The numbers paint an unflattering picture

While you are right to say that this situation is “disgusting indeed,” you clearly have no comprehension as to why it is so.

Gertie Pool wrote that “The present BCTF demands border on insanity.  Do the math.”  She then presents her math and concludes that there are only 12.5 students per teacher.  I would kindly ask Gertie to do her research.  First, the 40,000 teacher figure is wrong.  In 2013/14 there were 24,928 full time employed and 8,219 part-time employed teachers, which combined represent 30,064 full time equivalent teaching positions.  Second, there were 558,985 students in 2013/14, not 500,000 as Gertie suggests, and so that means there are 18.59 students per teacher.  This conforms to numbers by Stats Canada, which says that B.C.’s student-educator ratio was 16.6 in 2010/11 (Note: educator indicates both teachers and administrators).  This was 2.6 higher than the Canadian average.  We have the worst teacher-student ratio in Canada.  No other province is even close.

Furthermore, non-enrolling teachers (librarians, councillors) are included in the math but often don’t have classes.  Real class size numbers are broken down by grades and districts in an online resource called “Factsheet: B.C. student achievement in public schools.”  For Chilliwack the break down shows that Kindergarten averages 20.3 students/class, Grades 1-3 average 22.3, Grades 4-7 average 25.7, and Grades 8-12 average 23.5.  Provincially, 40% of K-3 classes have four or more English Language Learners, and 26% of grade 4-12 classes have four or more students with an identified special need.  In 2009/10, B.C. ranked second-lowest among the provinces in K–12 funding as a percentage of GDP, and B.C. ranked the lowest among the provinces in terms of percentage increase in public school funding during the period 2006-2011.  Incredibly, the funding problems have only gotten worse since then.  In 2011/12, education received a miserly 0.08% bump in funding, and that was the last increase education has received in B.C., with budgets prepared for 2014/15 and 2015/16 also showing no increase.  In 2007–08, per-student funding in BC was $73 above the national average, yet by 2010–11, per-student funding in BC was $988 below the national average.

Come on, Gertie, check your facts.  While you are right to say that this situation is “disgusting indeed,” you clearly have no comprehension as to why it is so.

Robert Bogunovic

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