It’s not the quantity of students who graduate, it’s the quality of their education

When will government restore class-size limits that allow teachers to give every child more individual attention?

Letter writer Fred Reemeyer  would see the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation understate reality and instead paste a large smiley-face across the face of the public education system in B.C.

He wants the BCTF to stop painting a bleak picture of things and to speak more “about the positives.”

He also accuses  the BCTF of advancing a campaign of “disinformation” and “shooting itself in the foot” – an unfortunate metaphor.

I don’t think that the BCTF, the union representing 41,000 public school teachers in British Columbia, would ever “shoot themselves in the foot.”

Teachers don’t play with guns or statistics; both are potentially dangerous, especially when loaded.

It’s simplistic for Mr. Reemeyer to suggest that everything is wonderful in the education system simply because 81 per cent of students complete high school and 96 per cent of students who write provincial exams pass.

Teachers know that it’s not the percentage of students who graduate that really counts; what counts is the quality of the educational experience of all students before they leave school.

The truth is to be found in  the real numbers of the real students, and the real teachers and administrators working to meet the learning needs of those students – in all their wonderful complexity – that teachers are most concerned with.

There is no doubt whatsoever that B.C. public schools are wonderful, affirming places for students to learn and grow, to rise toward their full potential. But this is not to say that educational programs and services in B.C. should not be better than they are now, nor restored to a previous levels they have fallen from.

When will government restore class-size limits that allow teachers to give every child more individual attention?

Why are many students kept waiting for necessary assessments and specialized support services?

When will specialist teachers be restored to all students can benefit from services provided by counsellors and teacher librarians?

Answers to deep and serious questions such as these will decide how well we meet our shared social responsibility of educating the young.


Paul Steer, president

Delta Teachers’ Association

Surrey North Delta Leader

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