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Burnaby teachers struggling

The majority of Burnaby teachers don't feel their students get the attention they need, says a recent survey by the Burnaby Teachers Association (BTA).

Of those surveyed, 75 per cent felt their students didn't receive the individual attention they need, said BTA president James Sanyshyn.

As for class composition, 81 per cent of teachers said there is a wider range of needs than in past years, and 66 per cent have more special needs in their classes than in previous years.

The BTA point to the survey results in calling for the provincial government to give up its appeal of the B.C. Teachers Federation's recent court victories. The court judgments order the province to restore the teachers' right to negotiate class size and composition in their contracts.

“It is time for the government to move on. Apologize. Fix it. Fund it,” said Sanyshyn.

“Since our contract has been stripped I have gone from having 2 - 3 designated students in a junior science class of 30 students to having 5 - 7 and this does not include ESL students and their special needs," said one teacher who responded to the survey. "How can this be effective?”

Another stated: “I love teaching; however the lack of support and resources is increasingly frightening. I spend at least $500 per year on my classroom and do not earn enough to justify that expense. I do not feel that I am able to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for children. “

Some estimate it would cost $1 billion a year to restore teacher and support staff to 2002 levels, when the education ministry removed the limits on class size and composition that had been negotiated in an earlier contract. The first BC Supreme Court judgment found that move was unconstitutional.

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