The government is continuing to refuse to bargain in good faith with the teachers of this province. Over the past 10 years, this government has torn up contracts that have been bargained in good faith by the teachers of this province. They have also refused to honour segments of recent contracts related to class size and special needs students. They have systematically underfunded education to the point where fundraising by teachers and PACs are the norm. The result has been that B.C. teachers, once the best paid in Canada, have slipped to ninth and that doesn’t even address the pathetic conditions that many teachers work in.
I have always felt that if you want the best out of your employees then you treat them fairly and with respect. More often than not, this good faith will be reciprocated and they will be more willing to go that extra mile for you. In this fashion everyone wins — students, teachers, parents and the public education system as a whole.
All I do know is that our government should be supporting and championing our education system in order for it to be the best it can be. Creating frustrated and embittered teachers is doing exactly the opposite.
The teachers of this province need the support of the public and I am saddened but not surprised that a sizable segment of the public support the government’s position. I tend to believe that they don’t really know the truth of the situation endured by the teachers of this province and, rather than taking the time to inform themselves, they would rather point fingers. The vast majority of teachers are hard-working and care deeply about their students. Personally, I don’t think any union gains by protecting poor workers. But this is something that can be remedied, but first we need a government that is willing to treat teachers fairly and work with them rather than against them.
Doug Sheffield, retired teacher