EDITORIAL: Education trench war senseless

The provincial government’s offer to pay families of school-aged children $40 a day if the current contract impasse with teachers carries into the fall is just another example of the deep-seated enmity between the two sides that stands between a settlement.

On the surface it seems like a good deal; roll the money the government isn’t paying teachers if they’re on strike straight over to parents to ease their financial burden of making alternate arrangements for minding their kids. But it’s also another shot across the bow of the teachers, a cynical jab that equates their duties with little more than institutional daycare.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong’s announcement of the program was short on details.

He said families of the province’s 300,000 children up to age 12 who attend public schools would have to register for the compensation.

He didn’t say where those 300,000 children could go if they still can’t attend school come September.

As anyone who has ever tried to find daycare knows, 300,000 spots aren’t going to be created in five weeks. Nor will $40 go very far to compensate a parent who has to stay home from work to mind their child.

And while de Jong boasted the program would have no net cost to the government, what about the cost of implementing it? A bureaucracy created in five weeks to design the registration system, vet applicants and dole out the money won’t come cheaply.

Educating our children is worth more than $40 a day.

Those children deserve better than to be treated as ammunition in this senseless trench war between adults who should know better.

— Burnaby News Leader


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