VICTORIA, B.C. – As the school year comes to a close, the teacher shortage has worsened and faculty and students have seen an increase in burnout and mental health challenges. The B.C. Green Caucus is calling for a suite of proactive measures to address this issue, preventing further deterioration.
“If you're seeing signs of system failure you don't tinker, you save it,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “The recent BCTF membership survey reveals that we need to pay very close attention to frontline education staff. Just like what we are hearing from frontline healthcare staff on how dire conditions are, this survey is key to understanding how serious conditions are in education.
“It's way more costly for a system to fail than to try and fix it, which is what we are seeing right now in health care. We need to strengthen and protect the system and recognize that letting these cracks turn into chasms is going to harm teachers and students. Drawing from successful approaches used to address the doctor shortage, we are proposing applying similar tools to tackle the teacher shortage issue.”
To support the recruitment and retention of teachers and support for Education Assistants (EAs), the B.C. Green Caucus is calling for:
- Student loan forgiveness for teachers and EAs.
- Paid final practicums for teachers.
- Streamlining the certification process for teachers from other provinces or countries.
- Bursaries in exchange for serving in remote districts.
- Increased funding for rural and remote teacher education programs.
- Fair compensation for EAs and increased hours to ensure a living wage.
- Equitable access to counselors and psychologists that meets the needs of students across all schools.
Furthermore, the Caucus calls for increased overall operational funding to the public education system, to better meet the needs of our students and teachers.
“How we support our education system reflects on what we value as a society,” said Furstenau. “For a very long time, educators and students have been shortchanged in B.C. As burnout and mental health challenges compound, it’s time for us to take action in support of children and future generations.”
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | [email protected]