Charter 2, Ministry and Trustees 0


#1

So the Charter of Rights has won again. First the Charter protected ‘Yertle the Turtle’’ now the Charter has protected the collective bargaining rights of teachers…and the contract language that that they had previously won (which gained benefits for students].

For the story:

huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/27 … c-politics

What I find fascinating is the suggestion that the Government was so intent on holding students hostage by provoking a strike that they failed to bargain in good faith.

Underfunding education and then trying to incite a strike? Unhappily, it sounds like the government is going to appeal and continue with its’ high-handed ways until a further ruling comes down.

But remember the Liberals (provincially) and our local trustees who administrate the district have the best interests of their potential hostages in mind.


#2

Chien22, I appreciate all of your efforts to keep education news in the forefront. Unfortunately, nobody seems to care - least of all the government and the electorate that continues to vote them in.

If people actually cared about what this government has done, we could have thrown them out in 2005, 2009, and 2013. We didn’t. We continued to reward them and allowed ministers and premiers to continue in office in spite of various scandals that would have resulted in resignations in years past.

So no wonder Christy “let’s get a 10 year deal done and bring stability to the education system” Clark who as education minister was the architect and as premier the supervisor of 12 years of instability in the school system and whose representatives felt safe in bargaining in bad faith in hopes of provoking a strike, is prepared to appeal the decision and add more years of instability.

No wonder Christy “families first” Clark feels safe in continuing to underfund the most vulnerable children in the education system.

And who can blame her.

She and her government know that their supporters either approve the decision to ignore the law or will continue to vote for them anyway.

So really it doesn’t matter what teachers and parents might think. Gnash away BCTF.

It doesn’t matter what the opposition thinks. Rail away in Question Period on the few days of the year that the Legislature is open, NDP.

The people with any kind of power aren’t listening and don’t care.

Not until grass roots members of the Liberal party start demanding change from their leaders, can we expect anything different.

And I don’t see that happening.


#3

Thanks for the response DWhite.

I appreciate the point of view that nobody seems to care….before I posted a response to the judge’s decision I had that same feeling. Why post, nobody seems to care!

The general public’s view of education over the last decade or more has quietly been reshaped from seeing it as a basic human right to viewing education as a commodity. As a commodity it is hard to justify the cost of education: costs need to be lowered, it needs to be branded in a palatable way (child centered meeting the needs of the individual etc.), and shaped to meet the needs of the consumer: business/industry.

If we believe the political perspective that education only plays a role in an ideologically focused view of the economy: then all we care about is producing a low cost commodity.

If however we recognize public education as a fundamental right, then we begin to see that education is a key to freedoms we cherish:

Economic freedoms: education is almost universally recognized as a key component in eradicating poverty and its’ concurrent social ills.
Religious freedoms: all lasting religions have been underpinned by a strong scholarly tradition.
Intellectual freedoms: cultures and societies, the arts, have all placed a strong value on education and knowledge through the ages.

I could go on and on…

We need to recognize the effect of education in daily life – whether it is recognizing indigenous knowledge of the land we live on, the science that allows us to turn on a tap and drink clean water or laws that give structure to society. Education is more than just a commodity. When we recognize that education is more than just a commodity we can go back to seeing education as the underpinning of much that we cherish: culture, science, religion, technology and the rights and freedoms that we value. Education is not a partisan political commodity: it is a fundamental right.

If we choose not to care and stand up for our rights, to at least try to engage others in conversations about our right to education, and our rights in general, then the direction we are heading as a society is very worrisome.

Nobody seems to care? Maybe instead people have lost sight of why to care. As to how to care: talk about education as one of our rights and not as a commodity, not as a political platform…maybe just keeping the conversation going can lead to something more.

Being an occasional annoyance on HTMF is an attempt. But to decide to do nothing: well, education has shown us many examples of where societies that have not defended or have actively devalued education have ended…

So again, thanks for the response DWhite…and giving me another chance to advocate for the right to education.

Hopefully, some others will chime in :slight_smile:


#4

I am hopeful that the learning situation for children will soon improve. The recent court victory may help the children. :smile:


#5

[quote=“DWhite”] Unfortunately, nobody seems to care - least of all the government and the electorate that continues to vote them in.

If people actually cared about what this government has done, we could have thrown them out in 2005, 2009, and 2013. .[/quote]

Or…people do care and distrust your union more than they do the government.


