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B.C. Teachers Strike 2014: What Are Parents Supposed To Do?

05/22/2014 02:13 EDT | Updated 07/21/2014 05:59 EDT
Compassionate Eye Foundation/Martin Barraud via Getty Images

Did you get your note from your child's school board informing you about the scheduled B.C. Teachers' Federation rotating strikes that will be commencing next week? I did.

With a heavy heart this week, I listened, watched and read as our public education system in B.C. continued in its pattern of push and pull... where parents and kids are continually at the centre of this tug-of-war between the BCTF and government.

Don't get me wrong, I want the best education for my kids and their peers. They deserve it. Parents and taxpayers also deserve to know their hard-earned money is being spent adequately by our government. And accountability at the school level is also extremely important. Classes should be carefully and realistically sized and composed. Teachers should be paid well. I get all of this.

However, as a parent, I am just. So. Tired. When my daughter began school in 2011, we spent a year of uncertainty as job action took place and the threat of strikes loomed. Both sides dug in and, it seemed, no end was in sight.

Three years later and, frustratingly, not much has changed. My son will be starting kindergarten in September and I fear his first year in the classroom will be much the same as his sister's.

The hardest part is that I love our school. We have amazing teachers and parents and community. We all want the same thing: the best education possible for our kids. However, it is starting to feel like it is, in fact, impossible for this to happen.

Bargaining is happening in the media, neither side wants to give. It's an all out war and my kids are getting caught in the crossfire.

What if this goes on for years? What will this mean for my child's education? What, as parents, are we to do?

I am genuinely asking these questions. I can't say that I blame parents who are throwing their hands up in the air and saying, "We're done," and are looking for alternatives.

I also rally behind parents who are doing what they can to support teachers by calling their local MLAs to voice their dissatisfaction. But ultimately, will any actions that parents take change anything?

Can citizens demand that a third party be called in to resolve this situation? Is it even possible for this dispute be taken to arbitration -- get the two sides in a room and lock the door until they come to an agreement?

At the very least, can the government bring in a proven and successful outside mediator to resolve this stinker tout suite?

What are your thoughts?

It's just our kids that hang in the balance ... no biggie.

(This was first published in The Thirties Grind.)

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