at the table for many months, with little or no progress. Last week the BCTF started rotating, district by district one-day strikes around the province. The government responded by cutting teachers pay by 10% and, in a bizarre and confusing move, locking teachers out for 45 minutes before and after school and during lunch and recess.
Amongst other things, the BC Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender, has been misrepresenting the implications of research on class size. See my previous blog about that, which led to an interview with CBC Radio’s Daybreak North program that was broadcast this morning. You can listen to 5 minute interview here and here: