Posts tagged ‘B.C.’

December 7, 2013

Introducing The Canada Badass Teachers Association: As Corporate Education Reform Goes International, So Does the Movement of Badass Teachers Opposing It

An abridged version of this article focusing exclusively on Teach for Canada was published in The Two Row Times

By Robert Green

Following the founding of the Bad-Ass Teachers (BATs) association last spring I wrote an article explaining why America’s teachers are going badass and why Canada’s need to consider doing the same. The point of this article was to alert Canadian teachers and the public-at-large to the fact that the same corporate education reform agenda that has been so disastrous for the US education system can increasingly be seen to be at work in education policies across Canada.

7065_672210712817216_489712935_nSo it was a pleasure last weekend to receive an invitation to the Canada Bad-Ass Teachers association (CanBATs) Facebook Group.

Interestingly this group was founded by the same teachers that founded the American BATs group.

So why would a group of American teachers want to create a Badass Teachers Association for Canadian teachers? BATs founder Dr. Mark Naisson explained the initiative as follows:

Corporate education reform is a global movement and the resistance to it must be global. The toxic array of policies we have been deluged with in the United States- increased testing in all subjects and all grades; attacks on teachers unions; rating of teachers based on student test scores; preference to non unionized charter schools over regular public schools; substitution of poorly trained teacher temps from elite colleges for veteran teachers- is spreading to every portion of the English speaking world, along with the corporate profiteering that always accompanies these policies. Every form of resistance to these policies; every hard won victory for teaching and learning; encourages more resistance. Our movement must be worldwide to be effective. Hence the Badass Teachers Association, which has organizations in all 50 states in the US, is proud to form a Canadian wing.

The first few articles posted in the CanBATs group speak to the increasingly international reach of the corporate education reform described by Naisson.

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June 4, 2013

BC Teachers Federation scores landmark victory in academic freedom and freedom of expression

By | Published May 27, 2013 by The Institute for Critical Education Studies

Well, it turns out that Dr. Seuss’s initial impression during the war that you can’t achieve a substantial victory out of turtles turns out to be wrong! This past week, after 3 years or a decade, depending how its measured, the BC Teachers’ Federation scored one of the most substantial court victories in academic and intellectual freedom for teachers in the last thirty years. The victory provides a substantial defense of educators’ civil liberties and free expression, critical education methods of instruction. And what’s more, it is a significant victory for students’ rights to critical content in the schools.

On 21 May, the BC Court of Appeal released its decision on the BCTF v. BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) / Board of Education of School District No. 5.  The case concerned “the extent to which teachers’ expression of political views on education issues in public schools is protected freedom of expression under s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:”

The political expressions in issue were messages critical of specific government education policies, contained on posters posted on classroom doors and school bulletin boards, and on buttons worn by teachers. Pursuant to a directive from the school district that political posters and information should not be displayed in school hallways, classrooms, or on school grounds, some principals told teachers to stop displaying the posters and wearing the buttons.

This case dates specifically to January 2009, when campaign materials, such as posters and buttons, were circulated by the BCTF to teachers across the province. On 23 April 2009, the Director of Instruction and HR from School District No. 5 (Southeast Kootenay) forwarded a directive principals in the district advising them that the BCTF’s political materials had no place on school grounds other than the staff room. On 1 May 2009, the Cranbrook and Fernie Teachers’ Association forwarded a note to the Director advising that it disagreed with the 23 April directive.  Following a grievance filed by the BCTF, an arbitrator heard the case in March 2010 and denied the grievance, awarding in favour of the BCPSEA in October 2011.

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March 8, 2012

Liberals in Ontario and BC Launch All Out Assaults on Teachers

By Doug Little, posted on The Little Education Report

In both Ontario and BC the Liberal Party has launched an all out assault on organized teachers that will lead to serious political blowback on both parties. In Ontario, Liberal Premier David Peterson forced increases in teacher pension contributions and lost the next election to the NDP. Bob Rae attacked teachers and public servants with the Social Contract. He lost the next election decisively proving there is no public thank you for these policies. Mike Harris (1995-2003) launched his assault on teachers and civil servants and managed two terms for the PCs but lost ground in 1999 and could not personally survive. He was forced to step down and pass his government to Ernie Eves who could not salvage a win in 2003.

The Liberal Party (OLP) has been successful since 2003 primarily by adding teachers, nurses and other public professionals and civil servants to the Liberal party universe at the expense mainly of the NDP. It seems Premier McGuinty is prepared to dynamite this relationship and does so at his peril. If he does not back down almost immediately he will condemn the next OLP leader to a third place finish at best. Since Ontario is the last real ridout of Liberalism in Canada, notwithstanding a sprinkle of Maritime seats, he could be in the process of signing the suicide note of the Liberal Party in Canada.

In BC, a similar attack on the teachers and public education by WAC Bennett in 1972 ushered in the Dave Barrett NDP government. “Wacky”Bennett restricted local government’s ability to raise taxes, attacked teacher tenure, put ceilings on arbitration awards and prompted a province wide strike by BCTF in 1971. The angry teachers backed the NDP in the 1972 election and Bennett was swept out. The NDP is significantly ahead of the BC Liberals and their unpopular leader Christy Clark at the present time. The latest Robbins poll shows BCNDP 45%, BC Lib 29%, BC Conservatives 19%, and Green 7%. This latest move could doom the BC Liberals.

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March 8, 2012

BCTF: Why are teachers taking action now?

What do teachers want?
• Teachers have been striving for the restoration of class-size and composition guarantees. These were stripped from our contracts in 2002, and:
— this government action was found to be unconstitutional and illegal by the BC Supreme Court
— it eliminated $3.3 billion for education over the last decade.
• Teachers want a fair and negotiated agreement— not something imposed by government legislation.
• BC teachers salaries are now 9th in Canada, but government refuses to consider cost-of-living adjustments or any salary increases.
• Teachers have sacrificed salary increases in the past to gain improvements for students only to have these illegally removed in 2002.

We want to fix the damage
A decade of cuts have hurt your child’s education.
• 100,000 oversized classes in the last decade
• 12,000 classes with four or more students with special needs
• 1,500 fewer specialist teachers, including 700 fewer special education teachers since 2001

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March 4, 2012

BC Teachers Will Withdraw Services to Protest Bill 22, Worsening Classroom Conditions

“Next Monday, March 5, teachers across British Columbia will begin a legal three-day full-scale withdrawal of services, as permitted under the Labour Relations Board interim essential services order. At 6:00 a.m. today, the BCTF issued notice of the escalation to the BC Public School Employers’ Association.  

This step follows a province-wide vote conducted February 28 and 29, 2012, in which 87% of teachers voted “yes” to escalating job action from the limited “teach only” campaign that began last September. In all, 32,209 teachers voted, of whom 27,946 said “yes.” 

In a morning news conference, BCTF President Susan Lambert noted that the 75% turnout and 87% yes vote demonstrate to the provincial government that “bullying legislation like Bill 22 will not fix a broken relationship.”

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