Letters: Fed up with all sides in labour dispute

To all involved, get back to the table and be serious about doing something to improve education.

An open letter to the government of BC, BCTF, and BCPSEA,

This won’t be news to you. The system is broken. As a parent of five children who are currently part of the public education system in some way, I know first-hand it is an imperfect system of education. And I believe that the bargaining tactics on both sides are ridiculous. I understand that there are always two sides to every issue. I know money has to come from somewhere and no matter what we do, we have limitations on that. I understand many of the classroom issues that exist. They were there when I was in school. I have seen both of my parents struggle as teachers in this system to deal with these many issues and try to support the children in their classrooms. I have experienced the frustrations as a parent dealing with the inadequacies that exist.

My two oldest children are in high school and one is graduating this year. In fact, tonight is convocation. I expect that will be run by administration, just as awards night was because the teachers aren’t allowed to. Some of the teachers would love to do it and whether you blame it on the union or the government it’s all the same. The kids are the ones truly suffering. Having a few activities cancelled and other things changed have been a minor inconvenience, but last night when I heard that there would be a third strike day and vote on a full scale walkout, I felt I had reached my limit. My oldest is 18 and wants to finish high school and move onto other things. Jeopardizing his exams and preparation time goes over the line! And if you think a tantrum like this goes over well with me, you’ve got to be joking. I know tantrums when I see one. I have five spirited children and this is classic. Grow up!

When are we going to get people sitting down and really trying to do something to solve the problems? Pouring in more money is never the full answer. Why don’t we consider looking at places where they are having success? Let’s get educated on what could actually make a difference. During my children’s time in the public system, we have experienced at least three strikes in some form. None of them have made a difference. Both cuts and more funding, none of that makes a difference. Some real serious change is necessary.

And to the union, if you think that punishing children and parents until they start complaining is going to give you a voice, maybe some people will back you, but there are a lot of parents who don’t! We are annoyed, frustrated and think you are playing nasty. And don’t be surprised by more parents pulling their kids out to go to private schools or homeschool because you know what? They are tired of garbage like this and want something that works for their children. But just maybe that will solve the problem. If you lose enough students, the government could afford those pay raises you want and there might be smaller classrooms. Oh, but wait, all those extra teachers we won’t need are going to get laid off and then they aren’t going to be too happy with you either.

So, to all involved, get back to the table and be serious about doing something to improve education. Be open to new ideas instead of insanely sticking to what has always been done before. Please be willing to help our children gain an education that they deserve.

Colleen Porteous,