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Ministry meddling is letting kids slip through the cracks 0

By Laila Yuile, The Duel

The Duel asks if some issues regarding what goes on inside a classroom should not be included in contract talks between teachers and the employers. 
(FILE PHOTO/QMI AGENCY)

The Duel asks if some issues regarding what goes on inside a classroom should not be included in contract talks between teachers and the employers. (FILE PHOTO/QMI AGENCY)

I’d like to start this week by offering congratulations to Brent on our one year anniversary of writing the Duel.

When Brent pointed out that our first Duel had been a debate over the merits of a 10-year deal between teachers and government, I felt more than a little sad that a year later there is still no sign a deal is imminent.

While I agree the bargaining process between the government and the BCTF is fatally flawed, laying the blame for this failure of process strictly on the BCTF for “petulant bargaining and punitive rotating strikes” is a fatal flaw as well. In last week’s Duel, I succinctly demonstrated how the government’s punitive and, at times, illegal actions were responsible for disrupting learning in classrooms for over a decade.

The suggestion that removing the issue of classroom composition from the bargaining process will help is not only preposterous, it shows a complete lack of understanding of how integral the issue is to the education system as a whole

As a parent of a child with special challenges and needs, I have witnessed and experienced — as have thousands of other parents in this province — the failures in our system.

While it is correct that the numbers show a loss of “identified students” over the years, what is not mentioned is why. Those children didn’t just disappear, or stop needing help. The ministry changed how students with needs were designated, which left many children who had previously qualified for help, without any.

Read Brent Stafford's column here.

For example, gifted students are no longer recognized, which accounts for thousands of lost numbers. Children with ADHD –regardless of the severity — are also not included and receive no assistance, along with a long list of other disorders that the government refuses to recognize. Not helping these children succeed now costs society far more as they fall through the cracks and mature.

While the presence of an educational assistant is crucial for many children, they don’t replace special education teachers, nor do they have the training to do so.

Special education teachers are overloaded with cases, and often one teacher will serve several schools. It’s a no-win situation for parents, teachers and, most of all, children.

For a government that claims families come first, they’ve consistently put education last — keeping class composition as part of the bargaining process is the only way to ensure thousands of kids will get the help they need.

Laila Yuile is an independent writer, blogger and political commentator. You can read her blog at lailayuile.com.

 

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