After having read so much about the B.C. teachers’ actions regarding their work environment and remuneration, I feel that they have not been treated fairly for a couple of reasons.
First, with the teachers’ employers being enabled to get the B.C. government to legislate very swift injunctions against job action, there must be some type of moral responsibility on the part of the employers to treat the teachers fairly.
My take on this is that there is no responsibility shown in that regard, with the unilateral choosing of an arbitrator. Also, when we see the other government unions being offered three per cent and the teachers zero per cent, the question should be why should this be considered fair or responsible.
My take on the answer is that if there is no compelling reason to be fair or responsible, why bother? B.C. Hydro, B.C. Ferries and other monopolies are raising their rates to cover inflation, are the teachers somehow immune from those increases?
Second, the teachers’ plight is about far more than wages. They have a vested interest in providing the best possible education to their students. When class size dictates that they teach to the average students’ capability, many students will not thrive, and this is at great expense to their self esteem and overall value as a happy and properly-educated person.
I fear that many students are being unfairly treated by the lack of proper education and this is not the teachers’ fault.
However, providing payment for teaching service to the average capability of teachers is also unfair to the people paying for those services. The backbone of any union is protection of their members, and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation seems no different.
However, as with other professions, they must take responsibility for the conduct and competence of those members.
I have seen from personal experience with the public school system, with one of my sons and my granddaughter, that there are teachers doing a lot of harm.
The private school system does not have such a problem, since they can hire and fire on merit, the public system cannot.
How this should be corrected, will probably forever be a dilemma if the teachers do not take responsibility for this flaw. With identical tenure, a really bad teacher gets the same pay as a really good one, and is likely doing an immense amount of harm to our sons and daughters.
This, I see as a very serious problem. Without the intervention of the excellent teaching boosters, Sylvan and Kumon, my son and granddaughter would not be the vibrant people that they are today.
In my lifetime, I am hopeful that I will see a return to responsibility by both parties in this continual problematic dispute — the teachers taking control of the competence of their members and the employers providing a more benevolent view of their negotiations.