Re: “School planning becomes a nightmare,” column, March 16.
Geoff Johnson’s column on the cost and organizational impacts of teachers’ Supreme Court win and the restoration of our collective agreement language has the wrong frame. What might seem complicated is actually an opportunity.
The government and school districts have had months to contemplate the potential return of smaller class sizes, better class composition and more specialist teachers. The government has said it will pay the full costs from within its $400-million contingency fund.
This means B.C. can finally put an end to 15 years of cutbacks and deteriorating learning conditions. An entire generation of students lost out because of Christy Clark’s unconstitutional legislation.
Will there be space challenges in growing districts? Yes. But that should have been accounted for long ago. Will districts have to hire more teachers? Yes. That is a good thing. In some districts, positions such as teacher-librarians and learning-assistance teachers were eliminated entirely. Those decisions were not based on the interests of our students or their learning.
School districts will have to work hard to get the language implemented. And the government must come forward soon with the specific funding. But those two challenges are nothing compared to the harm that would be done should we continue with the status quo.
This is an exciting time for all of us in education. Let’s embrace this opportunity to improve working and learning conditions in our schools.
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