Letter: Teachers not ‘the bad guys’

The government has purposely confused the issues by calling the extra SEAs teachers’ are asking for a ‘benefit,’ reader says.

I’m hoping this letter is irrelevant because a settlement will have been reached by the time it gets printed (if it does get printed), but I must respond to the biases this paper has revealed in its latest reporting of the teacher labour dispute. First, the front page presented an article regarding education minister Mr. Fassbender’s proposal for a two week cooling off period so schools can start up as scheduled (Ready enters talks as BCTF mulls strike truce). The article then goes on to imply that the teacher’s are irrational for not taking class size and composition off the table so bargaining can progress. This is offensive because it’s as if Mr. Fassbender had written the article himself, making teachers look like ‘the bad guys’. To make matters worse, the article continues to cite B.C School Trustees Association president, Teresa Rezansoff, who claims the BCTF’s demands are too far out of the ‘affordability zone’ to make bargaining effective – again taking a page right out of Mr. Fassbender’s book of propaganda. The government has purposely and effectively confused the issues by calling the extra SEAs teachers’ are asking for to address class composition issues a teacher ‘benefit’, making the teachers appear greedy. It’s unfortunate Ms Rezansoff has fallen for this Liberal spin of the facts. Besides, the ‘affordability zone’ is a false concept because the government has saved literally hundreds of millions of dollars over the last twelve years since Christy Clark illegally stripped the teacher’s contract of its class size and composition language, not to mention the millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money wasted over the past decade on court costs and now the new government website trying to convince the public of the great B.C. education system and taking $40/day/child away from the education system to bribe parents shows that money is there if this government would simply apply it to correct priorities such as public education.

It’s difficult to play a game when one’s opponent consistently breaks the rules. Wednesday’s meeting between Jim Iker and Peter Fassbender was once again nothing more than a publicity stunt by Mr. Fassbender, despite the fact that both parties had agreed before negotiations began to not address the media. Mr. Fassbender had a press release prepared for the media prior to this meeting, whereas Mr. Iker has been attempting to maintain the agreed upon protocol. For this paper to print Mr. Fassbender’s and Ms Rezansoff’s statements without acknowledging the teachers’ perspective is biased journalism and gives the impression that the Liberal government controls this medium.

Finally, Mr. Fassbender’s proposal for a cooling off period is asinine because the government refused to negotiate all summer, meaning there has already been over two months of ‘cooling off’. Why didn’t the government make every effort to settle the contract then? How in the world could teachers possibly trust the government to all of a sudden start negotiating if they go back to work when the government could simply say, “Oh the teachers are back in the schools, so there is no need to start bargaining again.”

This paper needs to start using common sense and report on all sides of the issues and stop pushing one particular party’s agenda, in this case, the Liberal government’s agenda to privatize public education.

Glen Sallenbach

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