Government released its Framework for a 10-year Agreement with Public School Teachers. What do you think?
I think your ten year plan stinks! 7 years ago I went on strike did not take a pay raise in order to protect students from enlarged class sizes and compostion and removing specialist teachers. Where has it got us? This last strike we had an impossed bill 22. Which essentially removed any rights we have to negotiate class size or compostion.We also aren’t recieving a pay raise. Which I have to say is the least of my worries. Christy Clark, I will not vote for you in May. I will put my hope in someone else! I hope your ten year plan follows you out the door!
I’m not sure I agree that large class sizes are really the heart of the problem. For example, my mother-in-law (who attended school in Germany in the 1950′s) was shocked one day when she ventured into my son’s Grade 2 class to pick him up from school. She was shocked at the disorder and chaos she observed. She told me that her elementary-school classes in Germany often had 40-50 children in them, and yet the classroom was always orderly, as the children respectfully and quietly listened to their teacher (and when a child did not, discipline/removal was swift). So, if we really want to solve the problem, we must ask ourselves what conditions have changed, such that a teacher today cannot handle a class of 25 children, while teachers of yesteryear could handle a class of 40-50 children. I think the answers are pretty obvious (e.g., removal of corporal punishment within schools, coupled with the fact that some parents today think their children are gods and are not willing to support the teacher in correcting their child’s poor behaviour; the fact that teachers today need to spend alot of time and energy giving feedback to us hovering parents – something I don’t recall happening in the 1970s when I attended school – parents back then stayed out of the school for the most part, respectfully trusting the teacher to do his/her job; perhaps the increase and incorporaton within the classroom today of children with undiagnosed mental illness/behavioural problems; etc).
I would rather see less emphasis be placed on class size, and more emphasis placed on fixing the above ‘conditional’ deficits (if this is possible). I would particularly like to see each and every classroom resourced with a two-adult team (one curriculum teacher, and one teacher with some background in child psychology who could work more extensively with the children in the classrom who are struggling socially, behaviourally and/or academically. This teacher could also take-on the lion’s share of the parent communications work. This second teacher would be additional to, and would not replace, any EA who has been assigned to a particular special needs child (so under this model, a classroom would have a minimum of two adults in the classroom at all times, plus any EAs that have been assigned to the classroom). The additional cost could be offset by LARGER class sizes, plus (just an idea) the possible use of low-cost student teachers (i.e., the student teacher would be required to work – for FREE – within a live classroom for their final school year, rather than having to pay to spend their final year on a university campus. That being said, the student teacher may have to supplement their learning with some online theoretical training and examinations. Anyhow, seems like a WIN-WIN for the school, the student teacher, the children and the parents. [Although I'm not sure what the unions would think - yikes].
As a parent, this ten year plan deeply concerns me. I was a student at the time when teachers gave up some of their salaries to ensure smaller class sizes. That’s right, they took a permanent pay cut to keep class sizes smaller because they knew that was what was needed to provide our children (or me at that time) with a high quality education. Those negotiated class sizes and working conditions were later stripped away from the teachers, and the pay cuts were still in place. As a student, I was outraged. How could our government betray the children in that way?
A ten year plan would cover three different governments, which is a crazy idea, because as we have seen with the current government, if any of those three governments do not like the ten year plan, they can pass a law that changes it. This can be done without consultation from anyone.
It is hard to trust a government that has repeatedly broken the trust of the public for so many years, and the idea of making an agreement that lasts that long knowing that the government can change the rules, but the teachers can’t seems like a bad idea for them.
I hope that they don’t agree, and I don’t mind if they have to go on strike every few years to keep the government honest. I can look after my own kids for a few days or weeks. Incidentally, since schools shut down for months at a time, and nobody dies as a result, I really don’t see how it got designated as an essential service. If it truly is an essential service, then why do my kids get two months off in the summer, two weeks at Christmas and one to two weeks at spring break?
As a teacher and parent I am concerned with the voice of BCTF continuing to be seen as the ‘voice of teachers’. While I agree to a right to strike for the purpose of labour negotiation, I wonder where the many teachers fit who don’t agree with the BCTF. Is there a right NOT to strike as well? This expectation for professional respect is to be earned and with lifelong licensure, no requirement for professional development, and old school unionization BCTF serves too often to weaken the reputation of the many great teachers in BC.