“Education costs money, but then so does ignorance,” — Sir Claus Moser
Christy Clark does not believe in public education.
If she did, her son would be enrolled in one of Vancouver’s many fine public schools. But he’s not. Young Hamish is enrolled at one of Vancouver’s many fine private schools. He’s a lucky lad. His school advertises much smaller class sizes than your average public school, just as it advertises instilling its young charges with community values, and the opportunity to participate in all kinds of great elective activities.
Christy Clark doesn’t pay the full cost of young Hamish’s private school education, however. We, as taxpayers, subsidize private school education to the tune of 30-50% each and every blessed year.
Perhaps you are unaware of that fact. Your hard-earned tax-dollars are siphoned off by the powers-that-be and diverted to wealthy B.C. citizens to defray the private school tuitions for their children.
Now don’t get hostile. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t have a choice where you enroll your young scholars. But the majority of citizens rely on the public education system to deliver the goods and matriculate kids into the post-secondary world where they will pick up the reins of power and, hopefully, restore to health the system that preceding generations have so wantonly screwed up.
Which is why the current impasse is such a critical chapter in our provincial evolution.
Christy Clark and her cadre have attempted to frame the impasse in a negative light. They would have you believe that teachers suffer from an egregious form of self-entitlement, and their concerns are not about the quality of education.
They want you to believe it’s all about money. That teachers are a lazy lot and their productivity does not merit the wages they demand.
They are wrong, of course. It’s plain as day to me.
I travel the length and breadth of B.C.’s Interior, serving the needs of public and private school music educators and these people work their asses off. They put in countless hours, often for no remuneration, to inspire their students to that rare thing: Self discovery and curiosity about their World that they will need to succeed in the terrible years to come.
But Christy Clark and her cadre pay no heed to the B.C. Teachers Federation’s perennial appeals to bargain in good faith over class sizes, the number of teachers’ assistants available to cater to the growing number of special needs students in our schools or restoring funding to school boards so they can provide our kids with a quality education.
Christy Clark and her cadre believe that in one of the Dominion’s richest provinces, it’s okay to buck the national average spending per student by over $1,000 a year. Imagine the difference $1,000 per student would make in our schools.
They are guided, ultimately, by their political ideology. It does not value public education or public employees. The Supreme Court said as much in its recent ruling against the Province on the issue. They don’t share your values. It’s not their priority to negotiate a settlement with teachers.
They want you to believe the system is broken, and it’s the BCTF’s fault.
They are wrong, however. The system ain’t broke, sister. Christy Clark and her cadre are.
Unfortunately, parents and students in this province will suffer the effects of their ideology, and as cuts to education continue, we will succeed in one thing only: driving our kids out of the province to seek their fortunes elsewhere – especially if they want to join the ranks of their influential teachers, whose lot is not to be envied in the Lalaland of the Cruel and the Home of the Fearful.
This is the price of ignorance and its unintended consequences.
We deserve better, and so do our teachers and our kids.
— Having lost his 2,500 volume library in the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire, Jeffrey is beginning to fill the void by writing his own. Reach him at jeff.loewen(at)gmail.com