T Nation

BC Teachers Strike

As of today, British Columbia teachers are on strike.

http://www.bcteacherstrike.com/bcteachersstrike.html

Anyone familar with the situation here, HAS to support them.

And anyone who claims that they are ‘concerned’ about the loss of instruction time for children is a liar. Those who oppose the teachers right to strike are those who can’t find daycare, or who don’t want their kids at home.

That’s it.

|/ 3Toes

I don’t know much beyond what is in the news, I was reading that the current agreement has them in a wage freeze? A 4-5 year one. I’m having a hard time with that.

A salary that doesn’t keep pace with inflation (or doesn’t even try to) puts people in a tough spot.

(For those interested, average BC teacher salary appears to be $55000, not great for a degree program I’d say http://www.bctf.ca/education/recruiting/JobSearch/backgrounder.html )

I’ll take a few extra moments to read up on the link you provided.

That particular link is a general site that provides alot of other links to more specific info.

In a nutshell, the teachers have been without a contract for a very long time. And what seems to be a pattern now, is for employers to simply let negotiations drag on forever. The teachers took a strike vote, and as fast as they did that, a bill was passed to extend their contract till next spring. So, the govt simply legislated a contract on them. This is not bargaining.

The wage issue is not at the forefront of the teacher’s issues. The govt has effectively negotiated 0% increases with pretty much all their employees recently. Including rolling back hospital employees salaries by 15%. I would actually be very surprised if the teachers get any raise in their next contract. But the class size issues, and other staff that have been removed from schools NEED to be addressed.

If you take 30 kids in a class, over 5 hours of instruction per day, ( 300 minutes ) that is 10, count 'em, TEN MINUTES of individual time per student per day. A daycare has limits on how many kids per caregiver. And those limits are a helluva lot less than 30+ kids per caregiver. And a daycare only has to return the kids in the same condition they arrived. A teacher is expected to return the kids smarter.

Oops, I am rambling. So the govt says, ‘hey guess what we extended your contract,’ and the teachers say, ‘fuck you we’re on strike anyhow’. Now that’s balls.

And like I said before. The ones who bitch that their kid is missing a day or two of instruction? That’s pure crap. They’re the people who NEED their kid in school as a daycare. I went swimming with my boy today. Tomorrow the wife gonna make us do chores. If they are still out on Tuesday, ( as they say they will be ) we’ll do something else. If they are still out on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday… he’ll go to his daycare.

My wife happens to be a teacher by the way. :slight_smile:

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[quote]The3toedSloth wrote:

But the class size issues, and other staff that have been removed from schools NEED to be addressed.

If you take 30 kids in a class, over 5 hours of instruction per day, ( 300 minutes ) that is 10, count 'em, TEN MINUTES of individual time per student per day. A daycare has limits on how many kids per caregiver. And those limits are a helluva lot less than 30+ kids per caregiver. And a daycare only has to return the kids in the same condition they arrived. A teacher is expected to return the kids smarter.

[/quote]

Data on class size affecting grades is all over the place. I teach and we have 30 kids in some classes and it isn’t a problem at all. You just have to be creative and learn to use cooperative learning.

As a teacher, I’d be more concerned with the money.

[quote]doogie wrote:

Data on class size affecting grades is all over the place. I teach and we have 30 kids in some classes and it isn’t a problem at all. You just have to be creative and learn to use cooperative learning.

As a teacher, I’d be more concerned with the money. [/quote]

They should be more concerned with the money. But strictly speaking for my wife… ( and I’m sure she’d rather I didn’t ) She teaches in a school that is well over 90% ESL, and each student has their individual issues. This appears to me to lead to individual time needing to be spent with every student. Also, students cannot be failed. So, every student advances to the next grade, regardless of ability.

Assuming that you teach in Texas, I’d be interested to compare situations. The school that my son attends compared to the school that my wife teaches at are like night and day. ( Both public schools, within 5 miles of each other )

I believe that this is the main reason that teachers feel it’s imperative that they have some say in class sizes. When a class has large numbers of ESL and special needs students in it, who get dick for extra help, ( because the extra help has been cut ) the students suffer.

And ya, for all that, they sure as hell should get paid more. :wink:

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I graduated last year ('04) and as for class size, it really depends on the teacher, I also think this has more effect on the lower grades (where the teachers are mainly looking for lower limits).

I don’t think when an employer writes a contract for its employees, without negotiations (especially when there is a union) is very ‘fair’, whatever that means.

