‘Next’ should be making sure it never happens again
Your Sept. 6, 2017 editorial titled “Next Challenge?” suggested that we “… not get in to how much of our tax money the province spent fighting the teachers. It’s just too painful.”
I disagree. We need to know the exact total cost, precisely where that money came from, and the motivation behind the expenditure. Putting accountability to taxpayers aside, such an accounting would also be instructive to future voters as well as political parties in power.
Your editorial sets the date of the legislation that eliminated key contract provisions that teachers had negotiated in good faith over many years as “…a move that happened in the early 1990s.”
Actually, Bill 28 “Public Education Flexibility and Choice Act” was passed January 27, 2002 by the BC Liberal government then in power. Bill 28 was later (in April, 2011) found to be “unconstitutional and invalid” by BC Supreme Court Judge Susan Griffin. She gave the government a year to “rectify” the legislation. In January 2014 she again ruled against the government and its still flawed, revised legislation (Bill 22, March 2012). Madam Justice Griffin’s findings were ultimately upheld by The Supreme Court of Canada in November of 2016.
What provisions were eliminated by Bill 28 back in 2002? Class size and composition limits. Guaranteed services to students with special needs and guaranteed support from specialist teachers such as librarians, counsellors, ESL and learning resource teachers. Teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions. The recently restored 2002 contract language will enable both students and teachers to do their respective work more proficiently and productively.
I do think it is important to know what the province (we taxpayers) spent “fighting the teachers”. I would appreciate the further accountability factor of some representative from the BC Liberal Party explaining to taxpayers what their government was hoping to accomplish with its determined and costly 14 year “fight”.
The “next challenge” should be, no matter how painful, to ensure that such a massive government waste and degradation of public education time, resources, energy, and potential never happens again.