Ten-year contract with BCTF not a sensible pursuit

Aim for a short-term contract to work out guidelines that puts the students first.

The rhetoric surrounding the B.C. public education system and contract negotiations with the B.C. Teachers Federation has been flying high, both in amount and stink level.

Claiming they have the best interests of B.C. schoolchildren at heart, the provincial Liberal government is single-mindedly driving to ink a 10-year labour contract with the province’s teachers.

The nuts and bolts of their plan are outlined in a document entitled: Working Together for Students.

The plan has as its main goal long-term stability in education. At least that is what it says on the cover. Very commendable.

However, the document identifies the biggest problem with the public school system as, “The ongoing cycle of teacher labour unrest in schools.”

As if only the teachers were to blame in this mess. But 10 years is a long time.

How many people, other than politicians want to be locked into a contract for 10 years?

We have trouble with three-year cellphone contracts, never mind 10 years.

What if there is another financial meltdown?

What happens if the natural gas industry goes belly up?

What happens if the courts uphold the BCTF’s right to negotiate class size and composition?

Former Shuswap MLA and B.C. Education Minister George Abbott has spoken out against the province’s push for a decade-spanning contract, arguing in favour of a much shorter term.

Why not aim for a short-term contract to work out a set of guidelines that focuses on class size and composition that puts the students first, gives teachers the room they need to do their very best, and is mindful that the government purse strings must open for many public servants.

In this way both parties are putting their money where their mouth is.

-Penticton Western News