Our public education suffers from drastic understaffing and underfunding, and teachers continue to have to fight for a fair collective agreement and appropriate teaching and learning conditions. Yet over $400 million in public funds will be given to private schools this year alone.
It's time to stop funding private schools, and take care of our public education system instead. It's also time to stop giving a free pass to private schools when it comes to human rights. The BC government must step up and show the kind of leadership that teachers, students, and communities need and expect.
The following recommendation was adopted at our November 2019 regular meeting.
Subject: Funding for Private Schools
BECAUSE private schools are projected to receive public funding to the tune of $426 million this school year; and
BECAUSE private schools have received provincial funding of $2.6 billion since 2013; and
BECAUSE meanwhile, public schools have been deprived of appropriate funding and continue to be in need to substantial additional funding to ensure appropriate teacher staffing levels, pay for programs, and support students with special needs; and
BECAUSE in a recent poll 64% of British Columbians opposed funding to secular private schools, and up to 75% for private religious ones; and
BECAUSE private schools receive an exemption from the BC Human Rights Code, allowing for the potential of discrimination against employees and students on the basis of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religious and political beliefs, race and ancestry. This exemption is opposed by 81% of British Columbians; and
BECAUSE there is presently a degree of public dialogue taking place about education funding, connected in part to the ongoing negotiations between the provincial government and the BC Teachers’ Federation whose demands we have previously voted to support,
THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL write to Minister of Education Rob Fleming and Premier John Horgan calling for an end to the policies of providing public funds to private schools, and of exempting private schools from the BC Human Rights Code; and
THE VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL WILL FURTHER take the opportunity to further state our support for the BC Teachers’ Federation, and call upon the government to ensure that a fair and reasonable collective agreement is reached as quickly as possible.
For more information on teacher bargaining, education funding, and related issues visit the BC Teachers' Federation website.
Photo: Vancouver Elementary School Teachers' Association