The BC Liberal government cites declining enrollment for both schools closures and constant cuts to overall funding. They blame school boards for mismanaging their money, constantly insisting they just need to cut the low hanging fruit. They blame teachers for asking for too much with their salaries and class size demands, despite the fact that we have some of the lowest paid teachers and highest class sizes in Canada.
B.C.'s Charter for Public Education is a public owned document, which stands as a testament to everything we as a community want and expect from our public school system. It is a document long forgotten somewhere between the never ending war against our public schools, funding cuts and dragged out court cases.
Personalized learning will mean that more often than not your child will be interacting with his/her personal computer while completing courses online. It makes so much sense to try to sell this doublespeak version of "personalized" to parents. It's so much cheaper to buy a new computer than to pay a teacher's salary year after year.
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.