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B.C. must pay $2M to teachers over class-size court battle


Heretic

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http://www.vancourie...udents-1.805001

Late on June 26, 2012, with just a few days left in the school year, the B.C. Teachers Federation reached a surprise deal with the government.

It ended a year’s worth of labour headaches in schools.

There had been a three-day walkout, cancellation of some report cards and months of low-grade job action that frustrated many. The deal was obviously portrayed as good news. It was presented as the result of a lot of hard work by negotiators and a special mediator (Charles Jago) trying to do the right thing.

But a B.C. Supreme Court judgmentreleased Monday rewrites that story. It’s a tale of a government secretly wanting to provoke a strike that year for political reasons. There are always cynics who read political motives into big public labour disputes, but it’s startling to see a judge blame months of disruption in schools firmly on the crass political motivations of a government.

Justice Susan Griffin, who has been dealing with the differences between the government and the BCTF for a number of years, concluded “the government did not negotiate in good faith .... Government representatives were preoccupied by another strategy. Their strategy was to put such pressure on the union that it would provoke a strike .... The government representatives thought this would give government the opportunity to gain political support for imposing legislation on the union.”

The origins of this chapter of the 100 Year War that characterizes education bargaining in B.C. started in 2002, when the government introduced the Public Education Flexibility and Choice Act, which stripped the union of some bargaining rights. They did much the same thing with health workers the same day.

Health workers went all the way to the federal Supreme Court and won an overwhelming victory in 2007.

That case informed the B.C. Supreme Court decision (by Griffin) in 2011 that found Bill 28 unconstitutional and unfair. She gave the government a year to fix the problem. It responded with the Education Improvement Act. The BCTF condemned that legislation and took it to court all over again.

That bill was part of the low-grade job action that filled the 2012 school year. And it’s the bill that Justice Griffin rejected Monday as an unconstitutional response to the earlier ruling that it had acted unconstitutionally in the first place. Essentially, it did much of what the first bill did all over again, under the guise that it was OK this time because there’d been some consultation.

Griffin ruled: “From the start ... the government had a strategy in mind that it would be to its benefit if negotiations failed and if collective bargaining resulted in a strike and impasse.” She said the government saw that a failure of negotiations “could be a useful political opportunity.”

She said the employer’s negotiator — Paul Straszak — co-ordinated and executed the strategy, partly by wasting four months of time and taking “manifestly unreasonable” stands.

“When a full strike did not materialize, so important was a strike to the government strategy that in September 2011, Mr. Straszak planned a government strategy of increasing the pressure on the union so as to provoke a strike.”

That included cancelling leaves and professional days, and trying — unsuccessfully — to cut their pay.

It didn’t work. The BCTF never declared a full strike.

Straszak was later promoted to head public-sector negotiations, then left government to work for the deep-pocketed B.C. Medical Association.

The other key player on the government side did all right, too.

That would be Christy Clark, who was the education minister when Bill 28 was introduced in 2002. She stood up then and said it would help guide how children learn best, as opposed to being forced to decide by mathematical formulas set out in contracts done “by people we don’t even know.”

Ten years later, she was the premier of a government that, according to the B.C. Supreme Court, ran a lengthy con on parents and children to engineer some dim political advantage out of the argument created by the first bill.

Families first, indeed.-

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I guess for me it's the issue of having to sue your employer just to get them to do what they said they would. However bad the BCTF is for this or that, it's disgusting that you have to sue your employer, repeatedly. And now we're heading into more negotiations where they Province has already said they are going to impose a 10 year contract...it's a recipe for utter failure on the part of the Province.

Yup. It sucks. That's one of the areas of the failed system where blame can be heaped on to the government's shoulders. There's plenty to go around for both parties to have a decent helping. Their deplorable efforts at union busting, forced to work garbage and forced contract idiocy is just as big of a part of the overall problem that is our crap-tacular school system as the BCTF issues I already mentioned. You're not going to get an argument out of me that say's otherwise.

It still doesn't change the fact that both parties needs to agree to stop the petty "war" they have going and do a clean sheet rebuild of the entire system that actually creates a modern, well run, high priority, fiscally responsible education system. That means BOTH sides actually have to concede on things.

