Teacher responds to minister

Vernon teacher insulted by George Abbott and B.C. government's priorities

I am yet again incensed and insulted by the minister of education, George Abbott. He and his ministry continue to mislead the public and misrepresent the facts.

He states that students are being harmed by not receiving report cards.  I don’t know which school he is talking about but speaking purely for myself and my own school, every student and parent has access to their marks and progress all semester long; which is more information than a report card gives.

I teach at Vernon Secondary School and, like most of my colleagues, put my marks online on a roughly, weekly basis. These marks are accessible by students and parents with special passwords easily obtained from the office.

Missing work is obvious, as is effort. The only thing I don’t provide is a comment pointing all of this out.

Any other concerns I address through e-mail or phone calls. I have not had any complaints from students or parents about this. In fact, I have had some parents express their thanks for all of the information and contact throughout the semester. No one has requested a formal report card. It seems they are superfluous.

In my school, meetings are still occurring regarding at-risk students. We continue to do our best to help all students achieve their best and be successful despite increasing class sizes, out-dated materials, decreased student aid and lack of sufficient funds.

The minister continues to misrepresent the BCTF’s demands for wage hikes and refuses to allow the B.C. Public School Employers Association to bargain.  Bargaining assumes some give and take on both sides but though the teachers have offered some concessions, the government has refused to budge at all.

Hardly “bargaining,” is it? And to top off their unreasonable stance, now the government is actually decreasing the already under-funded education budget while stating they are going to entirely re-design the whole education system to make it “child-centred” for the 21st century.

Education is legally an essential service, one of the ways the previous government dealt with their inability to bargain effectively during the last dispute, yet my school has been closed to accommodate the B.C. Winter Games and my classroom has become a dormitory. Schools were also closed  or disrupted for the Olympics.

The roof of B.C. Place was allowed to run grossly over budget while schools are permanently closed throughout the province, putting thousands of children at risk educationally. This government is not “child-centred.”

It is primarily concerned with putting on a good show.

Remember this students when it’s your turn to vote. Remember this parents the next time your children’s needs are not met.  Remember this public when you need this generation to look after you.  As you treat the young now, so they will treat you when you are old.


Debbie Parmenter, Vernon teacher