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NEWS RELEASE · 1st March 2012
BCTF
The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) has announced that its members will be withdrawing their services for three days commencing Monday, March 5, 2012.

As a result, teachers will not be reporting for duty on the following days:

Monday, March 5, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

While school facilities will remain open under the supervision of school district staff, we will be unable to provide students with instruction during this period of job action. Exceptions to this are programmes not staffed by BCTF employees including:

FirstStart and StrongStart
Hazelton After School Sports Club
JumpStart at Parkside
Kitimat and PACES Child Care

School buses will not be running on March 5, 6 and 7 and we are requesting that parents do not send their children to school on those days.

It is the sincere hope of the Board of Education that this dispute will be concluded quickly and that normal school operations will resume as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will do our utmost to keep you informed of any new developments in a timely manner over the next week.

For our most recent and regular media updates for this job action, please refer to the local radio station in your community and the school district website at www.cmsd.bc.ca.
Janice, with all due respect.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 5th March 2012
I don't think you should expect that posting an opinion here is not going to get any response at all. This discussion had the issue of private schools inserted into it by you and Maggie Jo. Others simply answered.

You say it is all about "more money" for teachers. Well sorry but if the government says that regardless of what you want it is "net zero" then even if the teachers agreed to "no more money" there still would not be anymore for education and the classroom. It isn't just about teachers.

When you suggest that any response from others is just the "love of arguing" you conveniently forget that you have responded at times as well and maybe if you can't accept a response, you shouldn't post. This is a discussion forum after all.

You say that "All this because you (and many others) engaged your freedom to choose a private school for your children, and dare to support that choice"

No you have that completely wrong. That is not what this is about. The issue of private schools was raised by you and Maggie Jo first.

"If you were in class in one of these teachers' classrooms, you'd be at risk of being sent for an assessment for possible ADHD tendencies."

No, you would not be sent for an assessment. But if you were in one of their classrooms you would be expected to engage in a serious discussion and be asked to support your case. You would also not be allowed to label everyone else with a different opinion as someone who "likes to argue" and walk away and expect to look satisfied and maybe feel smug. You would have to learn to respect other people's point of view.

Holy smokerrulers, Maggie!
Comment by Janice Robinson on 5th March 2012
I would help you out here, but I have already had my say on this teachers' strike for more money. If I were you, I would refrain from further comment because they obviously love to argue, and always have a lot of time to partake (strike or no strike!).

Also, it seems your detractors are on the verge of labelling you "a teacher-hater," or "a con bot" .....whatever. You are already almost labelled a bully, and believe in "a two-tiered education system." All this because you (and many others) engaged your freedom to choose a private school for your children, and dare to support that choice.

If you were in class in one of these teachers' classrooms, you'd be at risk of being sent for an assessment for possible ADHD tendencies.

Now, I think I will duck.
Some comments to Maggie.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 5th March 2012
I'll try this again. Below are some of Maggie Jo's comments which require a response. I don't know Maggie Jo, don't know what she does or I might be better able to understand her perspective. She sounds like a public servant which implies a government worker, unionized possibly which makes it all more of a puzzle. Either way please note her comments in quotation marks and my comment underneath. Some of her comments which are pretty standard when this kind of thing happens simply beg a response.

"Walk in ANY public servants shoes! Not just the teachers. We ALL work hard - often above and beyond the call of duty...cuz we care."

Maybe you care, but name one public servant outside of the social workers who take their "case load" home with them or who do "office work" at home. Name one public service sector other than social workers who take their stress home with them and who deal with 30 students every hour of the work day?

"These teachers chose their profession; as the rest of us choose ours. We ALL suffer at times in the Professional world. We all make amends and challenge the Employer as required, as is within our rights to do so.The teaching profession is no greater than we others who relentlessly get up every early a.m. to serve the public as well - just like the Teachers do."

So if that is the case, why do you criticize public school teachers for doing exactly what is within their rights to do? Does a teacher 's continued "suffering" help your "suffering"? Or do you simply resent that fact that teachers are not acting like sheep when it comes to the kids in their care and their livelihood? Nobody chooses a profession knowing that it will become a political football for every government that finds itself in a financial hole. There can be no "recession" in education just as there can be no recession in healthcare.

"....holding our children hostage while compromising their education...."

It takes two sides to reach an impasse. Both sides have to compromise. What has the BC Government compromised in this dispute? If the answer is nothing, which it has to be if you are honest about net zero, then it is the Government holding students hostage OR at the very least, equally responsible.

"Unethical workers being most repeat offender(s) simply can NOT be fired thanks to the Unions; .."

This statement based on mostly myth is flat out false in education. There is a process laid out in contract which entitles a teacher to due process which most courts would insist on anyway and it works.

