UPDATED: Day 1 of rotating teachers’ strikes begin in B.C.

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

A new poll suggests British Columbians are backing teachers in their contract dispute with the provincial government.

Angus Reid Global says 41 per-cent support the teachers, versus 30 per-cent backing the government’s position.

But 22 per-cent say they don’t support either side.

Meanwhile, among parents support for the union rises to 51 per-cent.

The online survey of 804 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 per-cent, 19 times out of 20.

The war of words between the BC Teachers Federation and the government continued on Day 1 of rotating walkouts.

Just hours before teachers hit the picket line this morning, the Education Minister put out a statement, saying it’s on the teachers hands that education is being disrupted and the government is not preventing teachers from extracurricular activities.

Union President Jim Iker says teachers have liability issues because they are not covered by WCB when volunteering.

“We also have to keep our members safe, in terms of the work that they do, including voluntary work.”

Bargaining continues today through Wednesday. Rotating strikes will continue through Thursday.

No word yet on further job action.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender says the government has no plans to legislate a contract with BC teachers as it has in the past.

But he says it’s up to the union to come to the bargaining table today with more realistic wage demands.

“We want the BCTF to come to the table with a wage response that is reasonable and within the zone of other public sector unions.  We expect them to come with something is affordable for taxpayers.”

The government has estimated the combined wage and benefit demands by the union amount to a 20 per-cent overall increase.

Meanwhile, teachers in Sooke are being told by their local union president not to engage in any extracurricular activities during the ongoing strike/lockout, and not to access any web site affiliated with the employer.

That last directive has Fassbender scratching his head.

“We live in a free and democratic society and I think everybody should be able to access any information that is readily available and I think it’s unfortunate that a directive comes from their leadership to say you shouldn’t access websites to get facts.”

Fassbender says it’s up to individual teachers to decide if they will follow the union’s order.

NDP leader John Horgan is blaming the provincial government for the ongoing labour dispute with teachers—and he’s singling out the Liberals’ chief negotiator.

Horgan says the strike and lockout are the latest chapter in a long sorry history he lays at the feet of the government.

“A child who started in grade 1 in 2002 has had 12 years of confusion as a result of this government’s policies.”

And Horgan says chief negotiator Peter Cameron’s confusing lock-out order has put everything from exams to grad ceremonies in doubt.

“It took five pages in a letter from the chief negotiator and I’m still not clear!”

Horgan calls Cameron cantankerous and vociferous, but stops short of calling for his replacement.

“I don’t think he’s doing us any favours.”

Meanwhile, after dealing with the teacher’s strike today  the Vancouver School Board will now try to figure out the confusing teacher’s partial lock out tomorrow.

Chair Patti Bacchus says confusion is king when it comes to potential impacts on report cards, provincial exams, WCB coverage, and field trips.

“We are still in a state of probably more questions than answers on a whole series of issues and my phone is ringing non-stop.”

Bacchus says the silver lining of beginning the week behind teacher’s picket lines is….time.

“This one day does give us a little bit of room to try and seek clarification and provide some certainty to our schools.”

Under a partial lock out teachers can’t arrive at school any earlier than 45 minutes prior or leave any later than 45 minutes after.

They also can’t interact with students on breaks or at lunch.

 

Comments

  1. Well Mr. Iker, if you had a brain and understood how things work… no one would be covered by WorkSafe while volunteering. Volunteer work is covered by liability insurance. Only people being paid to work are covered by WorkSafe.

    • @Kimberlly:

      Let’s accept that you are correct that a volunteer teacher is not eligible for health and injury benefits resulting from volunteer work.

      But since you have a brain and also understand how things work, you might consider the flip-side of volunteer work performed by a teacher who is not eligible for compensation benefits.

      IF an imminent hazard developed and caused injury/death to a volunteer teacher on school property developed, Worksafe would have no jurisdiction, interest or obligation or authority to be involved.

