BCTF and government negotiations remain under media blackout

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BCTF and government negotiations remain under media blackout

Little more than two weeks before classes are slated to resume at public schools across the province, the status of contract talks remains under a media blackout.

Hope was renewed last week when veteran mediator Vince Ready made himself available to facilitate labour peace between the BC Teachers Federation and the provincial government’s bargaining team.

While progress has been made negotiating wages, the key issue remains class size and composition.

The first day of school for most districts is September 2nd.

As the clock ticks down to see if the school year will start in September, the head of the BC Parent Advisory Council says it’s time for teachers and the province to sort it out.

“They’ve got the referee in place. Go play the game behind closed doors. We don’t want to watch it.”

Nicole Makohoniuk says, they don’t want to hear  how much the teachers want or the province offering cash to cover child care -  they want kids in school.

“It’s going to get louder from parents and parents are going to be leaving. We’ve heard this loud and clear that some parents are looking at home schooling. Some parents are looking at private school and I’ve actually gotten an email from one parent who says they’re leaving. They are moving to Alberta. They are done.”

Talks started again more than a week ago.

Mediator Vince Ready is monitoring these talks.

There is now a full media blackout.


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  1. Rumour has it that the BCTF wants to take class size and class composition off the table and wait for the Supreme Court’s decision in mid October on those issues. The problem with that, is that this Government needs BCTF to completely give up on improving learning conditions in the classroom, as it costs too much money to run a proper public education system for this Province.
    The Libs are definitely winning the GAME; as parents are looking into home schooling and private schools for their kids. If Libs can starve teachers out and get them to sign off on the class size/class composition, Trixie Clark will be the undisputed champion of this war.
    The list of losers include Teachers, Parents and Students,… no big deal.

    • Corman, while I agree with some of what you say, but not everyone can homeschool or afford to place their children in private school. As well, there simply is not room / facilities in private schools to accommodate everyone. If this thing drags along through September, not sure anyone, including the Premier, wins!

  2. Children will be the big winners if they end up being home schooled or sent to independent schools. They less influence the BCTF and provincial government has over our children’s world view, the better. It would be great to have a generation of independent thinkers.

  3. As far as the tactic of going back to work and negotiatine behind closed doors: it didn’t work for the 6 months before the teachers took a strike vote. What has changed at this point? Nothing. The government will stonewall indefinitely, while teachers listen to the government crying “affordability.”

    As far as home shooling: Homeschooling is where obsolete curricula go to die. My kid took 1 correspondence course. As a teacher, I knew what the up to date curricula was. I found the homeschooling course to be a pathetic excuse for an education.

    • Children can excel being homeschooled. It depends on the parent.

      Perhaps you should look who presents the course, whether at home or school, and that might have more of an impact on whether it’s pathetic or not.

      • Yes- the kids at Bountiful are schooled independently- Mr. Fassbender thought that was a great idea. Turned out great for those children.
        Unless parents have a widely diverse platform of learning, access to specialized teaching areas and equipment- good luck preparing your child for the 21st C post secondary world they are headed. How’s your pre-calculus, your physics, your Literature, Biology, Law and History? How well are you socialzing your children? What about parents of children with special needs or who are gifted?
        The privatization of education ultimately leads to a two-tiered system which favours the wealthy, disenfranchises and marginalized the lower and middle classes and those who are most needing qualified teacher support.
        Letters of recommendation from Mom and Dad don’t really cut it out there today.I suppose you just think that the federal government will stand by and watch as the BC Liberals dismantle a free public education system? Yes- the Supreme Court will have a field day with that one- again.
        I suppose next we will be shutting down the hospitals and people in BC can do home-surgery too. Maybe the Liberals could give you another $40 a day?

        • You’re seriously linking the discussion of home schooling with polygamy?

          And what about parents with special needs kids (gifted is deemed special needs by the province and by the BCTF)? One of the BCTF main points is they can’t teach special neeeds kids, certainly they would support home schooling.

          And keep in mind, even kids that go to public school are basically home schooled. If they don’t get support for learning at home they are not getting the education they need to succeed once they leave the public school system at grade 12.

        • It is the BCTF that has shut down the schools. No one else is to blame but the Teachers.
          It totally amazes me how people can make the leap between the Teachers going on Strike, and then say the Government shut down the schools.
          How are they dismantling the system? By not giving into the Teachers demands. What demands do the Teachers have to make the system better for the Students? Another great leap. Especially when all area of our system has improved dramatically since 2001.
          Perhaps you can explain why the Taxpayers should go back to a system that was performing worse than now, and spend over $2 Billion $ to do it?

  4. I hope it stays in total media blackout. Though, sadly, the Liberals always seem to find a way to get their “message” out. Either their friends, under the guise of an “interested” party (BCCPAC aka Liberal member John Puddifoot) or another Ministry, will leak their talking points.

      • They have also released their demands to the Media, prior to giving them to their employer. In most situations the Government is only responding to the BCTF leaks.
        Bob, I find Mr Puttifoot to be a very factual poster. He backs up his statements with facts. What an underhanded shot, but considering the source!

        • I don’t recall anything released to the media about the BCTF demanding 50% control of the hiring and placement of new teachers (225 million fund)? I don’t recall the BCTF proclaiming to the media that they are demanding a 3 hour reduction for elementary school teachers instructional time.

          I must have missed a number of media briefings by the BCTF.

  5. The private sector aspect is quite interesting. I wonder how many in the general public realize that we (the tax payers) pay approximately 50% of the costs for private school. I wonder what percentage of our provincial population could afford private schooling. I’m willing to bet its a very small percentage.

    Why hasn’t anyone suggested that its time to fund public education with all the money collected for education, not redirect a large sum to the private system.

    Oh, wait, I forgot….the premiers son is in private school, silly me.

    • Well a lot of parents who have their kids go to private school don’t mind paying taxes towards private schools either. These same parents are also paying the same taxes for public schools even though they’re not using it so it goes both ways. At least as a parent, you don’t have to worry useless gravy train unions striking every two years at a private school. Something worth investing in.

      • Actually its an unequal balance Sammy. I have no issue with anyone wanting to send there children to private school.
        We all pay a specific amount of tax for education, nursing, etc.

        My point is that if you wish to go private, and therefore go outside the public domain then pay for it all, not by using public sector funds.

        If you look at the annual amount thats directed towards private sector education it works out to be the close to what the government saves annually since they tore up the teachers contract back in 2002.

        Regardless of your opinion towards teachers, our government has been found guilty on two separate occasions by the supreme court that their actions were illegal. Yet they are permitted to appeal again.