LRB ruling deems remedial summer school an essential service

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LRB ruling deems remedial summer school an essential service

In an interim ruling, The Labour Relations board has declared remedial summer school for grades 10, 11 and 12 an essential service.

The order says school districts must exhaust administration, including principals and vice-principals, before teachers should be approached to instruct summer school for students who have failed courses they cannot retake next year.

A case management hearing will be held Thursday, July 3 at 5pm to deal with any outstanding issues.

The employer is also being told to remove the lockout provisions for teachers assigned to summer school work covered by the order.

The ruling also indicates a decision on year-round schooling will be made at a later date.

Today the BC Teachers Federation revealed it would take down picket lines at five year-round schools across the province, so students and teachers could return to the classroom next week.

You can read the full ruling here



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    • HMM . So would the Liberal government appoint a bunch of NDP members?? That just defies logic .Under the NDP Clark government they had to dig pretty deep for the business rep . OHHH and did some of their decisions defy logic on the right .You bet .No right of center reps on that board.
      Law is interpretive .always remember that .That is why some cases are pursued all the way to the supreme court . That is if the applicants have deep enough pockets

      • How about independent and/or neutral appointees? As for deep enough pockets, you, me and your friend who is sending his kid to private school are the ones financing the “interpretive” law.

  1. This isn’t all its cracked up to be. Typically, tens of thousands of kids would attend summer school. This year, those numbers are easily cut in half considering some districts decided that any students at 40% or better will be passed, while some other districts decided to promote all students regardless of their grades.
    Then when you factor in that summer school will only be offered for those students in grades 10, 11, or 12, with the stipulation that they could not access re-taking the course the following school year, your numbers significantly drop.
    On top of all of this, consider that most districts have a target of a 100% graduation rate, so as to efficiently pump kids through the factory as cheaply as possible; if not, teachers get called into the office to explain why Johnny failed. This has already resulted in teachers dropping the bar so low, that it is now buried in the mud !
    The only kids that fail the upper grades these days, are the ones that rarely, if ever, attend school.
    Don’t forget to factor in that some districts already cancelled summer school.
    Sounds to me, like when you put this all together, there may be a very small hand-full of grade 12 students signing up for summer school this year. A small group of 12′s that are not likely to fully commit to attend the duration of the program. Sounds like a waste of money to me, just change their F to a C- right now, it is way cheaper.

      • But so much more than this Government does. The quality of public education has significantly deteriorated over the past 12 years.
        Sadly, many people don’t realize it.

        • Oh, morphing to a different subject?
          Do you think this constant warring and vital classroom time taken away almost every year for decades has anything to do with the deterioration you see? How could it not? If the BCTF would just do the job of a union without demanding self-serving broad policy changes, perhaps we’d see some better results. The devisive tactics of the BCTF does nothing positive for our public education.

          • The school board policies implemented over the past decade have nothing to do with teacher job actions:

            - Students are allowed to re-write exams as often as required.
            - Teachers are no longer allowed to give a student a Zero on work that was not completed.
            - Teachers are no longer allowed to take marks off for lateness on assignments.
            - Teachers are no longer allowed to penalize a student for cheating on a test.
            - Teachers are no longer allowed to assess homework completion for marks.
            - Students no longer have to write Grade 12 Provincial Exams in all their academic courses (other than English). This has caused a deterioration in the quality of teaching and in the work ethic of students.
            - Teachers are constantly reminded that it is their responsibility to make sure all students are passing.

            I have personally seen how these changes in education policy have failed to prepare students to take on post-secondary programs. They have not been held accountable.
            The changes listed above have been sold to educators under the guise of improving education practices, but the truth is, that School Boards/Ministry of Education have implemented these changes to pump students through the factory as quickly and cheaply as possible. School boards are underfunded, their solution to this problem is to get students through, rather than trying to get them educated and ready to take on real life.
            What a shame!

  2. What a surprise! A bunch of lackeys appointed by the current majority government dictator come up with a decision that matches the government’s position.
    Too bad the system did not consider the taxpayer. If the government wanted to cut costs, how about an immediate reduction in the number of MLAs, cut 40 of them, savings may be as much as $80 million per year, we would never miss them.
    It would be nice to actually vote on policy issues and directly elect people like the LRB chair to ensure the wishes of the people are considered.

    • So giggle would that be evenly Liberal and NDP .Or just only liberals to give the province the government it needs??
      News flash we had an election the NDP lost .This is a democracy .With a democratically elected government . The majority rules. So get over it .It’s time to move one .No more crying over spilt milk

  3. So you are now saying that the LRB is bias, and controlled by the Liberals?
    Perhaps you can point out how, or why their decision is bias. Hope you can back up that statement.

