I just read Katherine Mortimer’s “Teachers call for action” March 2 covering her interview with Heather Malcolm, president of the Vernon Teachers Association, regarding the VTA’s approach to upcoming contract negotiations with the provincial government.
Reading the quotes made in this article by Malcolm, I didn’t know whether to laugh, shout or simply cry.
While the VTA wants more money for student educational program support, more classroom speciality teachers and certainly more money for yet to be announced teacher salary increases, the VTA has no concrete funding proposals for school board trustees or the Ministry of Education on how to balance their educational budgets in these times of reduced enrolment, reduced revenue and necessary cutbacks nor any positive suggestion on what teachers are doing to cope with this reality.
She talks of teacher burnout, teachers “doing more with less” (whatever that means) and her directive to trustees to “keep cuts away from the classrooms.”
On the positive side, she does say that an increase of $534 million to current educational funding by the province would bring per student financing on par with provincial funding across the country, but does so without explaining why or who we are behind.
The only comparison given is the government’s recent expenditure of $514 million to repair the roof at B.C. Place, whatever relevance this has to educational funding? Wouldn’t it be heartwarming for once to hear what taxes should be increased or services cut to find this money?
Well, I suppose she is doing her job as the Vernon teachers’ representative as she sees how to do it.
Regretfully, the government will likely take a similar approach and we, the taxpayers who don’t have $534 million, will be put on a merry-go-round with our children held hostage in the middle.
Wouldn’t it be a refreshing change if both sides took an honest/constructive/positive approach to their very important discussions on the future of our children?
Well, maybe someday. However, I’m not holding my breath.