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With the Learning Round Table set to meet Tuesday, January 27, BC Teachers’ Federation President Irene Lanzinger repeated the BCTF’s call for the minister of education to bring forward a workable and concrete plan to reduce class sizes and improve support for children with special needs.

“It’s been more than three years since teachers across BC went on strike to improve class size and support for students with special needs,” said Lanzinger. “The BC Liberal government promised action but they never provided the funding to get the job done. Now in 2009, students and teachers are still in overcrowded classrooms. Last fall, teachers asked the minister of education to come to the next round table meeting with a comprehensive plan to improve learning conditions. We’re hopeful Shirley Bond will finally, after years of delay and stalling, have that plan in hand.”

To date, the government’s Learning Round Table has failed to produce a workable plan. In fact, conditions are actually getting worse. There were more overcrowded classes in the 2007–08 school year than in 2006–07. Despite his early commitment to the round table, Premier Gordon Campbell has not attended a single meeting since the very beginning.

“Teachers, parents, and students are tired of waiting,” said Lanzinger. “The premier promised real results, but now he won’t even come to the meetings. Last year there were thousands of classes across the province that exceeded the BC Liberals’ own legislated requirements. There were more than 10,000 overcrowded classes that violated legislated standards for class size and students with special needs.

“If the government really wants to improve student achievement, they should keep their promise to reduce class size and improve support for children with special needs,” said Lanzinger.
The Learning Round Table is scheduled to meet Tuesday, January 27, at the SFU Harbour Centre campus in Vancouver, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

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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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