British Columbia Teachers for Peace and Global Education
A Provincial Specialist Association of the BC Teachers' Federation


BCTF Annual General Meeting 2014-from the Reports and Resolutions Document
These are the resolutions pertaining to the 2014 Page Survey. The full document is available for download to BCTF Members through the BCTF Members' Portal

The Full 2014 PAGE Survey for BCTF Executive Candidates
See the Survey Response

The purpose of the following survey is to promote awareness and informed consideration of Resolutions coming to the BCTF Annual General Meeting, and to assist delegates with their voting choices.  PAGE is extremely grateful for candidates taking the time to answer the survey.  We wish all candidates the best for their campaigns.

PART I: AGM Resolutions

The 2014 BCTF Annual General Meeting is scheduled to discuss a number of Resolutions related to social justice and labour union sustainability. Please indicate clearly how you will vote on these Resolutions (whether for, against, after considering debate, or by abstaining), and the reasons for your choice. 

Resolution 154—Sea to Sky Teachers’ Association and Burnaby Teachers’ Association That the BCTF request that the Teachers’ Pension Plan Trustees promote reinvestment of bcIMC’s current Walmart holdings in an enterprise that meets the BCTF’s Salary Indemnity Plan guidelines for Socially Responsible Investing.

Supporting statement (Sea to Sky Teachers’ Association)
bcIMC has current holdings of over $150 million in Walmart. This company has systematically violated workers’ rights in many countries, is fiercely anti- union, and its business practices are damaging to local economies and smaller, independent retailers. Large public pension plans in Sweden, Norway, and Holland have divested from Walmart in response to its destructive practices, after unsuccessful attempts to work with Walmart in addressing these issues. Given Walmart’s deplorable record with respect to worker and union rights, investment in this company is not consistent with our values.

Supporting statement (Burnaby Teachers’ Association)
Currently, bcIMC, through which our pensions are invested, has over $89 million in Walmart Stores Inc., and over $62 million in Walmart de Mexico. Given the extremely poor working conditions for Walmart, its strident anti-unionism, and its destructiveness to local economies, it is contrary to our interests to invest in this company. (Page 30)

Resolution 158—Langley Teachers’ Association That the BCTF strongly condemn the use of educational materials developed by any affiliate of the fossil fuel industry.

Supporting statement
It is highly unlikely that any teacher would willingly or intentionally use educational materials funded by tobacco companies in the classroom due, to the conclusive evidence of the harm that tobacco products cause.

The science/research regarding climate change is conclusive on the role of human-produced greenhouse gases as the major contributor to global warming. Fossil fuel company products are the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
However, recently the highly trusted Canadian Geographic joined with the oil and gas industry's deep-pocketed organization, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), to inundate our schools with free hands-on and online materials under the guise of Energy Education.

This is an example of a 21st century neoliberal education model, where underfunded public schools increasingly rely on free resources supplied by large corporations with destructive agendas seeking ‘green-washing’ opportunities. As a socially just and responsible organization, the BCTF should take a strong stand in opposition to the infusion of free, 21st century neoliberal education materials being used in the public education system. (Page 32)

Resolution 161—Delta Teachers’ Association That Article 5 of the BCTF Code of Ethics be amended by striking “and related work” and replacing it with “and other professional duties.”

Supporting statement
Article 5 of the BCTF Code of Ethics currently provides protection to members for inappropriate criticism of their “teaching performance and related work,” by requiring members to bring criticism directly to their colleagues. However, thousands of members work countless hours on behalf of their local, and the BCTF. These hours are the backbone of the BCTF, yet Article 5 does not extend to it, as the work is not directly related to members’ teaching performance.
The purpose of this motion is to extend the protection offered by Article 5 of the Code of Ethics to the work that members do on behalf of the Union. (Pages 32, 33) 

Resolution 166—Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association
That on December 6 of each year, teachers be encouraged to observe with their students a minute of silence in memory of the 14 women murdered at Montreal Polytechnique and all women and girls who are victims of violence.

