The report of the Langley Special Education Inquiry was released yesterday at a very successful and emotional event held at the Fort Langley Community Hall. Some 150 people attended, including BCTF President Irene Lanzinger, who commented on the “tremendous community spirit” which characterized the report’s release.
The three panelists, Nadine Guiltner, former classroom teacher; Dr. Shirley McBride, former education ministry official; and Mike Suddaby, former school superintendent, spoke to those gathered and focussed primarily on the funding issue. Their credibility and extensive credentials added enormously to the case teachers and their organizations have been making for years.
The panel’s report blasted the government, stating bluntly that special education services would not recover to their previous level “...unless the province addresses the historical funding shortfall.” The government’s recent pledge to speed up the assessment of students will be “…a waste of time and money...” if appropriate services do not follow, said the report.
The report’s recommendations to the local school district could easily apply to virtually every district in the province. Among the panel’s recommendations to the district were: more in-service opportunities for classroom teachers, the need for all teachers to have a basic orientation to students with special needs, a review of caseloads, and the need for more attention to the training needs of learning assistance teachers.
The inquiry, unique in BC history, was the result of collaboration between the Langley Teachers’ Association, the District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC), and CUPE Local 1260.
Go to www.bctf.ca for more information.