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Playing politics, with students as pawns - BCTF defends anti-pipeline teaching materials


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#1 Common sense

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:54 PM

Calling itself a “social justice union,” the B.C. Teachers’ Federation defended its promotion of anti-pipeline teaching resources on Wednesday, fueling a national debate about whether teachers should tout their own views in the classroom.

The poster features wildlife — a soaring eagle, a bear, seals and killer whales — enjoying a pristine ocean scene, but the bottom-right corner shows a wide-eyed fish lying dead amid black oily sludge along with the faint image of a skull and crossbones. The headline for the poster, published on the federation’s website as part of its “social justice” resources for teachers, is this: “What we stand to lose with pipelines and oil tankers.”

As the controversy percolated on Twitter, Canada’s Natural Resources minister, Joe Oliver, told reporters Wednesday he is concerned that B.C. youth are being subjected to just one side of a critical public issue.

“My understanding is [the education resource is] somewhat unbalanced and I think that’s regrettable,” he said.

Vancouver School Board trustee Ken Denicke likened the poster, which comes amid debate over the Northern Gateway Pipeline, to propaganda; he called it “very much one-sided” and deemed it “totally inappropriate to present to young kids.”

The teachers’ union sought to clarify the poster is not part of a lesson plan — as was initially reported and discussed on Twitter — but the teachers’ federation’s website appears murkier on that question: The site has a page dedicated to “‘What We Stand to Lose’ poster resources,’” and among them is a downloadable document containing links to a dozen lesson plans that teachers can choose to use in their classrooms. That document, called “‘What We Stand to Lose’ Poster Lesson Plans,’” lists plans that hinge on the importance of protecting ocean ecosystems, the impacts of a pipeline, information about the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill and an exercise described as a “short lesson” that “illustrates the effects of mixing oil, water and bird feathers.”

“We have to start thinking about the environment, and that means that you have to start thinking about the consequences,” federation president Susan Lambert said Wednesday, adding that the resources are optional, promote critical thinking and can be paired with any number of other lesson plans at a teacher’s behest.

“There’s a probability of an oil spill if you increase tanker traffic. That’s a question that these students, and very shortly as adults, will be grappling with. It’s our responsibility in schools to give them the tools they need to grapple with that issue.”

She said the teaching resources include a link to the official Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline website, but that link is not listed in the “‘What We Stand to Lose’ Poster Lesson Plans” and is instead found in an entirely separate document called “Quick Facts” — a one-page explainer that highlights Enbridges “60 spills a year” and says “a spill could cause irreversible harm to the livelihoods of many coastal and aboriginal communities and the area’s unique marine ecosystems.”

Jordan Bateman, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s B.C. director, took to Twitter to square off against the teachers’ union, accusing it of promoting anti-pipeline materials without similarly promoting pro-pipeline materials.

“A web link isn’t balance,” Mr. Bateman tweeted in response to a union tweet pointing to the Enbridge link.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Bateman said “pipeline education is not a curriculum target” set by the province’s education ministry, and said the federation is “flexing its muscles in individual classrooms, trying to get its point of view across.”

The federation did not craft the actual lessons plans, but the union’s Environmental Justice Action Group — comprised of teachers — determined which plans would be listed as part of its social justice resources. It also decided to promote the poster on its website and on the federation’s Facebook page.

“I ordered one for my classroom and it was delivered in 2 days,” Sue Brown, who according to her Facebook page is a Greater Victoria School District teacher, commented beneath the image of the poster. “The kids like looking at it.”

Annie Kidder, executive director of Ontario’s People for Education, said if teachers portray only one side of a debate in the classroom, they risk leaving students with the impression that a different perspective is erroneous.

“I don’t think it’s wrong for teachers to tell kids what their views are, but the danger comes when those views are presented as fact,” she said.

http://news.national...hing-materials/



Once again, this leftist-charged union rears its ugly head in BC politics, and uses its students to showcase their support for a political party (in this case, the NDP who is opposed to the pipeline). Sadly, some teachers are using only this as curriculum as opposed to bringing in both sides of the pipeline debate.

