Students and teachers are back in the classroom, and hopefully this will be a better year in the public school system than 2011-12.
One of the most disappointing things about the past school year was a work-to-rule campaign by teachers, who were upset that they were getting nowhere in negotiations with the provincial government over a new contract.
While their frustration was understandable, the length of the job action and the effect on students and families was disturbing. Many youngsters saw their team sports nixed, and drama, theatre and other events cancelled. Parents had to make an extra effort to monitor their children’s academic process, because report cards were not issued.
Thankfully, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the provincial education bargaining authority reached an agreement over the summer months, and it appears there will be no job action this year. The BCTF is still angry with the government and will be working toward its defeat, as is its right, but there is a contract in place. Whether a new government, should one be elected, will come up with a more favourable deal for teachers remains to be seen.
There should be report cards and proper consultation with parents this school year, and that is to the benefit of everyone — teachers, students and parents.
Education has never been as important as it is today. The ability of young people to live independent lives as adults is directly related to a good education, and the school system is a key part of that.
Here’s hoping for a successful school year.
– Black Press