Editorial: Schools get back to the real job

The summer holiday is over and school kids are back in the classrooms for another 10 months of education.

The summer holiday is over and school kids are back in the classrooms for another 10 months of education. Along with the ABCs and three Rs, this year they might even get report cards.

This year students and their parents don’t have to worry about scrapped after-school activities or navigating the simmering tensions between teachers and administrators.

In September 2011, students entered classrooms with teachers on a work-to-rule job action. Instruction didn’t stop, but teachers didn’t write report cards, wouldn’t host parent-teacher conferences after school hours and in some cases, coaching for sports teams was taken over by volunteer parents.

In the Saanich and Sooke school districts, for one, the administrators – principals, vice-principals, superintendents, managers – scrambled to cover watching elementary kids at recess and after school. A three-day strike in March capped off a terrible year in public education.

This year classrooms are somewhat back to normal, but the labour war between teachers and government remains – especially with the issue of class size and composition. The B.C. Teachers’ Federation is suing the government to regain bargaining rights over these points, and to challenge the hated Bill 22. BCTF has a court date in December.

This kind of posturing could be moot. Education Minister George Abbott said that he expects the next round of bargaining with teachers to begin next March or April 2013, mere months before next provincial election. By then Abbott, and many other high-profile Liberals, will be coasting toward retirement.

This awkward gap between the start of the school year now and the likely demise of the ruling Liberal government means it could be a quiet year for labour relations in education.

The BCTF won’t waste its time seriously negotiating with a lame-duck administration when it could re-start negotiations with a more labour-friendly NDP government. Outgoing Liberals will be more than happy to hand this hornet’s nest to their friends across the aisle.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cyclists see potential and pitfalls in Sooke infrastructure

Getting from Sooke Road to Galloping Goose Trail a challenge for bike riders

Bear spotted walking on McKenzie Avenue sidewalk in Saanich

Urban sightings prompt warnings from Saanich Police Department

National drive-by art show rolls in Victoria on Saturday

Map shows drivers where local artists have set up displays in windows, balconies, driveways

Univeristy of Victoria parking lot hosts drive-in movies

The Breakfast Club, Hook and The Life Aquatic shown on a 40-foot screen

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment in schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Most Read