Contrary to Tom Fletcher’s assertion that B.C. teachers and the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) are not “adapting,” we are actually leading the way in protecting and enhancing education in our province. The BCTF is actively involved in B.C.’s task force, on assessment, the graduation requirements review and the curriculum redesign teams. Our two vice presidents and I have been meeting with senior Ministry of Education staff on these initiatives as well.
As a union of professionals, we work hard to enhance our practice in support of teaching and learning. The BCTF has 32 provincial specialist associations — ranging from science, social studies, and art to technology and trade education — that put on exceptional professional development conferences, write reports and lead important teacher inquiry projects.
Recently, the BCTF has partnered with the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the B.C. School Superintendents’ Association to create a province-wide mentoring program that will formalize an integrated system of support for developing and retaining teachers in B.C. We also funded, created, and launched a new online platform called TeachBC that enables teachers from across BC to share their research and teaching resources.
There are a lot of excellent things happening in B.C. schools, and teachers are front and center making it all happen. However, we cannot forget that any government strategy, initiative, direction, plan, etc., needs funding. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting for this government to fund the basics like improving class size and composition. A change in government attitude towards funding is the first adaptation B.C. students need.