Let me declare my bias from the start: I am a parent of school-aged children, I am a supporter of teachers, not particularly their union, I support balanced budgets that respect our pocketbooks and I strongly believe in a vibrant, effective public education system that is available to every child, irrespective of their socio-economic status. Education unlocks doors that would otherwise remain closed.
All that said, I do not think either side has many answers to offer right now, and I am very tired of the rhetoric and speaking points.
Yet, even more concerning and angering to me is this: We as parents have no standing or formal voice within this process. We cannot meaningfully influence change and have no mechanism available to us to directly affect policy or decision.
It is implied, I would say patronizingly, that they (either the government or BCTF) know best. Parents are left to pick a side or remain silent if we cannot fully support either group. There is no place for discussion.
Are we not all in this together? It is we, the parents, who represent our children, the half million students in this province – not the BCTF and not the government.
Without a fuller and broader consideration on how to address some of the complex economic, structural and systemic issues facing schools – debated and negotiated equally by the three major stakeholders in this dispute – no amount of negotiation, money or good faith will reach a settlement.