EDITORIAL: Essential service, or not?

Enough! Students in the B.C. public education system need to be back in their classrooms forthwith.

Enough!

Students in the B.C. public education system need to be back in their classrooms forthwith.

The teachers’ strike caused youngsters to lose their final weeks of school earlier this year, and now the start of the new school year is into its second week of delay, with no end in sight.

Exactly when does the “essential service” designation given to teachers come into play?

Half a million students in this province are seeing major disruption to their education, and that’s not acceptable.

Among them are students in their Grade 12 year, and this prolonged delay has the potential to cause irreparable harm to scholarships and university entrance endeavours.

The BC Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government are playing brinkmanship, with students paying the ultimate price.

Arbritration is not the answer. The government must be in control of public education costs and conditions, and an arbitrator could potentially make a decision that severely limits both for the long-term, and prior to critical court appeals that could significantly change this landscape.

Coming to a settlement otherwise seems unlikely in the next few days, and kids need to be at their desks now.

If the government is not willing to legislate teachers back to work, then it has to apply supreme pressure for essential services enforcement.

Once kids are back in the learning curve, the two sides (perhaps combatants would be a more appropriate term at this point) can resume negotiations as long as it takes to reach a deal.

If it’s all about the kids, let’s see some action reflecting that.