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His classroom may be closed for the summer, but North Vancouver primary teacher Ian Cunliffe won’t be taking any time off. On August 8, Ian will begin in Sparwood, BC, to run and walk over 1,100 km across British Columbia. An incredible attempt of a marathon a day for 22 days to draw public attention to the decade of staggering cuts to BC public education by the Liberal government.

In his six years of teaching, Ian has witnessed the continued erosion of funding to schools across British Columbia and the impact these cuts are having on students. With an education funding shortfall once more projected for 2013, Ian feels that he can no longer remain silent and has decided to take a stand. 

“For years now we have been asked to do more with less. We’ve reached the point where the average teacher is spending over $1,000 of their own take-home pay trying to bridge the funding shortfall in order to meet the needs of their students. 

Teachers are kind-hearted and reasonable people, but this government has refused to listen to our very real concerns. Teachers are worried about overcrowded classrooms, inadequate supplies, closing school libraries, overburdened counsellors and learning assistance teachers, and unsupported special needs students. 

The public needs to understand what’s going on. They need to start asking why private schools have continued to receive increased funding while public schools are having their funding hacked to the bone.

It’s time for people to demand that government commit to adequately funding our public school system to ensure every student has an equal opportunity to succeed.” 

Ian is a primary school teacher and teacher-librarian with the North Vancouver school district. He is a parent of two young children and has completed several ultra marathons, including the world’s toughest race, the Marathon Des Sables (a 240 km race across the Sahara). 

Follow his journey at:  http://www.facebook.com/22MarathonsAgainstBill22 

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For more information, contact David Halme, BCTF Communications Assistant Director, at 604-871-1883.


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