Message from BCTF Table Officers

The BCTF’s FSA campaign has been truly “member-driven” in
the current situation. Clearly the campaign has been
effective. Our initial strategy, of having teachers
communicate with parents about the negative consequences
of these high-stakes provincial tests, worked to raise the
awareness of parents and the public about the harmful
effects of these tests.

When the Ministry responded with measures to constrain our
actions, we were able to find alternative means of
delivering our message (the two-page Georgia Strait
centrefold comes to mind!) and not be sidetracked into a
fight on another issue. In the end the Deputy Minister has
had to put relentless pressure on superintendents,
principals and even parents who have all come to realize
that these tests are undermining the quality of public
education. And in so doing have found themselves isolated,
struggling to implement an agenda that is becoming
increasingly discredited. We were unable to adopt and
implement our planned strategy but we found other actions
that have proved to be equally effective.

Our campaign was effective because there was a clear goal
that was overwhelmingly endorsed by members. We were able
to respond to the situation as it changed with effective
analysis and alternative strategies. We were able to
convince public opinion as we continue to enjoy the
respect and credibility we achieved during our own strike
action, and because locals worked independently but in
tandem to achieve our collective goals.

The FSAs are the lynchpin of the
Accountability/Achievement agenda of the ministry. That is
why there was such a vigorous defence mounted and such
strenuous attempts to coerce administrators and parents to
participate. The FSAs, which result not only in the
ranking of schools but clearly, with the move to align
classroom assessment with FSA results, in the erosion of
the professional responsibility of teachers to design
instruction for the individual students they teach and in
the undermining of public education itself.

Through our FSA campaign we are acting at the best
standard of professional practice as advocates for public
education. Our actions have been effective. We have
succeeded in building an awareness of the hollow promise
of test-driven accountability, the negative consequences
of the achievement-at-any-price agenda and of the role of
teachers as defenders of public education.

We are grateful to all of you who have worked so hard and
so effectively. Thank you for your wisdom and your courage
in carrying out this campaign. The list serve has been an
effective tool, helping us share concerns, strategies and
successes. We are grateful for your strength and regret we
were unable to help as much as we would normally do.
Please refer to the report on the meeting that we had with
the Ministry yesterday for updates on issues related to
Bills 20, 21 and 22, the PQT grant request and the adult
educators situation.

Jinny Sims
Irene Lanzinger
Susan Lambert

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