The events of the past four months or so have certainly shaken confidence in the education system and the mechanics in place to ensure students receive a quality education in our province.
As a teacher, I’m constantly frustrated that various media stories must, by necessity, focus on specific elements of the issue and therefore most stories tend to miss many of the important facts.
The more I read from the general public, I’m realize that the majority of people are not aware of all the issues at play.
First off, this battle is really one that should be waged by our school trustees and parents. Instead, after years of erosion in the system, teachers have been forced to the front lines. Only recently have parents and trustees realized that they, too, need to be at the forefront of this battle.
Secondly, this is not a battle over wages and benefits. Well, not the way “benefits” would normally be classified. The government views any demands for funding the system as teacher “benefits.” In other words, Johnny’s one-on-one time with a special needs teacher qualifies as a “benefit” to me. Not sure how this makes sense.
Lastly, composition issues have been an issue for over 15 years.
Teachers have made concessions in the past to ensure composition language in our contracts, and the government of the day has illegally stripped this language. Any current proposal from the government to end the present strike includes language that would negate any court rulings that the Supreme Court of appeal may dictate. Why would teachers negotiate away things the courts have ruled in their favour?
Please, be informed. And recognize that your government is spending your tax dollars doing everything it can (fighting court cases, providing day care, etc) to avoid investing in public education.