Budget Update a Good First Step — More Needs to be DoneNovember 30, 2017
September 19, 2017
Parents Voice Concerns about Effect of TOC Shortages on Students
VANCOUVER—The BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) strives to foster a culture of acceptance, diversity and inclusion in our public schools and advocates both for systemic changes and individual parent advocacy. While the increased public education funding announced in the government Budget Update is a positive step forward, more needs to be done.
“Increasing the Classroom Enhancement Fund (CEF) to restore language and hire more teachers is only a portion of the funding that is needed. In 15 years, many districts have made cuts in other areas to try and retain smaller classes and specialist teachers,” says Jen Mezei, President of BCCPAC. “District parent representatives from across the province tell us that their districts need additional flexible funding to fulfill other local needs such as more educational assistants, custodial services and occupational and physio therapists” added Mezei.
While they welcome additional funding, BCCPAC believes that there are still issues at the district and school levels which need to be addressed. Too many students with special needs are being scheduled for a shortened day due to the lack of support staff; support staff play a vital role as part of the team that works with students who have special needs to create an environment of inclusion for fair and equitable education.
The shortage of teachers-on-call (TOCs) is also a specific parental concern. “Parents are concerned that with a shortage of TOCs, non-enrolling teachers will be required to provide coverage when classroom teachers are absent,” says stated Jen Mezei, President of BCCPAC. “What will happen if teachers who support special needs and English Language Learner (ELL) students are reassigned for the day? In the past, many special needs students have been sent home when resources and supports are canceled. With an increased shortage of TOCs, parents are concerned this will occur to an even greater extent in this school year,” added Mezei.
BCCPAC strongly believes that every student deserves access to a full-day of education and is now conducting a parent survey to confirm how widespread this issue is across BC public schools.
Jen Mezei, President