Tell me again how the BCTF or the Teachers or both played a role in fewer schools and larger class sizes and while we're at it, less technology and resources than other provinces as well as less Teacher's Aids (for helping with special needs)?

You can NOT change that which you can NOT control.

Something like that.

I already did and they (and every voter in BC) do control it. It's OUR government. We merely lack the will to actually fix it.

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http://www.vancourie...udents-1.805001

Late on June 26, 2012, with just a few days left in the school year, the B.C. Teachers Federation reached a surprise deal with the government.

It ended a year’s worth of labour headaches in schools.

There had been a three-day walkout, cancellation of some report cards and months of low-grade job action that frustrated many. The deal was obviously portrayed as good news. It was presented as the result of a lot of hard work by negotiators and a special mediator (Charles Jago) trying to do the right thing.

But a B.C. Supreme Court judgmentreleased Monday rewrites that story. It’s a tale of a government secretly wanting to provoke a strike that year for political reasons. There are always cynics who read political motives into big public labour disputes, but it’s startling to see a judge blame months of disruption in schools firmly on the crass political motivations of a government.

Justice Susan Griffin, who has been dealing with the differences between the government and the BCTF for a number of years, concluded “the government did not negotiate in good faith .... Government representatives were preoccupied by another strategy. Their strategy was to put such pressure on the union that it would provoke a strike .... The government representatives thought this would give government the opportunity to gain political support for imposing legislation on the union.”

The origins of this chapter of the 100 Year War that characterizes education bargaining in B.C. started in 2002, when the government introduced the Public Education Flexibility and Choice Act, which stripped the union of some bargaining rights. They did much the same thing with health workers the same day.

Health workers went all the way to the federal Supreme Court and won an overwhelming victory in 2007.

That case informed the B.C. Supreme Court decision (by Griffin) in 2011 that found Bill 28 unconstitutional and unfair. She gave the government a year to fix the problem. It responded with the Education Improvement Act. The BCTF condemned that legislation and took it to court all over again.

That bill was part of the low-grade job action that filled the 2012 school year. And it’s the bill that Justice Griffin rejected Monday as an unconstitutional response to the earlier ruling that it had acted unconstitutionally in the first place. Essentially, it did much of what the first bill did all over again, under the guise that it was OK this time because there’d been some consultation.

Griffin ruled: “From the start ... the government had a strategy in mind that it would be to its benefit if negotiations failed and if collective bargaining resulted in a strike and impasse.” She said the government saw that a failure of negotiations “could be a useful political opportunity.”

She said the employer’s negotiator — Paul Straszak — co-ordinated and executed the strategy, partly by wasting four months of time and taking “manifestly unreasonable” stands.

“When a full strike did not materialize, so important was a strike to the government strategy that in September 2011, Mr. Straszak planned a government strategy of increasing the pressure on the union so as to provoke a strike.”

That included cancelling leaves and professional days, and trying — unsuccessfully — to cut their pay.

It didn’t work. The BCTF never declared a full strike.

Straszak was later promoted to head public-sector negotiations, then left government to work for the deep-pocketed B.C. Medical Association.

The other key player on the government side did all right, too.

That would be Christy Clark, who was the education minister when Bill 28 was introduced in 2002. She stood up then and said it would help guide how children learn best, as opposed to being forced to decide by mathematical formulas set out in contracts done “by people we don’t even know.”

Ten years later, she was the premier of a government that, according to the B.C. Supreme Court, ran a lengthy con on parents and children to engineer some dim political advantage out of the argument created by the first bill.

Families first, indeed.-

Why post an inflammatory article that simply continues the blame game? This is exactly the problem with this "us vs them" mentality. It does nothing to actually address or change what the problems are.

This is a prime example of what is wrong with this battle and indeed modern politics in general. All this wasted energy on blaming people that could be better spent constructively fixing the problems.

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Yup. It sucks. That's one of the areas of the failed system where blame can be heaped on to the government's shoulders. There's plenty to go around for both parties to have a decent helping. Their deplorable efforts at union busting, forced to work garbage and forced contract idiocy is just as big of a part of the overall problem that is our crap-tacular school system as the BCTF issues I already mentioned. You're not going to get an argument out of me that say's otherwise.