#6

That’s because in 2005, 2009, and 2013, the NDP never seem to get their act together, and constantly reminded the good people of BC the wonders of their government in the 90’s (Sihota and Dix anyone?). If they stop fielding dummies like Jen Rice as candidates and taking the electorates as fools in the next election, then maybe people will take the NDP seriously.


#7

" nobody seems to care!"

You can’t see the forest for the trees. People do care, but they aren’t buying what you are trying to sell.

You are trying to sell an argument to a populace that doesn’t trust you. Whether it is right or wrong, perception is reality.

When you have a group of people, especially those paid by the people, that make more money, get more time off, have better benefits and pension, and still come across as wanting more and more, you lose their sympathy.

Add to this the resistance to accept any performance accountability, the willingness to use students as hostages to get your way, and the complete protection of the bad teachers, or even the good ones that dress like slobs or have bad hygene, or any other issues that in most “professions” contravene a code of conduct.

Now, you might not agree with what is written here, and it is probably an unfair characterization for many teachers. But they will always be painted by the same brush as those of the lowest common denominator.

It isn’t the government (representing the rest of us) that has to change, it is the BCTF.


#8

DWhite, thanks again for your previous post. It really did make me rethink my perspective.

Hitest, thanks for chiming in.

PLA and crazyHorse, the point of your posts seems to be little more than ‘my political thingie’ is better than ‘your political thingie’ (or bigger, or more capable or whatever). Or did I miss something?

(Please note: this response was to the first post crazyHorse…not your second which on first glance seem a bit more elaborate.)

By the way, name calling (fool, dummie) is often seen as the tactic of bullies (I do think that Ms Clark started a movement ‘pink shirt day’ in BC to eradicate just that - so at least support the Premier).

Now, can we moved on?

Can we maybe discuss why education is a right, its’ value (not monetary) and how to achieve a workable system?

PLA and crazyHorse: your thoughts could be interesting. :smile:


#9

I don’t know if education is a right, that seems too vague to me. What constitutes an education? Grade 12? University? It is compulsory I think up to age 16.

We can have these same debates with health, education, defence etc.

Whenever you have an elected government (A) managing the funding and administration on behalf of the population (B), a separate group of people © paid to carry this out, and another group (D) as the recipient of the service, there are going to be problems. It is easy for C to tell A we need more money so that D gets educated properly. Because then A has to go to B, but B is already taxed to the gills…you get the idea.

Anyway, I know I come across very harsh on the union, but it isn’t knee jerk. I’m in a union and I know exactly how it all works. After we settle an agreeable contract soon our representatives start asking “what else do want for the next round of talks”, and lets face it, they have to. Why else pay into these big union machines if we feel like our benefit package is pretty good and a mediator or an arbitrator will keep getting us cost of living increases, what use is the union?

So if we can somehow separate the agenda’s (governments wanting just to be re-elected, unions taking “care” of their own) then we have a starting point. I’ve thought about how private schools seem to fare much better than public ones and what is the difference. Money? Are those teachers making more than public teachers? I really don’t know. But there is a perception that between the government and the unions, public education is suffering. And when you remove those two elements in private schools, the results are better. Again, this might be all apples and oranges, but that is the perception.


#10

If I could elaborate on my original post.

On Tuesday,chien22 gave us links to the court decision regarding the illegal stripping of the teacher’s contract in 2002’ He added this comment.

[quote=“chien22”]

What I find fascinating is the suggestion that the Government was so intent on holding students hostage by provoking a strike that they failed to bargain in good faith.

Underfunding education and then trying to incite a strike? Unhappily, it sounds like the government is going to appeal and continue with its’ high-handed ways until a further ruling comes down.

But remember the Liberals (provincially) and our local trustees who administrate the district have the best interests of their potential hostages in mind.[/quote]

That post sat there for three days. On Friday, I happened to be talking to a strong Liberal supporter who found the ruling troubling and not because of what the government had done (underfunding, provoking a strike, bargaining in bad faith,) but what it would mean for budgets.

So that got me thinking about chien22’s post and the lack of response. I know I was being provocative by the blanket statement that people don’t care, but I was referring to the court decision. Do people care that the government tore up legally binding contracts. Do they care that the judge ruled in favour of the BCTF two years ago and rather than negotiate in good faith the government essentially rewrote the legislation in much the same language that was deemed illegal. Do people care that the judge found that the government negotiator bargained in bad faith with the intention of provoking a strike because the government saw political gain in that. Do people care that the government was prepared to use the children as hostages

I am not arguing that the NDP should have won any of the last elections. And I am not arguing that the BCTF is lily-white.

