Students first

Guest Editorial; by Don McRae, Minister of Education - Students first

This government has announced a proposed new framework to bring about 10 years of labour peace with B.C. teachers. We have a great education system in this province, but wherever I travel in B.C. people tell me that it is time we put students first.

The last round of labour negotiations was difficult and prolonged, and as usual students and classrooms were disrupted across our system. This is nothing new in the history of our negotiations. I believe our children deserve better than this. It is time to set this behind us and embark on a more collaborative way of doing things.

We are proposing a new framework with bold, new ideas designed to give us a fresh start.

It includes a new structured and transparent bargaining process that would draw on professional mediators and conciliators to help resolve impasses. We would seek a relationship with teachers built on transparency, collaboration and openness to new ideas.

The proposed framework also includes an Education Policy Council with representatives from government, the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and school-board trustees to advise government on public education policy priorities, including a proposed new $100-million Priority Education Investment Fund.

We are also prepared to index teachers’ compensation on par to their fellow B.C. public-sector colleagues, like nurses, college faculty and government employees. Had we used this model over the past 10 years, teachers’ salaries would have increased by an average of 2.0 per cent, as opposed to the 1.8 per cent average teachers have received. In other words, teachers would be farther ahead today than they were in the last system, without all the heartache that’s gone on with all the labour disruptions that we’ve seen in the last decade.

Our proposed framework is the start of a conversation and represents our commitment to long-term stability and a more effective relationship between teachers and government. With a signed ten-year agreement, the government will offer B.C. public school teachers a voice in funding education priorities and an official role in education policy decisions.

We are standing on the threshold of a wonderful opportunity for the future of education and we can’t afford to let it pass us by. Teachers and government can use this opportunity to reflect the ideals of cooperation, acceptance and respect for our children. It can be a new relationship that we can all be proud of.

Just imagine what this framework would mean for students and families. Imagine an education system where it is normal for a student in Grade 2 today to graduate in 10 years without his or her classroom ever being disrupted by job action. Imagine what this would mean to teachers – to be able to focus on their students in a stable learning environment, and at the same time, have a real voice in their relationship with government.

B.C. families deserve an education system without interruptions caused by labour disputes. On behalf of all British Columbians, I believe teachers and government can work together from our shared passion for youth and education and choose to do things in a new way. Together, we can imagine a decade of labour peace – and then achieve it.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

(TNRD Library)
Let the mystery of the Summer Reading Club begin

Are you ready to ‘Crack the Case’ at the Barriere Library?

(Metro Creative photo)
Gardeners of all ages invited to enter 2021 NT Fall Fair contests

The North Thompson Fall Fair Drive Thru scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4,… Continue reading

Milsom Lodge was built in the East Barriere Valley when the Milsom brothers purchased two parcels of land in 1911, DL 2323 and DL2324. (Milsom’s photo)
The Milsom Lodge: The mansion, the ballroom, the history

“At the turn of the century, when so many families were leaving… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Most Read