Teachers set to focus on students rather than administrivia

Teachers set to focus on students rather than administrivia

August 31, 2011
For Immediate Release

In preparation for the first day of school, teachers are creating lesson plans, organizing their classrooms, and they are also getting ready to enter into Phase One of their job action. The province-wide strike vote taken in June came about after months of contract negotiations left the parties miles apart. To put pressure on negotiations, the BCTF will file official strike notice today and Phase One action will begin on September 6th.

“Unfortunately, the BC Public Schools Employer’s Association has brought to the table a ‘sub-zero’ mandate,” said Denise Moffatt, president of the Surrey Teachers’ Association. “They are offering no improvement to salaries and benefits that are lagging far behind neighbouring provinces. Teacher salaries in BC have dropped to the lowest in Western Canada and the 8th lowest in the country. “We earn almost $20,000 less per year compared to teachers in Alberta, while the cost of living in the Lower Mainland is among the highest in the country,” said Moffatt. “It is difficult to attract and retain teachers when our salaries continue to slip.”

Further, BCPSEA is seeking to remove many areas of the current collective agreement, including seniority rights and the ability of teachers to make professional decisions. “They are offering nothing to teachers, and at the same time demanding much from us in terms of massive concessions and trade-offs,” said Moffatt.

Surrey teachers have been doing more with less for nearly a decade. Surrey classrooms are missing 346 teachers, including 262 specialists that were eliminated by illegal legislation enacted in 2002. Teachers and students are still waiting for a remedy to this injustice.

The challenges aren’t just at the bargaining table. Surrey has many unique needs that have not been met by the current government. The district continues to grow by almost 1000 students every year. The government has failed to fund necessities such as building the new schools that are desperately needed. This has caused widespread over-crowding, over reliance on portables, and the implementation of shifts at two schools. Surrey is also short changed when it comes to CommunityLINK funding for vulnerable students. “It is time for the provincial government to take these issues seriously and fund the public education system sufficiently so that all students can succeed,” said Moffatt.

In Phase One teachers will continue to focus on the key part of their job: teaching and evaluating students. However, they will not be participating in, among other things, meetings organized by school administrators. “Teachers will not be doing some of the administrative tasks that have increasingly become part of our work,” Moffatt said. “We will focus on teaching rather than doing these administrative tasks that take valuable time away from our students such as collecting money and doing inventory.”

“Teachers will be focused on providing excellent instruction to students in our classrooms,” said Moffatt. “Because we won’t be doing all the many bureaucratic and administrative tasks that have been added onto our jobs, we’ll have more time to teach, to offer individual attention to students, and to keep in close communication with parents. We’re looking forward to doing what we love to do best—teaching.”

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For more information, contact Denise Moffatt at 604-594-5353.

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011. Filed in Category: Media News Releases

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