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October 27, 2017 8:18 pm

PG School Board Chair Both ‘Excited’ and ‘Frustrated’ by Court Ruling

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 @ 5:59 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Excited and frustrated. school board

The reaction of Prince George School Board chair Tony Cable to last Thursday’s Supreme Court victory for the BC Teachers Federation (BCTF).

The court ruled the union be allowed to negotiate class size and composition during contract talks. The decision ended a 15-year court battle between the provincial government and the BCTF.

Following the ruling B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said discussions into how class size and composition can be improved would “start without delay.”

“Excited, because it’s been a long time coming and hopefully it’ll mean some really good things for parents and kids and special needs students,” says Cable.

“But on the other hand, frustration, because this has been dragging on for over 15 years. They started the process many years ago and they’ve used every possible delaying tactic and court case to drag this on.”

He says teachers in the Prince George School District have managed to cope under trying conditions the past decade and a half noting a lot of the challenges revolve around the need for more special needs teachers. Cable is hopeful that will now change.

“If the government goes along with the spirit of this court ruling, and they do bring things back to where they were in 2002 – then hopefully we will have some more teachers, librarians, counsellors and English language specialist teachers.”

Though the district was unable to provide an exact figure, he says there is “a pretty high number” of special needs kids in each class which only makes things more difficult for educators.

“It just adds a whole new dimension to your class. And when you talk about special needs, it’s not only students with learning problems, it’s autistic students, it’s blind students, it’s students in wheel chairs,” says Cable.

“And then you have a whole category of students that have discipline problems like ADHD. Those are the students that really cause the frustrations for teachers because they’re trying to teach and they have to have special programs for all students and then they have to deal with the discipline of these students.”


Now their blaming Special needs kids… hmmmm

    No, they are not blaming special needs kids, but you are definitely cherry picking small parts of his comments in order to continue insulting teachers even though the Supreme Court has made it clear that they were the victims of the government’ decision to attack education in public schools. He also clearly stated that the government was responsible because they used every trick in the book to delay the hearings and hence the decision. That is why it took 15 yearsd. The government, Christy Clark, who was education Minister when it began, in particular.

      I wasn’t blaming the teachers. My comment was for Tony… yeah sure… pick on the handicap and blame them.. I went to school where we had a mixture and at times 30 or more students. teachers didn’t whine for they enjoyed their jobs

Maybe stick these kids back into a special class like they used to do, problem solved for the BCTF

    Not really. Special classes will still need special teachers and support staff. I presume you were not intending to leave the children alone, were you?

    yup, let’s just stick them somewhere. wonderful comment.

“He says teachers in the Prince George School District have managed to cope under trying conditions the past decade and a half…”

I trust all the time off and the excellent salary and benefits package helped them to cope.

Obviously not well enough, which is why I presume they continued on with the fight against the government’s illegal actions, all the way to the Supreme Court. Why do you absolutely refuse to acknowledge that this was a government caused problem. Teachers have opposed government domineering control and it is the children, special needs in particular, who will benefit. Boo hoo to you who support the government’s illegal actions.

    ammonra, on one thing you and I agree! This whole mess was a government caused problem! But this is where our agreement ends!

    You wish to lay the blame in the Gordon Campbell Liberal Government in power during the 2002 BCTF contract negotiations! This is where you are wrong, absolutely and undeniably wrong!

    This mess was initially created back in 1999 under the NDP’s Glen Clark Government of the day! Glen Clark and his NDP were unable to reach a negotiated contract with the extremely greedy and militant BCTF. Eventually Glen Clark passed this responsibility off to 3 Deputy Ministers, tasking them with hammering out a deal with the BCTF. Adrian Dix was involved in this!

    The 3 Deputy Ministers, rather than pissing off the BCTF, caved in to the BCTF and brokered what was soon to be recognized as nothing more than a Sweetheart Deal! This was confirmed by none other than the next NDP Premier, Ujjal Dosanjh when he called the deal unaffordable. Dosanjh left the deal intact however, again out of fear of ruffling the feathers of the BCTF!

    Carole James, a Public School Trustee at the time, also condemned the deal, agreeing that it clearly was unaffordable for School Districts across the province! You do remember Carole James, don’t you? She went on to become the leader of the NDP!

    This Sweetheart Deal was given to the BCTF and it was done without any input from any of the provinces school boards, the majority of whom condemned the deal as unaffordable!

