Fine line between teachers as professionals or labourers

Political advocacy seems more the goal of B.C. Teachers Federation

I taught junior high school in Duncan in the mid-70s for several years and that classroom experience has left me with nothing but respect for teachers.

It is a difficult, demanding profession that requires a great deal of energy to effectively create a positive learning environment from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

It has always been considered an important profession which necessitated planning and marking outside the classroom hours.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation is another matter altogether. It is a union that is seemingly ill disposed to professional development, focusing rather on political advocacy. An incredible amount of union dues has been poured into advertising how horrible the education system has become in the last 10 years (note: after the departure of the NDP government).

They do not believe in grade-wide testing, refused to try to negotiate a new collective agreement over the summer, preferring to wait for the new school year to begin, and put forward a preposterous wage and benefits package, eventually reduced to a three-year demand for a 15-per-cent wage increase. This furthers their obvious political agenda, but does nothing to help the province’s educational system. Former BCTF president Jinny Sims is now a federal NDP MP.

Surely this desire for confrontation has severely damaged the classroom learning situation and the public educational system, evidenced by more parents simply giving up and removing their children.

Having received a 15-per-cent increase over the previous three years, perhaps it might be reasonable for BCTF to see how other professional vocations have fared. In many cases, architects, engineers, surveyors and lawyers have struggled to keep their doors open. Most private-sector professionals make less money today than three years ago.

All B.C. taxpayers pay half of all teachers’ pensions. Private-sector pensions are often completely self-financed and generous health-care plans are virtually non-existent.

The bulk of the present cost of the $5.5-billion B.C. education budget is teachers’ salaries. Would teachers want their desired salary increase to be funded by deficit borrowing that would have to be paid by their present students in their future working lives?

The NDP initiated a politically correct change in class composition that required special needs students to be integrated into all classrooms. This has been the single greatest stroke in making the present classroom situation untenable for many teachers. It must be changed to bring a good learning environment back to our public schools.

Patrick Skillings

Oak Bay

Just Posted

Deadline looming for youth transitional housing

Province says funding for 10 units not available at this time

Greater Victoria Public Library announces new music streaming service

Victoria Conservatory of Music to perform at Langford Heritage Branch on Saturday

Crews respond to homeless camp fire in View Royal

View Royal, Saanich and Colwood responding to two separate incidents on the Trans-Canada Highway

Harbour Authority signs up for green bus fleet

Agreement signed for 10-year partnership with new company

“This is not a drill:” test tsunami alarm sparks panic at elementary school

CFB Esquimalt issued apology for broadcasting wrong message

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

JOCK TALK: Canada’s national cycling team is at Bear Mountain this weekend

Your weekly round up of all things sports on the West Shore

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

Having a Happy Halloween at Galey Farms

Galey Farms has become synonymous with Halloween on the Saanich Peninsula. The… Continue reading

B.C. woman plagued by bedbugs on airplane not surprising, says expert

Heather Szilagyi was on a British Airways flight when she noticed bedbugs crawling out of the seat

Most Read