4. Education

4.1 COPE will insist on sufficient funding to allow smaller class sizes at both the elementary and secondary level. COPE will insist that the provincial government restore sufficient local bargaining to allow school board to negotiate directly with the teachers’ unions to establish appropriate, flexible, and meaningful class size and composition limits for Vancouver students.

4.2 COPE will advocate changing the current provincial funding model in order to prioritize funding for public education and eliminate funding for private education.

4.3 COPE will not be complicit or co-operate in further cuts to the public education system in Vancouver.

4.4 COPE will Implement a Students’ Environmental Bill of Rights, which will:

4.4.1 Support youth participation and initiatives in the development of green programs. Develop a targeted Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Program.

4.4.2 Support the establishment of school gardens where possible.

4.4.3 Establish a VSB Bike Advisory Committee.

4.4.4 Lobby for funding to build/upgrade schools that are green and meet silver/gold LEEDS standards (e.g. heating and solar).

4.4.5 Work closely with Toxic Free Canada to remove toxic paints and cleaning products from schools and to ensure a fragrance and allergy free environment.

4.4.6 Encourage and facilitate the use of alternative methods of transportation by staff, parents and students.

4.5 COPE will strengthen school facilities by developing a district approach to protect and improve neighbourhood schools, including daycare/after school care space, gyms and activity rooms that meet the needs of the school community, and will lobby for school playground funding to remove and replace unsafe playground equipment. (i.e. secure and boost the Annual Facility Grant).

4.6 COPE will pressure the provincial government to address the need for earthquake amelioration of schools, especially those with construction that is known to be a hazard.

4.7 COPE will adhere to an open, honest and transparent process of consultation. This will be achieved by actively listening to and gaining an understanding, of what is important to our stakeholders.

4.8 COPE will reach out to the communities it represents by rotating board meetings in the communities/ neighbourhoods that it serves.

4.9 COPE will continue to focus on the need to advocate for public education by promoting, advancing the engagement with parents (including Parent Advisory Committees), unions, employee groups, and the “village”.

4.10 COPE will develop policies that ensure that foods served in Vancouver Schools are healthy, and will visit the issue of junk food in schools and look into ways of implementing and coordinating other food policy programs with Vancouver Schools.

4.11 COPE will see the classroom and services to the classroom as its first priority, and will aim to support new teachers through mentoring programs.

4.12 COPE will review existing policies and develop new policies that have the objective of promoting inclusive, accepting and safe school environments for all students.

4.13 COPE will work with our valiant Public Education unions to ensure that the 2014 Supreme Court ruling that Bill 22 is unconstitutional be effectively implemented in Vancouver. COPE celebrates the 2014 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that:

a. Bill 22 (passed in March 2012) is unconstitutional. Collective Agreement provisions removed in 2002 are restored effective immediately,

b· The BC Government was fined for not complying with the Court’s 2011 ruling (that Bills 27 and 28 (passed in 2001) were unconstitutional and interfered with Teachers’ collective bargaining rights.. and giving the government 12 months to address repercussions of the decision).

The Supreme Court of Canada ruling means the BC Government needs to:

a. Reinvest the necessary funding in Public Education. BC’s per-student funding is currently $1000 below the national average (only PEI’s funding is worse),

b. Restore our smaller class sizes and specialist teacher ratios. BC’s educator-student ratio is the worst in the country. Rebuild the public education system

c. BC needs to turn around this situation and start reinvesting to rebuild the kind of excellent public education system BC Parents expect for their children.