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For the past eight years, British Columbia has had the shameful distinction of the highest child poverty rate in Canada. Every day, in classrooms across BC, teachers are struggling to help their students deal with the devastating impact of poverty on their families, their hopes, and dreams.

“Teachers see the human faces behind the statistics, and it’s heartbreaking,” said BC Teachers’ Federation President Susan Lambert. “That’s why the BCTF and its locals have organized anti-poverty committees to better enable teachers to tackle these complex issues and effectively advocate for students living in poverty.” 

This Friday, the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association and the Surrey Teachers’ Association are co-hosting a conference entitled “Poverty in BC: Teachers taking action and making a difference.” It will bring together teachers, parents, scholars, and community leaders in examining a range of themes including:

  • poverty as an issue in the classroom
  • ways teachers can make a difference for children living in poverty
  • strategies for systemic and equitable change.

“We’ve been working tirelessly together to find systemic solutions to this huge issue; it has so many concerns for teachers and is creating so many profound inequities within and between schools,” said Vancouver Elementary School Teacher Suzanne Salter, one of the conference organizers.

The BCTF’s plan for improving public education, “Better Schools for BC,” calls for a comprehensive child poverty reduction plan with targets and timelines. Please see: http://bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/Publications/BetterSchoolsForBC.pdf 

To learn more, please attend the conference:

 February 17, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at
Carleton Elementary School, 3250 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC 

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For more information, contact Nancy Knickerbocker, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).

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