Teachers’ union and the provincial government, the two titans, are at it again. They are trapped in a dysfunctional and toxic relationship. Let me say: when the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.
There is no question that, next to the parents, teachers happen to be the most important people in a kid’s life. Good teachers deserve both adequate compensation and our respect.
However, their demand for “stratospheric” benefits such as a 10-week bereavement leave for the death of a friend, and 26 weeks of paid leave to care for a sick person – family, friend or whoever? That is beyond the pale.
And to deny parents clear and complete information about their children’s progress via regular report cards is inexcusable.
The reality is that BCTF stands for a union of professionals where the key word is “union” not “professionals.” Now, other professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers, are rewarded according to their proven ability to influence outcomes. So, too, should teachers.
And for teachers, the most important outcome is student achievement, without which all else is indeed hollow.
On the other hand, the so- called Liberals, presently in power, are not without blame either. The government crows about the quality of education system while disrespecting teachers by not allowing them even a cost-of- living wage increases. That is a shame.
Appointment of an independent mediator to look into the working conditions concerning class composition would be a start. By simply calling Bill 22 the Education Improvement Act is a stretch.
My message: Quit the blame game, stop playing politics, get serious and settle. Above all, put kids first. They come this way only once.
Lal Sharma, ph.d.
former professor, school board member.