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LETTER: Teachers shouldn't capitulate to government, they should fight
The message I’m taking away from your editorial is that teachers need to capitulate to the Liberal government.
Well, guess what - we’ve been capitulating for some time now, and we’ve had enough.
We capitulated to the previous NDP government in 1998 when we accepted a 0-0-2 three-year contract, in return for getting $150 million injected into the education budget to be used to hire back the teacher-librarians and counsellors whose positions had been cut in previous years (schools kind of need teacher-librarians and counsellors to help kids do well, you know?).
In point of fact, teachers have taken seven years of zero increases since 1998 (in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2013). By contrast, since January 2010, nurses have had a total of 8.2% of pay increase, while teachers have had 2%. In 2007, MLAs voted themselves double-digit pay increases, including a 48% one-year pay hike for the position of premier. BC teachers, meanwhile, rank near the bottom of pay scales compared to teachers across Canada.
You won’t be hearing this information from the BCTF, for some strange reason; it can be found, however, in former GVTA president Tara Ehrcke’s excellent blog post of May 28 - staffroomconfidential.com. In it, she provides a wealth of information to explain why teachers feel it’s time they put their paycheques on the line, to stand up for themselves and the kids they’ve committed their careers to helping.
Stop asking teachers to capitulate; start asking the government to support public education.