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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 5, March 2005

President’s message

We, the teachers of B.C., have been successful in making education a central issue in the political arena. No party can ignore education underfunding and the deterioration of our students’ learning conditions.

It is election time, and even the B.C. Liberals are responding. The recent announcement of $150 million in additional funding is a sign that our message is working. The government clearly knows it is vulnerable on public education, and it is doing what it can to convince British Columbians that the B.C. Liberals’ disastrous policies are not so bad after all.

It is the government that took away our rights to negotiate our working conditions and stripped our collective agreements of our students’ learning conditions. We have 113 schools closed and the latest ministry figures show we now have 2,600 fewer teachers. Our classes are larger, we have fewer teacher-librarians, fewer counsellors, fewer learning assistance teachers, fewer ESL teachers, and fewer teachers to support our students with special needs.

Mr. Campbell is not fooling us. We are not going to forget the damage he has done!

We need to inoculate ourselves against further pronouncements. Our students’ learning conditions are guaranteed only when they are in collective agreements. We will continue to fight for our right to bargain all our working conditions and our students’ learning conditions.

We will continue to work to make public education a vote-determining issue on May 17, 2005!

Jinny Sims

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