Job action only way teachers can protest against chronic underfunding of schools

Derek DeGear from the Nanaimo District Teachers' Association explains the reasons for teachers' job action.

Editor:

Bill 22 is an attack on children’s right to quality public education and, for teachers,  a direct attack on our rights as workers and professionals.

This is why teachers across the province have supported the job action plan in response to devastating legislation. The goals of this job action are straightforward — for the government to repeal Bill 22, appoint a truly independent mediator and, most importantly, restore class size and student support guarantees.

How does Bill 22 affect your child?

• It will mean larger class sizes in all grades, guaranteeing less individual attention from teachers and creating hazards in overcrowded classes.

• It removes the limit of three students with special needs in a class and continues to deny students the support they deserve, making it difficult for a teacher to meet the needs of their students.

• It imposes a “cash for kids” scheme which would see some teachers being paid extra for having classes of more than 30 students. Teachers believe that this is inequitable and socially unjust and will refuse the payments. The Learning Improvement Fund is no substitute for the fair and equitable guarantees that the BC Liberals illegally removed in 2002.

Teachers will not be muzzled when the government is attacking B.C. public schools. Our withdrawal from voluntary/extracurricular activities highlights teachers’ commitment to public education.

Because of Bill 22, our action is the only remaining way we can protest against the chronic underfunding of B.C. schools. Teachers will continue their advocacy and work to ensure quality public education is available for every child in this province.

Derek DeGear

President

Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association