Buck Up Teachers
It’s the end of picketing for the school year. You’re weary; with the year, the financial penalty, the fight and the disrespect.
You’re committed; solidarity among teachers is good – we can’t let them continue to attack public education and teachers. Even teachers who crossed picket lines in previous strikes are out this time – that’s encouraging.
But you feel queasy. A couple of teachers have been called in to supervise and mark government exams – and are getting paid for it. The rumour is that they’re not going to donate their salary back to the strike fund. Everyone is angry with them and the Principal, who, now that the essay answers have been removed from the exam, could have supervised and marked the meaningless multiple guess exams in five minutes, by machine.
You’re shocked at how petulant and mean the government seems.
Salary cuts, expensive, misleading, anti teacher ads, blaming teachers for deteriorating funding, name calling. Government is supposed to be fair, balanced and collaborative.
There is a rumour that School principals and Vice Principals are up for a $3500 bonus from the Ministry for their added stress of the past few weeks.
The government is chuckling behind their hands. They’re saying nothing except;
“Let them die out there”. The will to win at any cost has long ago erased any government concern for students, teachers, parents and public schools.
“From my cold, dead, hand”, says Premier Christy Clark to any suggestion that teachers get a nickel. Peter Fassbender eagerly agrees, and Peter Cameron pours over LRB precedents to discover new strategies to punish teachers.
The public is somewhat supportive, But there’s always a “but”. Every once in a while, you read a bitter attack online, based on nothing but unreasoned anger. The vitriol is demoralizing.
The L.R.B. has issued a convoluted ruling on summer school as an essential service. The Vancouver Sun headline reads: “ Teachers Now Threaten Summer School” You slump – could there be a more disgraceful banner?
But with all the maddening noise, you are making a difference. People are talking about Public Education for the first time in a long time.
People know that education funding has been eroding for many years. People know the government has acted not only unconstitutionally but punitively towards teachers for many years. They don’t like it. The “but” in public support is salary, not whether or not public education is being pummeled.
One of the reasons for the bitter insults hurled towards teachers is that it’s simple to do; one doesn’t need to analyze anything, or face up to one’s suspicion that public education has been targeted for years and may need a major infusion of funding.
“Too complicated for me – just stop it.”
But, what are you gonna do? You can’t allow the destruction of public education or the teacher’s right to bargain and strike. And that’s the government goal. They say they support public education, their actions prove otherwise.
Make no mistake; they want private school options, home schooling, vouchers, merit pay, and voluntary B.C.T.F. membership (no union).
So buck up teachers. Your cause is noble and just.
Lick your wounds, be quiet for a while, then pick up the picket signs.
You just can’t let a bully get away with it.