Mama Bear is PISSED

In most situations, I tend to ride down a tempered path when it comes to my reaction to life as a mom.  I prefer to to see both sides of the story before I react, working to keep the peace and introduce calm when things get hairy.  Taking things with a grain of salt and compassion.  But today I’m mad and the Mama Bear in me is ready to roar.

Mama Bear is Pissed Off!

Mama Bear is Pissed Off!

Regular R&R Mom readers and those who live in our neck of the woods are aware of the fact that we’re in the midst of a teachers strike.  Its been a crazy couple of months as we parents sit helpless, watching events unfold with our kids’ education hanging in the balance.  Embattled educators are caught between a raging government that claims to put families first (but does the exact opposite) and a Union that is doing a terrible job of delivering their message.  Salary bumps and benefits aside, the teachers have some serious concerns about how our public education system runs and we have seen first hand how those shortcomings have effected our kid in the classroom.

Through this whole situation, I’ve felt helpless.  What can I do?  I’m just one person with one kid in a system of thousands.  So I wrote a letter to my MLA, the Premier and the Head of the Teachers’ Union.  But they don’t really care what I think and they made that abundantly clear in the form letter each of them sent in reply.  The Head of the Union told me that I need to stand beside the teachers and write to my MLA.  The MLA wrote about how its all the Premier’s fault and that her party were liars and cheats.  And the Premier, well of course, she never responded.

So now I feel helpless AND REALLY pissed off.

The common response around here when we discuss this situation is to put our kids in private school.  For many reasons, that’s not in the cards for us right now.  So we continue to sit and wait with our Shorty merely a pawn in the political posturing and rhetoric.  Helpless and now steaming mad.

 

Dear Provincial Government Hacks

Oh hi. You don’t know me, but I voted for you. I gave you my vote and my trust that you would do the right thing for our community. That you would act in the best interest of my family and most importantly, my kids. Yeah, you’re not really doing that right now.

There are many aspects of government that are of vital importance – public safety, health care, infrastructure, etc. I get it – you’re busy. But just between us, one of the most important things on your agenda is (or should be) education. And right now, you’re kinda sucking on that big time.

Lets face it, you’re not very good at taking care of kids. We live in an expensive place so its pretty common that both parents need to work. When that happens, someone needs to look after the kids. Public daycares, preschools etc are super important to our society because second to the parents, these caregivers spend as much or sometimes more with our little ones. Helping them to grow, learn and shape their view of society. Right now, we are facing a shortage of excellent and affordable early childcare solutions for our kids. So that in and of itself is kinda bad.

Now, you’ve locked out our teachers, forcing a strike vote that will more than likely end up in a full blown strike ending the school year two weeks early. Yeah, that’s kinda bad too.

You don’t know my kid, but she’s 7. She’s really cute and funny and smart, but for various reasons she struggles with her reading. She is barely able to read at a Grade 1 level and needs extra care to help her so that she won’t be held back a grade.  She WANTS to go to school. She desperately WANTS to learn. So thanks, thanks for encouraging that in her when she needs it most of all. Locking out her teacher so that we can barely find a minute to catch up on her progress and possibly causing the cancelation of summer reading camp which would ensure her progress through the fallow summer months. We appreciate your support of her enthusiasm for education which as we all know with all kids lives on the edge of a sword. When you’re 7, even one bad experience can make a kid hate going to school. So thanks for that too. We really appreciate it.

I’m sorry to have taken your time up when you’re clearly busy fighting for pipelines and spending our tax money on fancy trips to “encourage trade”. But if you could see it within yourself to let our teachers go back to work so our kids can get busy learning, that would be awesome.

Love,
The Rock and Roll Mom

Hot for Teacher

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.

PS – if you like what you read here at The Rock and Roll Mom, please feel free to vote for this blog for the Top Vancouver Mom Blogger Award here: http://vancouvermom.ca/best-of/vancouver-mom-bloggers-voting-2014/

300x250_Top30