Editor: On Thursday, Feb. 9, the education minister came to Surrey to announce that he is appointing a fact finder to see if there is room for a negotiated settlement. Otherwise, teachers will be legislated back as our present job action has disrupted learning or something to that effect.
Firstly, teachers are teaching, kids are learning and parents are being reported to. “Disrupt” means doing absolutely nothing extracurricular or a full out strike, which is not what is happening right now.
Secondly, what facts is he looking to find when they are out there on the table for all to see? According to Keith Baldrey on Voice of BC, his move is a tactic to pressure teachers or a heads-up to upcoming legislation.
The minister told protesting Surrey teachers he was unwilling to move from net zero. So why bother with a fact finder? What else is left to negotiate? Why did so many other public workers get increases and will get more as the new mandate comes into effect?
We did not have chance to ask this, as the minister was already late for students after giving a press conference which teachers were not aware of or invited to.
A bully takes something away and then says you can have this back if you give me this other thing and this other thing and when he gives back what he took, it is broken. If you protest, he threatens you. Bottom line, the victim loses either way. A mediator makes sure everyone meets halfway. Sadly, one has not been appointed.
Finally, ads on the New Education Plan are running, using taxpayers’ money. More than $500 million will be spent on mandated professional development, on more special education assistants and not on teachers.
I suspect that money will also be spent on million dollar software programs, computers, and iPads that will “personalize” learning. This plan is without any input or choice from teachers.
Again, when asked, the minister agreed there is money for his plan. So it seems the government wants to save money by taking away teacher rights, downsizing, and plucking further from our measly benefits.
Will this improve education? How is this justified and why is there no money being put back to rectify what was illegally stripped from our contract in 2002, as the courts ordered?
Does the minister think that in this climate, teachers will enthusiastically embrace anything new coming from the ministry? Teachers must be shown some respect with a negotiated settlement. Anything less is going to create an unhealthy climate, and nobody will be the winner.