Kids supposed to learn lessons adults conveniently forget

Teachers and the government continue their war of words over new labour deal.

It may be big news for the adults, but when the kids head back to school next week after spring break, chances are they will see little difference in the classroom as a result of provincial legislation ending the teachers so-called strike.

Despite the tough talk prior to bringing in the legislation, known as Bill 22, the government actually took a pretty soft line—not settling anything but attempting to buy more time to try and get a deal done with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation some time before the next school year starts in September.

But given the lines drawn in the sand by both sides, its hard to see any common ground that will lead to a negotiated contract.

Despite the rhetoric, the teachers were not ordered back to work because they never stopped working. What they didn’t do was stuff outside the classroom. And, with the exception of the Grade 12 students who needed report cards for early university admission applications, the work-to-rule was not having that much of an impact on the day-to-day education of B.C.’s kids.

In most cases, teachers were available to talk to parents about how their kids were doing in class, so parents were not left in the dark. They just had to make the effort to ask.

But, after six months, the government felt enough was enough and passed legislation last week making any sort of job action illegal. And if teachers thumb their noses at the legislation, they, as individuals, as well as BCTF officials and the federation itself, face hefty fines.

So while the kids enjoy their time off, the adults are hard at work bickering.

At its annual general meeting Monday, the BCTF mulled how it will respond to Bill 22, legislation it feels is the greatest affront to democracy ever. But, short of illegal strikes, their options appear limited.

They do not have to participate in extra-curricular activities, so those things may be the first to go when school resumes. As for kids learning in the classroom, chances are that will continue unabated.

So, it seems, the name-calling, chest-pounding and vitriol from both sides, capped by legislation, has only produced the return of mid-term report cards.

Bill 22 does not settle anything, it merely tries to get negotiations going. And given the current climate, that’s not likely. Mediation at this stage would appear to be a moot point.

Both sides claim the moral high ground in this argument—the teachers are doing it for the kids and the government is looking out for taxpayers. But the bottom line is both sides are looking out for themselves.

We tell kids it’s important to get along with each other, to compromise, to communicate and respect differences.

But those appear to be lessons the adults in this current war of words either never learned or have forgotten.

Alistair Waters is the Capital News’ assistant editor.



Just Posted

Heat women advance to Canada West semis

A convincing win in two straight this weekend has Kelowna’s UBCO Heat volleyball team moving on

Kelowna firefighters purchase therapy equipment for kids

The Kelowna Professional Firefighters Charitable Society members have emotional day

Kelowna’s community calendar

A listing of recent events at the Kelowna Capital News online community calendar

Hodge: Winter Olympics provides must see TV

Kelowna columnist Charlie Hodge on the Olympics in PyeongChang

Your Saturday story catch-up

Every Saturday, read our popular stories from the week

President praises nearly 1,800 volunteers at B.C. Games

Ashley Wadhwani sits down with the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games President Niki Remesz

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Robinson Crusoe+Friday sails into Penticton

Children’s Showcase presents Axis Theatre’s take on the classic tale

Curtain falls on Revelstoke Glacier Challenge

Annual slo-pitch tournament had been running for 30 years

Original B.C. Games participant-turned-sensei officiating 39 years later

Langley judo sensei was a competitor at the inaugural B.C. Winter Games 40 years ago

Snowfall warning, travel advisory in effect for Coquihalla

Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt to receive 10 to 20 cm of snow Sunday

That’s a wrap: Day 2 of B.C. Games ends with multiple ties in gold, bronze

Vancouver-Coastal Zone 5 continues to lead, so far earning 25 gold, 32 silver and 25 bronze

Police watchdog probes B.C. man’s taser death in alleged parental child abduction

Independent Investigations Office called in after one male dies

Letter: Bravo, Kelowna Community Theatre

Kelowna letter-writer says they were treated first class at the community theatre

Most Read