Call the bluff

The teachers union has said it will not give up at the bargaining table what it fought to get back through the courts ie. the right to the same class size and class composition teachers had in 2001 before then-Minister of Education Christy Clark stripped class size and composition language from the teachers collective agreement, a move thats been deemed illegal and unconstitutional by the highest court in B.C. But instead of conceeding defeat, as the Clark administration had to do with the HST debacle, the government has appealed the Supreme Court decision a matter that might now be settled sometime next year.

In the meantime, our public school students are still without an education and, according to the most up to date information available, both sides claim the other isnt willing to compromise.

I am outraged that B.C.s government would expect parents to believe that $40 would buy their acceptance of yet more bad-faith bargaining. How gullible do they think B.C. parents are? states a comment posted below the online petition seeking to recall Premier Christy Clark that had collected over 10,000 signatures by The Pioneers Wednesday press deadline.

While the government insists teachers are demanding twice as much money as the other public unions, the teachers insist the government is unwilling to spend the necessary money to reinstitute class size and composition provisions that will bring B.C.s spending per student back to a level on par with the rest of Canada.

Though so much is murky in this ongoing dispute, whats clear is that public education is a victim of the austerity measures promised by the Liberals in their campaign rhetoric. With a court decision on the appeal almost an entire school year away, the union has to take action now to put kids back in school. With no strike pay, the teachers are not gaining anything, and the kids are not gaining anything. Start over at the bargaining table with the union setting the terms for class size and composition, and length of contract, leaving the issue of a raise thats affordable to taxpayers in the hands of the employer. Without the rhetoric that higher wage demands are driving negotiations, B.C. voters will quickly discover where their government squarely stands when it comes to the price of public education.

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