      • Actually, Panels are comprised equally of members appointed by merit from candidates recommended by both Labour and Employers considered well versed in Labour law in BC and other Jurisdictions. Most are Lawyers or para-lawyers. See the Labour Code Division 9, Section 115.

          • Stephen/ Ron – you are correct, but the fact is that they are all appointed by the Liberal Government and are subject to re-appointment by the Liberals. The issue then becomes, not whether they are biased, but rather whether there is an appearance of bias. The appearance of bias is undeniable. So Amy is absolutely correct – I suspect a reviewing court would agree with her.

  4. This is actually a win for the teachers. The parameters for students to take summer school are now very narrow and will be impossible for school districts to handle. Only students who failed a course can take summer school. The student can ONLY take summer school if the same course will not be taught in the next school year ( most students fail one of the 4 core subjects: math. science, social studies, English). These core subjects are always taught during Sept. to June. Principals have to teach before any teacher has to be used. This will never happen.

    Now here is an interesting moral puzzle: The government wanted summer school to be “essential”. Will the school districts now CANCEL a summer school under these new rules because it pressures the principals to teach over the summer? Why should a student be cheated out of a chance to take a course over the summer because the principals don’t feel like teaching a summer school class? Can the BCTF now go to the LRB and FORCE the principals to teach what the government wants to call “essential”?

    Get busy principals! I want you teaching all summer to help out those kids who failed! If you say “no” and cancel, you are hurting the kids and you don’t care! Time to earn your keep!

  5. One really has to wonder just what the heck the BCTF had in mind when they went to the LRB for the Essential Service designation. Particularly after fighting it for so long.
    So far it has bite them in the back end at every turn. What were they thinking??

  6. The LRB just ruled on the law . That is all . There seems to be a lot of people here that are still trying to get over the fact that the NDP lost the last election .Get over it .Confrontation is what has lead to this.The teachers now face a long hot summer on the picket lines for what . Get a great tan ?? Yes . In the middle of September to be legislated back for the last government offer. I have talked to teachers who voted no . They are upset with the timing etc. Iker sure blew it .Pulling this at end of the school year.I imagine he will resign .For the BCTF it has ben lose ,lose and lose .
    The independent school systems win .I have one friend who is pulling his children out as they want to go to medical school. They need consistent high marks from a stable educational environment .
    My children went to both private and public schools .The teachers in the public elementary schools where my daughter went . I had great issues with.To me they got more than a failing grade.Yes we had the financial ability .We made the sacrifice to go to private schools .Many parents are now mulling this over .This strike to public education in that regard is destructive .As some have suggested public education here could follow the route of some areas in the U.S.
    Technology will drive the future of education . The schools and the teachers as we know them are redundant .Instead of confrontation . consultation and working together would have been the answer . Instead we see job protection as a leading factor in these negotiations

    • Not sure job protection is the leading factor – have not heard it brought up once. Wages (heaven forbid that teachers should get a raise) and class composition are the two driving factors in this dispute. And I have to tell you, the wage issue is closer than most people want to believe. Need a bigger sample group than your one friend who is pulling his kids out of the public school system before I believe there is a mass exodus to independent schools. Glad to hear you had the financial ability to send your kids to private school – but why not just agree to up your taxes by a grand a year in order to pay for class composition funding? As for technology driving the future of education, not sure exactly what that means. Redundant? How?

      • OK point one .
        Job protection-class size .guaranteed employment for the BCTF members .
        Ok wages . It is not as the BCTF claims . Their offers are for two different periods of time .The government offer is for one year longer.So the BCTF would want one or one and half percent more for that extra year.
        Are you serious me donating a $1000. dollars to public education??? ROFLMAO.AAhh the NDP philosophy who pays not me you pay. You know what Tax payers think about raising taxes . A year ago I was asked to run for school board . I gave an emphatic two letter response . The worst job you can get . Plus the C word commitment . I have a very good friend who is a school trustee . He showed me his email the other day A long list of parents screaming why doesn’t he do something .Next teachers lined up screaming the same thing
        Next-we travel as well I read a lot . so in my time the teacher wrote on the blackboard . We did everything by hand . Now the students can get their assignments on line and submit on line as well.Everything is electronic . Teachers basicdally answer question or Clarify.The youth is completely connected . They learn all the time outside of a bricks and mortar classroom. Went to Mexico last year I asked a lot of questions . thje solved the education budget problem for rural areas by having small classroom with a teachers assistant the teacher coming through via T.V..Class size 700. Costa Rica traditional bricks and mortar . Though this last winter they were going to start supplying students with tablets in Class .Average monthly wage $650 -800 .Every Costa Rican is glued to a cell phone .We have lived there for the last three winters. In western Europe a lot of education is electronic . Students go to the school for help or clarification .They work a lot on their own.