I don't like the idea of having a pipeline run by a company known for its shaky record, but I am absolutely disgusted by the BCTF and its constant vile attempts to spread its propaganda, all while using schoolchildren to spread its message and lying through their teeth (saying "it's all for the children")

Edited by Common sense, 03 October 2012 - 08:58 PM.

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#2 Sharpshooter

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 09:01 PM

Good on the teachers in the face of right-wing dirty oil supporting policies. Hopefully students will learn something about the risks of this environmental timebomb of a pipeline.
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#3 Jägermeister

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 09:09 PM

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Let them go ahead and do that. But at the same time they should have to teach the students about the positives of the plan as well.
Students should at least be able to have the resources to both sides of the argument so they will be able to make their own informed decision on where they stand.

Edited by Jagermeister, 03 October 2012 - 09:11 PM.

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#4 DonLever

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 11:49 PM

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Good on the teachers in the face of right-wing dirty oil supporting policies. Hopefully students will learn something about the risks of this environmental timebomb of a pipeline.


It is not the duty of teachers to spread propaganda. If they want students to develop a critical thought process they need to provide both sides of the argument. ie. the jobs and the revenue produced by the oil pipelines.

Teachers are tax payer funded and and must represent ALL of the public not just the leftwing .
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#5 Sharpshooter

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 11:54 PM

Let them go ahead and do that. But at the same time they should have to teach the students about the positives of the plan as well.
Students should at least be able to have the resources to both sides of the argument so they will be able to make their own informed decision on where they stand.


The negatives outweigh the positives. It's a stupid plan made by greedy people. The fact that Harper and Romney and Palin are pushing for it ought to tell you something.
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#6 Sharpshooter

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 11:57 PM

It is not the duty of teachers to spread propaganda. If they want students to develop a critical thought process they need to provide both sides of the argument. ie. the jobs and the revenue produced by the oil pipelines.

Teachers are tax payer funded and and must represent ALL of the public not just the leftwing .


It's not propaganda. The jobs are short term and the revenue isn't much for B.C.

The monetary risk for B.C. taxpayer is significant and it won't be covered by Enbridge should there be a spill, as there has been at other of its pipeline, most notably in Michigan.

That ain't propaganda, that's the truth. What bullcrap the company and the Harper and the oil backed Ambrose gov't is feeding you, that's propaganda on behalf of the oil industry.
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#7 Jägermeister

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 11:59 PM

The negatives outweigh the positives. It's a stupid plan made by greedy people. The fact that Harper and Romney and Palin are pushing for it ought to tell you something.


Doesn't matter what I or anyone else think about it. It's about the fact that students should at least be given the ability to choose where they stand on issues for themselves.
At least if they were educated about the positives as well as the negatives they could decide for themselves whether the negatives outweigh the positives or not, and not just believe they do because their teachers told them so.

Edited by Jagermeister, 04 October 2012 - 12:12 AM.

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#8 Sharpshooter

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:14 AM

Doesn't matter what I or anyone else think about it.
At least if they were educated about the positives and the negatives they could be able to see that the negatives outweigh the positives for themselves and not just believe they do because their teachers told them so.


Sure it matter.

Would you also want Creationism to be taught in Biology class or Alchemy to be taught in Chemistry class?

If you want kids to have that particular kind of Fair & Balanced education of oil pipelines, that run the risk of decimating our coastal environment as well as jobs in those regions, then pay for their subscription to Fox Noise.
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#9 Common sense

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:44 AM

Doesn't matter what I or anyone else think about it. It's about the fact that students should at least be given the ability to choose where they stand on issues for themselves.
At least if they were educated about the positives as well as the negatives they could decide for themselves whether the negatives outweigh the positives or not, and not just believe they do because their teachers told them so.


