Report provokes education talks

On the Education front, there will be another stakeholders round table discussion today on class sizes and other issues facing both BC teachers and students.

According to a new report, about 95 percent of classes in this province now have 30 or fewer students, and 99 percent of them, 32 or fewer.

Education minister Shirley Bond is calling that a significant improvement from just three years ago but, acknowledges there’s need for more improvement.

However, she’s also rejecting the claim of the BC Teachers Federation, that the report is wrong and, the situation is actually getting worse, with more teachers in overcrowded classrooms.

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Locally, numbers are close to the provinces average. Wonowon Elementary has the lowest enrollment in each class from Kindergarten through grade 7. The school’s grade 8 through 12 has well below normal numbers, with an average of 7 students per class. 

Teachers must report when there are more than 30 students in the classroom. There are 16 classes in the District 60 that have, on average, 31 students enrolled. Teachers generally can handle one extra student and say it does not negatively impact the class.

Meanwhile, those controversial Foundations Skills Assessment exams are due to be administered to all Grade 4 and 7 students in BC next week.

However, teachers in several school districts still say they won’t administer the tests and, that could mean that principals may find themselves back in the classroom.