      Until the BCPSEA clarifies this confusing situation, teachers, under a lock-out decree may also be ineligible for protection from personal liability arising from performing volunteer work. Normally, it would be expected that volunteer teachers will be afforded such protection by school-board insurance policies.

      If it is determined that volunteer teachers are defined as “workers” just like fire brigades and ambulance personnel who provide services to a school board, with OR without pay, then WC benefits should be payable. See definition of “worker” under the ACT. So it is not as simplistic as it might appear.

      The BCTF has every right and responsibility to its membership to be concerned whether volunteer teachers will be protected against personal libility and are defined as a “worker” under the Workers Compensation Act.

      So it would be highly irresponsible on the part of the BCTF to encourage its members to perform volunteer work when locked out without adequate protection.

      • Any facility who has volunteers volunteering in their facilities has to have liability insurance. Therefore, the schools or districts have to have insurance for extra curricular activities. So, Mr. Iker should be taking this up with the School Districts not with the fiberals.

        • @Kimberly:

          Nothing in the legal lock out notice to the BCTF addresses the concerns of teachers with respect to workers compensation eligibility/insurance to cover injuru or death of a volunteer.

          Issuing an equally-confusing “Q & A document No. 2″ on top of a confusing “partial lockout Q & A document” does nothing more than continue to muddy the waters. Neither Q & Q document qualifies as a legal document and binds the BCPSEA to anything.

          What BCPSEA should have done and may have now done was to issue a “Further to…” letter addressed directly to Jim IKer.

          You appear to be confusing liability insurance intended to protect the school board from lawsuits arising from a school-sanctioned activity. Nothing in the 3 documents addresses whether that liabilitythat extends to relieving teachers from personal liability as a result of performing volunteer work in a lock-out.

          Since BCPSEA apparently wants teachers to volunteer, surely it is its responsibility to clarify the union concerns without being asked.

          And JIm Iker and the BCTF are the only ones who can indicate that those concerns have been resolved to their satisfaction. Not you or Dwight.

      • Insite, with respect, the BCPSEA has clarified that a number of times. They are covered by Liability Insurance, if they are not covered by Work Safe.
        Why do you continue to try to muddy the waters even more.

      • Insite: Personally, I don’t give a “rats behind”. All valid points, but no more game playing; I have totally lost any interest in the teacher’s position. They are very well paid for what they do and (to me) have become (generally but not all) just a bunch of greedy, entitled public employees. They have created my attitude toward them by their actions; constant whining and playing ‘poor boys’ and pretending they are doing this for the children. “Barnyard droppings”, their actions are self-serving; nothing more nothing less. If they were really concerned about the children, they would be concerned about the impact their cost of bureaucracy and wages and benefits are having on the average, tax paying family.

        As a taxpayer, I am way past tired of those ‘children of bachelors’ feeding at the public trough constantly looking for more, more, more (be they teachers, other snivel servants, politicians, those working for crown corporations or whatever). When are those living on OUR money going to understand the taxpayer simply can’t afford more of the spending; no matter how worthwhile the services they provide appear to be? When are they going to realize what they are doing to the many small and medium size businesses that are being severely impacted by mismanagement, waste, excessive taxation and union expectations? Just how much more of our economy do they expect to eat up with their ‘entitled’ attitudes?

        Enough already! Never mind increases, it’s time to start severely trimming the cost of bureaucracy (including teachers). I am not a fan of any of the major political parties in this province, but someone has to say it is time to draw ‘a line in the sand’ and simply say NO MORE! If our government won’t do it, them maybe the taxpayer has to somehow take action. We have to let them know we are no longer willing to have a gun put to our head by those living off OUR money!

        In regard to education, let’s enhance legitimate options to the public system and give the taxpayer the choice where they wish to spend their very hard-earned money; with a public or private system. It’s time to vote with our wallets.

