When corruption and callous disregard for the marginalized can be so richly rewarded, what incentive do my students have for being good? When cheating does not preclude you from occupying the highest office in the province, why should they listen to my warnings about plagiarism?
Conventional wisdom has it that a society's future is predicated on the strengths, skills and knowledge of the youth, but if we look at the way young people in this province have been treated by the B.C. Liberals since 2001, our future has a shaky foundation.
We have the opportunity to elect a new government led by politicians who spend more than 36 days a year in the Legislature. Politicians who behave like public servants, not sycophants for foreign corporations.We have the opportunity to have a government that puts people before profiteering, a government that enacts a Poverty Reduction Plan like all other provinces have done.
Dear Minister Michael De Jong, perhaps it was a good thing that I was not available for your call because I have a feeling you don't really want to hear what I have to say about your government's fiscal management record.
I'm going to vote for the B.C. NDP, not because they're the perfect party, and not because I expect them to undo 16 years of B.C. Liberal rule anytime soon. I'm going to vote for them because they're a team of good-enough politicians who I expect to do the very best they can given the massive provincial debt they will inherit from the B.C. Liberals.
On Saturday, it felt good to be one of thousands marching in B.C. to challenge the misogynist rhetoric of a narcissistic president. But today, when I think about what is happening in our own province, I wonder when we will see thousands take to the streets to protest the egregious actions of the B.C. Liberal government and Christy Clark?
Because of the B.C. Liberal government's legislation in 2002 and again in 2012, thousands of students lost the opportunity to have a school psychologist assess their learning disabilities as well as the opportunity to have their learning needs supported by education assistants.
It's disingenuous for the B.C. Liberal government to couch its new curriculum within a framework of flexibility while simultaneously removing billions from the education budget thereby causing ever more restrictions on what is possible in classrooms. It's especially galling that the minister does not acknowledge that teachers have been transforming education for decades, continuously responding to "the demands of a changing world" without much support for this Herculean task from the ministry.
There's no need to list all the ways that many public schools can be inhospitable places for students. Not only is there the physical discomfort of sitting for hours each day but there is also the navigating of a range of emotional gauntlets: the whispered comments in the hallways, the judgements about clothes, the betrayal of "friends" on Facebook.
Thirty years ago, school supply lists were quite short, perhaps just two items: pencil crayons and a geometry set. But for a number of years now, the lists have become very long and often include two types of paper: photocopying and toilet. How did we get to this point?
In the past I've explained the psychological, sociological, cultural, political and evolutionary basis for human behaviour but, given recent events, I no longer believe that that's enough. My students, in the face of revent world events, want to know one thing in particular: they want to know why it's so hard for people to get along with other people.
In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the government of Oceania has an entire Ministry that uses all forms of media to create a false reality. In British Columbia today, the Government Communications and Public Engagement office has a budget of $37,900,000 to ensure that you have the correct view of what the B.C. Liberals do for you with your money.
But my joyful relating of this good news will be dampened by the knowledge that there is no funding to make possible the full implementation of the new curriculum. It's as though my students have been given the keys to a car without any money for insurance or gas or maintenance or even driving lessons.
I have a friend who is so poor that sometimes he will buy one can of tuna so that both he and his cat can eat. He's not the only B.C. citizen trying to make the most of extremely limited resources. He certainly considers himself luckier than those who sometimes can only afford to eat pet food.
Dear Teens: I wish that schools nurtured your creativity instead of punishing it. I wish that you were given time each day to allow your ideas to gestate. And I fervently wish that public schools were funded as a priority so that you had all the tools you needed to show us what we cannot see. It's no wonder that many of you are tired. I would be exhausted every day if I had to adjust and adapt to a new environment every hour as you do in schools.
Does Premier Christy Clark believe that money is the only thing on the minds of voters? Does she think that voters are really enjoying having the extra money in their pockets from all her tax cuts so that they can have the choice to pay to cross bridges? Does she think we're pleased that we have some extra change to support school fundraisers and to donate to Adopt-a-School?
I'm thinking of the students who wish school was open today. The ones whose only meal each day is the one they get through a school meal program. Premier Christy Clark is probably hoping that we have forgotten about her broken promises. She won't want us to remember what she said about putting "families first" in her last election campaign.