BCTF’s continuing concern about class compositionJanuary 9, 2014
The B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) issued a warning this week about an increase this year in the number of K-12 classes with four or more special-needs students. The number is now 16,163, including 3,875 classes with seven or more special-needs students.
There are a total of 68,020 classes in B.C. public schools.
“Class composition is one of the most important aspects in education,” union president Jim Iker said in the release. “An overly complex class puts immense pressure on the teacher to meet the needs of all students. As teachers, we fully support and embrace diversity in learning styles and needs in our classrooms, but we can only do so much without extra support before students lose out.”
Education Minister Peter Fassbender, who is quoted in a Vancouver Sun story, noted that his government created the Learning Improvement Fund in 2012 to address concerns about class size and composition. The LIF is to distribute $195 million over three years, enabling districts to hire more teachers and special-education assistants.
He also said the numbers have to be considered in context. “Special needs are not always children who are dysfunctional in the classroom or causing disruption,” he told the newspaper. Find the story here.
Class size/composition data is posted on the B.C. Education Ministry website.
– The provincial report is here.
– District reports on class size/composition and the number of English Language Learners (previously called ESL) are here.
– Individual school reports, which show class size only but cover seven years, are here.
For the first time in more than a decade, class size and composition are on the BCTF bargaining table. The union lost the right to negotiate these items as a result of a Liberal government law in 2002, but the court ordered their return in 2011. A delay by government brought another union lawsuit, which is still unresolved.
Bargaining, meanwhile, is set to resume Jan. 20. The last BCTF contract expired June 30.
I am a guest blogger for BCCPAC and the information presented here does not represent in any way the views of the organization.