        • Maybe you should be a better business man, and contribute more to the province, instead of being a lousy, bitter one, who has been struggling his whole life because he’s poor at what he does….Thats what I get tired of, unsuccesful public sector workers who have pissed their life away for pennies….Wake up…!! Its not the teachers fault, blame yourself…..!!!!

          • Any personal successes or failures I may have had in business I neither directly blame or attribute to teachers or any public employee.

            But you have a wonderful concept, let’s all be more successful so we can contribute more to the state. Man that attitude sure works well in the communist countries, doesn’t it? I think I have you pegged from that comment and using personal attacks on those with different ideas; it’s right out of Cloward and Piven. That is a very Progressive attitude.

            I’ll give you a clue about me, no matter what my personal life (successes and failures), I am far from bitter. Do I wish things had worked better in some of my ventures? Being a Christian, I learned to accept where God wants me to be and put my faith in Him.

            But I also hate the injustices created by those that wish to freeload on the hard work of others; that have an attitude of entitlement; that feel that others should work harder so that governments and their agents can confiscate more of their wealth; that place their personal responsibilities on others so they don’t have to do the heavy lifting; that don’t care how their actions impact others as long as “I’m alright Jack”; that feel they can use any words no matter how hateful in order to try to quell the opinion of others; that feel they can misspend the money of others and not be held accountable to those paying the bills; that are too stupid to understand when governments are killing the economy by their actions; that take glee in the destruction of the economy without realizing it not only hurts businesses but those freeloaders that depend on their successes.

            Just curious, am I getting close in any of these in your personal life? From you vehemence, are you the bitter one?

          • Dave, you must know BC Skulker from more than this post as he has said nothing that would lead any rational thinking person to conclude what you have concluded about him. And you are a teacher! Shame.

          • Now, Dave, your first sentence tells me what a “leach” you are. Telling someone else that they should work harder and contribute more to the Province. Seems odd to me that you think we should all work harder and contribute more so that Teachers can receive more pay and more time off. And at least if Skulker is a lousy business man it’s his own money he’s losing and not mine.

          • @BCSkulker
            How dare you suggest teachers “freeload on the hard work of others; . . . have an attitude of entitlement; . . .[and] feel that others should work harder so that governments and their agents can confiscate more of their wealth”. Teachers work as hard or harder than most people (the government’s claim that a teacher’s day is accepted as 9.1 hours according to E.I., is still a low ball figure), and such your comment shows your profound disrespect for the people charged with the care and education of your children. These are people expected to not only provide a safe and caring environment for your children, but also a lively and engaging environment in which they can become nurtured and develop into creative and critical thinkers that can participate a a modern democratic society and pursue whatever vocation they come to desire. Your portrayal of teachers as leeches desiring only to steal more of your “wealth” is distasteful. While it is true that teacher are public employees, and as such are paid by taxpayers, lets not forget that they are also providing a valuable public service, a service that was even deemed an “essential” service. So to suggest that they are “freeloaders” is incredibly disgraceful to anyone who has a child in the public schools.

        • You sure aren’t alone in that Skulker. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good or poor businessman, rich or poor, or contribute a lot or very little. Right is right.

        • @BC Shulker:

          When you’ve got Ron-26 on your side, you have my sympathies. Others would say that (pardon the metaphor) is the “kiss of death.” Good advice would be to take such support with a grain of salt..

          That was quite an emotional post. You must have had a very bad experience(s) sometime in your life.

          BTW, so have many others but they don’t necessarily see “bad” in everyone or everything.

          I don’t necessarily believe “in defining myself as the person I am because of my life-time experiences.”

          I am “the person I am in spite of my life-time experiences.”

          Good luck to you.

        • You don’t like it you can always move to a more business friendly province or jurisdiction. Before you blast back, keep in mind this is the type of mentality teachers and all public servants get from the hard done by tax payer (which also includes those same public servants).