Liberal supporters feel free to ignore the NDP and the BCTF.

But I ask you does it bother you that the government tore up legally binding contracts that changed the learning environment for classrooms over the past twelve years. Does it bother you that children who will graduate this year have gone through their entire public school education in a system that was made more difficult by underfunding of classrooms?

Are you happy with the way things are going in education? If you are then I guess we got what we got.

But if you are not, then let’s take the path that chien22 is taking and start talking about it. We have the Liberals for the next three years and for all we know the next 103. The government certainly won’t listen to the BCTF or the NDP. But they may listen to ordinary people.


#11

My post is directed at Mr. White, and is purely my observation. My point is the NDP really need to stop making stupid moves if they were to defeat the Liberals in the next election.

So to bring back the thread to the topic. Education is a right, so why not?


#12

[quote=“crazy Horse”]" nobody seems to care!"

You can’t see the forest for the trees. People do care, but they aren’t buying what you are trying to sell.

You are trying to sell an argument to a populace that doesn’t trust you. Whether it is right or wrong, perception is reality.

When you have a group of people, especially those paid by the people, that make more money, get more time off, have better benefits and pension, and still come across as wanting more and more, you lose their sympathy.

Add to this the resistance to accept any performance accountability, the willingness to use students as hostages to get your way, and the complete protection of the bad teachers, or even the good ones that dress like slobs or have bad hygene, or any other issues that in most “professions” contravene a code of conduct.

Now, you might not agree with what is written here, and it is probably an unfair characterization for many teachers. But they will always be painted by the same brush as those of the lowest common denominator.

It isn’t the government (representing the rest of us) that has to change, it is the BCTF.[/quote]

Teacher Unions wield immense power and influence over democratic processes, not only in this country but also in the United States and the UK. Democratic calls for educational reform go unheeded by these lobbyist powerhouses.

Note how ‘the government’ which represents ‘the people’ is painted as the Evil Empire in this and any such dialogue. whereas the non-democratic teacher’s union, in that it only represents a selected and cloistered few, self-promotes as the corporate Captain America.

The Teacher’s actually view the democratically-elected representatives of the people as the enemy and vehemently resist any intrusion by ‘the people’ to implement accountability, improvement or change.

Debating change and improvement with this selective, secretive society is a circle argument. Reflection to the union means a mirror. In that it’s always the common people who will be viewed as wrong, corrupt or in need of change, never the appointed private teacher club members.

Public-funded teacher salaries are pretty sweet, even though the union stance says otherwise. Some districts have taken to publishing all salaries with names as part of an increase in public accountability. Union leaders are bothered by this practice. You might be bothered too if you saw what the public is paying teachers. Especially when you hear them complain it’s far from satisfactory.


#13

The BCTF may be a lot of things, but “secretive” “undemocratic” “immensely powerful” “selective” “corrupt” “private club” “powerhouse” “appointed” aren’t words I’d use to describe it. None of that is accurate.

You’re thinking about the Illuminati or something.

The courts have, on numerous occasions, ruled that the BC Liberals’ actions are unconstitutional. Which is what this thread is about. I guess the courts are part of the ‘secretive undemocratic private power house’ too, right?


#14

[quote=“MiG”]The BCTF may be a lot of things, but “secretive” “undemocratic” “immensely powerful” “selective” “corrupt” “private club” “powerhouse” “appointed” aren’t words I’d use to describe it. None of that is accurate.

You’re thinking about the Illuminati or something.

The courts have, on numerous occasions, ruled that the BC Liberals’ actions are unconstitutional. Which is what this thread is about. I guess the courts are part of the ‘secretive undemocratic private power house’ too, right?[/quote]

Associating a court judgement as a defacto endorsement of the Union is a stretch. But I like your passion to defend plus you really shot me down with that Illuminati reference. Nicely done. As a matter of interest, what accurate descriptors would you use to describe the BCTF?


#15

This isn’t just ‘some districts.’ It’s all provincial government bodies. What should be bothering you is how much the district pays ‘consultants.’

You should also know that this case should have been settled a long time ago. The court gave the government a year to fix things, but they decided to try and provoke a strike instead.

The issue isn’t about salaries, BTW, but you’d know that if you knew what the thread was about.