It's also the fact that individual teachers cannot insert curriculum into students' learning plan anyway they choose. Right now, that's happening - either have this be taught to all students, or not.


edit: we're not doing students and future leaders any service by withholding information from them in the one place that is most influential - the classroom. If the pipeline is as absurd as it is, let students know, so they can see why some people agree with it and so that said students can think of ways to argue against it. The growth of students that can think and develop arguments for themselves can't occur if only one side of the story is taught, and is presented as "unquestionable fact".

Edited by Common sense, 04 October 2012 - 12:55 AM.

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#10 Jägermeister

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:49 AM

Sure it matter.

Would you also want Creationism to be taught in Biology class or Alchemy to be taught in Chemistry class?

If you want kids to have that particular kind of Fair & Balanced education of oil pipelines, that run the risk of decimating our coastal environment as well as jobs in those regions, then pay for their subscription to Fox Noise.


Did you seriously just compare somebody teaching potential benefits of an oil pipeline to Creationism or Alchemy?
There is a huge difference between teaching scientific facts and political issues. One is a fact, the other is simply an opinion.
There is no wrong or right answer in a political issue, somebody is always going to benefit, and somebody is always going to lose out. Perhaps some of these students or somebody close to them may have some sort of direct benefit from the pipeline. They should at least be able to see what kind of benefits it could bring.
If the students are going to be taught about the pipeline they should be given all the info in order for them to make the decisions for themselves. What would be the harm in that?

Edited by Jagermeister, 04 October 2012 - 01:01 AM.

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#11 Lancaster

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:53 AM

It's not propaganda. The jobs are short term and the revenue isn't much for B.C.

The monetary risk for B.C. taxpayer is significant and it won't be covered by Enbridge should there be a spill, as there has been at other of its pipeline, most notably in Michigan.

That ain't propaganda, that's the truth. What bullcrap the company and the Harper and the oil backed Ambrose gov't is feeding you, that's propaganda on behalf of the oil industry.



Just asking for clarity here...
So.... if BC gets a way bigger portion of the revenue and there's some major comprehensive environmental safety plan in place.... to a point where the good easily outweighs the bad.... then you will be against the actions from the BCTF?
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#12 Jägermeister

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:57 AM

Religious and Political views should stay out of the classroom.
Simple as that.

Edited by Jagermeister, 04 October 2012 - 12:57 AM.

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#13 Grapefruits

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:18 AM

Isn't the point of being a teacher to inform the student of all the information available, good and bad, so the student can form their own educated opinion?

Edited by zero-ONE-three, 04 October 2012 - 01:18 AM.

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#14 Dittohead

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:17 AM

This Oil pipeline will be built. cry all you want. brainwash all you want. The world runs on fossil fuels get used to it. otherwise stop doing everything you do because whatever it is it involves Oil.
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#15 debluvscanucks

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:46 AM

"There is a huge difference between teaching scientific facts and political issues."

Scientific fact is that a ruptured pipeline will harm the environment and pose a threat to the wildlife shown.

I do think the comments here are valid and that both pros and cons need to be presented so students can decide for themselves. I also see nothing wrong with bringing current issues and events into the classroom for discussion and commend teachers who go beyond the books to do so. This is a pretty sensitive issue in BC and there's a lot more at stake here than politics and money. To ONLY focus on those aspects in a bid to keep this out of classrooms is equally wrong, as there are environmental issues that tie in to classroom learning.
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#16 gurn

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 08:39 AM

" If they want students to develop a critical thought process they need to provide both sides of the argument. ie. the jobs and the revenue produced by the oil pipeline"



In my view "the system" does not want people to develop a critical thought process, because if more people did they would realize just what a pile of crap most things are.
Critical thinkers are harder to manipulate.
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#17 stawns

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 08:58 AM

"There is a huge difference between teaching scientific facts and political issues."

