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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 2, October 2005

President’s message

As I write this, members in their locals are voting on the BCTF Executive Committee recommendations on how we should respond to government legislation imposing our conditions of employment once again.

Whatever the outcome of that vote, I am proud of the stand teachers have taken to protect students, schools, and the profession.

It has always been difficult for teachers to make improvements for our students. However, we have a long and proud history of being prepared to stand up for students, public education, and the profession.

It is very important that we help elect trustees in our communities that will stand up to protect education services and speak out on behalf of students. Our experience is quite different in communities that have education-friendly trustees. Where we haven’t, teachers have faced the threat of discipline for discussing class sizes with parents. Where we have education-friendly trustees, teachers are joined by administrators when they lobby for adequate funding. What a difference that can make. So far, we have won that battle in the courts, but it really is a battle we shouldn’t have to fight. According to Madam Justice Huddart of the B.C. Court of Appeal, "…it is difficult to see how discussion about class size and composition in relation to the needs of a particular child by an informed and articulate teacher could do anything but enhance confidence in the school system."

Supportive trustees will speak up for the children of the community and advocate for them. They will work co-operatively with teachers and other workers in the schools. They will treat their employees with respect.

November 19 is coming soon, so I would encourage you to contact your local office and find out what you can do to ensure that supportive trustees are elected to represent your community.

Jinny Sims

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