Columnist Tom Fletcher paints a very depressing scenario for relations between B.C. teachers and the government (“New season for ‘School Wars’,” The Leader, Jan. 29), but there is in fact cause for optimism.
This is the unexpected agreement between the BC Teachers’ Federation and its employer, the BC Public Schools Employers’ Association.
This agreement creates a framework for bargaining between the two parties. It deals with things like timelines, choosing facilitators, and deciding which items are provincial and which should be local. It also helps the parties to agree on common data for cost estimates.
All of the above have been lacking in previous talks. Basically, it’s like two teams agreeing on the rules before the game begins. It’s a significant step forward, which gives hope to many in the educational community.
In a completely independent development, Christy Clark inexplicably chose this moment to announce her notion of a “10-year deal” with teachers. The deal offered almost nothing and was promptly rejected, but it did serve to confuse the situation (indeed Mr. Fletcher seems to have the two things a tad confused,) and it very nearly scuttled the real negotiations that had been underway.
What an interesting combination of events. The self-promoting politician blurts out half-baked pronouncements. Meanwhile, management and workers ignore her and quietly work out a way forward.
This should happen more often.
Patrick Truelove, Delta