It was a huge win for teachers in the province. Late last week, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the BC Teacher’s Federation (BCTF) to overturn legislation from 2002. Teachers will once again be able to negotiate classroom size and composition.
The Prince George District Teachers’ Association (PGDTA) says our teachers have been without support for far too long, and it is our children that have been paying the price. “We laid out 22 pairs of shoes. That is the number of teachers missing under our old contract that is now back,” says President of PGDTA, Richard Giroday. “A whole generation of Kindergarten to Grade 12 students and beyond who did not have the proper supports in place and continue to this day not to have proper supports in place.”
The process of rehiring teachers and decreasing classroom sizes can begin. The BCTF would like to move on it quickly. Primer Christy Clark says it may take some time. The government will need to sit down with BCTF and discuss what changes will result in the ruling.
Board Chair of School District 57, Tony Cable, says “All those details will have to be worked out. We may need to hire a number of new teachers, which is good news and a great thing for our district, but we have to find them. The other big question is space. If we are looking at smaller class sizes and more teachers then we will have to have the space for them.”
Some questions still remain though. “I know that it was about $300 million that they pulled out of education in 2002. I know Christy Clark is talking about $100 million,” says Giroday. “That falls very short of what is necessary.”
Still, PGDTA says it’s a big win for the children of this province. “Our working conditions are really our students learning conditions,” says Giroday. “You can’t take those apart.”