It still doesn't change the fact that both parties needs to agree to stop the petty "war" they have going and do a clean sheet rebuild of the entire system that actually creates a modern, well run, high priority, fiscally responsible education system. That means BOTH sides actually have to concede on things.

I already did and they (and every voter in BC) do control it. It's OUR government. We merely lack the will to actually fix it.

I voted - but it didn't work - Liberals got elected instead.

I have no control over who you vote for nor the rest of BC.

So no, everyone does NOT control it.

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It is not surprising that the court ruled in favour of the teachers when it is the SAME judge, Susan Griffin, that ruled in favour of the teacher in a earlier court decision that overturn the ripping up of contracts. I question the impartiality of judges who have personal biases. If I was the government I would appeal the decision.

I think you kind of shot your own argument in the foot there

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Never said "all teachers". That's how elections work...the majority chose the message they want to send to the government and people of this province. The majority are sending a crappy message.

You honestly don't see a work around for that point? Pretty sure teachers are smart enough to work out how to get TOC's within a large district to schools within a reasonable distance.

They're not the reason it's not sucking either. "Be the change you wish to see." "Be a part of the solution, not the problem." You can't sit there and solely blame the government with a straight face and not recognize the BCTF's role in the failure of the system. It takes two to tango and both parties have two left feet.

love to hear your proposed system

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How are the teachers at fault for crowded classrooms and lack of funding?

What programs should we cut (and it would be many since education is second only to health in terms of total dollar value) or taxes should we increase in order to pay for this increased funding?

Keep in mind the demands of health care budgets due to an aging population and the general disdain the public has to increased taxes......

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What programs should we cut (and it would be many since education is second only to health in terms of total dollar value) or taxes should we increase in order to pay for this increased funding?

Keep in mind the demands of health care budgets due to an aging population and the general disdain the public has to increased taxes......

Think about it like a Hockey Team - seeing how this is a Hockey related site.

Do you trade away all the youth for short term gain?

What happens to your hockey team in 5-10 years when you do that?

Instead of wording it as "what should we cut" - it should be more like "Where should we invest".

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Think about it like a Hockey Team - seeing how this is a Hockey related site.

Do you trade away all the youth for short term gain?

What happens to your hockey team in 5-10 years when you do that?

Instead of wording it as "what should we cut" - it should be more like "Where should we invest".

Invest with what? If we want balanced budgets (and we should unless you truely hate the younger generation) the money has to come from somewhere, be it from higher taxes (unpopular) or from cuts/savings (unlikely especially given the size of education budgets unless you have some great idea on how to reform our heatlhcare system).

I don't think anyone disagrees with the idea that we should be educating our children. That's why it's the second biggest goverment program. But calls to put even more money into the system should at least identify where that money is supposed to come from.

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Submit a list of schools you are will in to T.O.C. at. Obviously the more schools you are willing to commute to the greater the odds of getting work.

Okay. Let us just amalgamate 2 School Districts.

Say you have 453 teachers on the TOC list (SD22) and 501 in (SD83) = 964 teachers.

Now sort them by seniority.

19 + 23 schools = 42 schools

Now ask each of those TOC's which schools they are willing to commute to.

Some choose 3, some 10, some 24, etc...etc...

Instead of just 1 list in each of the previous 2 districts, you would now need a TOC list for each school.

So you went from 2 lists to 42.

Each list requires an admin.

So you went from 2 admins to 42.

Really great costs savings.

Remember as well, each teacher is unique - not everyone can teach Grade 1, or Algebra 11, or Music, etc....

Now, imagine what happens when a position comes open, say due to a teacher relocating, or retiring, or just fed up with ronthecivil minister of education.

Instead of a manageable pool of teachers to apply for a position - you have 1000's.

All the while, they must follow the contract rules.

Your 2 School Districts will now require a full blown HR department instead of just an admin and a few school board members.

Ch ching. More costs. More delays. More students waiting to be taught. More hours lost in the day due to TOC's travelling more and not being able to make it in time for the 1st bell.