      • All Iker had to do was pick up the phone, speak with the minister to get the clarification he was seeking. But that doesn’t fit with the MO of the BCTF. Why deal straight-up when you can use the media to scare students and parents – all in an attempt to garner sympathy? A pathetic act of a desperate union.

        • The spokesman for government, a professional negotiator…creates a lockout in BC education system…then talks about tweaking it. Who does that…get things right the first time. Know the consequences of your actions before you do it. A lockout means that you don’t do anything at your workplace. The purpose of this lockout is to deduct wages

        • @Don:

          Why would anyone pick up the phone when the lock out notice was made public in the first place? Practise what you preach? Tell that to the employer. A nd why are some telling Iker to contact the minister, the school board or Cameron? They should at least get on the same page.

          Actually, IMO. it would have been a clever strategy had Iker kept his mouth shut and told his members to observe the lockout notice strictly as written (sic). Some might question why Iker spoke out. But, Iker had the concerns of students at heart. He was the good guy.

          Remember Christy Clark offering to provide fracking tecnology to China to enable it to develop its own vast shale gas resources instead of buying BC LNG.

          So Iker may have made a similar tactical error by bailing out Cameron and the BCPSEA.

          On the other hand, imagine the resultant howls (on this site as well) had Iker kept his mouth shut. Iker would have blamed for NOT speaking out.

          It is so hard to keep some people happy-they are never satisfied.

        • Actually, in a labour dispute, a phone call is not enough, that is why BCPSEA did not simply call up Iker on the phone to inform him of the lockout in the first place. Both parties have a very strict set of guidelines to follow. BCPSEA is required to inform the union in writing of the lockout and what they are DIRECTING their employees to do or not do (the “DIRECTING” here is important because if a teacher fails to follow a “directive” of their employer then they can face discipline). This is why the FAQ documents that BCPSEA has since provided school districts and subsequently given to the BCTF, CANNOT be used, despite Cameron’s insistence that they can, to clarify these issues since they are not signed and are not on official letter head. Again, it is incumbent on the EMPLOYER to set the terms of the lockout, not the Union. Iker doesn’t have to do anything to clarify the terms of the lockout, they simply must inform their members and advise them of their legal rights and responsibilities. BCPSEA wants you to believe the union has to ask for the clarification, but it is they that must provide it in an official legal letter.

  2. Funny how government has to tell teachers…go ahead give us your time for free to make the schools run. Keep giving us your free time. ..as a reward we will deduct 10% of your wages as a thank you. If you want to lock out teachers…lock.them out….show the people of BC what schools would look like without the free labour.

    • Show me an employee in the private sector who does not do the extras and I will show you a person on a career track to nowhere!

      Dave, you sound like a 8:30am – 3:00pm teacher, so I think the system will survive without your free labour.

      • @Don:

        Thanks for recognizing that the one, who puts in the extra hours, is employed by the fast foods industry and is a TFW. No surprise there.

        Sorry you are wrong by implying teachers like Dave are 8:30 am -3:00 pm teachers.

        If that is the case, you have reinforced the notion that the lock-out notice was hammered and spliced together by a bunch of dummies. Note that I am not calling you names.

        So that was really stupid and utterly useless to order teachers not come to work more than 45 minutes before classes (meaning 07:45 am and to leave work before 45 minutes after classes (meaning 3:45 pm).

        To make a lockout effective, teachers could have been ordered to report to work from 9:00 am to !2:00 pm. Then think of the money the government could have saved which is what it was elected to do (one-half of teacher salaries-no small potatoes-could have been saved).

        Next thing you know, Cameron and his BCPSEA who cannot think striaght will be locking out teachers as soon as the school calander ends.

        That you didn’t see the flaw in your assertions, probably means you failed Math 4.

      • Don, in the private sector one does extra to advance ones own career….not to benefit anyone else. In schools doing extra for students doesn’t advance a teachers career, they do it for the benefit of someone else without expecting any advancement in thier careers.

