Here’s what Sarah wrote.
I am feeling frustrated and powerless in the ongoing dispute between teachers and BC government. I’m not part of the union, so I have no personal stake in the negotiations but it still matters to me for several reasons. Here’s what I had to say to Ms. Clark:
As a teacher, I am offended and deeply hurt by the way you have portrayed teachers as greedy and self-interested. As a teacher in an independent school, I have no personal stake in the current negotiations; however, your recent comments about the teachers’ approach to bargaining are unfair and unkind. I teach smaller classes and have more preparation time than my colleagues working in public schools. I also get paid slightly more than I would in the public system. Even so, my salary works out to an hourly rate that is much less than that of other professionals with comparable education and experience, and certainly on par with other unionized professionals such as nurses. Unlike workers in other public sector unions, teachers are not paid for the overtime that they work. Your changes to class size and composition have had a direct impact on teachers’ workload but they have received no compensation for the additional hours they have worked.
As a voter, I am concerned about the future of public education in this province and, as a consequence, the province itself. Full participation in the economy of the future will require a generation of innovative thinkers and creative problem-solvers. The children of today cannot develop essential skills in classrooms that are over-crowded and under-funded. If you were able to find the resources to cut corporate taxes, you should be able to find the resources to provide per-student funding that at least matches the national average.
As a citizen, I am appalled by your response to recent court rulings about the legislation you enacted in 2002. As the leader of our province, it is your responsibility defend our charter rights, instead you have attacked them. As the leader of this province, it is your responsibility uphold its laws, instead you have attempted to circumvent the rulings of its courts. Coming from any other citizen, such action would not be tolerated. Coming from an elected representative, the action is reprehensible.
As our Premier, you have the power to do the right thing: defend the charter rights of your constituents, invest in all of our province’s children and give teachers the resources and support they need, as well as the compensation that they have earned.
Are you feeling inspired to write to our Premier or to your MLA yet? You can make a difference! Send me a note and I’d be happy to help you get the word out.
Do you know who your MLA is? You can find the full list HERE.
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