Sunday, May 25, 2014

Who's right? Who's wrong? Who cares - just get a grip and negotiate like everybody else

    A looming strike/lockout in B.C. schools gets my attention more these days due to living with my son and his two school-age boys, who are bracing themselves for disappointment now that their final month of school is about to be disrupted by lockouts and rotating strikes.
     One of the boys is worried about losing out on his band trip to Tofino this week, which looks pretty likely. The younger one will probably have to give up a field trip to Victoria. I'm sure there are kids like them all over B.C. who - far from cheering for more days off in the event of a work shutdown - are really worried about what this latest work action at their schools is going to mean to them.
    Way to go, government and teachers. Stick it to the kids just because you're completely incapable of settling a contract like grownups.
    As a CBC report rightly notes, the essence of the problem between teachers and their employers is that "this is a dysfunctional bargaining relationship." In 20 years, the B.C. Teachers' Federation and bargainers for the provincial government have successfully negotiated just two contracts. All the rest have ended up like this one.
    What's up with that? If there's one thing that ought to be obvious to both sides by this point, it's that contracts come due with surprising regularity. The rest of the world manages their employment contracts without getting into a work stoppage virtually every time. Why can't these guys?
    Read the media coverage and you'll soon see that there's much more than the usual contract issues running below the surface here. But really, big deal. This is not a question of who's right, it's one of why each side can't get past their own interests long enough to see how pointless and damaging all of this is.
    And as always, what a disastrous message to our young people: That our government can't be trusted; that the people in charge of educating our kids are ready to throw them under the bus any time a contract expires.
     Shame on everybody. Grow up, people. Find a new way, just like everybody else does when their relationship turns toxic. This public scene you're always making got tiresome quite some time ago.


Anonymous said...

I think you need to take a very long look at what has actually gone on over many years. Mostly teachers have stood up for lower class sizes and composition and wages haven't even been a part of it. Throwing kids under the bus? Please, you need to get a grip. You seem to have a lot of extra time these days so please spend some of it in schools along side teachers. I think you might have a different opinion. But please write about whatever you observe.

Anonymous said...

"Read the media coverage..."

Read the court documents thtat unequivocally show the BC Liberals are deliberately provoking the teachers. The BC Liberals are in 'continuous election mode' now and stirring up anger towards unionized teachers is just another tactic.

Ever wonder why Christy's son is in a private school? Hamish wasn't the first casualty of this war, but he was certainly an early sacrifice on Clark's ideological alter.

e.a.f. said...

The lieberals want the Teachers' Union crushed. They have far too much money and influence for that to continue. The lieberals also don't like teachers. They all have a university degree! My god, the horrors. They may all be smarter than those MLAs and those MLAs all think they are oh so smart.

This is simply an example of class warfare. The lieberals would be much happier if the teachers were making somewhere around 45K with no rights. I'm sure if the liebeals could they'd bring Texas style teaching to B.C., low salaries, little in the way of rights and they pay substitute teachers min. wage.

Christy cruch has her son in St. George's to the tune of a figure not unrelated to what, $35K to $40K a year. Of course she doesn't care about the rest of the public's kids. Her kid is in an A plus school, lovely buildings, great teachers, small classes, no disabled, no "problem" children. Wonder how many other M.L.A.s have their children and grandchildren in private school.

If there isn't enough money for education, stop paying for private schools. Stop giving money to at least 13 different employer organizations via tax rebates.

To Ann. 10:23 p.m., Christy doesn't have an "ideological alter". She doesn't have an ideology. O.K. she sort of does, its like, what makes it best for me and mine and f...k the rest.

This is no different than the claw back of child support from children whose parents live on disability. The leiberals don't care about children. They don't care if they suffer from malnutrition, they don't care if they don't get an education.

Now the teachers may not be blameless but going on strike is a worker's right. Teachers have the right to strike and they are exercising it. What is simply not on, is the lieberals "locking" out teachers. Like why throw gas on the fire.

