Sunday, June 01, 2014

Don't Forget Who's in Charge of BC's Teacher Troubles – Premier Christy Clark

Premier Christy Clark - in the classroom - not exactly as illustrated.
There's no way you can call her inexperienced. 

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Vancouver / The Tyee online column
Tuesday May 27, 2014
By Bill Tieleman
"We have to ensure that the [education] system is operating at its best today. We need to ensure that it's operating at its best five, 10, 15 years from now."
- Then-education minister Christy Clark, Jan. 26, 2002
When students across British Columbia are out of class this week and possibly beyond due to rotating strikes by teachers, ask this question: Who's been in charge for the past 13 years?
When the provincial negotiator says teachers will soon be locked out, their pay cut by 10 per cent, bonus offers rescinded, and told not to work more than 45 minutes before and after classes, ask who called the shots?
When graduation ceremonies, extracurricular activities, exams and summer school are all put at risk, when parents scramble to find care for their children, ask who let the important relationship with teachers get so out of hand for so long?
After multiple courts have ruled the B.C. government broke the law, bargained in bad faith and deliberately attempted to provoke a strike in 2011 for political gain, ask who is accountable for that?
The answer is obvious: Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberal government.
Years of broken promises
This isn't a simple case of incompetence or negligence on the job. No, the BC Liberals have deliberately sabotaged teachers since then-premier Gordon Campbell appointed Clark as education minister from 2001 to 2004.
In 2002, Clark introduced legislation she wrongly said would fix education for years to come.
"I have said many times, and I've said it today, that I know teachers care about children. I know that's why they choose to do their jobs, because they care about imparting knowledge to children," Clark told the Legislature on Jan. 26, 2002 in debating Bill 28, the Orwellian-named Public Education Flexibility and Choice Act -- legislation with several sections later struck down as unconstitutional in 2011 by the B.C. Supreme Court.
"That's why I, as well as students and their parents, am concerned about the threat of walkouts and continued withdrawal of extracurricular activities," Clark concluded.
Sound familiar, 12 years later? Clark has been premier since 2011, yet here we are today with a still-broken system, walkouts and lockouts.
Unfortunately, the current dispute is no aberration on the BC Liberal government's part -- it is the logical conclusion of 13 years of damaging, instead of building, a working relationship with people who play the second most important role in raising our kids after parents: their teachers.
Union also at fault
Does the BC Teachers' Federation also bear some blame? Yes, it surely does.
The union does not appear to have significantly addressed its dysfunctional relationship with the province outside of the bargaining period, when the pressure is off.
But it isn't teachers and their union that write the laws, then break them over and over. They don't underfund education and cut special needs teachers or school librarians. They don't increase class sizes and they don't determine class composition.

No, that's what Christy Clark's government does, repeatedly, and it should be held accountable for a failing performance.

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The BCTF is also to blame too. Much of the public is not on side with the teachers so far.

The 30 year war between government and the BCTF has to end.

Would the same direction of blame be directed to the NDP if they won last year's election? Of course not. It would be "the NDP government is working very hard to reach a settlement".

Peter Harris said...

Finally, the unspoken truth. One more unspoken truth: government support for public education will continue to erode as long as Christy Clark sees private schools as an acceptable (ie cheaper for the government) alternative. As we wander down that ideological road, our current so-called "tax woes" will pale in comparison to private school tuition fees of $10,000 a year for each of our kids. We will have undone one of the best and most competitive public education systems in the world.

Peter Harris

Anonymous said...

"Finally, the unspoken truth. One more unspoken truth: government support for public education will continue to erode as long as Christy Clark sees private schools as an acceptable (ie cheaper for the government) alternative."

It's an alternative, but public schools remain.

There's nothing wrong with private schools. They do not get the same level of funding of tax dollars that the public schools do.


"As we wander down that ideological road, our current so-called "tax woes" will pale in comparison to private school tuition fees of $10,000 a year for each of our kids. We will have undone one of the best and most competitive public education systems in the world."

