Years later…students win! (maybe?)

Children in BC schools (and indeed schools across Canada) may benefit from this Supreme Court ruling:

BCTF wins Supreme Court battle over class size and composition

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This had to go all the way to the Supreme Court because … guess who was Education Minister way back then?

The taxpayers spent how much money on this case?

And in a discussion a long time ago …

There’s no chance that the government is going to back down, no matter what the courts say. I’m sure even their own lawyers told them that the legislation (getting rid of class size limits, support for special needs students, etc,. in contracts) was illegal. Three times the courts have said that the actions were illegal, and the government persists. How much is this going to cost the taxpayers? Do they even care? So far it’s cost 10 years of court costs, and a fine.

Why would they do this when they know that their actions are unconstitutional? Guess who was education minister when the legislation was passed?

Link to the previous discussion:

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I’m very happy that this government has had its legislation deemed to be illegal. It is sad that BC taxpayers had to pay the legal costs. Now funding that was stripped from the education system will be restored.

How much did we pay? How much did we save by the cuts? Was it the kids that paid the price?

  1. We paid a lot of unnecessary court costs by paying for high priced lawyers that the Liberals used to defend the governments illegal legislation since 2002. I suspect that you could find out the total dollar cost. As I understand it the Liberals hired the best lawyer they could find.
  2. We saved money on the backs of children. By raising class sizes, removing supports for learning disabled children, and by removing the rules for class composition we severely damaged the learning environment for students since 2002. Class composition refers to the notion that it is perfectly acceptable to have 6-10 learning disabled learners in a class of 30 students at our local high school. Prior to 2002 the BCTF had safe guards in place that stated that you could only have 2-3 learning disabled learners in the regular classroom. Education minister Christy Clark removed all of the safe guards that protect children back in 2002. The learning disabled learners do not get adequate support in the regular classroom. In my opinion this is a horrible way to save money.
  3. Of course the kids paid the price for the education cuts. The teachers also paid a price and continue to do so working in a severely under funded system.

“If it costs more money, that’s a good thing in lots of ways because it’s a good investment to put money into classrooms and our kids. The discussion then is going to be how do we go about allocating that.”

Clark’s hypocrisy is nauseating.

My understanding is that the contract essentially torn up by the Liberal government is to be re-instated.

The Supreme Court dealt with what I understand to be a non-educational issue - the
Contract – but that does have implications for students, as well as teachers, education, unions etc.

Along the way a generation of students with differing abilities (including gifted students) experienced fewer services than could have been provided. Classroom populations became larger, more diverse and more problematic. So the impact on a generation of students both those with different abilities and the ‘mainstream’ has been significant. (Long-term the societal costs will be significant).

But…the Supreme Court decision will not return educational policy to previous standards. Over time the government has engaged in enacting policy that ‘raises the bar’ – in other words makes it more difficult for a student to be designated as having differing needs. Moreover, other agencies or groups (non government) have had some of the responsibility for student needs off loaded onto their shoulders. As a result a portion group of students who previously would have been supported will not (in the present) even be designated – they have been ‘normalized’ by the arbitrary stroke of a pen. The changes that are required for a full return to a healthier education system will have to be bargained by parents and society in general.

Interesting the Liberals appear to suggest the cost of meeting the requirements of the Supreme Court decision to be around 100 million dollars; the BCTF estimate is 300 million dollars; and, the estimate from the Superintendents - a billion dollars. The final costs will be determined through negotiations between the government and the BCTF.

Let me guess: A union sitting down with the Liberals to negotiate an agreement over cost issues just before a provincial election? Hitest, I don’t think your witnessing hypocrisy as much as a sense of glee on Ms. Clark’s behalf– a polarizing election issue maybe?

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I was reacting in part to a radio interview I read about where Clark said she was excited about hiring teachers (gag worthy).