We’re heartened that kids will likely be returning to the classroom where they belong, perhaps as soon as Monday morning.
Premier Christy Clark boasted Tuesday afternoon the tentative deal reached with the BCTF earlier that morning won’t result in a tax increase or deficit spending, which we applaud as well.
After months of teachers and the province either ignoring each other or trading barbs in the media, it appears the elements of a negotiated settlement were there all along.
Both sides had to give something – although it appears at first blush that the teachers had to give more.
It’s highly likely the teachers’ union saw the writing on the wall. Rather than risk being legislated back to work in October – always the government’s fallback position, despite early protestations to the contrary – they chose to get the best deal they could at the negotiating table.
The province held more cards, but also apparently saw the wisdom in giving the teachers more than $100 million to deal with potential union grievances related to class size and composition. That issue is still before the courts, and a third consecutive loss could have cost the government a lot more.
Too bad it took both sides so long to reach these conclusions.
If nothing else, the protracted strike was an important reminder of the value of the public school system. Not only is it essential to education, it’s also a huge employer, a source of business for local companies, a community hub and social service frontline.
That’s a resource worth investing in, and worth fighting for.
Back to school, kids. It’s been too long.