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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 1, September 2005

President’s message

This fall we are living through a critical moment in the history of public education in British Columbia. Together, we are writing another chapter in our real-life saga of advocacy for students.

Teachers have never hesitated to speak up for what we know is right, for what we know is needed in our schools. When we have taken a stand, we have been able to effect positive change.

Unfortunately this provincial government, like others before it, tried to turn back the clock on many of our hard-won rights and improvements. The B.C. Liberals repeatedly attacked us with draconian legislation and punitive policies. They attacked us in the media and in our communities. They sought to divide us from parents and separate us from one another.

Through it all, we remained resolute and united. We fought their legislative attacks in the courts, resisted their bad policies in our schools, and spoke out in the media to let British Columbians know where we stand.

All of these actions took courage and conviction--qualities teachers have never lacked. It takes courage to be a teacher, and conviction to be a professional. Fortunately, we can find the strength for both roles from the solidarity within our union.

Now we must carry on advocating for our students, and not be too reluctant to advocate for ourselves as well. Just as teachers are held accountable for our actions, so too must legislators be held accountable. Their role is to build and support the institutions of civil society and democracy, not to undermine and diminish them. So we must continue to insist that this government act on behalf of all students and all citizens.

We owe it to our students and to the next generation of teachers who will lead our profession.

Jinny Sims

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