PARENTS' AND TEACHERS' CONCERNS New Westminster parent Janet Reid has watched her son and daughter go through B.C.'s public system and has been impressed with innovative programs under the B.C. Education Plan and ACE-IT trades training. With a change in government, she said, "(she's) afraid that we will at least be back to Square 1 while they get up to speed," said Reid. Teachers, too, are nervous, for other reasons. "I feel we have tried and tried again with the Liberals and I haven't seen a lot of positive outcomes," said Coquitlam teacher Amanda Long. "I think it's time for a fresh start." Long said she's seen the effect of larger classes and fewer supports. Her daughter lost learning support between Grades 2 and 3. According to the government, classes with over 30 students have fallen from over 9,200 in 2005-06 to 1,360 in 2012-13; per student funding is up from $6,262 per student in 2000-01 to $8,493 in 2012-13. The teachers' union counters funding has fallen as a percentage of provincial GDP - 19.6 per cent in 200102 to 15 per cent in 2011-12, representing a $1.6-billion shortfall. It stresses that 12,650 classes have over four designated special-needs students and 10,300 have over four ESL students. Debate over statistics, and what they mean, is a familiar feature of the entrenched opposition between the teachers and B.C. Liberals.
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