Sure...I over simplified.

But you get the idea.

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Instead of wording it as "what should we cut" - it should be more like "Where should we invest".

Average per pupil funding in Canada 2012/2013 - $8493 x 13 years (K-12) = $110, 409

Cost of housing an inmate in a Canadian prison for ONE YEAR (2012) = $113, 974

I suspect that if we (collectively, in Canada) invested more in the former, we'd be forced to spend less on the latter...

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Okay. Let us just amalgamate 2 School Districts.

Say you have 453 teachers on the TOC list (SD22) and 501 in (SD83) = 964 teachers.

Now sort them by seniority.

19 + 23 schools = 42 schools

Now ask each of those TOC's which schools they are willing to commute to.

Some choose 3, some 10, some 24, etc...etc...

Instead of just 1 list in each of the previous 2 districts, you would now need a TOC list for each school.

So you went from 2 lists to 42.

Each list requires an admin.

So you went from 2 admins to 42.

Really great costs savings.

Remember as well, each teacher is unique - not everyone can teach Grade 1, or Algebra 11, or Music, etc....

Now, imagine what happens when a position comes open, say due to a teacher relocating, or retiring, or just fed up with ronthecivil minister of education.

Instead of a manageable pool of teachers to apply for a position - you have 1000's.

All the while, they must follow the contract rules.

Your 2 School Districts will now require a full blown HR department instead of just an admin and a few school board members.

Ch ching. More costs. More delays. More students waiting to be taught. More hours lost in the day due to TOC's travelling more and not being able to make it in time for the 1st bell.

Sure...I over simplified.

But you get the idea.

You would be suprised how effecient spreadsheets can make things like that........

Oh, and every school already has an administrator. They are called principals......

This isn't rocket science and one would have to wonder why the teachers union themselves isn't cheering the idea of having less administrators, though given the lack of math teachers I shouldn't be surprised.

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IBut calls to put even more money into the system should at least identify where that money is supposed to come from.

If I had my way? Mostly a complete overhaul of the system with a vast decrease in bureaucracy and waste.

Okay. Let us just amalgamate 2 School Districts.

Say you have 453 teachers on the TOC list (SD22) and 501 in (SD83) = 964 teachers.

Now sort them by seniority.

19 + 23 schools = 42 schools

Now ask each of those TOC's which schools they are willing to commute to.

Some choose 3, some 10, some 24, etc...etc...

Instead of just 1 list in each of the previous 2 districts, you would now need a TOC list for each school.

So you went from 2 lists to 42.

Each list requires an admin.

So you went from 2 admins to 42.

Really great costs savings.

Or you could set up a web site with some basic formulasto do all that calculating for you... Teachers log on and input school ID's they're willing to work at and website does the rest of the work.

Cha-ching money for students!

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Invest with what? If we want balanced budgets (and we should unless you truely hate the younger generation) the money has to come from somewhere, be it from higher taxes (unpopular) or from cuts/savings (unlikely especially given the size of education budgets unless you have some great idea on how to reform our heatlhcare system).

I don't think anyone disagrees with the idea that we should be educating our children. That's why it's the second biggest goverment program. But calls to put even more money into the system should at least identify where that money is supposed to come from.

Cut Government? Stop wasting money on lawyers?

Commercialize schools to generate revenue?

I never said I have the answers, all I said was the Government was responsible for all the cuts to the K-12 education system the past 12 years which has resulted low scores by graduates on federal exams compared to other provinces.

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Average per pupil funding in Canada 2012/2013 - $8493 x 13 years (K-12) = $110, 409

Cost of housing an inmate in a Canadian prison for ONE YEAR (2012) = $113, 974

I suspect that if we (collectively, in Canada) invested more in the former, we'd be forced to spend less on the latter...

With 5 million or so students compared with 15000 inmates of the long term variety it's unlikely that increasing education funding would result in enough of a reduction in crime rates to actually save us money. Even if we magically ended the prison population and put all that money into education it would only be like a 1% increase in per student funding.

Now if we taught math and research in schools that might be more obvious.

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