Supporting statement
December 6 marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. They died because they were women.
As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence, December 6 gives us an opportunity to reflect on the violence against women in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender- based violence. And finally, it is a day that we can take concrete actions to educate to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

Education has always been a tool for the amelioration of oppression, and it is no coincidence that this attack on women took place in an institution where women attended in a non-traditional role. It behoves us as educators to raise awareness about the many ways that sexism manifests and make safer, through our actions, institutional change.  (Page 34)

Resolution 170—Burnaby Teachers’ Association That the BCTF investigate the extent to which BC’s teacher education programs enhance the status of teachers in society, with a report to the 2015 Winter RA.

Supporting statement
One of the often-cited strengths of Finland’s public education system is the status of teachers in Finnish society. Teachers are prized as public intellectuals and this strengthens their legitimacy both in guiding educational change, and in bargaining for better working conditions. Could more be done through BC’s teacher training programs to achieve a similar level of public authority in BC? Topics to investigate may include academic content, civic engagement (including education of the union’s role), and graduation numbers (noting the surplus of teaching graduates, ranging from roughly twice to three times the number of jobs available annually, that weakens our bargaining position). (Page 35)

PART II: Peace and Global Education

Please highlight, in 200 words or less, any involvement you’ve had in promoting peace and global education.  Feel free to include motions you’ve put forward in your Local or at the provincial level of the BCTF, examples from your work as a classroom teacher, and/or activism beyond the BCTF.

Other Recommendations and Resolutions specifically noted by Glen Hansmen in his response.

Recommendation 4
That every local be encouraged to hold post- Truth and Reconciliation sessions for and with their members/students/communities.

Supporting statement
The Truth and Reconciliation National Events, held in Vancouver in September 2013, were a tremendous success. More than 100 BCTF members from 50 locals, along with more than 5,000 students attended the Education Day. From the canoe gathering on the shores of False Creek, to the drumming and dancing, to the moving testimonials about residential school injustices, people came together to learn the truth, to grieve those who didn’t survive, and to move forward in a spirit of reconciliation and justice.

In the wake of these important and transformative events, locals are strongly encouraged to work with the teachers who attended the TRC events to generate ideas about how they can share their knowledge with other teachers, students, and community members. Historical events of national importance that have been neglected in the mainstream curricula need to be honoured and preserved.

We believe it is vitally important to make local venues available so that those who were witness to the events can speak out about what they learned and how the experience has informed their professional and personal practice. A few ideas for consideration include: Offering the new BCTF workshop, The Legacy of Indian Residential Schools, for SURT training; encouraging students to share their knowledge with other students; making school board presentations; and holding “Dialogue, Documentary and Dessert” evenings for community members. Teachers will no doubt have other ideas about how to ensure that this new knowledge is shared with an ever-widening audience.

The BCTF invested in travel grants to enable teachers from throughout the province to participate in the Truth and Reconciliation events. The moving feedback they shared with colleagues and through the pages of Teacher Newsmagazine provide ample evidence of the profound, even life-changing, impact this opportunity afforded to our members. (Pages 10 & 11)

Resolution 106—Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union
That the BCTF oppose the organization “Teach for Canada” and their efforts to exploit the vulnerabilities of Aboriginal children in Canada, erode professional training and qualification standards, and privatize the functions of a free, quality, public education system.

Supporting statement
The co-founders of a new organization called Teach for Canada are working toward placing recent university graduates into remote Aboriginal communities across Canada to teach. These grads do not have teaching degrees and have only a “crash course” in teaching delivered over the summer. The plan is for two-year placements, and is modeled on Teach for America which sends graduates to work in impoverished inner city schools.

