Letter: Support teachers and get kids back in school

Parents want BC Teachers Federation and BC Public School Employers Association to reach an agreement before school starts.

An open letter to BC Minister of Education Peter Fassbender, BC Teachers Federation President Jim Iker, Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique, BC Premier Christy Clark, Revelstoke Times Review, Alberni Valley Times, The Province, CBC Radio:

Editor,

We are writing on behalf of many parents in the public school system in British Columbia, with the expectation that the BC Teachers Federation and the Government of BC will resolve their differences in a manner that both sides can live with by the time school resumes on September 2, 2014.

We support our teachers. They see our children for many hours of the day and are entrusted with developing our children’s skills and abilities so that they will be contributing youth and adults in society.

One daughter’s grade 4/5 class in Revelstoke this year had 28 children in it, with one teacher. Aside from the extra work that a split class puts on a teacher, 28 children is a lot to manage. Ms. Gadbois did an admirable job, and she was there as early as 7 a.m. and left as late as 5 p.m. many days, with extra work done at home at night and on weekends, I am sure. This parent’s mother and stepfather were both teachers and she is well aware of the amount of personal time good teachers devote to their students’ welfare.

Another daughter’s grade 5 French Immersion class in Port Alberni also had 28 children, with at least five children with Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Under these conditions, Mr. McIvor remained positive and proactive, engaging the students for the entire year. Both these great teachers would have highly benefited from smaller classes and/or educational assistants.

And we want great teachers! With more pressure put on the school system these days to be food providers, moral guides, and behaviour management specialists, fulfilling teachers’ requests for smaller class sizes, input in class composition, and more educational assistants is a reasonable response to these professionals who devote much of their life to our children. We want to attract dedicated, interested people to the teaching profession, and keep teachers who are committed to our children’s well-being working in the system. More cuts to resources, staff, and support at the expense of our children will result in teachers who are just in it for the holidays.

Furthermore, for several reasons, we are shocked about the plan to pay parents $40 per day per child while not in school. One, this amount grossly undervalues the significance of a child’s day at school. Two, we are not interested in being bribed to support the continuing impasse. Three, that money would be much better spent hiring teachers to reduce class sizes.

We understand that there are resources to manage, however our children’s future is non-negotiable. We the voters no longer wish to support a government that does not have the best interests of our society in mind. Keep our kids front and centre in your talks at the table. By September 2, we expect them to stay in school for the entire 2014-2015 year.

Sincerely,

Rana Nelson,

Parent, School District 19 and Conseil scolaire francophone 93

Revelstoke

&

Crystal Kerr and Ben Beens,

Parents, School District 70

Port Alberni

 

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