A quote from the linked article:

"A judge has ruled that the British Columbia government was so hung up on provoking its public school teachers into strike action that it failed to negotiate in good faith, costing the province $2 million in damages.

In a 12-year battle over legislation that eliminated teachers’ rights to bargain on issues such as class size and composition, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has concluded — for the second time — that the law is unconstitutional."


#16

Thanks crazyHorse for your post questioning if education is a ‘right’. The post raises some very salient questions.

As for your comment about unions…one of my favorite sayings about anything political is “the oppressed become the oppressors”. (I think that many of the posts that follow yours continue to look at education solely as a political commodity.)

Suggesting that viewing education as a right is too vague is important. I would argue that until we have a better societal idea of what we are trying to achieve by offering a free public education…we have lost sight of any reasonable purpose. Prior and during both world wars the push for literacy served little purpose than providing a population that could read the instructions to build and then blow up bombs. Later, education followed an assembly line model to turn out carpenters, plumbers etc. to feed a burgeoning economy. (An elite few moved on to universities to practice the more complex subjects: sciences, fine arts, medicine etc.). What is the purpose of an education today?

We need to talk about re-defining education. What do we expect in terms of our ‘right to education’ today and in the future. Keeping in mind of course that most predictions of the future are riddled with in accuracies.Is it just meeting an arbitrary goal (Grade 12, University), or is it about extending the abilities and capabilities of the individual? Consider too that many of our educational practices are years out of date and certainly not in tune with current neurological and science based research. Any thoughts?

To your comments about governments and unions: should either be placed in the position of determining what education is and which resources should be allocated? As to private schools…I would suggest they are an offshoot of a profound distrust of both unions and government (and not always for rational reasons) and have an aura of being a place the elite go to avoid the unwashed masses.

As for all the background noise – the political name calling going on – I’ve noticed whether in a classroom, a cinema, or a political/union meeting that noise levels grow as rational discourse flies out the window.

In posts subsequent to yours there are some important educational points made…but I wanted to respond to you directly for taking time to refocus on the true purposes of education…and attempt to avoid the political arguments.

Maybe some others will join in and give some consideration to the important questions you raised :slight_smile:


#17

I am enjoying this thoughtful discussion. I am not a teacher or related to one. I thought the case was interesting and that the government’s actions have been shameful. It’s too bad it’s taken 12 years to get this sorted out (or almost sorted out - still seems pretty confusing). It sounds great to consider education a basic human right - and I would support that idea, in general. The most important thing our school system should be teaching our kids is how democracy works, how our government works, in my opinion. I would love it if our education system worked the way the BCTF sometimes describes it - giving students from all different backgrounds an equal opportunity to learn ideas, skills etc.

But the reality on the ground is very different. Yes I have spent time watching kids in classrooms, and have seen what my own children do in school. Almost every kid over the age of 10 in Canada hates going to school, why is this? Almost every kid ends up doing exactly the same in school as their parents did - why? If the parent was a straight A student with a university degree, the kid will be also, not always but most of the time. For all too many students, school is boring and meaningless. It’s just a structure that our society has built over the years, and now we’re not sure how to change it. The BCTF is a big part of why it’s not easy to make changes, in my opinion.


#18

Education is a right.

However any attempt to align education rights to Teacher Union interests is yet another misuse of children as a bargaining chip. Should the BCTF, and virtually every other Teacher Union here, there and everywhere truly desire to brighten their somewhat tarnished image in the eyes of the public, students should not be used as though they were political and strategic allies.

Just because the BCTF is a powerful monopoly it need not behave badly.


#19

PinchLoaf – you may have missed the point of the legal ruling: in this case it was not the BCTF that behaved badly (a comment based solely on the intent of the judge’s ruling) it was the government who intended to use students as a ‘bargaining chip’. (I am purposely not being political here and focusing in on the legal ruling).

I am therefore confused: are you suggesting that defending a democratic right is ‘behaving badly’?

Looking at the ruling in a quasi ‘legal’ manner tends lessen the emotional and inflammatory content of phrases like ‘behaving badly’ … or was it your intent to behave ----- :smile:


#20

Is it your intention to come off as cheeky and condescending?

There is a growing call for government to bring the powerful and influential Teacher Unions under control in Canada, the US, UK, Australia…so it appears pertinent to examine the root issues driving this call for governmental action. Now, to be clear, there is no argument here that these control efforts must be done within legal guidelines.

prageruniversity.com/Politic … hools.html