Tuesday, 24 June 2014

OPEN LETTER: BC Teacher's Strike

June 18, 2014

Honourable Peter Fassbender
PO BOX 9045
STN PROV GOVT
VICTORIA, BC V8W 9E2

Fax: 250 387-3200

OPEN LETTER: BC Teacher's Strike

Dear Minister Fassbender,

We are writing to express our deep concern regarding the full-scale teachers' strike that commenced yesterday, Tuesday June 17. While the media focus and majority of public scrutiny has been directed towards issues such as provincial exam grading, class composition and teachers compensation, First Nations priorities have fallen to the wayside.

This strike is especially concerning as First Nations students statistically have a higher rate of special needs than non-First Nations students. Many of these special needs require additional support and resources. A strike effectively means the essential services necessary to bridge the educational gap between First Nations students and non-First Nations students will no longer be provided, and will serve to negate the hard work put in throughout the years so far. This is unacceptable.

The Province of BC's failure to continue educational services to its learners has communicated that the significant needs of First Nations students are unimportant, that these services can be interrupted without an explanation and without direct consultation with First Nations communities and leadership.

We strongly urge the province to take the necessary steps and immediately find a solution to this strike. The province owes a clear explanation to Indigenous leadership at large and all BC residents, as we all have a stake in the education of our youth.

On behalf of the UNION OF BC INDIAN CHIEFS

[Original signed]

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
President

Chief Robert Chamberlin
Vice-President

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson
Secretary-Treasurer

CC:
First Nations Summit
BC Assembly of First Nations
First Nations Education Steering Committee
BC Teachers' Federation

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