"HOW MUCH did the Unionized Teachers request percentage wise this time 'round? WOW!"

What one side requests is not what they settle for. That is why they call it a negotiation. At least you concede it has to be a "give an take". What is the BC Government giving with net zero? The first principle of negotiation is you don't make a concession unless the other side makes one as well.

"We're all in this together."

Hardly. That is not what you are saying in your comments.

"Sure. The Gov't had money they spent on other venues while neglecting those most in need. But, we're in a position now where we're RUNNING OUTTA MONEY! Sure, it's the Gov't's fault. But, please don't put the rest of the Province into further debt here."

Well that is rather generous of you to let them (government) off the hook so easily while attacking public school teachers. It is always interesting to make one sector (not yours) pay for a governments incompetence. Let's say the teachers all accept this net zero. What do you think they will have to look forward to next time?
Oh, Maggie....
Comment by Karen Dedosenco on 5th March 2012
Are you really saying what I think you are saying, that parents should place their children in private schools to avoid the decrepit and underfunded conditions in our public schools?

Are you suggesting that a two tiered system is the answer so those who can afford a better education for their children should send them there thus committing lower income families to be at the mercy of government cuts and verbal degradation from the rest of society?

What kind of person, or parent if you have children, would suggest such a sentence on our youth? What ever happened to our long fought fight for equal opportunity to all individuals? And this right after 'Anti-bullying Day'!
How true Karen.
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 4th March 2012
Any one who thought it wouldn't come to this is very foolish. The government has let this mess fester for over a year in the hope that parents would get angry at the teachers and support the back to work legislation. It has back fired and the govt. is not getting much sympathy this time around. No pain No gain unfortunately.Nobody wants their child to be the sacrificial lamb when it comes to education ,but there comes a time when we as a society have to bite the bullet and hope the govt will understand that education comes before domed stadiums and convention centers. Oh yes and before I forget ,private jets to fly around the province for photo ops.
Sca-reeeech...Karen!
Comment by MaggieJo Johnson on 4th March 2012
Whoa, Karen. Hang on there...

You refuse to "believe it is the parents who think the teachers are using their children as pawns and not the government?"

Again....Private schools!!!

They're accepting applications for the limited space they have left.
Who is using the children as pawns?!
Comment by Karen Dedosenco on 4th March 2012
What a bunch of gullible, brainwashed people we have become! Has the mantra, "it is because we need funds for healthcare, education and seniors" been repeated so often that we automatically go into dumb mode the minute the Liberal's open their mouths?

If this government is so broke and unable to properly fund the education of the next generation, a right in Canada unless we want to become a country that views education as only for the privileged, than they need to immediately turn the clock back on corporate tax rates.

Are we so stupid that we can't see that this government is working incessently for big business who will be funding their next election? That in order for this government to continue kowtowing to the corporate sector something has to give, and this time it is the standard of education in our schools... again?

The teachers have gone without a contract for over a year while this government waffles, makes excuses, accusations, and slams our children's teachers, and the whole time these teachers have continued to ensure their student's learning is uninterrupted - until now when the government still refuses to budge an inch.

While our children's education standards are being whittled away and corporations sit all smug raking in the education shortfalls, all the public can focus on is the wage package teachers know won't even come close to what they have started at.

I refuse to believe it is the parents who think the teachers are using their children as pawns and not the government. What parent would think it is acceptable to send their children to a school that hasn't the funds to properly maintain a healthy building environment? How many parents think their children would be getting a decent education in crowded classrooms with too many unsupervised special needs children? How many parents don't appreciate that their children are supervised during recess and lunch and that many teachers put in extra (unpaid) time to coach sports, arrange field trips, mentor and tutor their kids? How many parents don't realize that teachers haven't the time to mark assignments and exams during class hours and do so at home in their own time?

How can anyone say it is the teachers who are using the children as pawns when Ms. 'Families First' herself has proven over and over again that it will always be business first, and Ms. Clark will use whomever she can to convince the obviously gullible masses.

How can anyone say that politicians care more for the children than teachers do?

It is amusing to hear somebody say...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 3rd March 2012
...we all work hard and we all care etc. as a way of singling out the teachers for criticism. They fail to add that some folks are just too lazy, complacent or meek to do something about the problem. Maybe people should take action to correct deficiencies in their own situation rather than dump on teachers for attempting to do so. Correct your own problem but don't expect other people to be as complacent as you are. If we all did that nothing would ever change.

If my roof leaks, I do something about it. If you don't fix yours, then reminding me that, for whatever reason you won't bother, is a refection on you and nobody else. It certainly is not going to convince me to leave things as they are.

