The BC Teachers’ Federation recently had the opportunity to present its priorities for the 2022 provincial budget to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services.
Over the last year and a half, British Columbians have worked together to decrease the spread and reduce exposure to COVID-19. For many, this has included working from home and limiting travel and gatherings in groups. For teachers, this has often meant continuing to work in overcrowded classrooms while trying to keep students and colleagues as safe as possible.
BC teachers have risen to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as it has taken its toll. The sentiment that “this has been the hardest year of my teaching career,” has echoed across the province, with significant impacts on physical and mental health. Already acute recruitment and retention challenges have been exacerbated.
Teachers are worried about their students and are keenly aware that an already underfunded public education system is further buckling under the strain of unmet needs. These needs are not bounded by the school bell; they are entangled in the deeper societal and economic crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified.
Teachers are also on the front-line of witnessing what is needed to move BC from a crisis response to a longer-term—and public-led—recovery and reconstruction effort.
The report, titled BCTF Education Funding Brief 2022: Charting a bold path for healthy and resilient schools, includes 27 detailed recommendations for consideration by the Government of British Columbia.
The recommendations are grouped thematically as follows:
- Committing to a just recovery for British Columbia
- Ensuring adequate funding for public education to thrive
- Supporting health and safety in challenging times
- Funding the Mental Health in Schools (MHiS) framework
- Supporting effective teacher recruitment and retention strategies
- Funding for resources and professional development
- Building inclusive school communities
- Supporting adult education for a more resilient society
- Resisting the privatization of public education
- Investing in schools and communities.
Download the BCTF Education Funding Brief 2022 here.