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BC teacher strike

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BILL 22 UPDATE

Bill 22 doesn't solve long-standing problems

By Geoff Johnson, Times Colonist March 9, 2012

Read more: http://www.timescolo...l#ixzz1pKKisSEu

Teachers who take the time to read Bill 22, the government's Education Improvement Act that will inevitably pass into law within days, must surely be wondering why they just gave up three days' pay, annoyed parents and sent the kids home.

Bill 22 basically says that the game is over, the final score is in the books, the stadium lights are out and the spectators have gone home. Continuing to kick the ball up and down the field will change nothing.

Worse, there is nothing fair about Bill 22 and nothing that addresses or even recognizes the issues which have plagued public education, teachers, their union and everybody involved.

Bill 22 brings more than a year of non-negotiation between the government and the British Columbia Teachers' Federation to a Schadenfreude "not only must I win but you must know you lost" ending.

The legislation abjures collective bargaining in the public education sector. It instructs that "the parties must continue or commence to bargain collectively in good faith" and then almost in the same sentence insists that "the new collective agreement must not create new costs that would result in a net increase in the annual cost of the collective agreement from the total annual cost of the last collective agreement."

Time and lawyers will tell us what that actually means or if it indicates a loophole, given that the last collective agreement paid for more teachers than a declining student population currently requires.

Either way, it smacks of Lewis Carroll's conversation between Alice and Humpty Dumpty;

" 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.'

"

''The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.' "

Nor did boards of education win much. Bill 22 also states that "the new collective agreement is to include additional matters that may be locally negotiated between the BCTF and a board of education if those matters do not affect any other school district, and would, in the opinion of the mediator, be more effectively negotiated as local matters."

More legislation through the looking glass, given that we don't know what that means either, but if it means that the system returns to the practice of local boards trying to negotiate individually with the highly co-ordinated, strictly disciplined and wellprepared BCTF, we will once again be treated to the spectacle of a good ol' hockey game between the Pouce Coupe

Over-40s and the Canucks with the result never in doubt.

The clincher, and this pretty much tells us the game really is over, is the section that basically says that if a mediator appointed by the minister finds that by June 30, there remain "any outstanding issues that remain in dispute between the parties," he/she is to report this to the minister who then, presumably, locks up the stadium until it is time to play again, maybe in 2013.

There are significant fines for noncompliance. Individual employees can be fined a daily $475, officers of the BCTF $2,500, the BCTF itself $1.3 million per day and BCPSEA similar amounts. (This would see the government fining itself, I guess.)

Despite all of the above, the biggest loss for the BCTF may be in revisions that basically seem to trample unrestricted over two carved-in-stone aspects of the old agreement: the role of seniority in teacher selection and the issue of class size and composition.

Try as it might, and it will, the BCTF is going to have to work awfully hard to spin this one as any kind of step forward on behalf of its members. That is too bad, because if there ever was a time when public education needed a workable progressive alliance between government and its teachers, that time is now.

Government has acted unfairly towards the province's teachers and the BCTF has been obdurate in its inability to negotiate a better deal for its members.

In the meantime, public education, which should be moving ahead into the 21st century, progresses only because of the imagination of individual teachers in classrooms.

Geoff Johnson is a retired superintendent of schools.

gfjohnson4@shaw.ca

© Copyright © The Victoria Times Colonist

Read more: http://www.timescolo...l#ixzz1pKKswanz

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What this means is teachers can take 3 days off now, and get a long weekend every other week provided they let administration know, while this is all being paid by us taxpayers.

Yeah...no thanks.

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they all just want $$$$ they don't care about the students......

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Too bad business didn't have the same penalties applied to them for failure to comply with work-safe regs or labor standards. Not one employer to my knowledge has ever faced fines of these levels even when a worker dies. Would love to see a company that breaks WCB regs face automatic 1.3 million in fines each day with no appeal process - just straight up guilty.

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a ) They should want more money. They have a right to be paid fairly. That's the point of a union. It takes a lot of education to become a teacher and it takes a lot of work. That being said, there are lazy, selfish people in any profession. b ) The education system is horrendous right now, and that is largely due to a lack of funding.

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Have a good look at the legislation, what they're doing is stripping everything teachers have fought for, for students, for the last 20 years.......class size, class composition, caps on special needs students in classes........all gone.

Teachers appealed to the LRB for an independent mediator to help negotiate a resolution......the gov't response to that was to set guidelines for the appointment of any mediator.......hardly independent. This imposed contract runs out 1 month after the 2013 election.

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From a parent , Teachers need to strike and get what they deserve .

