EDITORIAL: A little peace in B.C. public schools

It’s unlikely BC teachers will be satisfied with their new deal given ongoing concerns about government attacks on their professionalism.

Bill 22 was a hammer where a feather was needed but, thanks to some fancy footwork by mediator Charles Jago, the worst elements of Bill 22 have been rendered moot, an agreement has been reached and B.C.’s public school teachers and their employers will live to fight another day.

While BC Teachers’ Federation president Susan Lambert characterized the mediation process as a sham, labelled the pressure teachers were under as bullying and the agreement the best that could be achieved under duress, some modest improvements were gained, albeit not in wages. More importantly, the two-year contract ending in 2013 contains few if any of the concessions that had been demanded by the employers, the BC Public School Employers’ Association.

True, there are no improvements in class size and composition language, and the government chose to tighten the screws on teachers with Bill 22 by eliminating limits without giving teachers any of the control they sought in classroom organization. The government claims its $165-million Learning Improvement Fund will allay some of the concerns by putting more teachers and special education assistants in the classroom.

For the coming school year, School District 43 has $1.2 million in extra funds to support large elementary schools and struggling students thanks to strike savings and other surplus funds from this year.

Still, it’s unlikely teachers will be satisfied given their ongoing concerns about what they view as government attacks on their professionalism, autonomy, control over classroom organization and wages. Some of these issues will be addressed through the courts in the hopes that the judicial system will give teachers what the government will not while wages will remain a sticking point when negotiations resume.

For parents, the teachers’ agreement is a relief after months of uncertainty and anxiety, a three-day walk-out and withdrawal of teachers’ support for field trips and other volunteer activities.

But the relief will be short-lived unless the economy turns around, the government changes or it turns out that more money does make a difference to in the classroom — although there will never be enough cash to solve every issue.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Surrey-area associations gear up for hockey restart

But it’s not yet clear when city-operated rinks and rec centres will reopen

Proposed Marine Drive zone aims to make use of small lots ‘more efficient’

CR-3A zone discussed during White Rock’s first virtual public information meeting

Rugby practices to return to Lower Mainland fields this fall

B.C. Rugby announced its return to play plan July 7

White Rock calls for street-banner artists

Deadline to apply is 4 p.m. July 24

Surrey Mounties seize shotgun, ammo, after officers shot at with BB gun in Newton

Police say they were on foot patrol in the 6400-block of King George Boulevard when someone fired at them with a BB gun

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Investigation clears RCMP in incident where man fell from Langley overpass

‘Officers acted commendably and placed themselves at risk’ police watchdog report finds

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read