Now, do I feel as though both sides compromised equally on this contract? No. I do feel like the teachers gave up more. But as much as I'd like a salary increase that actually kept up with the rate of inflation, and the budget to fund some firm way of handling class size and composition, this whole strike wasn't about economics.
The current teachers federation vs. government struggle is more than a labour dispute. For those who look closely, what's revealed is a style of government that appears to disregard facts, deceive the public, tarnish the reputation of teachers, all in a move to pit the people against teachers and their legal right to due process under the law. Government's disdain for trained professionals in order to gain a political advantage is deplorable. No government should hide the truth of its past misconduct. No government should balance the budget at the expense of teachers and kids.
I sacrificed myself, along with my army buddies, to help children in other countries to attend school, but what can I do in my own country to get children back in school in B.C. Madam Premier, this is our province. Not just mine and definitely not just yours. This province is not just yours to destroy the rights and freedoms of the people.
When we have eight or more students in a class who have various levels of learning difficulties or special needs and there is only one education assistant to help, we are being asked in effect to either perform a miracle, or to play God and decide who gets the help and who does not. We cannot do this. We cannot perform those miracles.
The two eldest, going into Grades 3 and 6 are outright depressed. They know what they are missing (friends, fun and a fresh start to the year) and instead they have Mom, Dad and a list of educational websites hastily tossed together and thrown at them. This is what happens when ill-prepared adults with no teaching credentials are forced to use their mediocre skills to attempt to educate our kids.