IF the province cared about kids they would have reasonable class sizes, with aides, no fees, and no long distance busing in rural areas. They would have social workers in the schools along with psychologist, on a very regular basis. None of this waiting for 6 months to 6 yrs. Is that going to happen? Not in my life time.

The lieberals aren't going to put any money into the school system so the teachers might as well get all the pay they can. Many have to use it any how to purchase school supplies and feed some of their kids in class.

Anonymous said...

"The essence of the problem between teachers and their employers is that 'this is a dysfunctional bargaining relationship.'"

Might be a good idea to catch up on some recent history before you start casting such about.

"About a year-and-a-half ago, BC teachers and their employers approved a landmark framework agreement for their upcoming round of contract negotiations."
"BC teachers and their employers had worked on this framework agreement quietly, constructively. It was a substantive project, not an exercise in show-and-tell.

Meanwhile, however, a government in (perpetual) campaign mode was unilaterally introducing an education 'framework' of its own. The premier, with media, cameras and operatives in tow, interrupted learning activities in a first and second grade classroom, to unveil a glossy political document. Her framework, titled 'Working Together,' had actually been prepared alone, by government, without the participation of teachers and employers. Not surprisingly, it was met with suspicion, skepticism, frustration, and opposition."

Unknown said...

As the other posters here have pointed out Jodi,you should to stick to writing on those subjects you've had time to research adequately. Personally I don't understand why public school teachers in BC (not to mention parents with children in the public schools) have been so patient for so long. After the lies and other chicanery that the BC Government have promulgated with respect to the Education portfolio I'm unable to accept their word on anything...and I mean anything at all.

kootcoot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurie Bayly said...

Hi Jody,
I work as an elementary school counsellor in 4 schools (4 and one half days per week). On Thursday I will once again be on strike with my teacher colleagues. This is why:

I work in a school system that does not adequately support children who are most vulnerable. Over the past 10 years I have had hundreds of meetings with teachers who are struggling to meet the needs of children who are not managing in the classroom. “Not managing” literally means screaming, being physically and/or verbally aggressive toward peers, bolting from the classroom or school, hiding, shutting down, feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, being unable to focus on a task. Many of these behaviours are disruptive in the classroom, difficult for the child to experience and for others in the class to witness.

In my conversations with teachers and Educational Assistants, I consistently hear caring and concern and a deep desire to help. I hear frustration and sadness at the lack of resources for children who are struggling, resources both within our school system and in our community. I have met with many parents who are struggling to get outside support for their children but are faced with many months to year long wait lists. I have spoken with Mental Health professionals who echo the need for timely, well-resourced support for children and families.

Being at 4 schools, I see a variety of situations that impact a child’s ability to cope at school. A school that is dear to my heart is labelled the "neediest" school in District 61 - Victoria. The effects of trauma, poverty and residential schools affect many of the children and families that I and many of my colleagues have the pleasure of working with. These children deserve the best that we are able to offer. All of the studies out there on resiliency and healing point to the importance of consistent, reliable and compassionate human connection. Many children need skilled 1:1 long-term support in order to cope and, hopefully, thrive at school. For many children - the ones who need it most - the current levels of support are not enough.

On Thursday I will be out there again. I know this action will affect children and parents and I hope that, in the long run, it will be worth it. I, too, am a parent.

I want the government to understand what is happening in our schools, especially our "neediest" ones. In Christy Clark's Families First agenda she makes a written commitment “to support the most vulnerable among us.” These are our children.

savvy teaching tips said...

So a week later, do you still feel the same Jody? I'm a teacher, and a week later, I'm stressed beyond belief. I'm sorry that extra curricular has been cancelled, but can't someone else volunteer to take kids on these trips? With my wages cut back, and sitting on the curb to eat my lunch and have my recess coffee, I'm am increasingly frustrated and stressed, and yes, this is affecting my work in the classroom Instead of posting opinions like these on the net, why don't you write to your MLA, or Fassbender, or Clark, and get them to do something? The teachers are already doing all that they can for the kids, it's time for parents to put pressure on the politicians now.