Opinion

News Views: Use your brains

The provincial government is playing hardball with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

While teachers might have some of their pay cut, it will be students who will be missing out.

The teachers’ union announced Monday its plans to introduce rotating strikes across the province on this coming Tuesday, meaning no classes.

That followed the rejection of an offer from the province to give teachers a 6.5 per cent increase over six years, plus a $1,200 signing bonus to all 41,000 of them.

The province also threatened to cut teacher salaries by five per cent if they didn’t sign it by the end of the school year.

Teachers have asked for a 21.5 per cent total increase over four years – a demand Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton calls “out of the ball park.”

On Thursday, the Liberal government announced a partial lockout – a stop-work order, taking effect 45 minutes before and after school hours and during lunch and recess breaks, as well as a 10 per cent cut in teacher salaries.

They won’t get paid for not working.

The year-end lockout may disrupt issuing of report cards and marking of provincial exams for graduating students.

Graduation ceremonies could also be cancelled.

Some parents and students will be upset by all this, but it should never have gone so far.

The Liberals and BCTF have been in a spat over class sizes and composition since the NDP’s epic collapse in the 2001 provincial election.

The B.C. government is to appeal a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that ordered a return to 2002 classroom rules, although even the local school district has acknowledged that doing so would be enormously expensive.

Rather than putting parents and students in the middle, again – using threats and withdrawing services at a critical time, getting hung up on configurations agreed to by a previous governing party before an election – why not bring in a mediator to help resolve what the two sides have been unable to do for 13 years.

Let’s use our brains and agree to common-sense, affordable solutions and get back to educating the current generation.

Spare us the drama.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

 

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