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Jim Iker participated in a panel about defending public education and our fight for a fair deal on a Los Angeles radio station on Tuesday, July 8. The show, called “The Beautiful Struggle” features teachers, union leaders, and students from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. They discuss the ever-growing threat of privatization and corporatization to public education in all three countries. The discussion ends with a powerful rap poem by a student. Listen to the archived broadcast here.  

Why BC teachers strike, slideshow by a Cranbrook teacher

Dear Public School Students, School Board Trustees, Robin Austin, MLA, and Citizens of British Columbia,
I am on the picket line again today, trying to remain hopeful. More... 

I am a secondary teacher trained in Special Education who has been working in all high schools around Vancouver for two years. While there are many dedicated, very professional teachers and support staff for our students, those with various levels of disabilities (and especially students with more profound mental health challenges) experience increasing levels of extreme stress, anxiety, and some suicidal ideation for which there are not enough, or NO supports. This could be in violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN Treaty), and in any case, is not up to the standard we can and should provide for all youth. More... 

Dear Christy Clark and Peter Fassbender,
I am at home watching the BC teachers rally at Canada Place, wishing that I could be there to participate myself. I am wondering if you are both watching?
I thought I’d share why I am not able to physically participate in the rally. More...  

Dear Christy Clarke,
My job is to teach. It is my calling. Education is something that has challenged me to the point of frustration at times, but overall I have enjoyed the challenge that comes from being both a student and a teacher throughout my life. In my educational experience, I have been taught to critique current ideologies that are causing harm to others, to open my mind to ignorance, and see things from the perspectives of others. More...  

To The Graduating Class of 2014,
As a high school teacher, I want to congratulate you all for allowing me to continue to enjoy what I believe is to be the best job in the world. You are all remarkable and intelligent young men and women who will change the world we all live in.
I want to congratulate you for overcoming 12 of the most hurtful years to public education in British Columbia, and succeeding in spite of the value the government places on you. More...  

Dear Christy Clark,
Last night was my final shift of the week on our picket line. I wanted to share my reflections of the my final day with you. It was an incredibily difficult day for me. One that I wish had ended so differently. More...  

CDTA friends site - where people can post pictures and positive comments from the picket lines.

Pinklea, Shiny Pink, “Strange days indeed, June 17
“This government has cut and cut and cut education funding over the past 15 years at least, to the point where we just can’t do it any more. This government has twice tried to create laws to deny teachers our constitutional rights to bargain and to strip important and legally negotiated items from our contracts – and it’s not over in the courts yet. More...  

lenajd2, “Strike,” June 16
“. . . The BC government has twice ignored the BC Supreme Court which has ordered them to return our class size limits, specialist teacher, and composition limits to the levels they were at and guaranteed by our collective agreement prior to 2002, when the government illegally stripped these limits. Did you know it is taxpayer money funding this court battle for the government? They can fight indefinitely because their court case has unlimited pockets, me, you, and all the rest of the taxpayers. We are funding them to break the law and drag this out. This court case has saved them over 6 billion dollars that should have been paid to schools to fund the class size limits etc....” More...

Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism…, “99 years… Updating Solidarity Forever #thisismystrikepay #BCTF,” June 14 More...

Kat Ling, HuffPost British Columbia, “B.C. Teachers Strike 2014: This Is My Strike Pay,” June 15
“. . . I have so many special or funny moments that I can look back on when times are hard, like they are right now. To me, teaching is about building relationships. When students know you care, they will go out of their way to do their best for you.
To my students, I will always remember you. You are all special to me. You are why I do this job. You are my strike pay.” More...

Monica Nawrocki – understanding behaviour, “I don’t get it…”, June 14. More...

Dear Christy Clark,
This is my chosen career and I love it but I’m becoming more frustrated and confused by what you are doing to my chosen career. I have questions I need you to answer. More...

Does the union have the students' best interest in mind?
They believe they do and much of the time I think actually do. That is, however, not their mandate nor their reason for existing. The BCTF was created for and is funded by its members. I pay union dues so that they can protect my interests, advocate for my working conditions and negotiate on my behalf, not to look after students. The two concepts of working conditions and learning conditions often conflate, even overlap, but they are not the same. More...  

Farewell for now
"…It is with a very heavy heart, I am writing to you today. As a result of the unfortunate job situation currently occurring, due to the ongoing dispute between the government and the BCTF, the end of the year will not play out the way I had hoped for. Up until about a month ago, I intended to invite my wonderful students of Div. 4 to celebrate the end of the year with me at my home on the Saanich Peninsula. We were all looking forward to a BBQ at my house, many days of last week activities, outside fun and games, a year-end slideshow that I created for my kids, Beach Day, Fun Day, and much more learning!" More...  

