The BC Teachers’ Federation just held its last Representative Assembly (RA) of the school year, remotely by conference call. Building on lessons learned from the remote Annual General Meeting (AGM) held just over a month ago, the RA considered many resolutions and it was a productive meeting. Issues were debated, motions amended, and union democracy advanced.
Teachers are invited to join the conversation and help develop a check-list for members of the government’s Education Steering Committee. Last week the government announced that schools would fully re-open in September, if safe to do so. The government announced that it would form a Steering Committee to help prepare for this. The BCTF submitted representatives and these representatives will be meeting with the BCTF table officers on July 2nd to prepare for the committee’s work
The government formed an Education Steering Committee on COVID-19 to help prepare for the safe reopening of B.C. schools during the pandemic. The following open letter calls on committee members to focus on the following principles when providing advice and feedback to the government.
Earlier today the B.C. government announced that, with the start of Phase 3 happening now, that B.C. schools will “return to full-time in-class learning will happen in September 2020 as part of Phase 3, if it’s safe to do so”. Schools can reopen safely if B.C. public education applies three strategies at once (1-2-3).
Defending the integrity of public education matters most to those facing the greatest obstacles to justice and fairness. That’s one reason why we should be on the lookout for simplistic “one-size-fits-all” approaches to teaching and learning. We must also pushback on Trojan Horses, radical approaches that would undermine public education waiting to be brought into the public education system during this time of crisis.
In a crisis being precise matters because every action comes with profound implications, for both the immediate crisis and for everything that follows. That’s why government must be clear about its plan for reopening B.C. schools and how it will respond to the challenges that COVID-19 presents for B.C. students and their learning.
Key to getting public schools back on track is to focus on the integrity of teaching, learning, and reporting of student progress. If the curriculum is to be scaled back, then this must be made explicit and the costs to student learning should be known. Lost teaching and learning time for most students, especially students with limited resources available for at-home learning, should be clear and visible.
When it seemed like nearly everything in B.C. was shut down in response to COVID-19 we did this for two reasons: First, it was an emergency and we needed to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 to save lives. Second, we needed time to prepare the short-term and medium-term to adjust to…