In my last two years, I had a teacher (physics 11 and 12) who was the only teacher (to my knowledge) not in the union. He fought to get out on religious reasons (I think he was Jewish, but I don’t know if that was the real reason he wasn’t in the union). He said he expected us to be in class if there is a strike (there wasn’t in those 2 years). I don’t know if he was paied the same, or had any restrictions (like class sizes) as the rest of the teachers. But, he was a good teacher. He retired the year I graduated, and he always said if he was going to work the next year on not depending on his legal bills (I’m guessing these were for getting out of the union).

[quote]The3toedSloth wrote:

She teaches in a school that is well over 90% ESL, and each student has their individual issues. [/quote]

The state classifies us as 100% ESL, but that probably isn’t totally accurate. More like 93% or 94%. At least 90% of the students are first generation Americans–children of illegal migrant workers.

That is just retarded. I don’t even understand the reasoning behind that. Here, you cannot be promoted unless you pass the statewide standardized test as well as your local classwork. Why would a kid even try if there were zero consequences to not doing any work?

I teach at a public charter school. That means we are free from a lot of the state imposed red-tape as long as we produce results. The state gives all schools roughly $5000/student, above that local school districts use property taxes for funding. We can’t tax, which means we end up spending about 33% less per student that a traditional school. That necessitates very high student to teacher ratios.

Last year 93% of my students passed the state test, compared to 72% of students statewide. A full 50% of my students had “commended performance” (meaning they scored above 90 on the state test), compared with 13% of students statewide. The local district that we draw kids out of had 56% passing with only 3% had a commended performance. Same kids, same neighborhoods, same socio-economic status.

I’ve never had any extra help, and it wasn’t until this past year that we had any type of special-ed instructor. What makes us successful is that we don’t accept ANY excuses for failure, we have parent support, we can hold kids back if they aren’t ready to move on, we can kick kids out(that threat is huge), and our classes run from 7:30 to 5:00, M-F and 9-1 on Saturdays for those kids who need it.

[quote]And ya, for all that, they sure as hell should get paid more. :wink:

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I get paid very well. No union, just common sense. My principal wants to succeed, because he has a profit motive. Better results=more students= more state funding=nicer BMW for him. Therefore, he hires the best teachers he can and pays enough to keep us happy. I don’t get an automatic raise every year, but I do have a hell of an incentive bonus based on my performance. I’m willing to gamble that I can get the job done, year in and year out.

We don’t have fancy buildings, and our football team will always suck (a huge issue in Texas) but all of our students will go to college.

http://archive.parade.com/2004/0606/0606_wont_hungry.html

http://www.ideaacademy.org/

Ok, well from your links and what you’ve said, the school that you teach at blows anything in our public school system away. A friend said the other day, that teachers should be paid based on performance. If that were so, then my wife could have easily retired by now.

The area that she teaches in just so happens to be populated by non native english speaking adults. ( if that makes sense ) The way I understand it is, that they don’t encourage their children to speak English in the home, and also, that the boys at least, are treated like little princes until they are dropped off at the school door for the first day.

Then, they become the teacher’s problem. Apparently, many of the parents don’t wish to help or even hear of their children’s problems at school, and simply expect the teachers to take care of it.

When it comes to the issue of the strike, it’s really a matter of their employer ( the govt of BC ) simply, and arbitrarily IMPOSING a contract on the teachers. The teachers had a plan of escalating job action they planned to follow. As soon as the govt tried to impose the contract on them, they said BALLS TO YOU, and walked out. And for that, I applaud them. The teachers now claim that they will stay out, until a settlement is reached.

My predictions are generally wrong. I predicted they would never hit the street in the first place. And I have predicted that they will return to work before a settlement is reached, to show good faith. But now, I have my doubts.

So, we shall see.

|/ 3Toes

Now they have been ruled in ‘contempt of court’. The presiding judge says that anarchy cannot be far behind. hehe
:wink:

|/ 3Toes

Just an update. The teachers were ruled in contempt of court, and the punishment, was the unions funds were frozen. Therefore, no strike pay. They were also later fined $500,000.00. An arbitrator was brought in ( under other pretences, as the govt had said they WOULD NOT negotiate until the teachers went back to work ). The arbitrator made some recomendations, and the teachers voted to accept them, and went back to work after two weeks.

The teachers were not even voting on a contract offer, and the recomendations are a far cry from what the teachers wanted. I believe they simply had to go back to work, because if they stayed out for more than two weeks, they’d lose all public support.

The recomendations call for the govt to put more cash into special needs, etc, and to average class sizes. Averaging class sizes does nothing, because a shop class that can only hold 20 students can be averaged out with a ‘regular’ class with 46 students, to 33 students per class. And this is what they do.

