Posted by: Kate | September 7, 2011

Caught in the Middle of an Education War

Like all areas in North America it seems, British Columbia’s education system is feeling a financial crunch. As student populations continue to decline the government is mandating that school districts maintain services with less money (in general, funding is based on a per student number). How each district addresses this conundrum depends on many things, including whether it is an urban or rural district and how spread out the district is. The bottom line is, there isn’t enough money right now to really, properly, provide a full educational experience to all students. And a district running a deficit is against the law in BC (although the provincial government is allowed to …. I digress).

Of the funding that the districts do get, the largest chunk is spent on employees. Not only teachers, there are educational assistants, administrators, secretaries, janitorial staff, maintenance staff, etc. Teachers are the largest piece of those wages however.

Currently, BC teachers are taking job action to try to force the government into negotiating a contract. There are some nasty politics at play on both sides as far as I’m concerned. But the crux, for me, is that the districts don’t get to negotiate with the teachers. The government does the negotiating for the whole province. Meanwhile, the job action is hurting school districts that are already strapped and have administration working full-out. There is such a divide among the administration, teachers, other staff and government that I don’t think the various sides can even see each other, let alone hear each others’ points of view.

The thing is, we all know who really gets hurt in this, no matter how much the teachers and the district administration try to say otherwise. The students who are caught in the middle, of course.

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Responses

  1. I have not been following the story closely (August was a horrid month and I am still dealing with the aftermath). But if all the previous job actions and government response to those actions are an indicator it will get worse before it gets better. And you are right. The students are the ones that pay the price.


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