        • Thank you for not running as a candidate! I think that would be best for all concerned. Not sure your trustee friend should be showing you emails that, I’m sure, most sent thinking privacy was a given. As for teaching 700 students at once – is that really sound educational practice? Elementary kids learning from computer generated lessons? Really? That’s a lot of pinnies for P.E. class. I would argue that we need fewer kids on computers, not more. As for job protection, still not convinced it is on the table – even less convinced now that you have argued it is an issue. I am trying to figure out what every Costa Rican is doing on cell phones, or what the heck it has to do with the thread. Yes, the Liberals won the last election, everyone knows. However, we are not in Syria. They are still required to govern fairly and follow the laws they were elected to uphold.

          • I do have friends that are teachers. One said you are un electable.
            Argue against reality . watch the kids . They are texting all the time . they are totally connected on line this is reality. I know teachers try to keep the status quo .Keep the bricks and mortar classrooms in place .That is to keep teachers employed . Meanwhile the kids are moving on . Yes the ones that are supposed to being taught are teaching us. Watch the two and three year old grab their parents cell phones and work them .Technology is all they will know as they grow up.
            Costa Rica -point they are rapidly catching up embracing technology. Even with limited resources.Computers when I went to university we had fortran four.Swore! I would never touch computers again . God was laughing !!I put many years put into operating system development .I push ,the youth embraces and you stand in the way.
            Govern fairly .Comparing us to Syria?? ROFLMAO.We have travelled .Seen other countries and cultures .You do not know how lucky you are to be here .To speak like this in some Mid east countries would lead to late night assassination.
            We were in one place last year where we visited a school . The teacher was a volunteer . The floor was dirt .The children sang for us . The group of us left a donation . The teacher was trying to do so much with so little. Be thankful ,very thankful

  7. If it now essential. …many districts that don’t offer summer school better figure out how they meet this essential service…if they don’t…I can see parents getting back at Liberals through the courts…be careful what you ask for

  8. Quit with the double talk, the teachers and their union are not acting in the best interests of the students. The government should let them stay on strike with the amount they eventually receive off set by the time spent on the picket line.

    The next time around they will do their home work and be more realistic in their bargaining.

  9. So if summer school is an essential service in BC then that must mean all school from the border of the Yukon territory/NWT all the way to the USA and from the Alberta boarder right across BC will be open and ready for business… good job LRB and the BC liberals I guess we the taxpayer can just tack this cost to the two failed courts cases

    • I don’t think you know what summer shool is. It’s happened every summer for decades and all schools haven’t been open have they? You should really read up on it before commenting.

    • Considering this editorial is referring to a long past LRB member who was considered to be biased in one case back in 2006 – which was then overturned, it meens nothing regarding the current situation. If you have to go so far back to find such a case, it’s obviously a rare occurrence. If there was a hint of error in the recent decisions, I would think the BCTF would be jumping to an appeal long before your dreamed-up allegation and so-called “proof”.

      • The test is not actual bias, but a reasonable apprehension of bias. Clearly that test is met by the fact the Liberals make the appointments and are a party to the hearing. A reasonable person would have a reasonable “apprehension” of bias.

  10. The administrators have been silent during the dispute. Will be interesting to see them have to teach remedial school with special needs students who don’t get support in summer school. Many of them will not have been in the classroom since teacher contract was stripped.

    • The essential services designation decision had to be somewhat disappointing to the government as it appears to be shy of its expectations. The scope of the essential services decision was very narrow and limited and will turn into a big administrative headache for school boards and principals.

      One might conclude that getting a “C” in summer school after getting a “F” during the year doesn’t seem to be very beneficial to move onto post-secondary educational institutions.

    • I don’t get it. What are you hoping administrators would say? You seem to think they’re incompetent so why would it matter to you what they might or might not say?
      The deafening silence of the NDP is much more noticable to me. But then, that seems to be the new normal for them.They must be mulling.

    • The administrators have been silent because not speaking out was written into their contracts! The educational leaders have been muzzled at risk of losing their own position. This is why no administrators have gone on record to say that they don’t agree with what’s happening within the system.

