Friday, July 4, 2014
Size Does Matter
Quick resolution to teachers strike possible says Coulter
Submitted by Dan Coulter, SD33 School Board Trustee
o begin with I must stress that this is my personal opinion and not that of the Chilliwack Board of Education. I write this letter as a member of the community.
The concerns from teachers that I hear are not about their wages or benefits but rather they are concerned about class size and composition. This directly affects their workload but what I am really hearing is their passion to help their students.
I cannot sufficiently tell their stories here but I will say if there is any part of the BCTF’s most recent offer that aligns with the interests of students it has to be the creation of a $225 million fund to address class size and composition.
This fund is considerably smaller than the $2 billion figure that the provincial government bandied about. I do not have inside information of negotiations but it is my sense that if the government would concede on this point the union would make concessions on others and a deal could be reached. The government should consider this not only because it would end the strike but because it is in the best interests of our students.
This study found that smaller class sizes increased students’ performances in reading, arithmetic, and basic study skills. There is a lasting benefit too, when students who started in smaller classes were returned to their larger classes they performed better than their grade-mates who had started in larger classes. This study makes it clear that smaller class sizes are beneficial to a student’s success.
I do not think it a stretch to extend this to composition as it all comes down to teachers being able to spend more time with each student. It puzzles me to hear BCPSEA’s negotiator and the Minister of Education say that class size and composition have no bearing on student achievement. It does not correspond to the research or common sense. It comes down to money and the BCTF’s most recent offer on class size is reasonable in my opinion.
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