BC Counsellor - Fall 2012 - (Page 17)

School Counsellors and Bill 22: Caution! Danger Ahead By Connie Easton Thanks to the liberal government, there is a huge pothole on the highway called BC Public Education, and we are all heading for it in September. Like all road hazards, it is far better to be prepared and know what dangers lie ahead than continue on blindly, having to react suddenly as you approach things. As most of you know, Bill 22 was passed this spring in response to our job action and withdrawal of services in March. This bill combines the bargaining issues with the government’s response to Justice Griffin’s April 13, 2011 decision that found the government’s 2002 stripping of teachers’ collective agreements “unconstitutional and invalid.” The bill makes it easier to create large classes with unlimited number of special needs students and erodes the minimal protections that were contained in the class size and composition legislation. Finally, it eliminates consultation with teachers on class size and composition, meaning there is no accountability on these issues. Bill 22 strikes at the heart of the work school counsellors do in the province of British Columbia and flies in the face of good practice as we know it. Beginning with class size being eliminated in BC Counsellor | Fall 2012 | www.bcschoolcounsellor.com many elective areas, many school counsellors will now be faced with placing students in classes over 30, or deciding who will be placed in which class. Counsellors have worked hard to place students within class size limits set by Bill 33, respecting teacher workload through being aware of class composition, and now we will be in a position where we are placing kids into already full classes. In addition, the removal of the class size average means that there can be very large classes. This was one of the features in the class size provisions used previously that forced districts to keep the number of classes that were over 30 under some control and it has now been removed. At- r i sk student s need suppor t, and providing them an educational experience that cannot support their needs is unethical at best; a recipe for failure at worst. Under Bill 33, counsellors did not make the decision to overload classes, administration did. With Bill 22, the placement of students beyond 30 in designated classes will be in the hands of the counsellor because there will be no choice in some cases. This places the counsellor in the position of having to create an untenable work situation for their colleagues, while also placing students in a le s s than de sirable lear ning environment. And we still don’t know the full extent of Bill 22’s effects. The following courses are “exempt” from the class size limit of 30 students at the secondary level: • An adult or continuing education class • A class conducted by means of distributed learning • A class that is part of an alternate program • A class that meets for the purpose of work study or work experience program • A class that is limited to students enrolled in a special academy, as defined by section 82.1 of the Act • A music class, including band, choir, instrumental music and orchestra • A performing arts class including drama and dance • A Planning 10 class • A board authorized leadership course While the regulation refers to the list of courses, there is no limit on the type of categories of classes the “no limit” clause may affect. Although the Minister has said this refers to band, planning, technical education and drama classes, his power to establish classes in this category is unlimited. 17 http://www.bcschoolcounsellor.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BC Counsellor - Fall 2012

President’s Message
The Fine Print
We’ve come a Long Way Baby.
Bullying in the Schoolyard: Actual and Virtual
School Counsellors and Bill 22:
Crossing Oceans to New Worlds: Teens in Transition
Index to Advertisers

BC Counsellor - Fall 2012