Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (COPACs) President, James Taylor, attended the August 16th emergency meeting of district parent advisory councils (DPACs). The one day session was hosted and organized by the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Counsels (BCCPAC) in response to the stalled contract negotiations between BC Government and the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF).
Parents from 28 school districts, representing 81 percent of the total BC school population came together to discuss their concerns and develop an action plan on how to move forward .http://bccpac.bc.ca/news-blog/parents-call-action-ensure-schools-open-sept-2
The group was unwavering in its call to have our children in school by September 2nd with a negotiated settlement in place and recognized that as parents we are the natural advocates for our children. In response to the concerns and discussion of the DPAC attendees, the executive of BCCPAC posted a press release that also included a way forward for the Government and the BCTF. http://bccpac.bc.ca/news-blog/bccpac-press-release-august-17-2014
Specifically, it calls for the end of job action by both sides and the return to school for students by September 2nd. Furthermore, both parties are asked to actively engage mediator Vince Ready to negotiate those items that are to close to resolution. In terms of the main issue preventing a settlement, class size and composition, parents as the natural advocates for children need to be involved along with other educational partners in seeking a resolution to the issue. BCCPAC is advocating for appropriate learning resources for each class to meet the needs of every student present. Within the current system a significant number of students with a wide variety of abilities are not getting their needs met. As well, Districts across the province have had to absorb additional costs handed down by the Ministry of Education, often at the direct expense of classroom learning. BCCPAC is calling for a new funding model that is driven by needs of each individual student in the classroom from the ground up and that the resources to meet these learning needs are protected from ongoing budgetary pressures.
In the last two weeks before September COPACs will remain working with our educational partners in SD63 and with other DPACS and BCCPAC at the provincial level to get our children back in the classroom and to advocate for the right and needs of our children. Parents are encouraged to get involved and have their voices heard in this critical time of uncertainty and potential change.
Parents are currently being advised to be ready for a September 2nd start date, but also to have contingency plans in place until October in case the dispute drags on.
In SD 63 parents can expect their kids to be back in the classroom within 24 hours of an announcement of a settlement or a return to work.
COPACs Executive Team, SD 63
“Yours for the children”