For BCTF members:
Friday 30 October 2020
Monday 26 October 2020
While official numbers on poverty in 2020 will not be available until 2022, it is not difficult to imagine the economic impact COVID-19 has created for many Canadians, and disproportionally more problems for those with much less. Many found themselves with fewer work opportunities or were simply laid off. This resulted in the rise of unmet health needs, food insecurity, and unmet housing needs to name a few. Additionally, students of such families faced the academic disadvantages of school closures, as well as the increased stress and strain of self-isolation and social distancing.
These adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially stressful, traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and general well-being. Studies have shown that the more adversities someone experiences, the higher the likelihood they will have serious mental and physical health problems later in life. While poverty is not a category on the ACE questionnaire, it is easy to see how poverty (with the effects of COVID-19 acting as a multiplier) could accelerate the risk and push towards the nine adverse experiences listed.
According to the World Bank, the pandemic could push as many as 115 million people into poverty worldwide. In his address in April of this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated that “the world cannot afford a lost generation of youth, their lives set back by COVID-19 and their voices stifled by a lack of participation.” The risk of inaction is simply too great.
The BCTF has named November Antipoverty Month. As teachers, we know firsthand the effects of poverty on our students. Please take the time to look through this month’s Seeds of Social Justice and use the resources, book the workshops, apply for grants, and continue to be part of the solution.
The Committee for Action on Social Justice’s Economic Justice Action Group has created a set of resources for Antipoverty Month which are posted on the BCTF website. See below for details. This edition of Seeds of Social Justice also links you to our many in-house resources, which help us work towards systemic change, as well as to our alliance partners who work hard every day to do the same.
5–11: Veteran’s Week
11: Remembrance Day
17–23: BC Multiculturalism Week
20: National Child Day
20: Transgender Day of Remembrance
25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women—16 days of action begins
27: Buy Nothing Day
Wednesday 21 October 2020
Don't forget to vote!
Kelly Snow, our Political Action Contact, recently submitted questions to Dan Davies who is running for reelection in the provincial election. Here are the questions and his answers:
1. As an MLA, what will you do to help improve the safety of teachers' working conditions in Peace River North? Right now, our teachers are facing increased before school, after school and recess supervision, large class sizes and student learning loss due to school closures in April and May. These challenges, along with large class sizes, has increased teacher stress levels and exhaustion.
Thank you for allowing me to respond to these important questions. As a former teacher in SD 60, I have incredible respect for our teacher and thank you for all for your incredible work especially through these difficult times.
We are undoubtedly in unprecedented times in all aspects, especially in education. Government must ensure that safety is number one! Proper PPE must be provided as needed. We must be flexible in these trying times and need to work on supporting children. Our school districts remain fully funded to deal with changes during COVID. We will need to be looking at other ways to support teacher as more time is required to fill supervision. Finally, we all need to be aware of the extra stress that educators, support staff and administrators are facing. We need to make sure that there is a plan in place to deal with it and to support those that are struggling.
2. Do you support increasing education funding to ensure provincially mandated expenses are covered and that BC schools are funded to at least the national average? If yes, what actions will you take to ensure a positive outcomes?
Yes, provincially mandated expenses need to be covered by government. We need to ensure that our students are receiving all the supports that they need to be successful and that teachers have all the tools they need to deliver this. We need to look at ways to improve success and supports for our indigenous students, support and increase funding for early diagnoses and intervention and support programs on erasing bullying and discrimination. British Columbia's education system is one of the best in the world due to hard working teachers. We always need to look for ways to improve, from looking at best practices in other jurisdictions to other districts around our province.
3. In Peace River North, many teachers do not have enough sick leave to stay home if they are told to self isolate because of a COVID-19 exposure or if they are experiencing COVID-10-like symptoms. Do you support a specific leave for DOVID-19 in these circumstances? If yes, what actions will you take to ensure a positive outcome?
Under the new requirements of COVID and staying home when feeling any symptoms, we need to be ensuring teacher are covered during COVID.
4. Do you support eliminating the Foundation Skills Assessment? If yes, what actions will you take to ensure a positive outcome?
We have announced postponing the FSA's this year due to the circumstances we are in with COVID. This one question is a hot button topic. In order to determine if provincial curriculum is working across the province you need a 'provincial' standardized test to ensure it working and which districts are struggling and then we can 'dig deeper' as to the reasons why? Is it economy? Is it social isolation? Is it connectedness? Wha tis going on in the region and how can we support them. It is one data set that helps provide a picture provincially. The other data sets are the district assessments that are used to also determine how well kids are doing within each district - the FSA's add to this data set for each district and provide an even bigger picture for district staff, trustees and parents. They should NOT be used by external organization for ratings as it hurts communities. We know that our district is one of the best in the province with what we do.