Amusingly enough, Jinny Sims, the teacher’s union president turns out to be quite the politician herself. She puts a good spin on the accomplishments of the strike. They brought alot of attention to the issues, and got some promises from the government. They got no contract, nothing in writing… and the government has torn up contracts in the past.

So, all’s well that ends. That’s what I say.

|/ 3Toes

Campbell is an awful petty man. A year ago he hit nurses with a 13 percent wage cut. My mom is a nurse so I’m still pretty pissed. The strike ended with nothing accomplished. I think every public sector union needs to get together and work something out so that they can consolidate and keep Campbell from fucking everything up.

Y’know, I don’t know much about events in BC, but I have to tell you, if your government is like mine, it is facing a budget crisis.

Everyone wants the government to spend less money, but nobody is willing to have any programs or salaries be cut.

The best I can suggest is to vote them out of office, but don’t be surprised if money is still scarce when the next gang of crooks takes office.

Do what everyone else does, blame Ottawa!

[quote]vroom wrote:
Y’know, I don’t know much about events in BC, but I have to tell you, if your government is like mine, it is facing a budget crisis.

Everyone wants the government to spend less money, but nobody is willing to have any programs or salaries be cut.

The best I can suggest is to vote them out of office, but don’t be surprised if money is still scarce when the next gang of crooks takes office.

Do what everyone else does, blame Ottawa![/quote]

Our budget crisis is the opposite: what to do with the surplus. Things are booming here.

Here are the issues that I have with the whole situation:

  1. How will the teachers feel if the students said to them that they didn’t want to spend so much time in class, that they didn’t believe in the rules that have been set out and walked out.
    My point is: the teachers have a valid complaint and have broken the law to make a point. I disagree with this. How they think they can go back to the classroom with their heads held high is beyond me…showing total disregard for the law, regardless of how bogus it is, and it is bogus in this respect.

2)The government has put the teachers in an untenable position: legislating their way out of responsible negotiations. Legislating their way out of ANY negotiations. I think if the teachers were a little more creative, they could have made a stronger point without losing the support of the public by not going on strike.

[quote]teedog wrote:

they could have made a stronger point without losing the support of the public by not going on strike.

[/quote]

As vroom says, it’s all a big budget crisis. AKA clusterfuck.

So, IMHO, they couldn’t have made a stronger point by not going on strike. They were pushed into the strike by the government. I actually asked my wife, if her contract says anywhere in it, that they HAVE to teach the kids. I figured if they went back to work with no resolution, they could have the kids do nothing ALL day.

Of course, the government would be fine with that, because make no mistake, they don’t give a flying fuck about education. Most parents would be much happier to have their kids in school, regardless of what they may or may not be learning, because they simply don’t want them at home, or to have to find daycare for them. That was actually the point of my original post, and I stand by it. Parents consider elementary school to be daycare.

And it’s no fucken wonder why I am not a teacher, EH?

|/ 3Toes

[quote]The3toedSloth wrote:

vroom wrote:
Y’know, I don’t know much about events in BC, but I have to tell you, if your government is like mine, it is facing a budget crisis.

teedog wrote:

they could have made a stronger point without losing the support of the public by not going on strike.

As vroom says, it’s all a big budget crisis. AKA clusterfuck.

So, IMHO, they couldn’t have made a stronger point by not going on strike. They were pushed into the strike by the government. I actually asked my wife, if her contract says anywhere in it, that they HAVE to teach the kids. I figured if they went back to work with no resolution, they could have the kids do nothing ALL day.

Of course, the government would be fine with that, because make no mistake, they don’t give a flying fuck about education. Most parents would be much happier to have their kids in school, regardless of what they may or may not be learning, because they simply don’t want them at home, or to have to find daycare for them. That was actually the point of my original post, and I stand by it. Parents consider elementary school to be daycare.

And it’s no fucken wonder why I am not a teacher, EH?

|/ 3Toes

[/quote]

You bring up a good point and I want to thank you for it. Let’s say that the gov’t doesn’t care about education. Let’s be real cynical and say that they only care about money.

The teachers walk off for two weeks. Gov’t saves tons of money. Teachers lose support of public. Who wins this round. Gov’t. Gov’t loving every minute of it.

What if the teachers did something unique. Say, have two weeks of all day assemblies. Show some educational, documentary DVD’s, do nothing all day long. Parents are happy 'cause the kids are looked after, teachers get FULL pay, Gov’t is crapping themselves because they are paying the teachers to do nothing. Kids are pissed 'cause they have to be in school. They gripe to their parents, parents push the gov’t to settle. Teachers maintain their integrity by not breaking the law, for which they were fined. Gov’t settles.

As an aside, I have some really well irrigated land in Florida you might be interested in.