‘I am riled up, and furious, necessarily’

Ms. Lambert did not tell me to feel this way. I told her.

Editor, The News:

Re: Teachers to vote on provincial ban (The News, April 23).

To MLA Marc Dalton:

How dare you excuse my job action as a result of ‘being riled up unnecessarily’ by BCTF president Susan Lambert, as if I am some sort of mindless minion?

I am riled up. In fact, I am furious at the fact that I have lived through 10 years of education cutbacks that I have felt first hand in my classroom. I am furious that I will see even more devastating cutbacks next year, including larger class sizes, more special needs students in my class, but less support and programming to help those students. I am furious that, despite my best efforts, other children who lay in the ‘grey’ area will slip through the cracks, never to climb back out. I am furious that even though the Supreme Court of British Columbia found Bills 27 and 28 to be unconstitutional, yet this ruling was virtually ignored by your government.  I am furious that your government, in passing Bill 22, has failed to recognize its actions as devastating for the children and the future of our province. And I am furious that my right to bargain and negotiate a collective agreement has been taken away by your government.

Ms. Lambert did not tell me to feel this way. I told her.  She is a strong, dedicated, steadfast leader and advocate for teachers and she is guided by the membership of the BCTF.  So, believe me, I am ‘riled up’ – necessarily – and will continue to be until your government does what it takes to rectify this situation in earnest.

Penny Morgan, teacher

Maple Ridge

Teachers not in a class by themselves

Editor, The News:

Re: Teachers to vote on provincial ban (The News, March 23).

Invariably, there are two or more sides to any issue or dispute, including that of the teachers.

To begin with, the bickering and fighting of this last year could, and should have been avoided.

It was abundantly clear from the outset that the starting point of negotiations would be net-zero.

If the BCTF had acknowledged and accepted that, fruitful discussions could have taken place, discussing special needs, class size and composition and other student issues.

Instead, in their usual militant way, the BCTF came out with outlandish demands, so off the wall that even conceding 90 per cent of their demands was still unacceptable to consider. This includes stubbornly insisting on a wage increase, even at this time.

Now, after a year of fighting, essentially not a thing has been accomplished, particularly in the area of issues important for the students.

Then we have all this talk about withdrawing extra curricular activities. We have another, easier to understand word for that, namely volunteering.

I do not know, nor do I need to know, if any or many teachers do volunteer work in the community outside of school activities, but it is important for them to realize that volunteer work is done constantly by people from all walks of life throughout the local community and beyond, therefore the teachers are by no means in a class by themselves.

And just because Susan Lambert tells us that we have great educational system does not necessarily make it so. Not to dispute that claim, but one might ask why so many parents choose to take their children out of the public system to send them to private schools, or would love to do so if they could only afford it.

One more thing came to mind when at the teachers’ convention, Jim Sinclair of the B.C. Federation of Labour and Ms. Lambert used words such as, ‘We will never give up power,’ and, ‘We will not give up control,’ or words to that effect.

The media calls them fighting words, but they are no different than those used by extreme dictators around the world.

It seems to me that the public does not want to have to deal with such dictatorship.

Without question, there are many excellent and dedicated teachers, so there is a good chance that these teachers, likely the majority, will have the good sense to do what is right for their students.

Walter Verwoerd

Maple Ridge


Stand together

Editor, The News:

Re: Teachers to vote on provincial ban (The News, March 23).

When faced with a dictatorial action by any government, one must stand up or essentially lay down and say, ‘we will do whatever you order us to do.’

History is a powerful teacher in this regard. In the United States, state governments tried the same draconian and extreme threatening actions.

If a group stands together, is the government going to throw the whole group in jail?

Is the government going to inflict horrific fines on 40,000 teachers and bankrupt them?

Part of the resultant final negotiations in other jurisdictions, when the teachers refused to be coerced, was the dismissal of the threats and penalties and a moving forward to a fair negotiation process, with fairly chosen arbitrators, not those only picked by the government.

When fair is fair, the teachers could lose just as well as the government, but then it is based on a fair and respectful procedure.

Ultimately, this is what we should be teaching our children.

Brian Koven

Maple Ridge

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