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Why Teachers Strike

Date post:23-Aug-2014
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A political rant aiming to explain why BC teachers so stubbornly fight for better funding of public education. Short answer: to limit gross inequalities and protect democracy.
Transcript:
  • WHY BC TEACHERS STRIKE by Fred Subra, with signi3icant help from David Horsey (and others*)
  • Calvin & Hobbes, by Bill Watterson
  • You hate teachers? That might have to do with the fact that all you hear about in the media is how despicable we all are.
  • If you care to understand where we are coming from, it is pertinent to look at what has happened in the US over the last few decades, because the current BC government has been pushing us in the same direction. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (After all, the US is the greatest economy in the world, what could possibly go wrong?)
  • BC curriculum is continually revised to favour job skills over anything elsewe are led by people who prefer schools to produce obedient workers rather than critically-thinking citizens.
  • Anything you need to do to enrich your intellectual life, you can pay for it yourself. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! But who can afford private Art or Music classes? Not the middle class, if the 1% keep running the show.
  • BC teachers have opposed FSA tests. Thats because the FSA budget could be spent to actually help kids.
  • The business community who manages this province is obsessed with accountability. They believe that a good teacher is someone who, out of a class of 30 students, should reliably produce 30 reading and counting unitsFSA tests are designed to measure just that. Our masters do not want to know, for instance, how much of our time is spent addressing emotional and mental health issues. Yet a kid whose parents are divorcing will not often be able to focus on trigonometry. A 16-year-old whose ex-girlfriend is pregnant might not assimilate the lesson on descriptive paragraph writing. A hungry child cannot memorize multiplication tables. A bullied and/or suicidal teenager will rarely care that Mrs. Vandertramp is about knowing when to use tre instead of avoir. ! FSA tests measure none of those factors, yet they are used to determine which schools are worth investing into. BC Liberal logic never deems it wise to spend on bad teachers struggling students, it believes in rewarding success. So basically money goes to those places where its least needed. Therefore BC teachers will continue to oppose FSA tests.
  • A problem weve been having is that negotiating with the BC Liberals looks exactly like this: ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! So, every time, teachers are forced to go on strike. If you think thats fun, you need to think again. Greedy as we are, we lose money every time we do our duty and defend public education.
  • Of course, taxes pay for teacher salaries, and that makes teachers repulsive.
  • Feel the same about the army? Let Stephen Harper cut their pensions: they only risked everything for the rest of us when they put their lives on the line, believing their families would be taken care of. ( )
  • Well, guess what? ! Teachers, like soldiers, nurses, mechanics or cooks, do pay taxes.
  • Like everyone working in BC, we deserve a salary that keeps up with increasing living costs.
  • Our corporate masters may not be interested in building a fair society. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Teachers are.
  • If teachers gain a fair salary increase, it will empower nurses, police of_icers, government workersthe whole working classto negotiate a fairer share of the pie. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (Not a good thing if youre a BC Liberal.) !
  • (A quick word on unions: weve all heard horror stories on how evil they can get when they have too much power. ! But please consider this: without unions to bully them on our behalf, corporations would still exploit children in coal mines and factories.
  • You think I exaggerate? ! Just look at the facts: wherever they can get away with it, corporations use sweatshop labourin many developing countries the work is done by children. )
  • ! ! Dont they know that we in the middle and working classes are their best customers? We simply cant afford to pay you more in this economy.
  • Well buy those cell phones and pay the crazy fees. ! Well buy their cars and trucks, well put their gas in those tanks. (Boy, do they always have a good reason to increase those prices!) (Notice how the North American middle class is only expected to go from 5.5 to 5.8 trillions? Look at Europe, look at Asia: the plan is not for things to get any better here.)
  • HERE IS THE BOTTOM LINE: Money that goes to the middle class is money that will get reinjected into the economy and therefore create jobs. ! Anyone with an offshore account is removing wealth from Canadathen they tell us we cant afford to properly fund public schools.
  • According to the BC Liberals, we cant afford to fund a decent public school system for the average BC child. ! To be fair, here is the kind of institution where, whether or not they get their tax cuts, their own children are educated : (This is a view of the independent St. Georges junior school in Vancouver. Not bad, eh? I wonder how many of these kids need a breakfast program run and paid for by volunteer teachers, administrators and CUPE workers, like the one we have in my school At any rate, Im con_ident they score very well on FSA tests.)
  • Here is the awesome: BC independent schools are funded, in non-negligible part, with our tax dollars. Provincial funding for private schools has risen at a much higher rate than it has for the public system. According to B.C. Teachers' Federation estimates based on Ministry of Education numbers for the 2014 budget, the public system's funding increased by 16.9% between 2005 and today. The private system's funding increased by 45.6%. Crawford Kilian, BC's Private School Boom, TheTyee.ca
  • Teachers revealed their salary demands, asking for an increase comparable to colleagues across Canada and indexed to cost of living.The government said that would cost over $1 billion. ! Katie Hyslop, Updated: EverythingYou Need to Know about BC Teacher Bargaining, TheTyee.ca ! Since the 1970s big tax cuts at the top have caused after-tax inequality to rise faster than inequality before taxes. ! Paul Krugman, On Inequality Denial, The NewYork Times
  • If these people cared about our country, they would pay their fair share. They earn indecent sums, why shouldnt they pay proportionally indecent taxes?
  • But we are at a point where the famous 1% richest citizens have decided to stop paying for the rest of uslike we werent the workers and consumers who made them rich in the Jirst place.
  • I hear all this, you know,Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever. No.There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and re forces that the rest of us paid for.You didnt have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terric, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big
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