Teach for America has been criticized for inadequately preparing graduates to deal with many of the high-needs classrooms they were placed in, and because graduates are not from the communities they are teaching in. Participants in the program may have little to no experience with the cultural backgrounds of their students. Teach for Canada aims to address educational inequalities without recognizing the socio-economic inequalities, historical context, or the legacy of residential schools. They oversimplify the problems facing children growing up on reserves, and at the same time fail to acknowledge the importance of pedagogy, educational philosophy, and the purpose of education in Canada.

Teach for Canada founders are currently meeting with universities and provincial ministries in Canada to find ways of getting recruits accredited to teach. This will ultimately result in the weakening of professional standards and certification for educators in Canada. (Page 11)

Resolution 114—Surrey Teachers’ Association That the BCTF oppose the “Bring Your Own Device” philosophy, and advise the government to provide funding to districts to adequately equip and support teachers and students with necessary, and up-to-date technological resources.

Supporting statement
Bring Your Own Device further intensifies the digital divide between students whose families can afford personal devices and those who cannot. Public education should be an equalizer. Its function should be to create a space where all students have equal access to the highest quality of education. 

By creating a system where students are encouraged to bring their own devices, students from families with greater buying power will have an even greater advantage over those from families living in poverty. It may also put undue stress on families living in poverty, as they make decisions to help support their child’s education instead of meeting basic needs.

Education should be a free and fundamental right that helps eliminate the socio-economic divide, not widen the chasm. (Page 15)

Resolution 130—Langley Teachers’ Association That the Executive Committee consider the merits of establishing a task force to undertake a comprehensive review of the impact of mental health issues in BC schools and report back to the 2015 AGM.

Supporting statement
Mental health issues in schools presents a very serious and disturbing trend. Mental health concerns are the silent epidemic that is crippling the educational system because government is reluctant to address the complexity of mental health concerns and the impact on the school system. The Toronto School Board is undertaking a massive review of its services and support for students with mental health issues. Across the world, the economic cost of not providing support is being assessed and governments are responding with a re-examination of how they support students with mental health issues.

The BCTF needs to establish a task force on the impact of mental health issues in schools across the province. The purpose would be to gather evidence from teachers regarding the types of mental health issues they are seeing/experiencing in their classrooms and how the lack of direct support and services impacts on them.

The task force needs to hear from parents and community services to gather evidence on the overwhelming frustration at the lack of direct services and supports for students struggling with mental health issues.

As a union, we have a responsibility to address this silent epidemic by engaging with British Columbians on the impact of mental health issues in schools. The end result would be the creation of a fact-based/experienced-based document the BCTF could present to government. The task force would document the scope and nature of the epidemic as experienced by our members and their students, and the societal, social, and medical value of addressing the needs of students struggling with mental health issues. (Page 23)

The following Resolution was referenced in responses by both Glen Hansman and Karen Langenmaier:

Resolution 168—Comox District Teachers’ Association
That the BCTF encourage members to recognize every November as Child Poverty Awareness Month and take steps individually and/or as part of their social justice network to help eliminate child poverty in BC.

Supporting statement
BC has been recognized as the province having the highest or one of the highest levels of child poverty in Canada for nearly a decade. As education professionals, we are on the front lines in dealing with the implications of child poverty and as such we should do everything we can to not only inform the public of its short- and long-term effects, but also we should become the largest advocates for these children. November 24, 2013 marked the 24th anniversary of the federal government’s pledge to end child poverty by the year 2000. We are over a decade behind that mark and our provincial government seems determined to increase the gap between the rich and poor even further. The time for action is now. (Page 35) 

Resolution 113 was referenced in the response from Karen Langenmaier. 

Resolution 113—Comox District Teachers’ Association
That the BCTF petition the government to provide incentives to encourage more teachers to relocate to regions of the province outside of the Lower Mainland such as forgiveness of student loans and/or other financial awards.

Supporting statement
While there is a teacher surplus in specific parts of the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, teaching vacancies and TTOC positions are going vacant in other areas. Further incentives beyond the recruitment and retention allowance are required to help address this imbalance. (Page 15)