    In the meantime, the BCTF and it’s members were lapping up the benefits of the deal like pigs at a trough. Not a single member of the BCTF leadership and to the best of my knowledge, not a single teacher in the province stood up for the taxpayers of BC by stating that the contract was unaffordable! Like some dishonest shopper who gets too much change back from the cashier, the BCTF and it’s membership pocketed the riches of the sweetheart deal and they laughed, all the way to the bank!

    The blame lies solely at the feet of the gutless Glen Clark NDP Government and the greed of the BCTF and it’s membership!

    Ammonra, those are the FACTS as to what started this mess! Wow, the truth really sucks, doesn’t it!

Just to make the point. These comments were made by Tony Cable, Chair of the School Board. They were not made by a representative of the BCTF. Those making snide comments about teachers, basing it on these comments, are attacking teachers for comments made by the Boss of the School Board. Typical anti-teacher bigotry as far as I can see! Blame the teachers, no matter what!

    My comment was directed at Tony, not the teachers.

This issue has been around for 15 years and teachers will now be able to negotiate class size and composition during contract talks. So we will have to see what comes out of the contract talks, before we can assume that they will hire more teachers, etc;

Furthermore one would like to think that if this is such a contentious issue, why is the Chair of the School Board not able to say how many special needs students are in each class, or in the school district.

    What statistics the school systems collect and what they don’t is rather peculiar. A while back, I was curious about the popularity of various classes. It turns out that the province does not compile things as simple as how many students are enrolled in each class across the province. Nobody knows how many students are taking, say, Law 12, or First Nations Studies, or Japanese.

Let’s stick to the facts. THe teachers signed a contract with government that gave up wage increases in order to get better working conditions. The new government did not like that so Christy Clark, education minister, tore up the contract . They then lost all the court cases so wrote their own new law the victims which means that the end result is that the children have been paying for it for 15 years. This is a Christy made problem. The millions of dollars this has cost should come out of hers and the Liberal’s account. Instead, it will come out of our pockets.

    Well, facts, is the BC Court of Appeal all 5 judges sided with the government so they didn’t lose all the court cases. In fact 15 judges weighed in on this, 7 were for the government, 8 were for the BCTF, so it could be argued the government had a good faith belief they were not breaking the law – considering 7 learned judges made the same mistake.

    And our losses are capped at 105 million. The government was smart enough to anticipate this in the 2014 contract and negotiated it.

    “The 2014 judgment called for the government to pay the teachers’ federation $2 million in damages for extending the unconstitutional legislation to June 2013. Thursday judgment said the province needn’t pay the damages.

    No retroactive grievances can be filed because the 2014 teachers’ contract contained a $105-million fund to address any grievances arising from the deletion of the contract clauses.”

      The BC Court of Appeal is a waste of time. They revere every decision they can.

ammonra has it right; so many comments that focus on, and berate the teachers, yet it was the BC Liberal Government action against the teachers that the Supreme Court of Canada found to be illegal. Beside, why focus on the teachers when it is our children’s learning conditions in the classroom that will now improve with smaller class sizes and less special needs children in each classroom?

Good news for the teachers with better working conditions in the classroom, good news for our children with better learning conditions in the classroom. I am sure the BC Liberals wanted to delay their case before the Supreme Court of Canada a few months longer, until after the May election. Nice that the court made a ruling early, and without delay.

Some of us knew all along the teachers would win, and the BC Lib/Con Government would eventually lose the court case, but this is what happens when someone like high school Christy was allowed to run the Education portfolio show back in 2002. Maybe in May of next year we will vote in a government that actually knows what it is doing.

I wonder if our government will actually tally the costs we must pay for retroactively reducing class size and composition over those very long 15 years, after all the teachers deserve some form of compensation. But go ahead and keep blaming the teachers for the illegal actions of this right wing nut government!

What was your work day like on Monday?

My family’s teacher left for work at 7:30 am to print off his day’s worksheets etc. Checked with the librarian about his class’s research time in the library, return a parent’s phone call, and bring his class into the room to start the day.

He worked all day with the kids, coming home around 5:30 pm. After relaxing and watching the news until supper was ready, we ate, and he moved downstairs at 7 pm with his box of marking of the day. He went to bed at 11:30 pm and was again up at 6 am to start his day today.

