Letter writer challenges recent comments about the education system

The letter from Mr. Wills contains some significant contradictions within its arguments about the education system.

The first contradiction arises in a rather typical statement about the B.C. Teachers Federation and its “primary interest” being the “total value of union dues collected.” That statement is not true, and it sets up the contradiction with Wills’ final argument that I will arrive at shortly.

He then continues on to argue about the “basic human rights” of  students being violated.  As a retired teacher, allow me to reassure the public that in Vernon, the “basic human rights of students“ are in no way being violated. He argues that while it is nice for slow learners to be privileged to be mixed with the more capable, it is not a right. The corollary then also holds true, that it is not a right for the exceptional learners to be segregated.

So where do these rights lie? Wills’ implication is that it is the right of the advantaged learners to have their own set-up, but not for the less advantaged to have similar support.

In short, Mr. Wills is using an argument that is both contradictory and false.

He is correct to argue that “students with slower learning aptitudes must be taught with different techniques.” That is true of all learners  if optimal results are to be expected.

Mr. Wills does say that “to achieve optimal educational opportunities for all of our students” we need to fix this “broken” system.  That leads to the largest contradiction of all.

The broken part of the system is the B.C. government under Christy Clark, who originated much of the current problems while she was education minister under Gordon Campbell. At that time, she introduced two education bills that were later found to be against constitutional law by the B.C. Supreme Court.

The big contradiction in his argument now returns to the BCTF.

It is the government that wishes to downsize education, privatize as much of  it as they can, creating less than optimal learning conditions, and use the public teachers as rhetorical whipping posts to create electioneering propaganda.

It is the BCTF that is presenting many valid arguments for achieving “optimal educational opportunities for all of our students.”

This includes smaller class sizes, more CEAs to support the teachers, the return to having regular librarian teachers, to return to having more counsellors and learning assistants rather than downloading those functions on to the classroom teachers. If you wish to  argue about students’ human rights, t is the BCTF that is fighting to protect those constitutional rights against this government.


Jim Miles