We are not children who need a detention, as suggested by editor Ian Jacques in his editorial of May 30. We are adults fighting for the education system in our province.
First you need to find out why the dispute has been going on between teachers and the government for as long as it has.
One reason is that in 2002, government stripped us of our collective agreement provisions, even though on Jan. 27, 2014, the BC Supreme Court reaffirmed that provincial legislation limiting teachers’ bargaining rights is unconstitutional and were ordered to pay $2 million in damages plus court costs. The government has not done so. Apparently, our government thinks they are above the law.
Secondly, our government has failed to address cost pressures on school districts, which has resulted in ongoing structural budget shortfalls and significant cuts to education programs and services.
B.C. per-student funding is about $1,000 below the national average. Since 2001, the B.C. government has eliminated the equivalent of 1,400 full-time specialist teachers — including 769 special education teachers. B.C. has done considerably less than the rest of Canada to improve operating funding to school districts. B.C. ranks lowest of all the provinces in terms of improvements to education funding.
So parents, community and students, we believe our students deserve the best we can offer, as they are the future of this province. Know that we are fighting for education. What is at stake? Not just our salary, which is being unfairly reduced every day by 10 per cent and a whole day a week, but the betterment of education. Our future depends on creating a better future that cannot be created on such poor working conditions and poor funding.
© Coast Reporter