Minister of Education Shirley Bond still has time and the ability to settle the dispute over the FSA. It is time for her to stop turning a deaf ear to teachers, parents, and responsible voices in the universities and the media who are calling for a re-evaluation of the need for such mass testing.
- It is clear from the communications from superintendents and principals, that they, too, have serious misgivings and concerns about the FSA and would welcome a reasoned dialogue between government and teachers.
- School districts have not been quick to act in any way against teachers and only two are known to have issued letters of direction. The vast majority have not issued letters of any kind. A number of boards have either adopted a neutral stance, called for a resolution, or told parents they have the right to choose not to have their children participate.
- Many reports from locals have indicated that administrators are expected to administer the tests despite their stated concerns about not having enough time and adequate compensation for the task.
- In over 20 districts last year, principals and vice-principals administered some or all of the FSA.
As expected, the BCPSEA has threatened to go to the Labour Relations Board, and the BCTF is prepared to meet that eventuality.
At the conclusion of the meeting with the minister on January 16, an offer was made to continue discussions through the office of the deputy minister. The BCTF continues to discuss teachers’ concerns with the Ministry of Education in order to reach a resolution.