Start of summer school postponed in Vancouver amid B.C. teachers’ strike

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      With B.C. teachers still on strike, the Vancouver school board has pushed back the start of summer school to July 7.

      By July 3, the district says it will let parents and students know whether summer school will happen this year at all.

      In a news release today (June 26), the VSB said the delay will "provide additional time for the two bargaining parties to reach a deal as well as to allow for a decision from the Labour Relations Board around whether remedial summer school courses will be deemed an essential service".

      “We know how important summer school is for many of our parents and students. That is why we are doing everything possible to keep summer school viable,” VSB superintendent Steve Cardwell said in the release.

      According to the release, the VSB holds remedial courses at John Oliver, Prince of Wales, Point Grey, David Thompson, and Van Tech secondary schools. Summer school sees around 17,000 registrations a year, including "secondary preview courses, remedial courses, secondary completion courses as well as courses and programs for elementary students".

      On June 25, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation announced it will picket summer school sites if a deal is not made by June 30.

      "If the government does not come with new funding to reach a fair settlement by June 30, teachers are prepared to extend the strike into summer and picket out summer school. This was not a decision we made lightly, but we cannot allow government to continue to underfund BC’s education system," BCTF president Jim Iker said in a news release.

      That same day, Education Minister Peter Fassbender called the BCTF's decision "unfortunate".

      "Their decision today will impact thousands of students and it will do little to bring the parties closer to agreement," Fassbender said in a statement.

      “While the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) has an application before the Labour Relations Board to deem some aspects of summer school an essential service, this would only partially mitigate the impacts from the BCTF’s strike."


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      Amanda K

      Jun 26, 2014 at 8:18pm

      Well the Liberals have exactly 4 days now to come down to reality and realize class sizes need to be addressed with the appropriate funding. It's time to stop with the media spin in grouping class size costs into wages.

      Wages = $75 million - $95 million
      Class sizes = $2 Billion.

      It's time for Fassbender to nix the "they came down on wages but raised the price elsewhere" Sorry FactBender but class sizes are a reality and not part of wages.


      Jun 26, 2014 at 11:12pm

      I fully agree Amanda. And while you're at it, Mr Factbender why don't you realize that if you are applying to have summer school declared an essential service perhaps you can view the regular school year as essential too and put funds where they rightfully should go: Class size and composition? You are a fool, Factbender...we smell the BS a mile away.

      Alan Layton

      Jun 27, 2014 at 7:22am

      The whole class size 'crisis' is bogus. People from around the world move to BC so their children can get a good education (public) and they receive it. If increasing class size is going to cost $2billion then there's no way it's going to happen. It will also mean a big increase in the number of teachers and even more money to meet their next round of ridiculous wage and benefit demands the next time they go on strike.

      The government has to only sit back and wait because in reality the economy and healthcare are more important to the people of BC than education and the proposals will affect both of those areas negatively. The population of children in this province is shrinking at the same time as the elderly population is growing. An older population means more pressure on our health care system and that will trump education.

      ND Parent

      Jun 27, 2014 at 7:47am

      I am curious, will there actually be picket lines set up all summer long? I have seen a steady decline in the enthusiasm & number of picketers at the schools in my area, one of which is on a main bus route. They don't even walk the lines anymore.
      Maybe the school boards that offer summer school should seek an alternative and use some of the private schools over the summer. Whatever it takes to get the kids who need this time to advance next year should be done.
      Honestly, I'm so tired of the posturing by both sides. I have experienced one of the small classes everyone seems to dream of and it was a complete disaster. Even with a full-time EA in the room (bell to bell) the teacher did not have the skills to teach. Instead, I have spent almost $3k in personal money for tutoring and had to seek counseling to undo the damage caused when the teacher told my daughter on a regular basis she was "stupid" and "dumb" and "lazy". So while I would love smaller class sizes and I agree there is much underfunding, I just can't support any money thrown at a system that doesn't make teachers (the employee) accountable for their actions in the classroom. If I'm going to spend that kind of money each year, I may as well put my child in private school as it would have cost me less. (yes, I checked!!)

      Gary Fuhr

      Jun 27, 2014 at 2:21pm

      Seems the government and BCTF agree that the students are important and that summer school and provincial exams are also important. Although neither one shows that importance by their actions and, as we all see, words are cheap.

      Why doesn't the government take some of the money they are saving each day the BCTF remains on strike, and use it to address provincial exams and summer school. Can't they hire some of the teachers from the private schools on a temporary basis to mark provincial exams that the BCTF refuses to mark. Then take some more of that money and hire the private school teachers, again on a temporary basis, to teach summer school.

      That would be a good use of my tax dollars in these trying times and would actually help our students.

      Alan Layton

      Jun 27, 2014 at 3:08pm

      Gary Fuhr - if they hired teachers from private schools to mark the exams the BCTF would bully and harass them until they were too scared to take it on.


      Jun 27, 2014 at 3:46pm

      Tried to google "contracts" both public sector and executives including management /politicians
      Appears that cuts to lower income eg hospital cleaners went without a hitch. Now middle income teachers but when can we roll back/ rip up contracts/remove 15 yr retirement plan for politicians and hidden bonuses for mgt including lucrative severance pkgs When is a contract not a contract?

      Non parent

      Jun 27, 2014 at 4:10pm

      Regretfully these kids learn by example and when they are running the world they may
      resort to tactics much like current government and claw back $$$ from the retirement crowd and basically do what is being done to them(protocol). I don't even have kids but the education system can no longer be neglected. Hey Gary without order there is chaos. Negotiation is a must.

      hey there

      Jun 27, 2014 at 4:52pm

      This is what the issue is really about. This is the reason teachers can't sign on the dotted line. Government wants you to be distracted by $$ talks. But if people really knew, it wouldn't matter if they were pro-union, anti-union, pro-teacher, anti-teacher, public or private sector supporters. I think it is horrid that BC will riot for a hockey trophy and not for this!

      "The newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." Malcom X.


      Jun 27, 2014 at 4:57pm

      School these days are just about having fun. My children have never been in an over-crowded class. There is always at least one EA to help. There is always a movie day, an assembly, guest speaker, fun day etc. No time for academics, this all happens at my home from 3pm till bedtime.