“Taking control” of education has been the agenda of the B.C.Libs. since 2002’s contract stripping -the original sin.
The newly elected Liberal Government tasked Christy Clark, then Minister of Education to break what they saw as an unwarranted control of education by teachers. The government set out to right the wrong.
But somewhere in the process, the animus Ms. Clark holds for teachers and public schools turned personal and became overt.
Ms. Clark’s anger with teachers has long trumped any desire she may have had to fund healthy public schools.
War room strategy replaced planning for adequate support of healthy public schools.
And the Liberal government’s educational pogrom of the last 14 years has been as much a strategic political success for Ms. Clark as it has been an educational disaster.
Far from defending public schools,many parents responded to the continuous political unrest in public schools, by bailing to private schools, which now house 12% of B.C.’s students.
So, now, what began in 2001 as a focussed vendetta to show teachers who’s boss, has morphed into a multi- faceted effort to accelerate the migration to private schools.
This year’s acrimonious teacher contact negotiations was a public education smack down success for the government.
They won. They gave public schools and teachers almost nothing, and they’ll recoup more than they gave with increased cuts.
They broke the teachers spirit.
One would think that there might be some time for a little cuddling after such a defiling.
But there has not even been time for a post coital cigarette for battle fatigued public educators.
If anything,the attacks on public education from government have increased, in order to keep the unrest up and encourage more parents to leave the chaos in our public schools.
$54 million in administrative cuts, appointing a VSB forensic auditor, and now, government scrutiny of Professional Development Days.
These actions are designed to imply that:
- there’s still lots of extra money in school district budgets
- local fiscal mismanagement is a big problem in public schools
- Vancouver, a perennial cuts fighting district, is particularly poorly run
- Pro D-days are not used wisely by teachers.
These are all strategically valuable aspersions to cast if your goal is to encourage B.C. parent’s to get away from the distemper of public schools and agree to pay half of their child’s education in private schools.
The privatization of education is now an obvious goal of the B.C. Government.
It’s significant that Christy Clark personally announced the appointment of a “Private Schools Advocate” recently.
Having personally taken control of education over fourteen years, she’s spiking the ball.
You’ve hit the nail on the head again here, Jim. It has been demoralizing to be in the schools of late. The announcement of the government taking control of our professional development days is another slap in the face. I can’t say I am surprised by this action, but I certainly do question the motive behind it and how authentic “top down” pro-d will be.
The Clark/Fassbender meddling in the affairs of duly elected school boards through Bill 11 is an outrage. I don’t understand why more boards don’t stand up to be counted by opposing the ongoing chronic underfunding and cuts to education. Now THAT would show some leadership, a quality that is sorely lacking when so much energy is focused on making the mandated cuts. Right now it is easy for the Minister to target a single dissenting school board. How would he handle 50 or 60 dissenting school boards along with a pack of angry parents? I, for one, would like to find out.
They de-balled school boards long ago,I’m afraid. It’s so demoralizing. Close your classroom door and ignore the works of them – with any luck, they won’t have encouraged all kids to bail to private schools before you retire…
On the money, as usual. We all know it’s true, but the Libs will take your comments as a compliment. They are a vindictive and self-absorbed bunch!
Cheers, Geoff – What they need is a god dose of old persons softball to re-adjust their perspective…
I pulled the plug on a job I loved for 38 years — teaching K-6 in public schools — when I predicted that the strike would go on in September and I could be collecting a pension, rather than bupki$.
That prediction was correct… but my next one: that the long-term contract would mean labour peace for 4 years, was struck down pretty quickly. I hope other retired principals and teachers will join current educators and parents in their efforts of shining a light on this dark government, with a vindictive woman masquerading as a leader.
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Good call Barry – and you got a COLA raise too! I have two children ( now adults) in teaching and feel compelled to defend the disrespect shown by gov’t towards teachers and public education.
It’s absolutely incredible to me that the public is allowing them to dismantle public education.