      Should be interesting to see how all of this plays out. How will administrators be able to add summer school to their summer schedule. My guess is that they won’t and it will all become unmanageable. The ability to work with a student who requires extra help to this degree is something for a highly experienced teacher. One who’s familiar with current educational research and best practices. Doing this will also require them to have an expertise in the subject area in question. This is going to be a difficult process to match administrator’s with these jobs. It’s not a cookie cutter assembly line. My prediction is that it won’t happen. If for some reason it does then you can see this being a major screw up. Way to go #BCED.

  11. When a party wins in a general election, they get to make appointments to various boards or authorities that fit with the agenda and platform upon which the public elected them. Why is that so hard to understand? If those opposed to the BC Liberals or Federal Conservatives want control of these institutions, win an election and form government.

  12. Lost in the rhetoric posted on this site by both sides in response to the LRB decision is the uncomfortable fact that it is causing more bureaucratic headaches for the school boards, principals, exempt staff and the BCTF.

    Actually, the application by the government to have summer school declared an essential service backfired on it. Instead of forcing the BCTF to honour its summer school contract commitments, the LRB.

    Why the LRB would issue an order requiring the school boards to utilize principals and other exempt staff-with current teaching certificates-to teach remedial courses is a complete mystery. If remedial course can be successfully taught to upgrade failing grades by those who do not normally teach during the school year, it can’t be that difficult. So why would remedial summer school be essential then?

    Just asking….

      • Of course, a convoluted LRB decision putting the onus onto school boards, principals, exempt staff-with current teaching certificates-to teach only remedial grade10-12 students has to be regarded as a win for the BCTF-or only a partial victory for the government. The media consenus is that the government did not get what it wanted.

        Why? The LRB did not order-at least not yet-a full “normal” summer operation. That may change as the government is probably working the back-rooms as I respond.

        Strategically, the government did a 180 degrees by going to the LRB. It blinked. It abandoned its original position that it would lift the lock-out and put the onus on the BCTF for summer school (in totality) to be conducted.

        So be my guest-you are entitled to your opinion and are free to disagree with me if you wish. I welcome the feedback.

  13. Doug, please check your facts.The BCTF advised the BCPSEA on or about April 3 that they had applied to the LRB for the Essential Service designation. Also, had you read the first decision by the LRB, you would have known that.
    Now before you tell me I am wrong again, check it out with your Union.
    What is apparent here is that very few Teachers have any idea of what their Union is doing. And yet you defend blindly. You are more like a cult then a Union!

    • We’re talking about two different things here Dwight.

      It was the 2001 government that passed legislation to make public education an essential service. Since that time, education in BC has always been designated an essential service.

      Despite being an essential service, not all aspects of service delivery are considered essential. What the BCTF did this year was ask the LRB to determine which services they could legally withdraw. For example, during the BCTF’s 1st stage of job action the LRB determined that electronic communication with administration was not an essential service.

      Hope you have an enjoyable Canada Day weekend : )

      • @Doug-You are absolutely right! The legislation was passed in 2001- most likely as a government tool to mitigate the pressures that a union could exert on a government. BTW, that is why teachers are unable to exert pressure on the government. That is why teachers need to be given another voice such as binding arbitration.

        It is arguable that the BCTF asked for such clarification in April as a courtesy to the government. I buy that! Did it not provide clarity? I think so. The BCTF should be applauded!

        Having said that, who really cares who approached the LRB to get a decision on essential services designation for a specific function within education. It only makes common sense that the ground rules are determined ahead of time!

        But with respect to summer school, the government failed miserably because it received at most a partial essential services designation for grades 10 -12 remedial students who cannot repeat the course next year. Sounds like a can of worms!

        Now someone should identify such a student – other than one will die or leave the province or country permanently before the new school year starts in the fall.

        Can’t see many taking remedial summer courses then… The principals should just fail them or pass them-And enjoy the summer.

  14. Doug, you failed to check your facts. I suggested you talk with your UNion, which appartenly you did not.
    On Arp. 3 the Union announced at the Bargaining table they had reversed their longstanding position on essential services and were applying to the LRB for the designation. (taken from the BCPSEA website, also read 1st LRB ruling).
    Please check it out, it may not be what you want to hear, but that is what happen.

    • Doug, you failed to check your facts. I suggested you talk with your Union, which apparenly you did not.
      On Apr. 3 the Union announced at the Bargaining table they had reversed their longstanding position on essential services and were applying to the LRB for the designation. (taken from the BCPSEA website, also read 1st LRB ruling).
      Please check it out, it may not be what you want to hear, but that is what happen.