Union win at arbitration means school districts must address teacher shortages

  • Page Views 848
  • The BC Teachers’ Federation has won an important ruling in a provincial grievance filed almost a year ago. It alleged school boards breached the collective agreement by failing to hire enough certified teachers to meet class-size and specialist ratios language that was restored by the Supreme Court of Canada.

    In a decision rendered October 11, 2018, arbitrator Jennifer Glougie stated that “the restored language is of great importance to teachers and was won after a hard-fought, protracted legal battle. The fact remains that, for almost a decade and a half, teachers have been deprived of these important rights which the SCC Decision acknowledges were unconstitutionally removed from their collective agreement.”

    Since the SCC’s landmark ruling, Chilliwack and other school districts did not recruit enough teachers to meet the class-size limits nor the guarantees of services from specialist teachers. As a result, when classroom teachers are absent, teacher-librarians, counsellors, and other special education teachers are being pulled away from their specialist duties, in violation of the contract.

    “Because of the failure to fill classroom teaching positions, students with special needs have been losing out,” BCTF President Glen Hansman said. “Every time a specialist teacher is required to fill in for a classroom teacher, their special programs are set aside. Students with special needs should not be bearing the burden of school districts’ reluctance to recruit pro-actively.”

    Evidence from the Chilliwack school district was used as an example in this arbitration, but the impact of Glougie’s decision is by no means limited to Chilliwack. Rather, it will provide guidance in resolving similar issues in other school districts across the province, Hansman emphasized.

    “Chilliwack is not the only district that could have hired more teachers and chose not to,” Hansman noted. “Hundreds more people applied for positions and some districts didn’t hire them, or even interview.”

    Ever since the Supreme Court ruling, the BCTF has urged government to act. The previous Liberal government put $50 million toward teacher recruitment in January 2017, and a further $2 million for rural and remote districts later that spring. However, many districts, including Chilliwack, did not take advantage of all the available funding to help jumpstart hiring, and passed over certified teachers they could have hired, so the problem persisted into the 2017–18 school year.

    The BCTF has repeatedly raised concerns with Education Minister Rob Fleming about the persistence of the failure-to-fill problem and the impact on students, especially those with special needs. Minister Fleming appointed a ministerial Task Force on Immediate Recruitment and Retention Challenges, which reported back in December 2017, but only some of its recommendations have been implemented. Meanwhile, shortage problems have continued.

    Hansman called on the Minister to implement the remainder of the recommendations urgently, and to direct school districts to ensure that day-to-day teacher absences are filled and that students are not deprived of the specialist services they require.

    “It’s now the seventh week of the school year and there are almost 400 teaching jobs advertised,” Hansman said. “This shortage was predictable and avoidable. It must be addressed immediately.” (www.bctf.ca @NancyKnicker)

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 23 August 2019
      12 hours ago No comment

      How PH won bronze in 1954 Fiba World Cup

      When the FIBA World Cup bound Philippine Basketball team flies to China for its Group D series with Italy, Serbia and Angola, coach Yeng Guiao and his boys should be additionally motivated by the sweet memory of their counterparts’ 1954 escapade in the same tournament. It was the Philippines’ ...

    • 23 August 2019
      12 hours ago No comment

      I am loved’: Bea Alonzo breaks silence on controversy

      A month after her cryptic post hinting at infidelity let loose the year’s biggest showbiz controversy thus far, Bea Alonzo broke her silence on social media Tuesday with a positive message about being loved. On Instagram, the actress shared an old photo of her as a child with her ...

    • 23 August 2019
      12 hours ago No comment

      Rody urges Pinoys: Draw inspiration from ‘Ninoy’

      PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday urged all Filipinos to do what they can to safeguard the freedoms they enjoy now while helping serve their fellow men. In his message to commemorate the death anniversary of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., the President also encouraged those in government to draw inspiration from ...

    • 23 August 2019
      12 hours ago No comment

      Coco Martin, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ co-stars honor late FPJ’s 80th birthday

      Coco Martin visited the grave of Fernando Poe, Jr. to commemorate the late icon’s 80th birthday on Tuesday, August 20.  Coco Martin visited the grave of Fernando Poe, Jr. to commemorate the late icon’s 80th birthday on Tuesday, August 20. The actor came early in the morning to pay ...

    • 23 August 2019
      12 hours ago No comment

      Piolo Pascual and son, Iñigo, Live in Vancouver!

      The Philippines’ most sought-after heartthrob, multi-awarded actor and singer is heading to Vancouver, BC!  Mabuhay Enterprise in cooperation with Backstage Ventures, Victoria Nannies and Unit Blue Media, presents “Father & Son The Canada Tour 2019” with the Philippines’ Mr Screen Idol Piolo Pascual and his multi-talented son Iñigo Pascual. Hearts ...

    %d bloggers like this: