Yesterday I went to a excellent rally, a rally organized by parents, a Rally for Arbitration. The crowd was special from grandparents to,very young children and with the music and sunshine there was a festive feeling although everyone there was angry that kids hadn't been in school for two weeks in September plus two weeks in June, as well as the underfunding to our public education system. I loved the students who spoke so passionately but I was really struck by a parent who asked some very significant questions so here I am quoting Enid-Rave Adams who at this point I will quote. She wrote these out in a post on Facebook so that I am sure I have this correctly.
"My being up there was totally unplanned and my comments were impromptu but I remember these questions clearly because I have been wanting answers to them. So have my friends. So have teachers...
1) Christy Clark and Mr. Fassbender, if you wanted a negotiated agreement and kids back in class as you say you do, why did you wait until the very end of summer to get back to the bargaining table with teachers?
2) You keep talking about affordability. Why is it okay for teachers in other provinces to make as much as $20 000 a year more and admittedly work less than teachers in BC? Other public sector employees in this province have received 2%-3.2% salary increases, yet BC teachers are fighting just to get 1.6%. That's not the affordability zone. That's the inequality zone.
3) Can you rule out that you are unilaterally setting the stage for a voucher system to privatize education in this province?
I also spoke about hovering around the poverty line for the first 10 years of my childhood. But in the public school system, I was treated as an equal and given the same opportunities as everyone else in spite of our socio economic background. I said that this current strike isn't just about education. It's also about worth. Our kids are society's best resource and I challenged Christy Clark to start valuing them."
I think many of us would like answers to these questions. One more note. Listening to CBC radio news right now I hear again about a group who,were anti BCTF who tried to disrupt the rally. The media put a great deal of emphasis on a very few people and most of us had no idea about this. All I saw were 2000 plus people who care about education and want school in session but with a fair, improved deal for their children and for teachers!