Teachers’ struggles continue

We want to thank you all of you who have expressed your support in our struggle to improve K-12 public education in British Columbia!

We want to thank you all of you who have expressed your support in our struggle to improve K-12 public education in British Columbia!

The Liberal government is going to be introducing legislation in the next few weeks to:

• Restructure the BC College of Teachers to hold us more accountable;

• Profoundly revamp the K-12 curriculum and graduation requirements to “bring us out of the 1950’s and into the 21st Century” (Christy Clark); and,

• Possibly, legislate us “back to work” out of our Phase 1 Job Action even though there were allusions made in the throne speech to money being available for and fairer treatment of public service sector union members in 2012.

The same government is in denial when it comes too accepting its responsibility to provide us with an equitable remedy in our Bill 27 and 28 court victory for its “unconstitutional” (BC Supreme Court), “draconian”(Supreme Court of Canada), neo-liberal, contract-stripping

Are you starting to believe that teachers are being “picked on” or are being “bullied” by this government? Do you know why this appears to be the case?

The Liberal government’s pernicious, “neo-liberal” agenda and its pervasiveness in the government’s treatment of teachers in British Columbia may not be fully understood by everyone.

A detailed analysis of this agenda by a UBC professor, Wendy Poole, was completed in 2007:

“Neo-liberalism” is a political ideology grounded in an unshakeable belief in unbridled markets as the source of all benefits to a society and its citizens.

“Neo-liberals” conceptualize education as a commodity to be bought by customers (BC and international students and parents) and sold by suppliers (schools, districts and big business).

From a market perspective, schools are training grounds for future workers and consumers, as well as a multi-billion dollar industry offering opportunities for profit. According to a ministry official:

“Every child counts –either as taxpayers or social welfare recipients” (Anderson, 2006)

Attacks on teacher unions are hallmarks of neo-liberalism in education.

This is more than an intense disagreement about political ideology; the conflict is about the vision and purpose of K-12 public education and the meaning of professionalism.

You are probably starting to more fully comprehend the objective of the neo-liberal agenda:

“Make education in BC a big, multi-billion dollar business, or better, privatize it and give it to big business to operate to make big profits training non-union, low-paid future workers and consumers.”

Most teachers did not enter the teaching profession to pump out “widgets” or “robots”!

We do not understand why Premier Clark continues to advance a pro-business and economic growth agenda but short-changes the education budget by $300,000,000 per year (BC Secretary-Treasurer’s Association) and fails to see that investing in the education of our future business leaders makes sound economic sense.

Again, thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of our students, K-12 public education in British Columbia and teacher professionalism and autonomy to ensure that we can continue to inspire and educate our future leaders to appreciate more than just an economic paradigm in their lives and to help them build a more just society!

Andrew M. Davidoff, President

Kootenay Columbia Teachers Union