B.C. Liberals ‘bankrupt of concrete ideas’

Dear editor,
On Oct. 3, Christy Clark opened the legislature after a long break and declared the agenda for her government in the Throne Speech. Despite some vague statements, this speech offered little for the public education system.

Dear editor,On Oct. 3, Christy Clark opened the legislature after a long break and declared the agenda for her government in the Throne Speech. Despite some vague statements, this speech offered little for the public education system.While on the one hand praising teachers and stating that the province is fortunate to have thousands of dedicated teachers throughout our K-12 system, she then implied that teachers were using outdated pedagogy and needed to improve their skills to help students meet the demands of the 21st century.There was no mention made of the downloading of costs to local school boards and the 10 years of chronic underfunding of public education that have been a mainstay of Liberal government policy since 2001.There was also no mention of the Supreme Court ruling from last April which declared Bills 27 and 28 unconstitutional — the legislation that Christy Clark in her role as Education Minister said would provide parents with more “choice and flexibility.”The recent uproar from parents at Royston Elementary illustrated just how empty these promises can be when it comes to organizing classes under Clark’s regulations. These bills stripped teachers’ contracts of locally bargained class size and composition language that had been working successfully for years, and now the judge has given the government one year to address the issue.One can only hope that the Liberals are not going to try to defy the courts when it comes to redress for this issue that impacts all children in the province.Teachers believe that the Supreme Court ruling means that the class language that was illegally stripped should now be returned to their contracts, as this guaranteed universal access and equitability for all children and violations were dealt with through a transparent and enforceable dispute resolution mechanism. While it was encouraging to hear the government state the importance of public education for students and for the future prosperity of the province, it was disappointing to see that the Liberals are bankrupt of concrete ideas on how to make this happen.     Steve StanleyEditor’s note: Steve Stanley is the president of the Courtenay and district Teachers’ association, a branch of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.