Fassbender to the tune of Moon River, Johnny Mercer & Henry Mancini, adapted JE 

Thank you BCTF for all that you do to keep us informed and spread the message and keep standing up for our public education system. You are truly awesome and I am humbled by all the different ways information is being shared. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel connected to all teachers, parents and kids striving for the same goal.
Hugs, Andrea

Dear Premier Clark,
I’d like to show you some pictures of my classroom. But first, let me preface what I have to say with the fact that it is a disgrace that you allow your government to underfund BC’s public education system. Instead, you expect it to be funded on the backs of the educators, the school districts, and the families. More…  

An open letter to Ms. C. Clark
Please let me introduce myself. My name is Evan Orloff and I am one of your West Kelowna constituents. I have been teaching in Kelowna for the past 34 years and am now about to retire at the end of this month. More…  

My name is Chris. I teach at Tamanawis Secondary in Surrey. I love my job, but I am angry. Let me tell you why. More…  

So, when I talk about the dismantling of public education in British Columbia, please understand that I am discussing it from a place of lived experience as I have given my heart, my time, my energy and my passion to teaching for the last 20 years.
Teachers in British Columbia today are demoralized and feeling profoundly disrespected. More…  

A collection of letters & blogs
If I was a young person contemplating a career in the teaching profession in this province, I would be confused about which version of the Ministry of Education I should prepare myself to work for: the Mr Hyde version that is engaged in an acrimonious battle with the teachers’ union or the Dr Jekyll one that is engaged in discussions with teachers about 21st century teaching? More…  

Dear Premier Clark and ALL British Columbia MLA's …
I've written once to all of you just last week and now feel compelled to share an additional letter from another parent who I do not know but who absolutely establishes what MOST parents are feeling about the current situation, which all began in 2002. 
And, P.S. Minister Fassbender, your tweet of earlier today about guaranteeing all exams being marked etc., was another example of your non-comprehension of the bigger picture, including the fact you and the entire government have been told TWICE by the Supreme Court of BC that your Bills are unconstitutional --- what kind of example is the government setting if it refuses to accept a ruling from the highest court in the land!?!?! And, I as a parent hope it is YOU who are listening, and so far, there is little evidence of your listening skills.
I'm beginning to think you all somehow missed Kindergarten where we are taught to share, be polite to others, be fair to everyone, be supportive of those who need help and to clean up our own messes.
Please take the time to digest what Kristina Barnett Lee has to say, and more importantly what her seven year old has to say, her child is talking about each one of you.
Sincerely,
Mary Ruth Harris

Every day throughout British Columbia teachers and support staff give of their time, energy, and talents to their students. They love their students, their work, and education. This is for all of you who stand and hold fast to that sacred trust of public education. More...  

Well, B.C. government, you are turning me into a union activist. I admit that in the past I have been guilty. Guilty of paying little attention to the union, except when things heated up, and then taking my focus away again. Guilty of letting others do the hard work of the union. Guilty, in other words, of being a fairly typical union member. More

Bryan Jackson, Adventures in a Gifted Classroom, “An Open Letter to BC Education Minister Peter Fassbender,” May 31

“...What have your actions, and those of your government, sought to teach young people in British Columbia about democracy? About the rule of law? About our collective responsibility to one another?

When you visited us, and in the press releases I have seen in the time since, your words have often seemed directly in line with the values at the heart of the public education system. But your actions have consistently negated whatever weight these words might have carried, and such incongruence demands either an explanation or a change of course...”

http://bryanjack.ca/2014/05/31/an-open-letter-to-education-minister-peter-fassbender/ 

I’m one of many teachers who love our jobs because of the kids. No matter how crazy the world gets, there is always a reward by the end of the day. A smile of accomplishment, the joy of having learned how to make a new friend, a resolution to a conflict, a personal best…all of these are worth far more than my paycheck. Clearly, if I am willing to give up thousands of dollars in locked out pay deductions and strike days there must be more than money involved here. More

My Story: I am scared to say it, but yes, I am a teacher. More

I have been a teacher at a lovely elementary school for 13 years. Yet, since the Liberals have come into power, I have seen class sizes maxed out, the library closed, and services for children with special needs cut. More

It must be pretty obvious to anyone watching the sad deterioration of the neighborhood school that this government does not value public education, despite their feeble and disingenuous blatherings to the contrary. More

I am motivated to speak out after hearing Todd Kettner's response to the Ministry of Education's deductions from the pay of BCTF members during the current lock out. He spoke eloquently about the time he actually puts in on the job. More

We were docked a day's pay before we had our strike day. More

“Even if nothing more ever comes of this for me as a teacher, the times getting to know other BC teachers on the lockouts and picketing have introduced me to people I am proud to be associated with - and the students I have known have all been very patient and real troopers. No wonder so many teachers want to work and volunteer their all for BC schools!”

Dear Mr. Fassbender, I know you are a rookie Education Minister but... More...

Message to Rod Allnutt, District Administrator - Delta School District regarding the 10% pay reduction Delta teachers received last week. More...

So, when I talk about the dismantling of public education in British Columbia, please understand that I am discussing it from a place of lived experience as I have given my heart, my time, my energy and my passion to teaching for the last 20 years. More...

I'll give you one small example in hundreds of thousands of what a teacher's life really is and I'm not special. I repeat I'm not special. More...

Let me talk about my Grade 1 classes. More...

Public education in BC has steadily deteriorated since 2002. There is no skirting around it–from our point of view, this deterioriation is directly caused by the decisions made by your government. More...

Dear Parent of the Average Child - One Teacher's Confession. More...

I have watched this already shaky system move from unstable to downright disastrous. More...

Dr. Ted Kettner, Kootenay Lake school psychologist works 70 hours unpaid OT, then gets cheque docked for “job action” – May 27, 2014. More...

After a wage freeze for several years, no contract for two years, who would be content to sign a 1% a year wage increase without any class size limits? More...

It's more than a job but a passion that leaves me emotionally, mentally and physically spent at the end of the day but with the satisfaction knowing that I truly gave whatever I could to the students that depend on me. More...

Just another student reality that teachers understand and education ministers do not. More...

The increase in salary in Alberta from what I would make next year in BC is $18,000. More...

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