Monday Memo – February 27, 2017

MEMO TO: Staff Reps
COPIES TO: STA Executive Committee
FROM: Gioia Breda, President
Date: February 27, 2017


Special Bulletins
District job postings come out Mondays and Thursdays. Sometimes there are Special Bulletins which allow contract teachers to apply to positions mid year. Keep your eye out for job postings on those days!

Implementation of our restored language:
Our BCTF leaders have reported the following:
While it has taken much longer than we would have liked, we are happy to be getting near the end, and happy that the primary focus has remained on implementation of, rather than changes to, the restored language. The Federation’s goal remains to see all our restored collective agreement language on class-size, class-composition, and specialist-teacher ratios back in place in time for the spring staffing process. It is hoped that an Agreement-in-Committee will be reached by the end of this week.

Staff on both sides of the table are working on preparing clean, fresh electronic copies of all the restored language (including superior local language) for everyone to be able to use.

Implementing all of the class-size, class-composition, non-enrolling ratios/caseloads, and process/ancillary language is going to substantially change the power dynamic at the school level and the district level. It will represent a huge, positive change for our members.

Once reached, and if recommended by the Executive Committee, the Agreement-in-Committee will be sent to all members for review and there will be a province-wide vote. Locals have been provided with information about voting procedures. If an Agreement-in-Committee is reached more information will be sent to you.

BCTF Budget 2017 Analysis—What’s in it for K–12 education?
In its pre-election budget released February 21, the provincial government announced several hundred million dollars more in funding for public education. In his comments to the media, BCTF President Glen Hansman said the new budget announcements were “an admission that when it comes to education funding, the government has had it wrong all along.” He also said, “all of the funding increases announced today are because this government has been forced by the courts, by demographics, and by public anger to finally respond to their record of underfunding our schools and students.” Glen’s full comments and reaction to the budget are in the BCTF’s news release from yesterday – .

Here are some of the key details:

    $320 million over three years as the continuation of the $50 million agreed to in our Memorandum of Agreement from January. The $50 million was for half a year. Therefore, the per year amount is $100 million, plus inflation. This is interim funding “pending the conclusion of the final agreement.” This money would be rolled in to the cost of implementing restoration of the language. More importantly, there is also a $400 million contingency fund. The government has publicly stated that our final agreement on implementation will be funded from this $400 million contingency.
    $228 million over the next three years in new funding to address increasing enrolment trends.
    $54 million over three years to eliminate school bus fees. This is an annualized amount from the rural transportation fund announced last spring.
    $29 million in one-time funding for supplies to support the revised curriculum.
    $2 billion over three years for K-12 facilities.

Two good news stories to read and share are Tracy Sherlock’s piece in the Vancouver Sun – , and Ian Bailey’s article in the Globe and Mail – . Also, an editorial in the Victoria Times Colonist – takes the government to task for its 15-year long record of underfunding education.

FREE Election Training!
Learn how to be more comfortable talking to people (door knocking, or wherever you have conversations with others about the issues). They do scenarios, practice, and “speed canvassing” (like speed dating). It’s quick, energizing, and helpful practice!

The STA will send up to 12 members to attend a full-day training session in Surrey on March 9th: we will pay for your TTOC, transportation, and meal (if lunch is not provided). If more than 12 people apply, then we will select by a random draw. If you are interested, please notify Donna Stewart by email at by Monday, March 6th.

There are also evening training sessions available March 1st (5:30 pm to 9:00 pm) at the BC Fed office in Vancouver, and March 9th (5:30 pm to 9:00 pm) in Surrey.

Rally for a Poverty Free BC
Saturday, March 4th 2017, 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm Outside Vancouver Public Library, Robson side
As you undoubtedly know, BC is the only province without a comprehensive poverty reduction plan. We see the effects of poverty on kids every day in our classrooms! This is our chance to raise our voices together and show candidates in the provincial election that we’ll be voting for politicians that commit to a strong, comprehensive poverty reduction plan. We need you and your friends! Come out in force with your banners and creative signs!

Poverty Free BC Week of Action February 25th to March 3rd, and Rally on March 4th
The Poverty Free BC week of action starts on Saturday, February 25th. We hope you can join us for some of the events and the march and rally for a Poverty Free BC on Saturday, March 4th.

