To the editor,
On Nov. 10, British Columbia teachers won a Supreme Court of Canada decision they had been fighting for 15 years. Fifteen years ago the B.C. Liberal government stripped negotiated collective agreements of language that limited class sizes, secured appropriate supports for students with special needs, and determined ratios for specialist teachers such as teacher-librarians, school counsellors, and other non-enrolling teachers who provide support to students who require extra help.
You would think that a Supreme Court of Canada decision would compel government to fund school districts so that restored collective agreement language was followed. You would think that a supreme court decision would compel government to fund school districts so that they are in compliance with class size and class composition limits, and that ratios for non-enrolling specialist teachers are followed.
But such is not the case. School districts are struggling to receive the amount of funding they require to comply with restored collective agreement language. Government should be supplying the funds required to hire more teachers and open classrooms.
How is it that government can disregard such a ruling? How can school districts comply with the restored language without the funding required? The answer to the second question is they can’t. And students will continue to learn in over-crowded classrooms. Students who require extra supports will continue to wait for access to specialist teachers.
It’s time for government to fix the mess they created and fund school districts in accordance with the Supreme Court of Canada decision.
Shannon Iverson, vice-president, Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association