Tuesday, May 27, 2014

BC Government failing to respect public school teachers

Lunch time and locked out at South Park today
Dear Saanich South,

Many of you have contacted me about the current labour dispute impacting public schools. I'm very concerned about this, and the impact of this disruption on hundreds of thousands of kids and their families.

I'm also angry at how the BC government is treating our teachers and the school system. Premier Clark and her government have not only failed to negotiate an agreement with teachers, they have escalated the conflict with a “partial lockout,” that disrupts school activities, including academic field trips, graduation activities, exam marking and report card updates.

Premier Clark has been a constant factor in this government’s decade of conflict with teachers in B.C.  As education minister in 2002, she passed a law that led to larger classes and less support for students with special needs. The B.C. Supreme Court struck down this law in 2011, and when the BC Liberal government introduced virtually identical legislation in 2012, they struck that down as unconstitutional as well.

In the court ruling released earlier this year, the judge chastised the government for bargaining in bad faith and attempting to provoke a full-scale strike in B.C. schools. Regrettably, recent attempts to provoke teachers and escalate tensions show the government has not changed its tactics.

Along with my colleagues, I will continue pressing the government to turn the page on twelve years of political failures that have harmed the education of a generation of kids and worsened the quality of employment of public school teachers. We will continue to support all good-faith efforts to reach a negotiated settlement.