THE government’s changes to the education funding formula include good additions and some significant omissions, said BC Teachers Federation President Teri Mooring on Friday.
“Teachers have been working hard to convince the government to back off a proposal to fund special education based on population statistics instead of actual identified student needs,” said Mooring. “The proposal was called the prevalence model and we were concerned about the negative consequences for students with special needs, their parents, and their teachers. I’m really proud of the advocacy work BCTF members did and that the BC NDP government listened to our concerns.
“It’s reassuring to see the government moving forward with changes to the education funding model in such a measured and purposeful way. I am pleased to hear the Minister of Education commit to spend more time working with teachers and other stakeholders on how best to move forward with funding inclusive education. There’s a lot more work to do and the prevalence model is definitely the wrong approach.”
Mooring also congratulated the government on adding a supplement to support children and youth in care.
She said: “Whether it’s hot lunch programs, mental health supports, or extra counselling, we know those students need more and I am thrilled to hear help is on the way to them. It’s an incredibly important change that will help undo some of the damage done by the previous government. Children and youth in care are some of our most vulnerable students. It is so important that they get the extra help in classrooms and in the community to keep them well and help them thrive.”
Mooring said she is looking forward to the upcoming budget to learn more about the government’s plans for funding BC’s public education system and resolving problems like BC’s teacher shortage crisis. She’ll also be looking for new funding to help BC teachers and the BC Public School Employers’ Association reach a good deal in mediation.
She added: “The threat of the prevalence model made an already complex round of collective bargaining more difficult. It’s going to be helpful to this round to see it shelved. I hope this decision not to proceed with the prevalence funding model is permanent and that the promise for additional consultation will find a better way forward for teachers, students, and parents.”