No we won't.

Anonymous said...

BCTF and employers had a framework agreement to contain volatility.

Cristy threw it away.

The BC Liberals dictated a deliberately confrontational strategy that is designed to get the BC Liberal's voters riled at the teachers.

A deal is NOT in the BC Liberal's best interest: until about mid-September when they will legislate the BCTF back to work.

Janet Hudgins said...

This whole story is about privatization, the policy neoliberalism and the federal government, Harper, who has been cutting everything in the country (altho' the Liberals started it in 1993). Education, health, social services and Canadians are all cut loose just as in other countries, the welfare state is gone. We are on our own.
Why doesn't anyone say any of this out loud? Not the media, not the average Canadian, certainly not politicians. If Harper had run on that platform, if he had at any time told the truth, do you think he would have a majority now?
I want to read and hear people like you talking about the facts and get Canadians to start voicing some opinions (except the red necks from Toronto who still think Rob Ford is a good mayor).

Thanks
Janet

Anonymous said...

"This whole story is about privatization, the policy neoliberalism and the federal government, Harper, who has been cutting everything in the country (altho' the Liberals started it in 1993)."

The federal Liberals were also behind the economic mess in the 1970s to mid 1980s. Paul Martin cut off health transfer payments in the 1990s.

"Education, health, social services and Canadians are all cut loose just as in other countries, the welfare state is gone. We are on our own."

The welfare state still exists in Canada. We are not the United States. There are parallel elective services in health care, there are no private emergency health care services in BC.

"Why doesn't anyone say any of this out loud? Not the media, not the average Canadian, certainly not politicians. If Harper had run on that platform, if he had at any time told the truth, do you think he would have a majority now?

He did win a majority and what does this have to do with the teacher's dispute?


"I want to read and hear people like you talking about the facts and get Canadians to start voicing some opinions (except the red necks from Toronto who still think Rob Ford is a good mayor). "

Not all Conservatives think Ford is a good mayor, just as anyone on the Left would be a fool to think Tim Louis would ever make a good councillor, or Libby Davies actually cares about anyone who isn't poor or left wing.

Anonymous said...

No, the BCTF doesn't write the laws, but they have a lengthy reputation of being militant and going far in terms of what they want. Sure one asks for more than what would be expected, but repeatedly the BCTF does far beyond reasonable (is 15% reasonable? The public does not think so, and where is the money supposed to come from?).

The BCTF should despite the Left's insistence that it is all Christy's take their share of the blame right up to 48%.

But they and the Left wouldn't agree. As per usual.

Anonymous said...

An excellent article. Finally someone sees and comments on it as it truly is. Christy Clark has been poisonous to education in British Columbia since 2002. The increase teachers propose is because Christy Clark has squashed raises for teachers over the past 4 years and teachers have received 0% increase over these 4 years. The increase teachers in BC are looking for is not excessive, and other teachers all across Canada will still be earning considerably more than teachers in BC. Christy talks about a fair deal for truck drivers, yet she is not willing to give teachers a fair deal. Teachers are passionate about doing the best they can for their students. It's too bad this government doesn't realize what a wonderful job teachers in this province are doing. By the way, Delta firefighters have just secured a 20% raise over the next few years. (This will bring a firefighter a salary which is over $8,000. more than a teacher with 6 years university training and over 30 years experience. Christy can afford to pay for the Punjabi academy awards to be held in BC, as well as pay for the roof on BC place without taking corporate sponsors, yet everyone worries about how they will be able to afford to pay teachers what they should be paid. This is not an unreasonable request. Christy has underfunded education in BC for over a decade. The public needs to realize how important it is to have a well run, properly funded education system in place. Christy Clark has been toxic to the education system, as outlined in the article I am commenting on. Finally people are speaking out on what Christy Clark has done over the past decade.