Scientific fact is that a ruptured pipeline will harm the environment and pose a threat to wildlife.
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I do think the comments here are valid and that both pros and cons need to be presented so students can decide for themselves. I also see nothing wrong with bringing current issues and events into the classroom for discussion and commend teachers who go beyond the books to do so. This is a pretty sensitive issue in BC and there's a lot more at stake here than politics and money. To ONLY focus on those aspects in a bid to keep this out of classrooms is equally wrong, as there are environmental issues that tie in to classroom learning.


Teaching about environmental degradation and other concerns in this area is a big part of the science curriculum at all levels........nothing to see here folks
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#18 J.R.

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:00 AM

Let them go ahead and do that. But at the same time they should have to teach the students about the positives of the plan as well.
Students should at least be able to have the resources to both sides of the argument so they will be able to make their own informed decision on where they stand.


I must be missing the "good" sides of the pipeline. Is it the minimal short term, low value job creation while shipping the lower value product over seas to high value, long term jobs in another country to make a high value product?

Is it the short term thinking of our federal and the Alberta governments to get "any profit now" over long term profit and benefits to our country? Because they'll no longer be in office when actual long term planning would be benefiting Canadians, so who cares, right?

Is it making foreign oil companies more wealthy?

There is no "positives" to this plan for Canadians.

Edited by J.R., 04 October 2012 - 10:00 AM.

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#19 Sharpshooter

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:42 AM

Did you seriously just compare somebody teaching potential benefits of an oil pipeline to Creationism or Alchemy?
There is a huge difference between teaching scientific facts and political issues. One is a fact, the other is simply an opinion.
There is no wrong or right answer in a political issue, somebody is always going to benefit, and somebody is always going to lose out. Perhaps some of these students or somebody close to them may have some sort of direct benefit from the pipeline. They should at least be able to see what kind of benefits it could bring.
If the students are going to be taught about the pipeline they should be given all the info in order for them to make the decisions for themselves. What would be the harm in that?


If the hocus pocus fits.

The harm is that the 'benefits' being touted is oil industry propaganda. The risks associated with a pipeline burst, is scientific, unless you ask the oil industry, then it's "no problem", nothing a couple of brawny paper towels couldn't fix, since it's worked so well for them in the past......ahem, Michigan.


Just asking for clarity here...
So.... if BC gets a way bigger portion of the revenue and there's some major comprehensive environmental safety plan in place.... to a point where the good easily outweighs the bad.... then you will be against the actions from the BCTF?


I wouldn't need to be against it, as these vast hypothetical benefits coupled with these imaginary safety plans, that you speak of would most likely not find much opposition by almost any sector or cross-section of society. Unfortunately, there are no plans and there will be no larger share of the financial pie with Alberta not getting enough from their vantage point, and the oil companies unwilling to reduce their profits after investing large quantities of funds into capital costs for the pipeline and the extractions facilities and methods.


Religious and Political views should stay out of the classroom.
Simple as that.


The environment is part of school curriculum as are identifying risks to it and being stewards of it.

And religion is part of charter and private schools already. Politics absolutely should be and is taught in secondary school. I don't know what kind of school you go to or what electives you took, but it's already there.

What shouldn't be taught in schools is propaganda information from profiteering companies such as in the case of companies in the oil industry. What next? Should we teach about the benefits of high-fructose corn syrup in Home Economics?

Isn't the point of being a teacher to inform the student of all the information available, good and bad, so the student can form their own educated opinion?


Why would you want students wasting their time learning bad information?? Again, should we teach creationism alongside evolution, so that students can form their own opinions on the formation of life on this planet?
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#20 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:48 AM

So? Most of those students will likely grow up to work on the oil sands anyway. In the meantime, the students 'being warped into rabid environmentalists' are able to what, exactly? Recycle more?

The BCTF's actions are nothing but self-serving, as usual. 'Look at us! We're grrrrreat for kids! Gimme moar monee!'
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#21 Remy

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:54 AM

All of the common sense in this thread comes from people with other user names, funny enough.