  3. BCSkulker,I love how you say that attitude sure works well in the communist countries,Seems to work very well in BC these days with the largest Communist Country starting to swallow us up piece by piece .Then has your wonderful BC Liberals that has done a great disservice to the teachers twice and lost in a high court now fishing to get someone to fix it up for their incompetence and with all you Liberal supporters and teacher bashers along with union bashing, unless they are private and have not one Iota of power anymore and this free enterprise coalition that is giving away Canadian Jobs in the thousands and you bitch it is not enough! Driving the wage race to the bottom as long as you are looked after and it does not affect your bottom line, but for anyone else tough crap for them! That is the attitude of the free enterprise party supporters in BC, now that China is a great partner!

    • No matter what the subject Ken . . . you come up with the same Boiler Plate Nonsense . . . are you aware of the long list of “Demands” from the BCTF?
      Life in the Public Sector Unions goes on . . . as the Private Sector gets what their employers can AFFORD.
      Is the BCTF so detached from the Real World that they do not see what is going on today around the world? What about in Canada . . . where only 4 of the 10 provinces are productive. The province of Ontario is going down for the count . . . and Quebec is not far behind . . . but the teachers just Expect more . . .
      Listen to Michael C’s comment this morning, May 27, and see the long list of teacher demands, plus the FACT that the vast majority are working at the higher wage rates.
      Have spent 30 years listening to how unhappy the teachers are . . . why don’t they change careers if life is so bad in their chosen profession? Meanwhile . . . the taxpayer picks up their sweetheart pensions and other benefits.

  4. I moved to BC in January. It is sad that the public don’t show some respect for teachers as in other Canadian provinces. BC is about 10 years behind the United States in Education. Test scores should be falling in the next few years, and students will not be prepared for the job market. This province is a joke. My family will be moving back to a province that shows leadership and respect for it’s teachers.

    • “BC is about 10 years behind the United States in Education.”
      Absolute nonsense Tom . . . while Canadian education has been on a downward spiral for decades, we are 10 years behind the US . . . as we both march towards the perfect Indoctrinated Student.
      As you are new to the province . . . you may be unaware that this has gone on for decades . . . through THREE different governments, whether it was Social Credit, The NDP or the Liberals . . . the BCTF could get along with NO ONE !
      Who is responsible for the trends in Education today in the US and Canada? It all started with Dewey back in the day . . . up until the 70s and early 80s there was still some quality in the system . . . today not so much.
      Bet you came from Ontario . . . where the Teachers’ Union support was bought by the incompetent govt with 100s of millions of borrowed tax dollars . . .

  5. The issue of extra curricular activity is more complicated that even the issues about WCB and Liability coverage, which itself are enough to cause teachers to be concerned enough to cease such activity until the employer gives them assurances that they are and will be covered. There is clearly a distinct lack of understanding of how “volunteering” works with teachers, not only here but it seems at BCPSEA and in the Ministry of Education itself. It is not the same as other volunteer activities of private citizens such as your volunteer work at the local library or soup kitchen. A teacher is normally a paid employee of the school district and is treated as such the moment their feet “hit the pavement” at their worksite. When a teacher “volunteers” after school (outside instructional time) to coach a team, direct a fine arts performance, etc., what they are doing is really postponing doing all those other duties they are paid to do (marking, planning future lessons, contacting parents, meeting with resource teachers, photocopying, writing report cards, etc.) until after they are done the “voluntary” activity (this usually means taking this work home or working late hours). Therefore, a teacher that is “volunteering” to postpone this work is still considered a “paid employee” even though they are “volunteering” to coach, direct, etc. at the time, so they are covered by WCB as well as the employer’s liability insurance. However, if the employer has DIRECTED their employee to leave the worksite, as BCPSEA has DIRECTED teachers to do in the letter, and a teacher chooses to go back and volunteer, then they are NOT a paid employee at that time as they have been DIRECTED to vacate the site so the employer can deduct their pay. You can see why a teacher would be putting themselves at a serious risk by violating the directive and returning to the worksite to volunteer. The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal recently denied a claim for a teacher who was injured while playing in a staff vs. student soccer game at lunch time in the school gymnasium. They disallowed the claim on the basis that the soccer game was not part of the teacher’s employment. WCAT disallowed a similar claim last year when the injury occurred during a lunch time student vs. staff softball game. Evidence that the teacher was “encouraged to participate with students to foster good relations” did not carry sufficient weight with the tribunal to support the claim. Teachers are NOT being directed by their union not to participate, they are being made aware that if they choose to participate in recreational, exercise, or sports- related activities outside of instructional time, their WCB claim may not be accepted if they are injured. Fassbender and Cameron would like you to believe teachers have a choice here, but if you understood the reality of teaching , you would not be expecting anyone to put themselves in such a vulnerable position.

