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APPALACHIAN TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

QPAT Negotiations Bulletin 9
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April 2005  / Volume 9

 

                         Special Education

 

In our last negotiations bulletin, we suggested that the employer side was prepared to present “offers” in the sections of the collective agreement dealing with services for special needs students. While we haven’t seen the final text yet, we have had the oral explanation of the employer’s solution to the lack of special education services in our schools… and it isn’t pretty!

 

Here’s their solution:

 

      Remove all special education categories from the current collective agreement.  Categories (or “coding”) will continue to exist by virtue of the Education Act only for:

·        some handicapped students;

·        students with severe behavioural difficulties.

 

    Remove the weighting factor for integrated students.

 

   Eliminate ad hoc committees.

 

Having thus removed the above contract clauses, the employer totally absolves himself of the obligation to provide appropriate services.  The responsibility for special education students would now rest solely on the shoulders of the teachers via the following procedure:

 

       School needs will be determined only once a year by the school team (teachers and principal) on the basis of expressed needs of the individual teachers.

 

      The schools will then forward their needs to a central school board consultative committee comprised of union representatives and board employees.

 

      The central committee will then recommend to the Board once a year the distribution of funds and staff to the schools based on the school board’s announced budget.

 

The loss of the weighting factor allows for an unlimited number of previously coded students in a given class. The teacher will be held responsible for arranging specialized lessons and evaluation tools without access to additional resources.  No additional compensation will be provided for teachers.  This represents a significant increase in workload.

 

This “offer” also drastically reduces the number of students eligible for special services resources. Our employer seeks to reduce costs significantly by failing to provide appropriate services to students who have warranted them in the past and by ignoring the actual “weight” of these students on the teacher’s workload.

 

The employer’s imaginative approach kills three birds with one stone:

  • special needs students vanish;
  • costs go down;
  • teachers’ workload increases!

 

Are you prepared to submit to this draconian approach? We must continue our program of “job actions” until the present government realizes that public education really is our future and we need investment, not abdication of responsibility!

 

 

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Improved working conditions for teachers = Improved learning conditions for students!

The ATA Supports Quality Public Education
in the Eastern Townships