Sharpshooter, Deb, and J.R. have already covered a decent amount of what I had to say. Namely, forcing teachers to be "neutral" on all issues is not realistic or even desirable, especially in a case like this where, I'd argue, the primary lesson is to teach students that it's important to examine authority closely. By the way, how do you know exactly what goes on in the classroom anyway? Even if the teaching materials may appear one-sided, that's not to say that the teacher isn't incorporating other resources (we often do), or that the discussion in the classroom doesn't involve an element of debate.

But let me get back to this idea that teachers should be neutral. When we teach "To Kill a Mockingbird" should we ignore all the racially charged language and ideas, or should we tackle those social (some would say political) ideas head on? When we teach biology, should we also teach Creationism (there's a pretty big movement for that just below the border) so that we're "teaching both sides" and staying neutral. I think you're grossly underestimating how much responsibility and autonomy teachers have. It is part of our job to shape students, morally. If you're so concerned about this apparent bias, then educate your own children at home, like many parents do with such nonsense as "oil pipelines are good", "the earth is 6000 years old" and "condoms are evil, wait until marriage".

TOMapleLaughs ... laughs, indeed. The BCTF is being self-serving by serving the kids, which is one of their prime reasons for existing. Got it. The "monee" that the BCTF and teachers are looking for, by the way, is for schools and not salaries. Teachers have walked away from salary increases, time and again, in favour of that funding being allocated to areas that, teachers feel, is more beneficial to the students.

So many baffling posts. "How dare teachers guide our children morally!" and "Teachers just want moar monee, rawr". What a sad, misguided view of a profession that is fighting so hard for your children and their futures.
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#22 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 11:07 AM

Pffft... 'The money is for the schools and not salaries?' Now we're talking propaganda...
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#23 Sharpshooter

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 11:18 AM

There seem to be a few children who were left behind.
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#24 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 11:54 AM

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.
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#25 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:00 PM

I wouldn't be concerned if my kids were being played as pawns, because in the end it means nothing.

I'd be more concerned about schools if the teachers were replaced by computers, and that is potentially where education is heading.
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#26 J.R.

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:04 PM

I wouldn't be concerned if my kids were being played as pawns, because in the end it means nothing.

I'd be more concerned about schools if the teachers were replaced by computers, and that is potentially where education is heading.


Somebody's been watching the Matrix :bigblush:

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#27 Sharpshooter

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:09 PM

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.


Ignoring propaganda is not being willfully ignorant as much as it's refusing to learn what has been established as nonsense.
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#28 debluvscanucks

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:21 PM

So? Most of those students will likely grow up to work on the oil sands anyway. In the meantime, the students 'being warped into rabid environmentalists' are able to what, exactly? Recycle more?


Well that's a defeatist attitude if I ever heard one. What a horrible argument for/against anything.
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#29 J.R.

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:24 PM

Oil sands also equals a pretty freaking small sector of the work force...so how "most of those students" (being all the ones in BC who are being taught this?) will be working there is a bit of a mystery.
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#30 Remy

Remy

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:41 PM

Pffft... 'The money is for the schools and not salaries?' Now we're talking propaganda...


You're simply ignorant on this issue. I know for a fact that during the last collective bargaining, teachers willingly agreed to a 0% pay increase (not even accounting for so much as inflation), in order to get other concessions (the kind that actually benefit students, obviously). We're talking about things like class size and composition, so that each student gets more individual, specialized attention. That is a fact, as much as you might want to deny it.

This go around with collective bargaining, again, teachers are only seeking a raise that compensates for inflation, and AGAIN, have talked a lot about reducing that demand in order to gain improvements in other areas.

I don't know where you work, but would you like to put in 10 years without seeing so much as a raise to compensate for inflation? Better yet, do that, and then STILL get called greedy by ignorant, misinformed people. Probably the same people that are trusting schools with their children, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. You have no clue about the sacrifices teachers make. Which is fine, they're not made for you, they're made for the students. And you know what's funny about that? There have been plenty of instances of students organizing to support teachers. Go figure. But to call my statements propaganda is just a little bit ridiculous.
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