Sound bites don't do justice to real issues in teachers' job dispute

Editor: As a mother of four sons who were raised on public education, B.C.-style, and a special education teacher of 30 years, I believe I speak from an informed position on the current state of affairs in B.C.  It is easy to lose sight of what is at stake when so much attention and energy is caught up in partial facts devoid of historical context, inflammatory rhetoric, and divisive strategy.

Quite simply, public education is about democracy. It’s about tolerance, understanding, patience, equal opportunity, and community. These qualities are quickly eroding under the current conditions in schools. It’s kind of like the polar ice cap with global warming.

I was walking the picket line on Monday because of this. I encounter, daily, the inequalities that our children face, and I work very hard to level the playing field. We teachers are burning out, folks.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to inspire, to assure our kids that the world is navigable, that it holds promise. Inequity, from the minute these children enter school, becomes their life narrative. They deserve better. They deserve resources, attention, care, and passionate teachers who are equipped to support them in their dreams.

I’ll remind you that the B.C. Supreme Court affirmed this, in a recent court ruling.  Government has chosen to appeal this. How many times and different ways must children’s rights be described before they get it?

I speak from the heart-wrenching perspective of the front lines.  I have countless tragic stories to share, but the main point is this: if you choose to inform yourself about the current state of affairs in public education in B.C. via sound bites and political rhetoric, you are like a blind man describing the elephant based on how the trunk feels in your hand.  Join us on the picket line, and let’s talk.

Elaine Kristiansen,


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