As a teacher, a parent and a grandparent myself, I find myself in a no-win situation.
In order to fight for my students’ right to a quality education, both now and in years to come, I have to walk a picket line instead of teach them.
There is no question that the current strike is stressful for teachers, students and their parents. I want to be in my classroom, finishing off the year and sending my students into their summer holidays on a high note.
But the results of this strike have important implications. It may determine what services, if any, will be available in the future to support special needs students, struggling students, students with speech and language challenges, or students who are dealing with emotional stresses.
What do we, as a society, believe about education? Is it an essential factor in building a strong democracy? I believe it is. Education is the great equalizer.
Our system serves the wealthy, the middle-class and the economically struggling. But whereas children from wealthy and middle-class homes have parents who can pay for extra services as these services disappear from our public schools, children from struggling families don’t.
If a quality education is a democratic right, it also has to be a priority. And it needs to be public, not private education, in order to serve the needs of every child.
Over the past decade, a great deal of money has been siphoned out of public education funding.
It’s time to start putting it back, and make the educating of future British Columbians a greater priority than giving tax breaks to corporations.
Lynn Lang, Abbotsford