The British Columbia Teacher’s Federation are on strike. What does this mean? I’m not totally sure. The Union has begun rotating strikes and in retaliation, the provincial government has locked them out. School is still in session – for the most part – but it means that we have occasional school closure days (at least two so far) and that the teachers cannot be in the classroom outside of regular school hours.
This is a prickly issue – the teachers are looking for a pay raise, reasonable class sizes and other important things. The cash strapped government continues to run school boards at a deficit each year further cutting back an already lean public school system. So what next, who pays the price? This generation of kids does. The kids getting ready to write exams and graduate (although exams and graduation ceremonies are still on the books for now), the kids struggling with their education that need the extra care helping hand. This issue has been dragging on forever it seems. Just two years ago the teachers were forced to take job action for an entire school year. That issue was resolved and the teachers came back so how could we possibly be back here again just two years later?
A very astute group of students in Surrey, BC have built a Facebook page calling for a province wide walk out of students on Wednesday to protest being caught in the middle. Good for them for speaking up because the simple fact of the matter is that most kids are not actually applauding the school closures. They want to be in school every day getting down to the business at hand – learning.
I wonder if the people handling the negotiations on this issue are listening.
We live in a city where childcare is a complete nightmare. You can get it – if you’re willing to pay a lot. If you’re not able to cough up the extra $1500 – 2000 (or more) a month to pay for daycare or a nanny, the options are marginal. Kindergarten comes on as a great relief for many parents as we trust in the public school system to offer excellent education standards and care for our kids. What is early childcare and education but a foundation for the future for our little ones. Its clear that the government are not placing importance on this or are they considering the ramifications for the future.
So what do we do as parents? Go to public hearings and try and be heard over the din of a very heated debate? Write letters to the editor (or blogs) that no one who is handling this issue will never read? I’m tired of government rhetoric and choices made with re-election in mind rather than the greater good. All I know is that I don’t really want to see the Shorties caught in the middle on this one.
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