To the editor:
The headline above Capital News March 4 editorial: Time To Focus On Students, refers to an obvious truth. But this editorial does nothing to help us achieve such focus. This government’s flouting of the B.C. court’s ruling that, by refusing to accept an agreement on class size and composition—affecting the amount of attention to be available for all students, especially those with special needs, was unlawful, should have told everyone, including even the most fiscally conservative, that students may, in fact, be bearing the brunt of the poor judgement of our political leaders.
You, however are suggesting that the very teachers who are striving to convince the government that oversized classes and lack of sympathetic provision of appropriate facilities for all students, especially the least able among them, is a real need in our education system, are at the root of the problem. Teachers, you say, are, somehow, being misled by a supposed evil cabal called the BCTF, who seem to spend a great deal of their time hatching plots to wrench hard-earned dollars from the grasp of patient taxpayers.
I am not now a teacher, but I am well aware that, in fact, just like all other professional associations, the BCTF is a very positive group chosen from the teachers of BC by the teachers themselves, designed mainly to discuss and disseminate ideas on the educational process with an aim to improving professionalism and teaching success; one of their duties being to oversee teacher discipline and welfare; hence their natural involvement in negotiations with the government concerning teacher pay, educational facilities and conditions and anything which they see as affecting the educational process in our province. They are not out to show how they can “flex their muscles” or working out ways of withdrawing teacher services. They are, despite constant harassment from the government and the likes of you and people like you, persistently working towards the betterment of educational conditions. They are not “ignorant of the province’s fiscal state”. They are, in fact, aware that the $500 million that you so glibly state will be the cost of reinstating the right of teachers to have a say in the classroom conditions of their students, could so easily have been more available if the present government had, for the past dozen or so years thought more about the education of their citizens and less about the welfare of their corporate friends.
The whiff of emotional blackmail involved in your suggestion that, in wishing to have a say in the welfare of their students, the teaching profession in this province will be instrumental in great hardship for taxpayers along with the innuendo that, despite all evidence that the opposite is the truth, teachers are taking the focus away from the students, is below the dignity of your newspaper. I only hope that a balance of ideas on such an important subject might be achieved by the publication of this letter.