Is BC Minister of Education lying or simply not looking at the data provided to her?

    VANCOUVER, Nov. 29 /CNW/ - On Channel M's newscast on Wednesday evening,
BC Minister of Education Shirley Bond called the Vancouver Elementary School
Teachers' Association and the Vancouver Secondary Teachers' Association
presidents "irresponsible" for citing the facts on class size and class
composition in Vancouver schools.
    These facts come straight from the Vancouver School Board
Superintendent's "Report on School Organization" which was adopted by the VSB
on October 15th, as per Section 76 the BC School Act. The Minister of
Education has long since had this information available to her.
    "I'm shocked that the Minister would criticize us for sharing information
from a public document which she herself requires of school boards," says Glen
Hansman, President of the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers' Association.
    "The Minister of Education needs to closely examine the information that
school districts have already supplied her," continues Glen Hansman. "It's
completely irresponsible for her to claim now, at the end of November, that
she doesn't have the information that Vancouver trustees, teachers, and
parents know full well about our schools. I suspect the truth is that she is
simply ignoring what continues to be a very serious problem."
    In the Vancouver school district alone, more than 1200 classes are either
over the class size guidelines in the school act and/or have more than three
students with special needs. Furthermore, support for all students has been
severely reduced. Vancouver has lost dozens of specialist teachers, including
learning assistance teachers, ESL teachers, and librarians.
    "Vancouver schools have hundreds of classes with over 30 students," Glen
Hansman points out. "Vancouver schools also have hundreds of classes with more
than three students with a special education designation. All of this
information is in the Superintendent's report, and the Minister of Education
has this information. To claim otherwise is completely disingenuous."
    "Furthermore, the fact of the matter is that the province has a
$4.2 billion dollar surplus," says Glen Hansman. "But instead of putting that
money into health care and education, it's being thrown away on
out-of-control-spending megaprojects like the new convention centre in
Vancouver. You have to wonder about their priorities!"
    Note: The minutes from the Vancouver School Board meeting where the
Superintendent's report was adopted can be found here:
    Copies of this public document are available directly from the VSB's
Secretary-Treasurer Brenda Ng. It was sent to the Minister of Education in

For further information:

For further information: Glen Hansman, President, at (604) 873-8378,
(604) 813-5318 (cell), or

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