Wages v. students
First of all, congratulations to recent letter writer Leonard Melman on a thoughtful letter pointing out the frightening economics of the BCTF proposals.
Consideration of the economics of the BCTF position has been conspicuous by its absence from all the arguments, whether pro or con, that have figured in most public discussion of the issue to date.
My slant on the issue is a slightly different one. In my view, education is not a social cost. It is an investment in our future and a form of expenditure superior to most other provincial government expenditures. That aspect of the dispute is ill-served by the BCTF linking issues of class size, composition and staff support with teachers’ remuneration.
By joining them as they do, one is led to the inescapable conclusion that the BCTF is cynically using the students as cannon-fodder for their wage demands. When you also consider that the BCTF will resist any effort to weed out the deadwood in the teachers ranks, their claim that they have the students’ interests at heart is completely unbelievable. They suffer from the “deformation professionelle” to which all labour unions are subject, that is, they eventually exist for themselves first, and for their memberships second.
If the BCTF really cares for our education system, they should separate wage bargaining altogether. Any views they have on progressive development of the provincial education system should be conveyed to the provincial government in another forum. By all means make the teachers’ views on the subject known (preferably directly, not filtered by the BCTF). I am sure the vast majority of them are dedicated professionals who dislike the current situation even more than the students, or the general public do.