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With only two weeks to go until BC students in Grades 4 and 7 start writing the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA), BC teachers are ramping up their campaign to encourage parents to withdraw their children with a significant ad placement in Asian and South Asian media outlets, BCTF President Irene Lanzinger said today.

“Teachers in British Columbia do not believe the Foundation Skills Assessment is an appropriate measure of student learning,” said Lanzinger. “The tests do not help students succeed and they waste valuable classroom time and tax dollars. The data is used inappropriately to rank schools, which is both unfair and misleading. Teachers want to talk to all parents about their concerns and this ad campaign is just one way we are reaching out in many different communities.”

The ad campaign will last for two weeks until the middle of January when the FSAs are scheduled to begin. It is a significant campaign that will see ads run in several newspapers and on radio stations. The ads have been translated into Cantonese, Mandarin, and Punjabi as well as some placements in Vietnamese and Filipino media outlets.  

The ads ask parents to sign a form asking that their child be excused from writing the FSA and then return that form to the school’s principal.

“Last year, more parents than ever before pulled their children from the FSAs because of the great advocacy work done by BC’s teachers,” said Lanzinger. “In Vancouver, for example, more than 30% of children did not write the test. In Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, that number grew to more than 40%. We want to build on that success and encourage more parents to withdraw their children. By doing so, parents and teachers can send a strong message to government that the system needs change.

“Teachers are not opposed to assessment,” said Lanzinger. “In fact, teachers assess and test their students in a professional and appropriate manner every day. The BCTF believes more appropriate tools can be developed with all of the education partner groups, including government, trustees, principals, and parents. The problem is that the FSA is wasting time and resources while the results are being used to undermine confidence in public education.”

The English translation of the print ad reads:
“If you want your child to succeed, this test isn’t going to help them. Every year, your child’s valuable time in the classroom is wasted on preparing for a test that won’t help them learn—and won’t improve their mark. As teachers, we believe in tests. We use them every day to help kids learn. But the Foundation Skills Assessment tests are not real tests.

“These FSA tests are required every year for Grades 4 and 7, but they won’t help your child succeed—and are only used to unfairly rank schools. They’re wasting tax dollars and valuable learning time. Join the growing number of parents who are withdrawing their child from these meaningless tests. Sign the form—withdraw your child.”

To view the ads, click on the links below:

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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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