Yup… Voting ‘yes’ and that vote is not saying that I think this is a good deal… because it is not…
But it is better than I think we would get if we were legislated back… and I trust, respect and appreciate the work of our BCTF Negotiation Team.
Whether or not the deal is a go (and I hope it is) there remains some troubling deficits in the values of this government. These have resulted in giant corresponding gaps in the health, education, and social services support systems in our province, because the corporate model does not support the kind of society that cares for ALL of its citizens.
I have no doubt that it is the massive networking of groups, like BC Voters Supporting Public Education on Facebook, that are playing an important role in informing people of the issues and building understanding. When I talk to my neighbour, a man at the grocery store, the woman who cuts my son’s hair, or someone on the street, I am impressed with their knowledge of the issues and the level of their support. They are listening and they see things differently now. The issues are finally being talked about, largely because of social media, in a way that allows people to see through this liberal government’s spin and lies…
I am endlessly grateful for that… and I hope this continues to grow… in fact – I am counting on it!
A ‘yes’ vote doesn’t mean capitulation.
We held the line and we took this hill!
This is not a surrender!
Rather, it is an acknowledgment that this is the best teachers can do right now, but we still have work to do to support and fight for a fair and equitable public education, and our children’s rights to access this.
And teachers need your help!
There are actions that can be undertaken by parents, and community members, and School Boards who are willing to advocate along side teachers. Here are just a few of the possibilities that community members are already discussing and taking action upon…
• Elect School Board Trustees who care and are willing to speak up and advocate for public education (as is their mandate)
• Work to shift/end intervenor status of BC Coalition of Businesses in October’s B.C. Court of Appeal review.
• Work on Recall Process for BC Liberal MLAs who are not effectively representing, listening, or even talking to the citizens in their constituencies
• keep sharing info about Class Size and Composition (CS+C) and build informed networks of support to fight for social justice (issues in education intersect with many things – disability/poverty/etc)
• Support parents in grassroots actions such as possibly boycotting of FSA tests
I LOVE this last idea, put forth by a parent who suggested that families refuse to have their children participate in the FSA testing, the one that is used by the Fraser Institute to rank schools.
Parents have that right to opt out… but many do not know this…
Imagine the time gained for students and actual teaching if enough families said NO to this particular standardized test: it would add at least a week to the instructional time in our schools.
Wouldn’t it be a powerful push back against this government’s corporate/political goals for BCED…
And then consider the potential chain reaction…
Maybe the Fraser Institute would be unable to RANK schools based on these shoddy standardized tests (with their questionable and statistically unreliable results) because nobody came to their elitist party!!
Now that is SOCIAL JUSTICE and collective responsibility in action!!
And as a part of our collective action we need to make sure we don’t turn off the heat on Social Media. We have growing networks of people who understand the issues and want to support and protect public education.
We must keep holding the BC Liberals accountable – feet to the fire (so to speak)… and we must not let them rest for a moment, with their false claims that they have calmed the seas and made things better for kids.
That hasn’t happened yet… but collectively, as citizens of BC, I think we can do this…
So I am voting ‘yes’… because, even though I don’t think the offer by the government gives us what we hoped, I don’t think teachers are alone in this battle anymore…
And I trust the citizens of BC to have my back and to be there for the future of public education and the children of British Columbia!
30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.
© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism (2014)