    However, there is an even more clear reason why teachers cannot continue to volunteer this time. In addition to the DIRECTIVE of the employer to vacate the site 45 minutes after the end of instructional time, the teachers have also be DIRECTED to “not to substitute any work in place of any and all of the above identified duties [including those duties conducted in the time covered by the lockout], regardless of where or when those substituted tasks are performed.” By DIRECTING teacher to NOT work sooner than 45 minutes before the start of the instructional day and to stop working 45 minutes after the instructional day, and by DIRECTING teachers to not substitute any other work for those duties covered by the lockout, the employer says they are, therefore, reducing the teacher’s hours of work and the number of duties they are doing so that they can justify rolling back their wages 10%. Since a teacher now only has only 45 minutes before school, and 45 minutes after school to do things like help students, prepare lessons, contact parents, etc, and since they are DIRECTED not to do this work at any other time, a teacher cannot volunteer their time, as they are already severely limited by the confines of the lock out to do all of the duties they are REQUIRED to still do (Teachers are still required to complete all usual evaluation of student work including year-end exams, submission of marks, and completion of report cards, as well as other year-end student reports). It begs the question then, when exactly does the employer expect this work to be done, if the teacher’s are volunteering their time after school but are expected to shorten their hours and duties so they can deduct their pay 10%. It is clear the employer wants the teachers to do all the work they normally do, but they want to be able to roll back their wages. I wonder how many of the people saying teachers are being unreasonable, would accept this from their employer?

    As for their “unreasonable” wage demands, it needs to be remembered that this government illegally and unconstitutionally stripped the class size and composition limits from teachers contracts twelve years ago (this was proven in the BC Supreme Court). The stripping of these limits directly impacted the teachers working conditions (as well as your children’s learning conditions). Many teachers have had their class sizes increased (more students means more assignments to mark, more classroom management issues to manage), and the number of students with special needs increased (every extra student with an Individualized Education Plan requires more work on the part of the teacher to plan for their individual needs in form of adaptations and or modifications of the lessons the other students are doing). Many specialist teachers (Learning Assistance, Resource, ESL, etc) were terminated when the caseload limits were stripped and those that kept their jobs had the caseloads increased 200 – 500% (some resource teachers went from 15 students max on their caseload to over 60). All of these increases in the teachers work load came without compensation (teacher did not receive more pay in exchange for this increase in their work load). How many of you members of the “private sector” would accept such a dramatic increase in your workload and hours of work without any increase in pay. Are you really expecting me to believe that you would not ask your boss for a raise? And even if you are really so willing to accept whatever your boss is offering you, do you really expect any one to believe that you do not think you deserve more? Come on. No one is going to believe that. Do not blame teachers for asking for a raise, they deserve one. The work they do is incredibly valuable. The future of our society and our economy depends on them.

    Teachers want a fair deal. that is all. They deserve more than they are asking for, but will accept less if the government stops demanding that they sign a contract agreeing to remove all those class size and composition limits that the Supreme Court of BC ruled were illegally stripped from their contract.

