Editorial: Schools get back to the real job

The summer holiday is over and school kids are back in the classrooms for another 10 months of education.

The summer holiday is over and school kids are back in the classrooms for another 10 months of education. Along with the ABCs and three Rs, this year they might even get report cards.

This year students and their parents don’t have to worry about scrapped after-school activities or navigating the simmering tensions between teachers and administrators.

In September 2011, students entered classrooms with teachers on a work-to-rule job action. Instruction didn’t stop, but teachers didn’t write report cards, wouldn’t host parent-teacher conferences after school hours and in some cases, coaching for sports teams was taken over by volunteer parents.

In the Saanich and Sooke school districts, for one, the administrators – principals, vice-principals, superintendents, managers – scrambled to cover watching elementary kids at recess and after school. A three-day strike in March capped off a terrible year in public education.

This year classrooms are somewhat back to normal, but the labour war between teachers and government remains – especially with the issue of class size and composition. The B.C. Teachers’ Federation is suing the government to regain bargaining rights over these points, and to challenge the hated Bill 22. BCTF has a court date in December.

This kind of posturing could be moot. Education Minister George Abbott said that he expects the next round of bargaining with teachers to begin next March or April 2013, mere months before next provincial election. By then Abbott, and many other high-profile Liberals, will be coasting toward retirement.

This awkward gap between the start of the school year now and the likely demise of the ruling Liberal government means it could be a quiet year for labour relations in education.

The BCTF won’t waste its time seriously negotiating with a lame-duck administration when it could re-start negotiations with a more labour-friendly NDP government. Outgoing Liberals will be more than happy to hand this hornet’s nest to their friends across the aisle.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Royal B.C. Museum reopens in phases, some galleries remain closed to start summer

Victoria museum and archives open first galleries June 19

Greater Victoria’s first BC Cannabis Store could open at Saanich shopping centre

Store application for Uptown Shopping Centre headed for public hearing

MISSING: Victoria police on the lookout for woman last seen April 28

Leah Parker, 41, is described five-foot-five and about 140 pounds with brown/blonde hair, blue eyes

Bears spotted near Saanich lake spooked by police, wandered off

Bear, cub not seen over weekend but police ask residents to be on alert

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

Case of missing Vancouver Island woman inspires new true crime podcast

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of Nanaimo’s Lisa Marie Young

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

Most Read