I have been a teacher, presently on call, in British Columbia, long enough to know our public education system is rapidly eroding.
Sad news was received today, that our government feels teachers should settle, as CUPE has, without addressing class size, nor composition. Along with this news, we already know there will be many layoffs, throughout the province, as school boards are underfunded, and cannot meet the needs of those in the public school system. There has been a freeze on operating grants, for the third year in a row, and no new funding has been provided to cover inflation, MSP premium hikes, BC Hydro rates, and other costs.
Teachers have not had a salary increase in sometime, as we have put our students’ needs first, and bargained for effective class size, and composition, in lieu of. Unfortunately, the Liberals have stripped those conditions from our contract. Along with closing schools, and dismissing many specialist teachers over the last decade, the government tore up our contract, guaranteeing class size, and composition. Had we chosen wages, over the classroom, would they have clawed back our earnings? Supreme Court has ruled our contract legal, and binding, and our government has chosen to disobey the law. The government is now spending thousands of dollars appealing the Supreme Court decision, and paying the BCTF a hefty fine. I have a feeling all that money could be much better spent.
The public education system will continue to erode, if teachers don’t speak up.
School districts were responsible for the last pay raise for CUPE members, and are now expected to pay half of any seismic upgrade to a school.
With school boards not able to run deficits, you can likely imagine what more will be cut from your children’s or grandchildren’s education. What kind of government would devalue public education, in such manner? Unfortunately, the Liberal government has chosen to do so, and all society will be unfortunately affected. Ask yourself what you want for the children of British Columbia.