B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender has asked the teachers to stop striking now, please. I guess he hadn't thought to ask previously. I guess he thinks if he asks, we will be so dazzled by this new idea that we will drop our picket signs in the nearest trash can and rush back to work.
Mr. Fassbender would like a "cooling off period." He seems to feel that the past two months of rejecting B.C. Teachers' Federation President Jim Iker's repeated requests to meet and negotiate were a bit too hot, so we need to wait a while longer before he refuses another overture. It's okay, Mr. Fassbender. It'll be cool enough soon; fall is in the air.
Mr. Fassbender would like teachers to stop asking for class size and composition funding. We all know we greedy teachers are giving up our salaries because we like to grandstand, and so he'd appreciate it if we'd just stop worrying about the kids and get back to worrying about our salaries.
Mr Fassbender would like teachers to quit worrying about the two court cases we won.
Mr. Fassbender would like teachers to stop making outrageous demands for "benefits." He thinks the numbers are just too high. Of course, he's calling the cost of educational assistants a "benefit."
Mr. Fassbender would like teachers to start volunteering, stop working lunch hours, stop volunteering, start volunteering, just get back to work. He thinks we should trust him to be fair; this time, he means it.
Mr. Fassbender reminds us all that he is a grandfather. He wants us to know that because of this, he understands the needs of children. We, parents and grandparents ourselves, of course, don't share his insight, because it is negated by our status as teachers.
Mr. Fassbender wants Mr. Iker to poll the teachers for their opinions. He thinks maybe Mr. Iker is confused about what we want. I think we should help Mr. Fassbender to understand that we know what we want.
We want our students to have timely assessment, access to libraries and specialists, reasonable class sizes, and properly funded schools. We want, in short, a quality public education. We don't need a poll. We need funding. I don't mind helping explain, though.
I hate to disappoint you, Mr. Fassbender, but it doesn't matter how nicely you ask. What matters is that you fund public education. Properly.
Mr. Fassbender, until you do that, the answer is no.
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