Letters: Local trustees ‘abdicating’ their role

Trustees, you are in charge of SD 33 not the provincial government, letter writer says.

After reading Katie Bartel’s recent story about the fraudulent report cards that teachers are being forced to “okay.” I feel it is time to ask the SD 33 “leaders” to end their silence. (Teachers call report card plan ‘unethical’, Progress, June 25.) To the Chilliwack school district trustees, superintendent, and administrators I ask;

When the Supreme Court justice found, for the second time, that the BC Liberal government was violating our teachers rights you said nothing. You did nothing. When the government told teachers they were locked out at lunch, for 45 minutes before school and for 45 minutes after school you did nothing. You said nothing. When the same government used this “partial” lockout as a way to dock teachers’ pay by 10 per cent, you did nothing. You said nothing. During this assault on teachers’ rights and education as a whole, the administrators have kept quiet and did not see their pay cut by 10 per cent. When the government then told teachers that despite the lockout, and the pay cut, they should still be doing all the volunteer work they do for no pay, you remained silent and implemented the pay cut. Then, the kicker, when the LRB insisted high school teachers sign off on inaccurate, and in many cases likely false, grades, you did nothing. You said nothing.  Why the silence? Need I remind you that you work for Chilliwack school district, and by extension the community, not the Liberal government?

Trustees, you are in charge of SD 33 not the provincial government.  The trustees are responsible for the improvement of student achievement in the school district. With your silence you are complicit in the decline of specialist teachers in this district. With your silence you are saying it is okay for the government to violate teachers’ constitutional rights. With your silence you are saying it is not a problem to take away teachers’ pay and demand they do the same amount of work. With your silence you are all contradicting what each and every one of you said during election time – that you would stand up and speak up for public education. I am not suggesting you have to agree with the teachers’ bargaining position. I am stating that you have been far too silent for far too long on the government cuts, the denigration of teachers as a profession, the violation of rights, the government ads that misrepresent the teachers’ position. You are supposed to be the local voice of education in this community. Yet you are silent. If you agree with the government, say so. If you disagree, say so. If it is somewhere in between and you have a different take on the current crisis, say so. It is not just this past few weeks but the months and months that this has dragged on. In your silence you have abdicated any leadership role you claim to have. You have abdicated your roles as the community’s voice in public education. You have simply stood by, mute, silent, during the largest education crisis in British Columbia in this century. I am assuming none of you will be seeking re-election as all you could promise us is your silence in the face of adversity.


John-Henry Harter