Pointless appeal means B.C. school system will continue to lack proper funding
Columnists Laila Yuile and Brent Stafford battle over the issues of the day. The winner of the last duel on the Canada Border Services Agency was Brent with 58%.
This week’s topic:
Should the provincial government appeal the teachers ruling?
Education is commonly acknowledged by many as the cornerstone of a successful and democratic society. It’s just common sense. One would think that in a province like British Columbia — where Premier Christy Clark speaks so often about growing the economy and how families are first — education would be a top priority.
Ironically, the government was recently revealed to be anything but families first when a court ruling related to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation said the province never intended to bargain in good faith with teachers — instead trying to provoke them to strike.
The government has announced it will appeal the decision, apparently because it simply would cost too much to restore classroom sizes, teachers and related support staff to previous levels. To restore all conditions could potentially cost millions of dollars to some school districts living on budgets that are already on a shoestring that’s frayed beyond recognition.
Some of you might be wondering why this matters. The legislation the courts just overturned had horrific impacts on classrooms across the province. It reduced the number of teacher-librarians and special needs assistants. It meant that the while the kids who needed the most help didn’t get it, or didn’t get enough, other kids paid the price of having a crowded classroom where teachers had no supports. It’s been a no-win situation for everyone, least of all the children who were used as pawns in a political fight that makes no sense.
It’s one thing to cut money from services that might be considered optional, but cutting education is akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face. It only costs more in the long run as kids fall through cracks deliberately created by vindictive government legislation. Many of these children end up finding their way through the justice system as teens and adults.
That impacts each of us in different ways, in a trickle-down effect that ripples through all of society.
While the government claims poverty as a big reason behind the appeal, the truth is the money could be found — it’s simply a matter of skewed priorities.
More than ever it’s vitally important to provide every child in this province with a quality public education because today’s children are tomorrow’s workers, business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders. They truly will grow our economy. It’s time for Clark to show some ethical leadership, acknowledge this failure and drop the appeal.
Laila Yuile is an independent writer, blogger and political commentator. You can read her blog at lailayuile.com.
Who wins this week's duel on B.C.'s teacher ruling appeal?