BCTF President Irene Lanzinger called today’s budget disappointing because it failed to put forward a plan to eliminate child poverty or improve learning conditions for students.
“First and foremost, British Columbians will be incredibly disappointed in this BC Liberal budget because it does little to tackle the child poverty crisis in our province,” said Lanzinger. “During times of economic difficulty, poor families get hit the hardest. Already one in five students lives in poverty. BC’s teachers see the impact of that poverty in our classrooms every day, but there are no specific targets in this budget to end child poverty.”
Lanzinger went on to say that Budget 2009 is another broken promise to BC’s students, parents, and teachers. There are more overcrowded classes now than in 2005–06 when teachers first went on strike and the government first created the Learning Round Table. There is no specific plan in this budget to reduce class size or improve support for children with special needs. Across BC, there are more than 3,300 classes with 30 or more students and 11,000 classes with 4 or more students with special needs.
“It has been more than three years since the strike and things are worse today for BC students,” said Lanzinger. “The BC Liberal government promised action but they never provided the funding or plan to get the job done. After years of delay and stalling, teachers had hoped the BC Liberals would finally come forward with a plan.
“The BCTF has been a full participant in the Learning Round Table,” said Lanzinger. “But last month’s meeting and this budget show the government is not willing to commit the resources to actually improve learning conditions in BC. With only three months to go until the next election, this budget tells teachers that the Learning Round Table was just another one of Gordon Campbell’s publicity stunts.”
For more information on education funding in BC, read The numbers tell the story.