More student support needed in Langley one year after teachers win court case

The teachers organization in Langley is saying huge strides have been made, but much more is needed.

Teachers in Langley are celebrating today.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of their Supreme Court win.

But at the same time, Langley Teachers’ Association president Wendy Cook is urging the local school district to fix outstanding issues.

“One year after the BC Teachers’ Federation’s landmark victory that ordered the restoration of our pre-2002 collective agreement, teachers in Langley are celebrating the positive changes that have come to our schools as a result,” Cook said.

There have been “significant” improvements and gains for Langley schools, in particular, she explained, pointing to smaller and “more appropriate” class sizes across the district, an increase of 270-plus full-time teaching positions, addition of 25 new teacher librarian positions as key changes that she insists are having a “positive impact” on both teachers and students.

“Since the BCTF’s Supreme Court victory on Nov. 10, 2016, teachers in Langley have been working hard to ensure our restored collective agreement language is implemented correctly to ensure students see improvements to their learning conditions and our members see improvements to their working conditions,” added Cook.

“After 16 years of cuts and underfunding, it’s refreshing and exciting to see resources flowing back into our schools… The next step that will really make a huge difference for our schools and students is to get the district to move on some important outstanding concerns. Despite clear language in our restored collective agreement, and the agreement between the BCTF and the employers’ association, the Langley school district has made some poor decisions that are holding up important changes.”

The school district has not made “enough effort” to improve class composition, meet the caseload language for English Language Learners (ELL) and resource teachers, or addressed the shortage of teachers on call.

“Due to the [teacher on call] shortage in Langley, resource teachers are being removed from their regular classrooms to cover other areas that are short staffed. Langley school district shouldn’t be taking these critical supports away from students who need them,” she said.

“We need the Langley school district to live up to their responsibilities and meet the terms of the restored collective agreement without taking away existing supports for students.”

• More to come

READ: B.C. school districts fight to find space, hire teachers

READ: Langley public schools grapple with court decision implications

READ: Langley looking for a few good teachers

READ: Extra Langley teachers and costs would be $23.5 million

READ: Langley teachers hopeful after court ruling

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