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The provincial government’s Finance Committee released its consultation report today with only one vague recommendation about education.

“It’s an incredibly disappointing report for students, teachers, parents, or anyone else concerned about public education in British Columbia,” BC Teachers’ Federation President Irene Lanzinger said today. “The committee made one vague recommendation that will do little to meet the challenges our public education system is facing.”

Of the 68 recommendations, the Finance Committee only recommended that the provincial government consider: “Encouraging the Minister of Education and Minister of Finance to continue to work with educational stakeholders to discuss how best to deliver K–12 programs.”

“That sounds like the status quo, but the status quo is not working,” said Lanzinger. “In 2006, the government passed legislation to reduce class size and improve conditions for students with special needs. We’re still waiting to see the funding needed to make that happen. Last year, there were more than 10,000 overcrowded classes that violated the BC Liberals’ own legislated standards.

“The government also created the Learning Round Table, but there is still no plan and conditions are actually getting worse. There were more overcrowded classes in 2007–08 than in 2006–07.”

Lanzinger said the report’s complete silence on class-size and class-composition issues should concern all parents. She was also disappointed to see that there was no mention of the province’s chronic underfunding and downloading to boards of education.

“The report completely ignored the biggest issues facing public education in British Columbia,” said Lanzinger.
The BCTF brief to the Select Standing Committee can be viewed here.

A close examination of the government’s “highest funding ever” claim can be viewed here. It shows, compared to other provinces, BC is way behind.

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

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