Media Release October 13, 2020
K-12 students and their families face another hurdle in their struggle for equitable access to public education
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BRITISH COLUMBIA October 13, 2020 – Education Assistants (EAs) play a crucial role in ensuring equitable access to our public education system, yet they have no government-mandated standards of practice. In British Columbia, training ranges from 2 weeks to 2 years and when faced with EA shortages, school districts may even hire people with no specific training to fulfil this critical role.
Standards are commonplace in BC. Early childhood educators, teachers, nurses, health care assistants, fitness instructors, and nail technicians have them. Work that is required of a person that impacts the wellbeing of others and that involves potential risk to themselves, has standards of practice, that is, except for Education Assistants.
Jocelyn B., a parent of a child with neurodiversity, says “EAs working in districts across BC have inconsistent levels of training and in some cases, little access to professional development opportunities. My school-aged child, with neurodiversity, has been traumatized because of the quality of support provided by well-meaning but poorly trained workers.”
For nearly 30 years, people have been asking for EA standards of practice. While government representatives continue to agree that standards are necessary, successive governments have failed to take action.
According to Worksafe BC, lack of training can put workers and their colleagues at risk of physical, mental, and emotional harm. Education Assistant Susanne B would like to see the government develop standards. She says, “Standardizing training for all EAs will ensure that they are competent to perform all the necessary skills required in this demanding role across the Province.”
Chantelle M, parent and advocate, underscored, “there would be security in knowing that there will be consistency in the skills of the EAs.”
“We want to know who is getting this done and when it will be done”, says Cindy Dalglish of the EA Standards Working Group. “If nail technicians, not to mention teachers and ECEs have standards, why not EAs?”
Education Assistant support is one of the cornerstones of a strong, supportive, safe, and inclusive education system. EAs deserve standards of practice.
Chair, EA Standards of Practice Working Group
Phone: (778) 846-2722
About the EA Standards of Practice Working Group
The Education Assistant (EA) Standards of Practice Working Group is committed to advancing the establishment of provincially mandated standards of practice for education assistants in BC. The working group is made up of education assistants, parents, post-secondary institutions, inclusion organizations, and Teamsters.