Aside from such sentiments making you the ideal voter for any government it is not going to solve the problem in schools.
It must get worse
Comment by David Ealing on 3rd March 2012
A few years ago (2007 - 08) I wrote a series of articles for the terracedaily.ca under to title "THE PROBLEM WITH OUR MONEY".

http://www.terracedaily.ca/show1281a13s0x300y1z/THE_PROBLEM_WITH_OUR_MONEY

In those articles I stated that our economic woes will worsen due to how our economic system works. My message is still the same today. No country can borrow money at interest and not find itself farther in debt. Debt will increase and as it does all governments will find itself strapped for cash and be forced to deny its employees greater benefits.

Continue along this path and our teachers and their students (our children) will lose. A very smart man once said that a sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Our economic system is that sign.

Take a look at Greece and see where we're heading. Harper's not preparing today's workers to expect to work til 67 because he sees Canada not heading for a debt crisis. He sees what's coming. It's time we saw it as well and start to demand the the only cure. Otherwise we need to brace ourselves for much worse.

David
Sorry, not buying it.
Comment by MaggieJo Johnson on 3rd March 2012
Walk in ANY public servants shoes! Not just the teachers. We ALL work hard - often above and beyond the call of duty...cuz we care.

These teachers chose their profession; as the rest of us choose ours. We ALL suffer at times in the Professional world. We all make ammends and challenge the Employer as required, as is within our rights to do so. The teaching profession is no greater than we others who relentlessly get up every early a.m. to serve the public as well - just like the Teachers do.

That being said, I hold the highest regard to Teachers as I do the others in our working world who work above and beyond as well.

HOWEVER, holding our children hostage while comprimising their education (especially those in secondary school ready to feel the pinch now that their upcoming post-secondary plans may now be in serious jeopardy) are the ones who will feel the reprocussions the most in this regard. And at the time when our area needs Trades People!!!

I am not a Nazi. I understand that Unions are a life-saver. But, at times...Unions are a detriment. IE; Unethical workers being most repeat offender(s) simply can NOT be fired thanks to the Unions; which proves as a big dis-service to the Public in keeping them on in Employment Status!

Uh...HOW MUCH did the Unionized Teachers request percentage wise this time 'round? WOW!

We're all in this together. Unionized or not. We ALL work to be good, productive members of Society no matter what occupation we are in...NO? At times, we have to accept the "give and take".

Sure. The Gov't "HAD" money they spent on other venues while neglecting those most in need. But, we're in a position now where we're RUNNING OUTTA MONEY! Sure, it's the Gov't's fault. But, please don't put the rest of the Province into further debt here.

I think I might consider making even MORE cuts to my family's budget to go Private School all around straight thru High School. Those Private School teachers take a significant paycut compared to their Public school'ed teacher peers; while hosting the same Teaching Certificate while teaching the exact same BC Curriculuum. And they STILL maintain the most excellent service all around - HANDS DOWN! The Stats prove it. No problems even with extra-curricular classes like the BAND program in Private Schools, which is never up for discussion to cease. I'll thin out my milk if I have to in efforts to pay that extra cost; while also paying in taxed charges for the public school peeps who are not even in my care. And I'll continue using my grocery coupons and buying office clothes ONLY during seasonal changes when the clothing items are cheaper. (Pssst...I got three pair of dress pants at Ricki's for $1 each this past week during their seasonal change over.)

Cheers.
Let's Trade Jobs
Comment by Michael Bruce on 3rd March 2012
"If they find their job to be such a hardship that they need to protest it, maybe they need to find a new job and let people who actually care about kids take over."

Maybe you'll learn something about the complexities of dealing with a group of vastly diverse individuals with gaps in social, behavioural, and comprehension skills. Students with varying degrees of motivation, parental support, and attitudes toward learning.

The protest is over government funding, support, and proffesional autonomy.
Same old song by same old people.
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 2nd March 2012
Blame the Union its always the unions fault because they strive to create a better standard of life for them selves and the people around them. Mr.Adams I agree with your comment.
Helmut.
Comment by Janice Robinson on 2nd March 2012
I comment, state my opinion and/or make my stand....however I do not argue or fight. So do not take my lack of rebuttals as disrespectful. I did read Ms. Angst's article, and left a comment there as well. Aamah sah.
Janice
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 2nd March 2012
Just for the record there is a big difference between the way the BCTF operates and the way the IWA operates. The BCTF members make all decisions in the BCTF. The members choose who their local representatives will be at General Meetings. They chose who the BCTF President will be a provincial AGM and these positions are for a set term. There are no "jobs for life" for leaders. All policy is determined by the membership.