    • A fair deal has been offered and rejected by the BCTF. What the BCTF want is an unaffordable deal. The wage and class size composition demands equal $2.65 billion. The wage demands are 4x that of other public sector agreements, and it won’t stop with just this deal. Teachers will be back at the trough the next time looking for more.

      When you boil it all away, it is about the money – what teachers want and what taxpayers can afford. Everything else is just rhetoric to get at the dollars.

      • Have to check further , but I heard Ontario is attempting to cut back Teachers wages. Alberta has a 4 year deal with something like 3 zeros and a small % in 4th year. What does that tell you.
        Tells me they over paid their Teachers and are now scrambling to get out.
        Regardless we must pay our Public Sector by what B.C. can afford, not what some Union friendly Government in another Province pays. If you look at comparable careers with similar education in B.C. Teachers are well looked after.

        • “If you look at comparable careers with similar education in B.C. Teachers are well looked after.”

          How can you make that argument when I just finished pointing out that the government has illegally and unconstitutionally stripped the teacher’s contract in 2002 so that they could increase their work load and make their jobs more difficult to do (longer hours, more challenging classrooms, fewer specialists to help, etc) and never gave them anything in return? How can you say they are well looked after when the government has not given them a raise since 2010 and they will only being offered 1.5 % a year for years 2-6 in a 6 year deal? There is no increase in the first year (2013), a non retroactive increase of 1% upon ratification (let’s say that is in June 2014. That means since their last increase in 2010 to end of this 6 year deal in 2019, they are offering teachers less than 1% (0.72% for 2011-2019). In addition to this ridiculously low offer, they are demanding that teachers agree to the removal of the class size limits and staffing ratios for specialist teachers that they illegally stripped from the contract in 2002. You call this a fair deal?

          You may be right about the treatment of teachers in other provinces, but you just need to look south to find even worse treatment and see where the government would like us to go. If you really want a two tiered system with the children of the top 10% getting a good education in a well funded private school (did you know your tax dollars are currently funding private schools even though you yourself may not be able to afford to send your kids there?) while the rest of the children of the other 90% keep getting less and less (BC students currently receive $1000 less per student than the national average), then you just keep supporting the government’s chronic underfunding.

          Sorry, but you cannot use the the government’s argument of poverty. They created this “poverty” by stripping the teacher’s contract so they could increase class sizes and lay off teachers to save money to pay for a corporate tax cut that gave BC one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country. It is about choices. It is about what you value. If you value a strong public education system where every child, regardless of economic background, has an equal chance for a good education, then you find a way to fund the system which includes paying the people expected to teach the future leaders of the province a good wage that shows that we as taxpayers and clients value the work that they do. If you want that two tiered system then I guess you keep allowing teachers’ salaries to fail to keep up with inflation, continue to download rising fuel costs, seismic upgrades, even wage increases to the school districts so they have less and less resources to put in your children’s classroom, and make the job of the teacher so difficult that many cannot meet the educational needs of your children and either give up and leave the profession (many teachers quit within the first 4 years) or they remain but become bitter and disillusioned about how poorly they are valued. I am beginning to guess which you desire.

          • Oh yeah, and they keep finding more and more money to fund the private schools (government funding of “private” schools has increased more over the last 10 years than funding for public schools). Why can they always find more money for those so-called private schools, but not find more money for public schools? It is about choices.

  6. @Dwight: Been out all day and have noted that you’re really showing your colours. What happened to the knowledgeable LR expert?

    Several year ago when the Liberals increased the MLA salaries (endorsed by the Opposition NDP), a study, made of the salaries paid to their provincial counterparts, found that BC MLA’s were in the middle of the pack. That justified the salaries increases to MLAs (up to 50 percent for the premier of the day) but obviously, teachers do not deserve equal consideration.

    But using your selective analogy, our MLA’s are overpaid and their salaries should be rolled back.

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