Contrary to Fletcher’s views, teachers and BCTF are adapting

Union president responds to columnist's views on state of education

Re: B.C. teachers adapting, but not union (Gazette, Feb. 4)

Contrary to Tom Fletcher’s assertion that B.C. teachers and the BCTF are not “adapting,” we are actually leading the way in protecting and enhancing education in our province.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation is actively involved in B.C.’s task force on assessment, the graduation requirements review, and the curriculum redesign teams. Our two vice-presidents and I have been meeting with senior Ministry of Education staff on these initiatives.

As a union of professionals, we work hard to enhance our practice in support of teaching and learning.

The BCTF has 32 provincial specialist associations — ranging from science, social studies and art to technology and trades education — that put on exceptional professional development conferences, write reports and lead important teacher inquiry projects.

Recently, the BCTF has partnered with UBC and the B.C. Superintendents Association to create a province-wide mentoring program that will formalize an integrated system of support for developing and retaining teachers in B.C.

We also funded, created and launched a new online platform called TeachBC that enables teachers from across B.C. to share their research and teaching resources.

There are a lot of excellent things happening in B.C. schools and teachers are front and centre making it all happen. However, we cannot forget that any government strategy, initiative, direction, plan, etc., needs funding.

Unfortunately, we’re still waiting for this government to fund the basics like improving class size and composition. A change in government attitude toward funding is the first adaptation B.C. students need.

Jim Iker, BCTF President

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