May 22nd, 2014

Dear Brother Iker and BCTF Executive,

The Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) would like to express its solidarity with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation in your move to begin stage 2 job action, starting on May 26th.  We are aware of and celebrate the recent court win that requires a reversal of the stripping of the articles in school district/teacher contracts dealing with class size and composition. We know that these government actions alone resulted in education finance cuts in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

At our Policy Conference on March 29, our membership passed a motion unanimously to take a stance against cooperating and participating in the implementation of further cuts to our Vancouver public school system. COPE, if elected, will not be complicit in and will reject further cuts to the public education system in Vancouver. Instead, we will rally our communities in support for the funding of a quality, public education system and the children it serves.

We see that teachers are and have been on the front line against the B.C. Liberals education cuts. These cuts mean a loss of jobs for teachers across the province. They increase class sizes. They also limit the ability for schools to provide special needs and other support programs for students. These cuts greatly affect teachers and the quality of education that they are able to provide to children in their classrooms.

COPE will advocate for a change in the provincial funding model of education. Provincial funding should prioritize supporting the public school system in B.C. COPE will not be complicit with the B.C. Liberals in undermining the public school system through funding cuts in order to make way for the privatization of education. Provincial funding must prioritize public education over private and prevent the creation of a two-tier education system.

Teachers also fight for the educational rights of students. BCTF’s demand for smaller class sizes is directly related to the educational experience of students, and the level of direct assistance they are able to receive from educators in the classroom. COPE supports teachers as advocates for a strong education system, including the BCTF’s call for smaller class sizes.

COPE strongly believes that a Vancouver School Board should insist on adequate funding that would allow for smaller class sizes at both the elementary and secondary school level. Our membership voted unanimously at our Policy Conference for a COPE School Board to adopt such a platform and to push for a restoration of local bargaining to determine appropriate class sizes for Vancouver schools.

It is COPE’s belief that the support for a well funded, quality public education system is both indispensable and essential in the creation and promotion of a fair, equal and advanced society. Yet year after year we see our schools and teachers facing these cuts.

We wish to reiterate that a COPE School Board will not accept or implement further funding cuts to Vancouver public education and COPE will continue to stand with BCTF in its job action.

 

In solidarity,

Heather Gies
Corresponding Secretary
The Coalition of Progressive Electors
604-255-0400 | cope@cope.bc.ca

COPE issues letter of solidarity to BC Teachers’ Federation