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This week the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation will bring together hundreds of teachers, parents, students, trustees, and MLAs in their annual public education conference entitled Equity and Inclusion.

“We believe every child has the right to a free, quality public education, yet we know there are still obstacles and barriers for some of our students,” says Irene Lanzinger, president of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation.  “Our goal in this conference is to reaffirm the principles of equity and inclusion in BC’s public schools, and to build support to ensure every student has an equal opportunity to succeed.”

The conference will begin at 7:00 p.m., January 25, 2008, with keynote speakers Doug Player, retired superintendent of schools, and Kit Krieger, retired teacher leader, both from West Vancouver.  On Saturday morning the opening plenary will feature a presentation on the recently released report on special education in Langley and will feature inquiry panel members: Mike Suddaby, Nadene Guiltner, and Dr. Shirley McBride.

The Federation hosts a parent and teacher from every district throughout the province and invites MLAs and education partner groups, including BC School Trustees Association, BC Principals’ and Vice Principals’ Association, and BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.  Participants will share experiences and discuss obstacles to realizing the goal of equity and inclusion in our public schools.

Workshops on Saturday include: Poverty and Homelessness as a barrier to inclusion; Where are the gifted?; Parents and teachers working together to remove barriers to successful inclusion; Money matters, a review of education finances in BC; and Teaching over thunder and lightening—making an educational commitment to our indigenous children in foster cares.

The Simon Fraser Elementary Peace Choir will open the plenary on Friday evening, and the Vancouver Technical Secondary Jazz Combo will entertain participants at the social following the evening session.

The conference will be held at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, January 25–26, 2008.  A complete list of the workshops and the conference program can be found at: http://www.bctf.ca/publicedconference2008.aspx.

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For more information, contact Kathleen MacKinnon, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).