The current message in the popular press in regard to the impasse over a new contract for teachers seems to be that either the education system is a complete failure that needs to be privatized, or it is so essential that the current job action is destroying the futures of every child in BC. Both messages, although contradictory, are coming from the same sources in the provincial government and are intended to intimidate either teachers, parents, or both, through threats of some sort of Armageddon to come should teachers not toe the government line. The facts tell a different story.
The government has removed over 2 billion dollars from public education over the past ten years. Most of that has directly impacted the conditions under which children learn. It is no secret that the ultra right factions in the liberal party would love to privatize education, but they lack the courage or honesty to say so plainly. And although a quality public education system is critically essential to the social and financial success of citizens and civil society, quality education is not what systematic Liberal under-funding delivers, despite the best efforts of educators. .
This government has lost in court; their legislation governing education over the past ten years was deemed illegal by the BC Supreme Court. However, they still seem determined to make the same mistakes again and again, insulting and alienating those who actually provide educational services—teachers and support staff—and pretending that you can get a quality product by nickel-and-diming the system to death. China and India are in ascendancy globally because they invested heavily in public education for decades. Thirty years ago the public education system in California was a global model; now it is a global joke due to the very approaches the liberals in BC now espouse.
Teachers teach. They can either do it in facilities and conditions that are conducive to education, or in overcrowded, under-funded, and outdated facilities with class sizes too large. The choice of whether BC is to have a modern, effective and leading education system lies with the voter. The Liberals have made their policies clear. Good education is never cheap. Your call.