||Volume 17, Number 1, September 2004 |
A new school year always brings excitement and apprehension. This year, more than ever, we will face many challenges in our classrooms and communities.
Since the B.C. Liberals took office, we have lost 2,500 full-time teaching positions. A shocking total of 113 public schools have been closed.
In July, I visited Forest Grove, a small community in the Cariboo-Chilcotin School District. Parents, grandparents, and others know that the struggle to save Forest Grove Elementary School is not only for their school but also for the very survival of their community. Although the school has been closed, the citizens have become more outspoken and determined to turn things around.
Over the last three years, we teachers have dedicated much of our energy, time, and funds to minimizing the damage done by the B.C. Liberals’ agenda of underfunding and privatization. Despite all the cuts and the scarce resources, we are continuing to deliver quality education to B.C. students.
We know that British Columbians share our concerns. In coalitions around the province, we are united in the goal of building quality, inclusive public education for all. But it’s more than that, too.
Our goal, in the broadest, most visionary sense, is also to advocate for the kind of society we want. We want to live in a caring society that cherishes children, values youth, supports families, respects workers, and cares for the elderly with dignity. We want to live in a democratic society that upholds fundamental freedoms, fights for social justice, and stands for peace.
That’s the kind of society I want to help build for my children and grandchildren. I’m sure it’s a dream we all share, one we will help create through our advocacy.
To every teacher, Thank you for the amazing job you do!