Oh, and while having his breakfast today he was working on his laptop preparing some specialized materials for his new student who has some learning challenges and needs significant adaptations to materials in order to participate in classes. He had an idea come to mind while in the shower and wanted to get it set up immediately so he can start today with a better option for this kid, who is struggling.

There is a report card due out in 3 weeks. He has to use a new template and new system as per Ministry guidelines. Too bad the Ministry/District has yet to provide the teachers with the actual template or guidelines! He is making sure he has all is marking done for all 29 kids in every subject so that when/if he gets that vital template and guideline he can find a way to insert the individual scores into the yet unknown grading scale by the deadline.

Yep he gets summers off – well, except for the weeks he is actually still in the school prepping for next school year, but he works 10+ hours many days of the week, at least one if not both weekend days for 5-6 hours and is a bit tired by the Christmas and Spring break. You would be too.

    It’s nice to see someone comment on what it takes from a time perspective to be a teacher today. Never mind the correct attitude to not only put up with an employer that treats you like $hit, tax payer folks who think that because you are part of a public system that they “pay” for, they have the right to treat you like $hit and then a barrage of parents issues, kid issues, special needs issues, time management, extra curricular activities, new and ever changing curriculum and then try to balance it all with your own needs to lead some sort of life for yourself. Anyone on here who says that teachers have it too easy are talking out of their collective a$$ses. You are expressing an opinion based on your lack of information about what is really going on in the real world. I want a job as a pulp mill worker making more money then a teacher with just about as many holidays after years served and a nice warm place to irresponsibly nap my “career” away. My opinion is based on a lack of information about pulp mill workers and has nothing to do with what is really going on in the world.
    Please thank your teachers for putting up with all of this crap over the years.

The education problem is hard to solve when the solutions are likely unconstitutional. The policy of inclusion of special needs children sounds warm and fuzzy, but in reality, is a nightmare. When you’ve got a child with complex behavioral or health issues integrated into a regular class, essentially none of the kids learn. Even with a dedicated assistant, when that child acts out on a regular basis, all the kids suffer. So, add three or so FAS victims in the class, and I have to salute that teacher for coming to work sober.

But, if we took the disruptive children out of the class, the BCTF would be marching right back to court to fight for those kids rights. So really can’t see how we can fix this problem, so I guess we’ll just spend more money on education, and less elsewhere.

But a true story.

I went to the theater and a group of special needs handicapped people were there. As is their nature, they were loud, making grunting noises, and I realized there was no way I would be able to enjoy the show. So, I exercised my right to freedom of association, and left.

But what if someone had stopped me at the door, and said, you can’t leave. You have to watch this movie, in this theater. It’s not their fault they are the way they are. And hey, they’ve each got their own caregiver to try and shush them, though it rarely works.

So we expect our kids to stick it out day in and day out, because of the policy of inclusion. And yet we ourselves, would just get up and leave because we can.

Typical right wing fossil thinking here . More edumacation bad . Less edumacation good . Highly educated leadership bad . Barely educated , hayseed , vendictive , back stabbing , underhanded , dictatorial , litigative , divisive leadership good .

Christy sent her kid to private school. Interesting.

    And let’s not forget that PM Trudeau also taught at an exclusive private school . I guess all them Liberals hate public education. Interesting

Oh to add, did his classes have special needs students?

    Yes they had one for sure.

      Lol. Thanks for the chuckle.

DO special needs kids go to private schools? Just wondering. I’m all for inclusion into the system but it doesn’t have to be total integration at all levels. I understand the thinking and it would be nice to raise a couple of generations of people who aren’t such a$$holes like me.

One thing you have to know is that there are some die hard BC Liberals that go home every night,polish and wax their Liberal badge and will not change their way of thinking. Christy and her government were wrong all the time over this court case and it cost taxpayers mega dollars. You can bet there would not have been a court case if the money was coming out of their own bank account.

The ruling of Justice Griffin in the Class Size and Composition case (Bill 28), reinstated by the Supreme Court, stated this as a finding of fact: “The government thought that a teachers strike would give the government a political advantage in imposing legislation that the public might otherwise not support. It felt that the timing of legislation to deal with a teachers strike and failure of collective bargaining could fit conveniently with the timing of legislation to address the Bill 28 decision repercussions. The government planned its strategy accordingly.” Premier Clark conspired to take children out of school for her own political interests, in other words she used the children as pawns, and that is the finding of the court.

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