To the editor:
I appreciated the condensed summary of this school year presented by Mr. Aziz of the B.C. Principals and Vice-Principals Association (Capital News May 8). The principals and vice-principals association is sending a message to all who have an interest in public education.
For more than 20 years that I know of, the government of the day has used legislation to remove themselves from the responsibility of dealing with education. Each effort they have made has been an abysmal failure.
The governments took principals and vice-principals out of the bargaining unit and teachers were left on their own to negotiate with government.
The government created parent teacher advisory groups to shift some responsibility.
The government gave school boards more power to bargain with teacher locals and those contracts helped gain more teacher control of their schools locally.
The government then gelded the school boards and created BCPSEA to negotiate nothing. BCPSEA can do nothing but foil negotiations with ineptitude and no power. School boards are afraid to ask the government for any reasonable concession in fear of becoming irrelevant.
Several big-winded government acts and saber rattling have done nothing but frustrate the education system.
Teachers are not stupid. They see this government as joining the litany of arrogant blowhards who continue to denigrate the school system.
What have the B.C. Liberals, Abbott/Clark et al, done? As noted by Mr. Aziz, (government has) destroyed a school year for students—future voters; given themselves raises, travel junkets and hollow monuments to their greatness. They manage things, but cannot manage people.
Teachers, if asked, would tell you that the secret to good education takes place in the classroom and on the field, in the music room, etc., wherever extra curricular activities occur.
Teachers want to make it better for students and teachers. You cannot imagine how much personal time is given by teachers and administrators for pancake breakfasts during spirit week, Christmas concerts, outdoor experiences, fun runs, sports days, Olympic and special activities.
Parents know, teachers know, administrators know, local school boards know but—duh—the government is stupid enough to think they can legislate free will.
Well, as Mr. Aziz suggests, next year will be the same diminishing school year we had this year because of a government that cannot find its way out of the paper bag called education.
Like teachers, another group of people who are disgusted by the lack of respect is the nurses union and they help everyone.
BCGEU is another group of folks who get the bills paid, send cheques, and manage data for all of us—they get no respect.
What we have in common is the government’s derogatory attitude for its slaves. We have carried their “$0 and $0 and $0 and $0 and $0 mandate” for years while the government gives themselves raises, builds empty monuments and appears to be leading from the rear.
The government is like Col. Cathcart, from Catch 22. He lamented: “We just want people to like us, Yossarian.” My response is: Who likes a bully?
I taught for over 20 years and everyday was an opportunity to improve my life and that of the students I met.