Maybe it’s time for a new take on education

B.C Teachers' strike isn't working for many families

Re: Strike hurting no one but kids (Our View, March 7)

I have fond memories of my teachers, particularly the one or two who made a difference in my life. Whether it is a librarian, a school coach, a drama teacher or a science teacher, my teachers have left an indelible mark and helped to shape where I am and who I am today.

Over the past few months, I have been hearing more and more about the kind of teacher memories that people have had while attending school in British Columbia: missed graduation dances due to a teachers’ strike; missed provincial exams due to a teachers’ strike; missed college athletic scholarships due to a teachers’ strike; missed ski trips, band performances, swim, cross-country, track and field meets – the list seems to go on and on and apparently, we’re in for more bitter memories due to yet another teachers’ strike. My husband dealt with a B.C. teachers’ strike in his graduating year (1984) and now our two daughters are sharing his experience.

It’s no longer a small issue in our household. In a bout of frustration recently, our nine-year-old daughter stated she is no longer interested in swimming after her district swim meet was cancelled due to job action. As a parent, how can I not be concerned about the impacts of your job and strike actions on my children’s experiences?

It is my position as a mother and as a taxpaying citizen in this province, to ask the hard questions about the actions of the BCTF. How is your strike benefiting my children? These are difficult times for everyone and that includes governments and taxpayers alike. We are all in the midst of a global recession and we all have to do our part to change the paradigm and limit the spending practices of the past. Why does the BCTF feel it is somehow exempt from this reality? What alternatives has the BCTF offered to the government to resolve their concerns?

Maybe it’s time for a brand new approach to education in this province, which doesn’t include limitations on alternatives to the public system, such as publicly funded chartered schools or other approaches attempted in more progressive jurisdictions.

Go back to the drawing board, go back to the bargaining table and if the BCTF is not interested in new approaches or ideas, let’s change the discussion and find a new way to keep our kids in the classroom.

Tara Houle

North Saanich

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