Reasons for strike outlined in open letter to student
Editor: This is an open letter to Grade 11 student Brandon Southern, whose letter was published in The Times on June 17.
I read your open letter to Mr. Jim Iker. And because you chose to send it to a newspaper instead of Mr. Iker himself, I feel that you are beckoning a reply from the public. Although I don’t claim to represent the public, I thought it would only be fair for you to hear yet another point of view.
You said that you are in Grade 11, so perhaps this, in part, explains your shortsightedness regarding the teachers’ strike. You wrote “The ones affected most by this are the students.”
In fact, you are not most affected by this. The teachers have willingly chosen to go on full strike in order to create a better education system for the long term. Yes, this means the education system that will be here to educate your children and grandchildren (that is, if it isn’t privatized first). A strike means they forego the entirety of their pay, and stand on the street instead.
I find it odd that you state, “It doesn’t matter…. who is right or wrong.” I sincerely hope that you do not apply this line of thinking to other areas of your life. Could you imagine a world in which it did not matter who is right or wrong? It does matter.
In what civilized society is the government allowed to overturn legislation and do as they please? We are supposed to live in a democracy. By stripping teachers of their contracts, the government has saved millions of dollars over the last 12 years, an entire generation of students. As of now, it has no intention of putting any of that money back into the education system.
I think that alone makes it quite clear the government does not care about you. They undervalue you, not only in monetary terms, but also in how they treat the people responsible for your education. They underpay teachers and show complete disregard for the number and nature of the students in any classroom.
Sure, you are right, you do matter. However, students are not the only ones who matter. In determining the health of the education system, it would be impossible — and selfish — to solely consider the wellbeing of the students. Those who teach you need to be paid and treated appropriately.
Although you are quick to criticize teachers for how their greedy and selfish behaviour is affecting the quality of your education, you fail to mention an outstanding fact that is responsible for grossly undermining your education. It illustrates how little our government values you.
You, and every other student attending public schools across British Columbia, receive $1,000 less than other students from other provinces. I would suggest you address a letter to Premier Christy Clark.
If you don’t do it for yourself, consider doing it for your future children who may find themselves in a low quality and inefficient school system, as teachers spend an increasing amount of time struggling to teach the basic curriculum while managing a greater number of social and behavioural problems.