LETTERS: Educational experience


The Minister of Education has requested – via his website – that citizens write their local papers regarding the teachers strike.

I am obliging him.

As a self-employed person with six children who have gone through the public school system, I have watched governments try to crush the BCTF for almost 30 years.

None has seemed more intent on doing so than Premier Christy Clark and minister Peter Fassbender. They have guaranteed no new schools will be built with their decree that school boards must pay half the cost of building any new schools. This effectively brings to a halt any new school construction, as school boards are already grossly underfunded.

Surrey School District is the fastest-growing in the province, and many of our high schools are bursting at the seams. Earl Marriott and Lord Tweedsmuir secondaries have students arriving in two shifts because they are so overcrowded.

This BC Liberal government cannot take “no” for an answer and has twice appealed the Supreme Court’s ruling that it acted illegally in 2002 and needs to reinstate class size etc. and pay $200,000 to the BCTF. These stripped provisions were fairly bargained for, and our teachers gave up salary increases in order to see them included.

I would like an accounting of the cost of those appeals, as it is public money being used to fund them.

They have locked teachers out, yet they sought a Labour Relations Board ruling to make exams and marking an essential service. When would teachers do this when they are locked out? Ms. Clark, you cannot have it both ways.

The government will now save millions of dollars as teachers strike, and will then turn around and offer their money back to them in the guise of a “bonus” or “learning improvement fund.”

The writing is on the wall. This government wants to privatize education – and it would be a travesty. As citizens of this province, we need to unite in solidarity for our public school system and our teachers. This government is taking us toward a slippery slope from which there will be no return. We do not want the American education system in B.C. Our children will suffer for it far more than the few days off while teachers strike for the benefit of teachers and students.

Kate McMaster, Surrey

• • •

I think there should be more male teachers, because in the school that I went to there were only two plus the janitor.

Some people haven’t had a male teacher before. So I think the government should convince more male teachers.

Ronan Drismir (age 10), Surrey



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