They pay huge university fees and take on one of the most important jobs in the world but get paid a average wage for a top priority postion .

We want the best people teaching the next generations and its not going to happen when you pay up to 50G or more in university fees to make 40-70 k a yr ,It just seems weird that politicians have no problem paying them selves 6 figures each year not including all there kick backs the public is not aware of but wont compensate these people like they should be

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My girlfriend and I are both teachers (I'm high school English, she's elementary). We have 7 years of university education each. A combined 14 years, and, approximately $60-$70k in debt between us. And you know what, we can't even find full-time teaching jobs. That's the reality for many of us. In fact, the district I'm in closed 12 schools just a couple of years ago. Twelve. Teachers, vice-principals, principals, counsellors, librarians ... all with years and years of experience (talk about job security) and they're looking for new jobs.

So what? That's the choice we made and, believe it or not, a huge reason we made that choice was because we did care about working with students. When I first started I thought that I would enjoy teaching because I loved English, but it didn't take long for me to realize that working with the students was far more rewarding. But you know what? I still have to pay rent, vehicle costs, food costs, etc. I'd also like to have a house some day and start a family. When will I be able to do that, exactly?

So here's what happens next: teachers that are highly skilled, competent, and hard-working ... find other careers. Personally, I'm waiting to hear back from law schools. Who loses in this situation? Not to sound arrogant, but it's the students. I can go into law and be just fine. The students, however, will miss out on a good teacher that genuinely cares. And you can say "oh, well I guess you just don't care that much then" but that's hardly fair. Since when are teachers supposed to monk-like and forsake all worldly possessions? Wasn't it enough that I earned two degrees and spent tens of thousands of dollars? Like I said, I do want a house and family, but I can barely make ends meet as is!

What the B.C. government has done is to say that our union doesn't matter. Negotiations are over and we have to work, or we face extremely stiff fines. Furthermore, a mediator will broker a new deal but it MUST comply with the government's wishes. So really, what rights to teachers actually have? None.

And like many have said, this is about more than money. Classroom compositions are very important. 30 kids in a class? 5-10 IEPs (individual education plans)? It's not just the extra work that this creates for teachers, it's also how spread out it makes us. No individual student really gets the time or attention they need to succeed (go figure so many don't go to university).

But what are we complaining about, our work day is done by 3pm (yeah right!), we have weekends and holidays off, we get summers off, and we get benefits. Just try being a full time teacher for one term or semester, I dare you. Teachers eat, sleep, and breathe their jobs more than you can imagine. The teachers that don't, well, they're the ones you get stuck with when the hard-working teachers find better jobs.

It just baffles my mind how the government can strip spending on education. How can you possibly justify or rationalize that? How is it not seen as the incredibly important institution that it is? And then for people to criticize teachers, as a whole, and call them lazy and greedy? Wow. I shared more personal information than I'd normally like but, to me, this is that important. I just don't think most people really understand the situation.

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Simple solutions:

- dissolve the teacher's union

- have each teacher as a hire contractor where their performance can be measured (teacher can also tax deduct work-related expenses like car, supplies, pc, etc)

For Students:

- leased computers

- mandatory breakfast/lunch

- allow students to clean schools (simple duties) for course credits/food vouchers

- more in-depth career planning for senior students

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Simple solutions:

- dissolve the teacher's union

- have each teacher as a hire contractor where their performance can be measured (teacher can also tax deduct work-related expenses like car, supplies, pc, etc)

For Students:

- leased computers

- mandatory breakfast/lunch

- allow students to clean schools (simple duties) for course credits/food vouchers

- more in-depth career planning for senior students

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I really hope a strike causes school to be out for two weeks or so. I could use that time off.

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Simple solutions:

- dissolve the teacher's union

- have each teacher as a hire contractor where their performance can be measured (teacher can also tax deduct work-related expenses like car, supplies, pc, etc)

For Students:

- leased computers

- mandatory breakfast/lunch

- allow students to clean schools (simple duties) for course credits/food vouchers

- more in-depth career planning for senior students

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What is this? North Korea? Do chores for food? Force people to eat lunch? And how are you going to force people to eat?

On a side note, that course Planning 10 is a joke and the learning objectives.. if there are learning objectives need to be revised.

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Simple solutions:

- dissolve the teacher's union

- have each teacher as a hire contractor where their performance can be measured (teacher can also tax deduct work-related expenses like car, supplies, pc, etc)

For Students:

- leased computers

- mandatory breakfast/lunch

- allow students to clean schools (simple duties) for course credits/food vouchers

- more in-depth career planning for senior students

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