Now if you look at the objectives of the BCTF they include statements that go far beyond those of any "pork chop" union. They organize Professional Specialist Associations for teachers in specific subject areas. They hold in-service workshops and membership dues fund them as well. When a portion of your union dues goes to professional development you can't compare the organization to the IWA.

That the teachers find themselves in conflict with the government should be no surprise. A lot of government policy effects what happens to students and hence what takes place in the classroom. They (teachers) are on the front lines of most government policy on social issues. Why do schools need lunch programs? For all that teachers then become the political football for every government that suddenly finds itself strapped for cash and doesn't want to review its past decision. It is so much easier for a government to create a straw man and beat on it hoping the public won't see the diversion tactic.

I'm not sure how to respond to you last point. Maybe you could get those teachers to take a stand on their working conditions.

Don't forget to read "Teaching In B.C." by Cheryl Angst
It is union business.
Comment by Janice Robinson on 2nd March 2012
And the teachers' union cares for students like the I.W.A. cares for trees. Currently, many Native reserves have private schools to educate their babies. Isolated communities have many issues regarding education that cities do not. Their preferance for private schools should be obvious.

The B.C .government, whether Liberal or NDP, will always find themselves in conflict with the B.C.T.F., sooner or later.

Whether the schools are too cold, too small, too old, have mold, or have no libraries....these private reserve schools will all be in session next week!
So I guess that means...
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 2nd March 2012
..that anyone concerned about the erosion of the purchasing power of their wages due to inflation and, who is concerned enough to do something about it is greedy. Anyone who objects to the workload being increased unilaterally by an increase in class size or lack of educational funding and is concerned enough to try to do something about it, is greedy. If you object to the notion that you have to do more with less, you must be greedy. If you try to bargain with the other side that keeps saying, "There's no money" and you don't accept that because you see money spent on other foolishness, you must be greedy. Maybe the only way to not be greedy is to be completely naive... or ...?
I totally support the teachers
Comment by Karen Dedosenco on 2nd March 2012
Why do so many people focus on a few missed instructional days or on teacher salaries when their children's education standards are at risk?

This government has done nothing to improve the quality of education in this province since taking power in 2001. In fact they have done everything possible to dump additional costs on our education system, denigrade teachers, ensured funding has not kept up to inflation and reduced teacher's rights and powers to speak up for, not just themselves, but your children.

I cannot understand how anyone can accept the mediocre standards the Liberal government is impossing on education these days. They have been using children as pawns in this stalemate while teachers try to get their message out and at the same time continue to educate our young.

Anyone who believes this government is more concerned for your children than the teachers are needs to give their head a really hard shake.

Anyone who does not support the teachers must be willing to accept inferior standards in public education or they are affluent enough to send their children to a private institution.
Mr Peters
Comment by Adam K on 2nd March 2012
Let me be the first to tell you to shove it...

There's an old saying that I think is appropriate here "It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than it is to open your mouth & prove it". Words to live by... a teacher taught it to me...

I could use the 4752 characters I have remaining telling how wrong you are, but it'd be a waste of time.

Walk a mile in a teacher's shoes one day...
Hostage by teachers?
Comment by Gary Edwards on 2nd March 2012
I think there are many people in this province that actually believe the spin of the government and the mainstream media should do some due diligence.

The way this government has slashed programs that affect the students and has imposed their own will on the education system has been appalling.

They have mismanaged the finances of this province so badly that I allege we are in fact bankrupt. They are trying to save their butts before they are wiped off the map. And all at the expense of the students and teachers in BC.

What's happening here is a deflection from the fact that big business, which has seen huge reduction in taxes over the last 10 years, will not get an increase at all. So where does the money come from? The teachers and the civic unions who have not had proper raises in that period and in fact legislation brought in a few years ago was struck down by The Supreme Court of Canada and the Province has still not adressed this Decision.

The liberals made this mess and now are trying to cover their asses. And only a few realize this. Those are the ones bashing the teachers. Please people, have a look at what this government has done.
I do not support this
Comment by bill braam on 2nd March 2012
I do not support this withdrawal of services/strike. Teachers seem to always be so hard done by. Perhaps it would be surprising to them that most professions and careers out here are stressfull, draining, disfunctional and performed by individuals who are very committed, educated and loyal. Why do teachers appear to think they have it any worse. I also don't agree with many ways BC is spending money while still saying we are cash poor. The 650 million dollar roof for BC Place being near the top of the list, Thank You.
We lose again
Comment by Mr. Peters on 2nd March 2012
Once more our children's education is being held hostage to the greed of these "professionals". If they find their job to be such a hardship that they need to protest it, maybe they need to find a new job and let people who actually care about kids take over.