Thursday, May 5, 2011

Minister announces government will not appeal court ruling

The Minister of Education George Abbott just release the following press statement. It is very good news!! Now the hard work will begin, to reach agreement on improvements to class sizes and class composition around the province.

The critical next step is funding. None of these agreements and improvements can happen without a government commitment to increased education funding.

The mood in staff rooms today was fantastic. It has been nine long years that teachers have felt deflated and devalued. It has been nine long years that teachers have put in their own blood, sweat and tears to keep our classrooms excellent places to learn while resources have dried up and classes have been overloaded. We cannot do it forever.

“Today, government has appointed Paul Straszak, president and CEO, Public Sector Employers' Council, to lead the initial phase of consultation with the BC Teachers’ Federation regarding the ruling of the Supreme Court of British Columbia on the Education Services Collective Agreement Act (Bill 27) and the Public Education
Flexibility and Choice Act (Bill 28). Government has decided not to pursue an appeal.

“Our priority now is to work with our education partners to focus our resources on meeting the needs of individual students as we move towards personalized learning, while ensuring appropriate learning conditions in our schools and proper support for B.C.’s teachers. The Supreme Court has given government 12 months to reach a negotiated resolution.

“We must be thoughtful and thorough in our approach. At the same time, we recognize that a prompt resolution is in the best interests of all those affected – teachers, students, parents and everyone with a stake in this province’s education system.

“I know the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC School Trustees Association are keen to move forward on this issue, as are we. I have spoken with both Susan Lambert, the president of the BC Teachers’ Federation, and Michael McEvoy, the president of the BC School Trustees Association today about government’s decision and the consultation phase to resolve outstanding issues.

“I am hopeful that, through the consultative phase, we can come to a common view on the meaning and implication of the Supreme Court decision and reach a negotiated resolution.

“Government was successful working with our health partners in 2007-08 to reach a negotiated settlement to Bill 29, and I am optimistic that we can repeat that success with our teachers.”

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