The teachers have been lying to us. For years. They've been covering it up. Papering over underfunding and mismanaged fiscal priorities with brightly coloured posters and sparkly stickers. Concealing an impoverished system by buying the damn supplies themselves. Without receiving so much as a tax break on those purchases.
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.
We had such high hopes.
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.
If you pay attention to all the ruckus about massages, you may miss the fact that teachers are being asked to give up their Charter rights in exchange for a promise of better learning conditions for students. No amount of massaging a political message can detract from that fact.
Today I'm writing to you about what you've said in response to the breakdown in talks to end the teachers' strike. You said that you want a negotiated deal that taxpayers can afford. This has left me with a lot of questions.
B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender has asked the teachers to stop striking now, please. 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.
As a therapist, I specialize in assisting families through separation and divorce, and this entire impasse has reminded me of the dynamics that exist between high conflict parents when they are separating. In the case of a high conflict divorce, the collateral damage is always the children.
My son is in Grade 12 and my daughter is in Grade 2. With the current obscure fate of negotiations, I am anxious not only about my son's future but also about that of all other Grade 12 students in B.C. whose achievements are greatly indebted to the amazing work of their teachers.
What if we looked at the whole concept of benefits in a different way. Who actually benefits when we support students whose brains work differently? We are going to need out-of-the-box kinds of thinking that students with special needs do naturally, all the time. We need special solutions to the special challenges we all face.
The industry needs productive, safe, and enabling parameters to work within, and British Columbians deserve to rest assured that our business leaders and elected representatives are engineering those limits properly -- with a foundation much stronger than that of the Mount Polley tailings pond.
Nearly half of Imperial Metal's donations were made after Christy Clark was sworn in as premier, while $45,720 of Mount Polley's donations came via six separate cheques issued in one week alone in March 2013. Guess bank charges weren't an issue for the company.
Income disparity also means that working and living in the same place is a luxury few of us can afford -- not just in third world countries, but in small Canadian rural communities as well. Ironically, our stronger economy is also leading to a weaker society. We can't be there for one another as much as we once were. We're too busy making money.
Frankly, I don't care if the president would drink a glass of that water. I care if he would let his family drink that water. Wash in it. Use it to water livestock, or his garden. His statements did nothing but give fodder for a new meme: Almost Drinkable.
I'm not a politician but you may want to re-think your strategy with the teachers. Something happened when you locked them out of their classrooms in June. There was lots more conversation -- mostly about you and what your real agenda is when it comes to public education. Teachers shared information and experiences and built up relationships that had not existed before.