The BCFED is co-hosting the week with the Poverty Reduction Coalition. Each day of the week will feature one of the essential components of a poverty reduction plan. BC is the only province in Canada without a plan! On March 4th we will hold a march and rally calling for a plan and reminding the provincial parties that this will be a vote determining issue in May’s provincial election. RSVP on Facebook. A poster is attached.

Hungry to Learn: Webinar on poverty in schools
Tune in at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28th, for a panel discussion for the Poverty-Free BC Week of Action. Two BC teachers will discuss challenges faced by students living in poverty and actions they have taken to address it. Megan Hooft, Deputy Director of Canada Without Poverty, will describe how a poverty reduction plan can successfully eliminate poverty in BC. You can register for the BCTF’s Livestream channel at

Letters to your MLA
Colleagues, with the election around the corner, we have an important opportunity to advocate for our restored language. The BCTF has requested that teachers keep the pressure on by writing to your MLAs. Advocacy matters and it works!

Two Surrey teachers got together and wrote an articulate, powerful letter to their MLA. (see attached). Here is an excerpt to inspire you and your colleagues to do the same:

“It is not enough to agree to the restored language in the BC Teachers’ Collective Agreement, it needs to be followed through by being fully funded. Today’s children are tomorrow’s future, and their success lies in smaller class sizes, new specialized teachers, support teachers for children living with special needs, proper implementation of the redesigned curriculum, adequate resources and technology, and of course being part of the main school building with proper facilities. None of this is possible without the proper allocation of government funds. If we, as responsible citizens and the education system, do not place value on properly educating our children today, society tomorrow will not forgive us. The delivery of restored language, without of course making cuts to other vital aspects of education, will provide a secure future for our society. It is best to spend funding proactively on schools instead of rectifying the damage after it has been done.”

Please consider getting together with a group of colleagues to draft a letter together one lunch hour. Send it to your MLA and cc Minister of Education Mike Bernier. To find your MLA go to

Gearing up for the provincial election
As you know, our Political Action/Public Relations committee has been meeting weekly to create and implement our campaign to get education underfunding issues into the public eye during the lead up to this provincial election. There are also opportunities for other members to get involved. Our executive committee passed two motions last week, (see below) and if you are interested in putting your name forward please let us know! email

THAT we release up to 12 members to attend the election training sessions being held by BCFed on March 9th with release, transportation, lunch as necessary being covered, with selections to happen by random draw, and with the funds comes from PEAP.

THAT we release up to 20 members up to a half a day to engage with MLAs and provincial election candidates in Surrey to advocate for a quick implementation for the restored language and to emphasize other important education issues in the lead up to the election with funds to come from Union Education Training.

Research on Digital Assessment and Reporting
The BCTF Research Department would like to invite your participation in an important BCTF research study on teachers’ use of digital assessment and reporting tools in public schools in BC. In this era of increasing reliance on digital and social media and related tools, we have developed a survey to explore teachers’ experiences and evaluations of these tools for student assessment and reporting to parents. We want to learn more about how these tools have impacted your teaching workload, your assessment practices, and communications with students and parents.

The completely anonymous and confidential survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. We sincerely appreciate your time and participation and we look forward to sharing the results of the survey at the upcoming Annual General Meeting. The survey is now open and will close on March 10.

To participate, please click on the following link:

If you have any questions about your participation in this survey, please contact Dr. Larry Kuehn, Director of Research and Technology at the BCTF at

Joke of the week
Q: Why did the scarecrow get a Nobel prize?
A: For being out standing in their field.

This week’s joke was submitted by Vanessa Neuman. If you would like to participate in joke of the week, please submit a short, clean, (but not necessarily education-related) joke to Gioia Breda at . If your joke is drawn for publication, your name will then be entered into a draw for a gift card at the end of the month. This Month’s winner is Shelley Stark! *Thanks for the jokes! Please keep them coming!

Calendar of Events:
February 28 – Executive and Committee Chairs Liaison Meeting
March 1 – BCTF AGM Delegates training
March 7 – Executive Committee meeting
March 8 – BCTF AGM Delegates training

Sunday, March 5th, 2017. Filed in Category: Monday Memos

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