The following open letter was submitted to the NOW by the BC Teachers Federation and Shanee Prasad, president of the Burnaby Teachers' Association.
We acknowledge that we are located on the unceded and stolen territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), the qʼʷa:n̓ƛʼən̓ (Kwantlen), q̓ic̓əy̓(Katzie), qiqéyt (Qayqayt), and sɛmiˈɑːmuː (Semiahmoo)
The first week of September is always an exciting time for teachers as we get ready to welcome back students into our school communities, but each year this excitement is tinged with concern because we know that there are not enough resources allocated to public schools to meet the learning needs of all our students.
As the representatives of Burnaby elementary and adult educators, it is essential that we speak about the overall goal of public schools being welcoming spaces for all students.
We come into the profession from a place of caring, with a deep desire to see all our students thrive, and yet each year we return to a public education system continually struggling to meet the needs of our students.
We know that every student arrives at our door with their own unique strengths and needs, and we believe that all students should be included in meaningful learning, but true inclusion requires that services and resources be provided through adequate funding.
For over two decades now, this has not been in place in public schools in B.C.
Currently, all governments across the country are struggling to recruit and retain teachers.
We believe that the solution to that is to ensure that the working conditions in schools make it possible for teachers to provide what students need for meaningful learning.
Good working conditions for teachers would include access to all the resources that they know their students need for learning.
Our working conditions are students' learning conditions after all.
We invite our community partners to work with us to ensure that supports and resources are in place so that all students’ well-being is taken care of while they are included in all learning opportunities in our schools.
In other words, we are asking our community partners to make a commitment to a fully funded, inclusive public education system that meets the needs of all learners.