Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union
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  • Message from BCTF Table Officers

    Posted on July 10th, 2007 editor No comments

    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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