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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 6, April 2006

Readers write

Lack of money, not planning

While I agree with many of the points in Patricia Douglas’s March article about the importance of teaching students to be consumer savvy, her introduction "...How little most of us know about budgeting, saving for emergencies, and dealing with creditors, and other financial institutions. How does it happen that such a well-educated group of citizens can so easily find themselves in such a predicament?" struck me as unfair.

I am a very good money manager, but increasingly find it difficult to set money aside. Last year, my leaky roof, ancient and unsafe sundeck, and my 16-year-old car needed to be replaced. I saved for six years to replace them. These expenses left little remaining to set aside for a strike fund.

The bigger issue here is not one of inadequate budgeting, but that years of little or no salary increase have eroded our salaries. Meanwhile the costs of heating one’s home, property taxes, gas and utility bills, and other expenses have continued to climb. The average rent is increasing 6 or 7% a year, and the cost of homes is up 20 to 25% in many areas. The government has worked hard to suppress wages, but there is no commitment to price controls. Shelter costs in many parts of BC are the highest in Canada.

The lack of realistic increases in social-support systems such as the old-age pension and supplement have meant that many of us are also helping elderly parents. And the astronomical rise in tuition fees has presented a huge challenge for families.

I’m sure many of my colleagues are "treading water" to stay afloat financially. It isn’t a lack of planning that is pulling us under, it’s the lack of reasonable cost-of-living increases. What a shame that many of our student teachers will be seeking positions in other provinces where wages reflect the demands of the job. Their student debt load will leave them little choice.

Virginia Brucker
Mount Arrowsmith

Thanks for Teacher

I really want to thank you for having sent your really different and useful magazine to the primary school where I currently work as a primary teacher of English language here in the tropical city of Havana.

I have got it from the principal of my work place here due to she does not speak or understand English language. However, she also appreciated having first received your magazine sent to our common school inside her daily mail in our historical primary school (built in mid-19th century).

As I am the only official teacher of English language inside our school, I have shared your magazine with other teachers interested and mainly my very curious and charming primary students here where I work. They all loved that photo related to the français intensif (intensive French) where they noted that Canadian children were not wearing white and red uniforms like all of Cuban children have to wear while they are studying in primary school. In fact, they could see many different details that I just could not see at first. In short, they loved the photos, the different language written and your magazine. So, thank you very much.

Juan Carlos Caballero
Cuba



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