Saturday, September 6, 2014

Teachers on strike in British Columbia

The Vancouver School Board has quietly settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that raised questions about the role class size and composition — key issues in the ongoing teachers' strike — might have played in an incident that left a Grade 5 student brain damaged.

This is what happens in very large classes with special needs students. A child is not getting immediate help. The teacher doesn't know her students well. The article states that this large, heavily loaded class, had between 28 and 30 students, three had autism, and one or two had severe learning disabilities.

Class size, class composition and support for special needs students are the barriers to negotiations between teachers and the B.C. government. They tried to take this away in the past, yet teacher negotiate for a maximum class size in collective agreement, giving up higher pay in lieu.

The B.C. government has been charged and convicted of bad-faith bargaining.

The B.C. school board is compensating the parents, who now need day care, by sending them $40 per day per child. Some parents are donating the money to the union, some to individual teachers who consistently spend their own money topping up thin classroom budgets.

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