||Volume 15, Number 1, Sept./Oct. 2002 |
As we approach the end of September, the dust has begun to settle and we can clearly see the lay of the educational landscape in the "New Era."
In the foreground, we know just how many children we have in each class, in each block. We see how many students with special needs are now without their special support. Layoffs have hit virtually every school. Many fine colleagues are now gone, and we miss their energy and expertise. What’s worse, their students do too.
In the distance is Education Minister Christy Clark, a remote figure who informs teachers of major change via news releases, and who has never set foot in the B.C. Teachers’ Federation building, despite many invitations.
Ms. Clark refuses to accept any responsibility for the negative impact of her policies, and she persists in downloading all accountability onto school districts. Faced with questions about cuts, she lays all the blame at the feet of trustees and predicts that voters will hold them accountable in the upcoming elections.
Indeed we will. I urge you to inform yourself about the candidates’ views, and on November 16, vote for those who will stand up for public education and for the students in your community.
But the minister is side-stepping the facts. With one hand, she gave trustees the flexibility they wanted, but with the other, she took away crucial funding. As a result, 44 public schools are empty, and their classrooms are silent.
Christy Clark has presided over the most massive school closures in the history of public education in this province. Thousands of people have written letters, made speeches, launched petitions, and even gone on hunger strikes to tell trustees and government they never voted for this!
Please, help us document the New Era reality. Participate in your Federation’s second data collection day on September 30. Let’s hold them accountable!