Category Archives: Students

Gen ’97 the youth of #HongKongStudents #scholarism

hong-kong-democracy-protest

Yoichi Shimatsu, New American Media, October 3, 2014– Hong Kong – On both sides of the barricades blocking this city’s streets, media pundits from New York and Beijing assert that the protests in Hong Kong arise from demands for greater autonomy. Completely unnoticed is a major demographic shift in the region’s population, which is redefining the issues that motivate the younger generation to shut down this global financial center.

The leadership and activist numbers are coming from Generation ’97, young people born during the 1997 handover of the then-British Crown colony to Chinese sovereignty. These youngsters, most still in the secondary level (high school), are finding themselves at the forefront of a populist struggle for electoral rights. They are motivated by anxieties about local identity and a consequent need for better representation, reflecting attitudes that differ subtly but significantly from the traditional opposition parties.

Leadership of the democracy movement was suddenly thrust onto this youth cohort before the protests, when a corruption scandal broke involving the controversial publisher of the Apple Daily press paying illegal contributions to politicians in the opposition parties. The Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation turned up examples of pocketing of unreported donations for personal gain. This corruption further taints the image of a pan-democratic alliance that was already divided by rivalries and unexplained dropouts prior to the street protests.

Underlying the youth movement’s strategy of civil disobedience is a deepening distrust of their pre-1997 elders in both camps, who operate in a political culture of “deal-making” and an elitist obsession with property and wealth, regardless of political affiliation. What the young radicals confronting tear gas and riot police reject is the selling out of Hong Kong’s unique way of life to the highest bidder, whether wealthy businessmen from China or globalist financial corporations.

In contrast with the figureheads of the opposition parties, these youth are not aligned with Britain or the United States, but are battling instead for their own Hong Kong as the last bastion of Cantonese culture. For that goal, the ever-increasing ranks of post-1997 youth realize the vital importance of equal voting rights to chose leaders who will represent the people of Hong Kong, especially the poor and disadvantaged, and not just its wealthy elite.

A manga antihero

The most charismatic figure to emerge from the youth movement is Joshua Wong, one of four student leaders of Scholarism, a political front of high school students and college freshmen. The Gen ’97 teen activists with Scholarism are the driving force behind the street protests, overshadowing the Occupy Central organizers and their seniors in the Federation of Hong Kong University Students.

These secondary schoolchildren are prepared to cast away university admission and promising careers — unimaginable sacrifices in this upwardly mobile society that cherishes education above all — in their commitment to political rights. By making the unthinkable break with traditional values in a conformist urban society, the rebellious youth have shocked anxious parents, unionized workers and the lower middle class of this Cantonese-speaking city into worried support with food donations, cash, praise and admiration. The example of teenagers holding out against tear gas has convinced many formerly passive residents to take a stand on the streets.

Joshua, 17, shows a precocious understanding of the complexities of Hong Kong politics, and yet remains adamant in remaining an outsider to the establishment. His strong commitment to street agitation is not based on an alpha male image from kung fu movies. To the contrary, the slim teenager is modest and soft spoken, while succinct in explaining his viewpoints. A Bruce Lee-style bowl cut touches his wide-set almond eyes, which are exactly like those of maverick antiheroes in Japanese comics known as manga. This lad is clearly the role model for young people across East Asia, who are disaffected by traditional career paths, choose a variety of lifestyles and are tuned in to social media.

“I admit it’s annoying to hear nothing but Mandarin in the metro instead of Cantonese,” he says, “but I am not a right-winger who makes comments against visiting mainlanders.” His statement should come as a surprise to the National People’s Congress in Beijing, whose worst nightmare is the electoral victory of an anti-China secessionist figure. Out of these gut-level fears, the NPC voted unanimously to require all nominees to gain its approval before the 2017 election of a new Chief Executive, the highest position in Hong Kong.

In contrast to the leaders of the opposition parties, or Hong Kongers who emigrated to Canada or Britain before 1997, Scholarism members simply do not have any personal memory of UK rule, and therefore hold no attachment to the British lifestyle that the last royal governor Chris Patton mistakenly referred to as “the Hong Kong way of life.” Gen ’97 accepts the “one country, two systems” formula as a fact of life. It is the only political order they have ever known.

“The relationship between Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China cannot be amended at this late stage,” Joshua explains. “There is no other road than ‘one country, two systems’.” By the same token, he adds, “Under that formula, our first priority is equality for all residents, and this means greater equality in the electoral system. We cannot let our common future be determined by a 1,200-member election committee instead of by the 7 million people of Hong Kong.”

Read More: Truthout

If you have a job, thank a #bced teacher #bctf #bcpoli

BCEDRally

If you have a job, if you want a job, thank a teacher. And those of us who work in British Columbia truly are indebted to the teachers. Not in some academic way; rather, we are indebted for the BC teachers’ / BCTF’s stand for workers’ rights, for fair bargaining rights, for the right to call into question the failures of employers and governments.

