Special-education funding lacking

Funding formula broken, says teacher supporter

Another school year is here and throughout the province we have thousands of classes wherein students are not receiving the quality instruction that they need and deserve.

This is a result of the broken special-education funding formula that was legislated by the B.C. government. For 10 years teachers have given specific and appropriate recommendations to address this very significant problem.

For every student who enters the system with cognitive or behavioural designations, funding is taken away from other students with average learning profiles. Students benefit greatly from three effective blocks of small-group instruction to support their regular classroom work, but the formula doesn’t provide this.

The government refuses to fix the broken funding formula. A student with autism does not have autism for only 18 hours a week. A student with Down syndrome does not have Down syndrome for only 22 of the 30 hours in a school week. Yet in many cases that is the level of support the formula allows.

To make up the difference, money is taken away from the learning support teacher’s assignment – just when that teacher could be of assistance.

Teachers need community support. Please take time to write your MLA and also write to George Abbott, Minister of Education. Ask them to fix the funding formula so all our children will experience a happy and successful school year.

Deborah Nohr

Oak Bay