Teachers are important and necessary people for the future of our children and society in general but what they are asking for is what everyone wants; more pay , less work. The demand for smaller classes and more teaching assistants is really a demand for less work. The average British Colombian has averaged a wage increase of .8% over the last few years and teachers have averaged 2.5% (The Fraser Institute). There is no shortage of teachers at present with three unemployed teachers for every job opening and the universities are churning out more teachers in a time of decreasing student numbers. If a few were to move to the frozen northern wastelands for higher salaries it would not hurt the supply. Many other professionals also make less money in BC than in Alberta or the Territories because BC is perceived to be a better place to live.
I see the move to increased numbers in private schools as incredibly efficient, they receive 50% of what a regular school does from the tax payer and, as a bonus, they buy the land and build the schools for free. I believe that the teachers trade union opposes private schools because they lose their monopoly and the bargaining power that goes with it. A relatively small increase in the amount paid to the private schools would increase their number as more parents opt for control over their children’s futures as prices come down.
If the teachers are starving perhaps a pay increase could be granted with a corresponding increase in instructional days per year.