If you don’t have a job, and more and more do not, thank the government and your local elected economist. The economy continues to fail and labour discontent is increasing for good reasons.

This particular teachers’ strike is over but more labour unrest is on the horizon in BC. Who’s next?

Nurses, doctors, postsecondary educators and workers at major Crown corporations including B.C. Hydro and the Insurance Corp. of B.C. are some of the public-sector workers who have not yet accepted the government’s standard offer of 5.5-per-cent wage increases over five years.

The public sector contracts that are still up in the air represent half of the workers, but they include some of the most expensive contracts, accounting for two-thirds of the government’s $21-billion wage bill this year.

That creates significant uncertainty for a B.C. budget that remains balanced on a razor’s edge…

Contract Status of BCPSECRead More: Justine Hunter, Globe & Mail

Tentative contract for #BCed teachers #bctf #bcpoli

CBC, September 16, 2014– A tentative deal has been reached in the months-long B.C. public school teachers’ strike, but the final details still have to be worked out, mediator Vince Ready confirmed this morning.

 The breakthrough in negotiations between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association comes on the fourth day of marathon talks at a Richmond, B.C., hotel.

  • No details about the deal will be released before it is finalized, said Ready, who emerged from the hotel to confirm the tentative deal shortly after 4 a.m. PT.

The BCTF first tweeted that a tentative deal had been reached around 3:50 a.m. A few minutes later, Ready told reporters both sides would be meeting again later Tuesday to finalize the details.

Read More: CBC

#BCed teachers vote 99.4% to binding arbitration #ubc #bcpoli

FINALvote-result

“It’s time Government makes at least one move,” BCTF President Jim Iker pleaded as he announced that an overwhelming 99.4% of teachers voted “Yes to binding arbitration” today to end the strike.

The BC Government remains entrenched, with the Minister of Finance Mike de Jong flippantly commenting on the CBC this morning that “the only people bound in binding arbitration are the tax payers.” Ah, the dreaded bogey of the tax hike…

Like de Jong, the BC Minister of Education Peter Fassbender has been faced squarely looking into the past. Or most would say stuck in the past. Again, nearly every blog has to end this way: As NDP Leader John Horgan put it at the BC Fed-BCTF Rally on Friday: “Mr. Fassbender I say you failed at negotiation, you don’t understand mediation, you couldn’t spell arbitration, so how about resignation?”

BC public sector unions in solidarity with #BCTF #bced #bcpoli

BC Federation of Labour, September 9, 2014

BC public sector unions are sending a message to the Premier that they stand in solidarity with BC teachers and are urging her to accept the proposal for binding arbitration.

“The Premier is attempting to use other settlements in the public sector to create a divide among workers in the province,” said Jim Sinclair, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour.

“This tactic is not only an insult to working people in BC, but it also shows how little the Premier understands and respects the collective bargaining process.”

A letter, signed by the presidents of BC’s largest public sector unions, states their full support for BC teachers and reminds the Premier that every bargaining table is unique and every process to settlement different.

The letter states: “We urge you to immediately stop attributing your refusal to bargain critical issues with teachers because you want to be ‘fair to other public sector workers.’ If you want to be fair to all public sector workers, send the outstanding issues to binding arbitration as proposed by the BCTF and remove E80 from the bargaining table.”

“Our unions stand in solidarity with BC teachers in their efforts to win a fair collective agreement and improve educational resources for BC’s children.”

Read full letter

#BCTF putting to vote ‘Yes to binding arbitration’ #bced #bcpoli

BCTFIker Sept8-2014

BCTF President Jim Iker announced this morning that the union’s membership will vote on binding arbitration on Wednesday. This ‘Yes to binding arbitration’ vote is immensely important, as this will formally put the power of the union’s members behind President Iker’s request to the BC Government on Friday to move the stalled contract negotiations to binding arbitration. This also reaffirms the union’s pressures on the BC Government to bargain in good faith.

It’s whal all teachers, students, and parents want,” the BCTF affirms.

The “only hold out so far” is the BC Government, marked by Minister of Education Peter Fassbender’s blinkered neglect of the public and the strength and resolve of the BCTF, and his stubborn inability to move from timeworn, original positions. As NDP Leader John Horgan put it at the BC Fed-BCTF Rally on Friday: “Mr. Fassbender I say you failed at negotiation, you don’t understand mediation, you couldn’t spell arbitration, so how about resignation?”

BC Premier #ChristyClark put the hard hat on and fire @FassbenderMLA #bced #bcpoli #bctf #teachers

Christy Clark

It is due time Premier Clark, to put the hard on again, and make two tough decisions: Fire Minister Fassbender and agree to binding arbitration to settle the contract with the BC Teachers’ Federation. Two tough decisions. Put the hard hat on.

The Minister of Education has to go as his failures in the aggregate are destructive and disruptive. He has to go. As the opposition NDP Leader John Horgan put it at the BC Fed-BCTF Rally yesterday: “Mr. Fassbender I say you failed at negotiation, you don’t understand mediation, you couldn’t spell arbitration, so how about resignation?”

