LETTER: 'Are teachers obviously wrong?'

By Contributor
July 30th, 2014

To The Editor:

Here are some “Top Ten” facts (in no particular order of priority) that have been communicated to us by parents, grand-parents, teachers and other concerned citizens about Premier Clark and her government’s stand against teachers and public education in this province:

1. The fact that kids are being shamelessly, “cheated”, “short-changed”, “denied”, and “fiscally managed” out of $1000 per student as compared to the national per student funding average. BC is second to last in public education funding per student in Canada.

2. The fact that Premier Clark’s Deputy Ministers have “cashed in” by receiving salary raises of up to 14.4% in 2013/2014 when public sector unions are expected to “accept” and have received 1% to 1.5% raises in their “settlement zone” contracts for the same time period because of the government’s fiscal restraint and “cooperative gains” mandate.

3. The fact that parents and grand-parents of special needs’ students believe that their kids and grand-kids are being “main-streamed” (“warehoused”) into classrooms without the resources to provide the individualized support that their children and grand-children require.

4. The fact that teachers have moved from other parts of Canada to what they thought was a “have” province and ended up teaching in a “have-not” province with a public education system that receives “bottom of the barrel” funding.

5. The fact that Premier Clark sends her son to a private school which sends a strong message that private schools must be “better” and “safer” than public schools or that public schools and teachers are “not good enough” for her child.

6. The fact that the Premier Clark and her ministers make teachers out as “trouble-makers”, “greedy”, “non-compliant”, and “non-conformist”, because we are insisting on our court-proven and twice awarded constitutional and charter rights to bargain class size and composition.

7. The fact that the government’s spin doctors have carefully crafted messages such as, “highest funding ever”, “settlement zone”, “drain on tax-payers”, “protecting against placing the government into budgetary deficits”, “BC taxpayers can’t afford it”, that appeal to fiscal conservatives and make teachers and their demands look like they will “bankrupt” the province if public education funding is increased.

8. The fact that the government justifies its illegal and fiscally punitive actions such as, stripping of specialist teacher and class size and composition language from contracts, inadequate funding levels and downloading of cost item after cost item on local boards, by rolling out high provincial student achievement results, basically justifying their actions and funding levels because teachers are still “managing” to produce more with less.

In essence, proving their case that the government must be on the right track because the education “factory” is still producing high quality “widgets” in tougher, integrated classes, with less money per “widget” than anywhere else in Canada.

9. The fact that Premier Clark and her government have cut 25% from our personal income taxes and have cut corporate taxes in this province at the expense of public education, social and health services, and have conditioned the electorate to believe that “taxes are bad” and that “tearing up social contracts is good” and that teachers are “public enemy #1” and will “destroy any potential of BC’s economic growth” because they may cause taxes to increase if they continue to win their court cases or successfully negotiate an increase in public education funding.

10. The fact that the Coalition of BC Businesses is now trying to intervene in our court cases because they are trying to “save the BC economy and taxpayers” from an attack by teachers.

Are teachers obviously wrong and will destroy any prospect of a healthy BC economy if funding for public education is increased to the national average and class sizes decrease and we have more specialist teachers and our working conditions and kids learning conditions improve and we are treated with respect and are valued?

What do you think?

Respectfully submitted,
Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union
Andrew M. Davidoff, President

Categories: GeneralLettersOp/Ed

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