April 2005 / Volume 9
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
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.
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!