Chilliwack student discusses teacher strike with MLA

Grade 12 student Mikayla Adams-Pastoor sought out Chilliwack MLA John Martin for answers regarding ongoing teacher-government conflict.

Mikayla Adams-Pastoor

A Grade 12 student seeking clarity from her local MLA on the teacher-government conflict says she’s more confused now than she was before.

Mikayla Adams-Pastoor, a Grade 12 student at Sardis secondary, made an appointment with Chilliwack MLA John Martin last week. She wanted to know why her education was continuously being compromised with labour strife; why she can’t get help from teachers outside of class time; why the government has money for smart meters and a state-of-the-art roof at B.C. Place Stadium, but not for her education.

“I thought I might be able to get clarification and answers to the questions I had,” she said on Tuesday prior to the teachers’ union issuing full-strike notice.

After learning about local politics, specifically MLAs, in a recent social studies class, Pastoor-Adams came up with the idea of approaching Martin about her concerns over the labour strife.

The meeting, which the high school student estimated to have lasted an hour, was set up a week in advance.

Pastoor-Adams took that time to research the issue, reviewing websites, studying statistics, getting clear on the issues she wanted to better understand.

She doesn’t, however, believe Martin did the same.

“I spent a lot of time on the questions I had for him and I have no more understanding of the situation now than I did before,” she said.

“I figured, since he represents us, he would actually have answers to give when people have questions.”

Pastoor-Adams questions ranged from both well researched to somewhat tinged with teenage naiveté.

Some included:

There has been a drop of about 21.3 per cent in specialty teachers since 2001-02, what will I do when I need counseling in school, or when a friend fails their classes because they can’t get learning assistance?

If teachers are paid better, students would have higher quality of teachers…

Why does the government think it’s okay to mess up our graduation?

Pastoor-Adams doesn’t consider herself political, she had just hoped her final year in school wouldn’t have been clouded by labour strife.

“There’s a lot of tension between the government and teachers and it’s affected my schooling,” she said.

MLA Martin was not available for comment.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

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