Post and Fill: A claim that the government aims to ensure specialist teachers work in positions with expertise in their area of training
“I know there's much controversy around this, around what's termed here as scheduling and selection of teachers suited to student needs. This is about a post-and-fill. I know the president of the Teachers Federation at every turn calls this a strip of the contract, and even though the member in his typical fashion embraces that notion, it is not so. What this proposal means is that when districts are making hires of new teachers, they are in fact trained and experienced in those areas which they propose to teach.”
George Abbott, Hansard, March 1, 2012
George Abbott claimed in his speech introducing Bill 22 in the legislature that new teachers need to be trained in the specialist areas in which they teach, stating that there is a need for specialist teachers with appropriate training. He stated that this was the reason for ‘post and fill’ language and focus the government is promoting. How does this relate to what has happened in the last ten years, when the numbers of Learning Specialists have been severely cut?
Consider the following:
- FTE staffing levels for specialist teachers have decreased steadily over the decade. There are 1,459.4 fewer FTE specialist teachers in 2010–11 than in 2001–02. This includes a loss of 244 FTE specialist teachers in 2010–11.
- The Special Education program experienced the greatest reduction in FTE learning specialist teachers, with an overall loss of 737.6 FTE teaching positions between the years 2001–02 and 2010-11.
- Teacher-librarian FTE positions have decreased steadily over the decade, with a loss of -277.1 FTE between 2001–02 and 2010–11.
- English as a Second Language FTE teaching positions decreased by -328.1 FTE since 2001–02. Almost one-third of these positions were lost between 2009–10 and 2010–11.
These specialist areas have been decimated by since 2002. Special Education, Learning Assistance and ESL have become entry-level positions in many school districts, staffed by teachers with no specialist training. This is a direct result of government policies. The very government that now speaks of having specialists trained in the areas in which they teach has in fact created the greatest exodus of specialists ever through inadequate funding, contract-stripping, or because many specialist have left the positions because of unmanageable workloads.
For more information, see: http://bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/Publications/2011EdFacts.pdf.