Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Response to Students For Teachers

I received a letter from a group called Students for Teachers about the current labour dispute. You can read their letter at the bottom of this blog. Also below, you will find a news article from 1990 concerning the Buchanan government education cuts I reference in the letter (some asked a question whether this was truly in 1990 - it was). 

Here is my response:

Dear Students for Teachers members,

Let me say how impressed I am by the quality of your letter, and strength of your arguments concerning the current dispute between teachers and the provincial government. I have been following the work of your group on Facebook and I am heartened by the passion you have shown. Over the past few weeks I have spoken to many of you personally as I have also spoken to many teachers and parents.

I am deeply troubled by the current approach of the government towards teachers. I sit on a School Advisory Committee and I while I recognize some improvements, I have trouble seeing where the $65 million invested in education has gone, as you have rightly questioned. I see teachers at all grade levels having to struggle with a lack of EPAs, and few options to deal with issues in the classroom. In some programs and grades I see the system being burdened by increased curriculum demands without the needed supports.

I did not support the implementation of Bill 148, and I spoke against it at the time and since. I believe the government is working up to proclaiming the bill to put it in force. This will not solve the very real issues facing the education system. Teachers have asked to have included in their contract commitments on working conditions and how education reform will be tackled. While the government claims that this is not needed, it absolutely is. Too many times promises to students, teachers, and parents have been broken. So the time has come to have these included in a contract where the commitments are enforceable.

In the early 1990s as a student at Prince Andrew High School I was involved in student protests when the government of the day (the Buchanan government) cut education and went after classrooms and teachers. Here we are again, 25 years later still having to fight for students, for parents, and for educators. It has to stop.

Please know you have my full support in this effort and I am happy to speak with any of you individually at any time.

All the best

Letter from Students: