LETTER: Strike is 'nefarious' and 'manufactured' and should frighten parents

LETTER: Strike is 'nefarious' and 'manufactured' and should frighten parents

Letter to the Editor:

The continuing battle between the BCTF and the Provincial Ministry of Education should be of grave concern to families across B.C., and should be incredibly frightening to parents and caregivers in the Boundary and West Kootenay Region.

Most conversations are about laying blame: “It’s the teacher’s fault”; or, “The government is wrong”. But let’s move beyond polarizing perspectives. It has become apparent to a few that something nefarious is taking place. The entire strike is not only politically-motivated, it appears manufactured. 

Government has helped generate the conditions for the teachers to strike. In fact, the BCTF really had no other option. But to what end? What’s really at stake? And, is a “solution” about to be offered?

Will the provincial government utilize this opportunity to introduce a new-to-B.C. educational voucher system, whereby parents are provided an educational voucher to make personal decisions regarding where they want their children to be educated (look into this system and research it). It can have absolutely devastating results, especially in rural areas where educational choices are limited and private educational facilities are, for the most part, non-existent. The voucher-based system tends to quickly accelerate the conditions for a class-based educational system. The “haves” go to the best private schools, the “have-nots” struggle at underfunded chartered schools.  

The $40 per day may be the stepping stone to offering a voucher-based system – an expensive political litmus test introduced to gauge and monitor public opinion. This approach then makes sense when trying to understand why the provincial government does not want to arbitrate a solution with BCTF. They obviously have much greater intention.

And no sitting MLA, or premier for that matter, should be offering solutions, or should be engaged in the process, when their child is enrolled in private education anyway.

But even if the voucher system is not introduced as a solution now, how do our local school districts contend with a shortened school year? And what if the strike continues into October? These are not easy questions to answer.

At stake is our children’s education. At stake is future opportunity for kids who strive to find their way and careers in an ever-challenging world. 

At stake are schools and teaching jobs in rural areas across B.C.

The public educational system in B.C. is at a frightening crossroads. It’s time for parents to step up, to advocate and to ensure that all children in our province have the same opportunity to succeed and to excel.

Jason Harshenin

Grand Forks


Thanks for your thoughts,

Thanks for your thoughts, Jason. I agree that this strike is about something bigger than teachers--and even kids. It's about our Constitution and the desire of government to whittle away at it if they can. Where does the whittling stop? Nowhere. Hence the need for a general strike: this is a matter of grave concern to ALL Canadians.

There's no doubt the class size/composition issue was inserted as an insurmountable obstacle--and purposely so--by the Clark government. Whether to lead to a voucher system or to break the back of a troublesome union, only time will tell. Labour organization began in BC over a century ago with the broken heads of miners in Rossland. Will it end in 2014 with the broken backs of teachers?

What's clear here, though, is that the BC 'Liberals' are intent upon union busing one way or another. Anyone who thinks that class size and composition aren't legitimate workplace issues that teachers have a right to their say in...is nuts. Would you tell a Teck or Celgar worker that they couldn't bargain about steel-toed boots or air quality? We're at the point now where massive classes filled with under-supported, deeply-challenged students are the norm, not the exception in BC. It's rapidly becoming a job that no one can do capably and happily/healthily. Those who don't believe this need only spend a day in the average West Kootenay classroom to get a real sense of what teachers deal with ever day of their careers--for the lowest pay in Canada, pretty much.

The issues at stake here are complex and easily manipulated by Clark ('they want too much money!') but my hope is that, as we move along, they're becoming steadily clearer. Thanks for your work in aiding this process!--ed.

Jason Harschenin letter to the editor

Thank you very much for your views on the current issues in the educational system in this province. Your viewpoint, as a parent of school age children, carries far more strength than comments by people that don't have children affected by the present situation. I hadn't thought about the connection between the Premier's use of private schooling and her extremely negative reaction to anything that may be construed as 'union support' . By allowing the teachers to continue with their (apparently futile) efforts to achieve a collective bargaining solution she is, perhaps knowingly, well on the way to bankrupt the Teacher's Association. If that happens, the 'voucher' system you mention could well be the end of real educational opportunities for all of the children who live "beyond Hope" aka the 'rest of the Province'.

Thank again, Jason.


Granby - it's just the beginning

Clark has made no secret of the fact her kids attend private school. I feel her actions around health care are a harbinger of similar destruction of existing systems - and I think it's no mistake she can afford and benefit from privatization. I just don't get why so few other people can see what the BC "Liberals" (and I use that term lightly) are doing. Food for thought.


Kyra Hoggan