Premier Clark, how about firing Minister of Education Fassbender? And agree to binding arbitration. Put the hard hat on and make two tough decisions.

#BCTF requests binding arbitration to end #bced strike #bcpoli

Taking the high ground in a prolonged labour dispute, the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) has requested binding arbitration. BC Premiere Christy Clark and Minister of Education Peter Fassbender have been counter-productive in agitating the teachers to suspend the strike. Feeling the pressures of sustained job action– the likes of which BC has not seen in a long time– the Premier and Minister have consistently underestimated the BCTF and made a series of awkward mistakes.

Clark-Fassbender

Now, here again is the BCTF taking the high ground and waiting for the Liberals’ response.

BCTF, September 5, 2014– Today, in an effort to find a fair settlement for all parties involved, open schools, and get children and teachers back into classrooms, the BCTF has called for binding arbitration. If the BC Public School Employers’ Association agrees to binding arbitration, the BCTF would quickly put the vote to teachers to end the strike. 

BCTF President Jim Iker made the announcement as teachers across the province gathered together for study sessions. 

His speaking notes (check against delivery at http://new.livestream.com/BCTF/Sept0514) are below. 

Good morning,

First, I want to speak directly to the 40,000 teachers watching around the province in today’s study sessions.

Thank you. 

Your determination, solidarity, and support move me every day. You have given up so much for your students and the future of BC’s education system. All British Columbians owe you their gratitude. 

Earlier this week, I outlined a simple, pragmatic, and practical way forward to ensure all parties involved reach a fair settlement so we can get schools open. 

I also said we would consider all options and close no doors. 

So today, I would like to open another one. 

Throughout this dispute, BC teachers have led the way in trying to reach a fair deal that gives our students more support. We have made moves, proposed creative ideas, and taken job action only when absolutely necessary. 

In return, the government has put up road blocks. 

Their focus has been on delay tactics, a $40-a-day payout scheme, and attack ads on Twitter. 

I hope that all comes to an end today. 

This week, the BCTF Executive Committee met with our provincial Bargaining Team and we are proposing another way forward to get students and teachers back in the classroom.

Today, we are not closing any doors, just opening a new one. Mediation with Vince Ready in our view is still a viable option. However, BCPSEA and government made it clear last weekend that they were not ready or willing to get the job done. 

They did not respond in any meaningful way to any of the significant moves teachers made. 

Today, we are putting forward another option for all of us—government and teachers to resolve this dispute and reach a fair settlement. 

Today, the BCTF is calling on BCPSEA and the BC Liberal government to agree to binding arbitration.

Read more: BCTF

BC Labour leaders statement in solidarity w #BCed teachers #BCTF #bcpoli #yteubc #criticaled

B.C. Federation of Labour Statement of Solidarity with Teachers

17 June 2014

As leaders of British Columbia’s Labour Movement we speak with one voice today in solidarity with the 40,000 teachers in the province who are standing up for the rights of children to a quality public education by demanding a fair collective agreement.

It is becoming more and more apparent that, despite statements to the contrary by Premier Christy Clark, there is little desire by the B.C. Liberal government to bargain in good faith and end this dispute for the good of all.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has shown a willingness to find a path forward, putting forth significant changes that would have brought teachers and the employer closer to an agreement. But the government refused to even discuss them, and chose to move backwards instead of forwards.

Teachers want to stay in the classroom but they know how important it is to hold strong against the government’s assault on our public education system. Their fight is bigger than one union – they are fighting for the rights of all workers to be treated with dignity and for all children to have a solid start in life.

Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals need to get the clear message from British Columbians that it is time for the government to respect the work of our teachers and the two court decisions, and negotiate a settlement in good faith. There is no need to let this dispute continue through the summer and into the fall. The time to settle is now.

We know that workers and parents across the province support teachers – they understand and respect the important role they play in our communities.

It is now time for all of us to take action. Demonstrations of solidarity with teachers are more important now than ever.

As labour leaders and parents we are calling on our members, and all British Columbians, to bolster the picket lines to ensure teachers know they are not standing alone, and the government knows we are a united movement.

Such acts of solidarity over the last two weeks have made a difference. Other unions, including 25,000 CUPE members, have been active on the picket lines – and as the teachers move into a full strike, we all need to play our part.

Write the Premier, the Education Minister and your local MLA. Tell Christy Clark to stop wasting taxpayers’ money on fighting the courts, and start investing in public education so that our kids have the best chance for success.

And join the rallies being hosted by the B.C. Federation of Labour and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation. A strong showing sends a strong message – both to the teachers of the province who need your support, and to the government who needs to hear your frustration.

As working people, public education has never been more important for our young people. Their success in finding meaningful work and in being active members of their communities is tied directly to a fully-funded public education system where all educational staff are respected.

We are all responsible for protecting that system now.

In solidarity,

Val Avery, HSA
David Black, COPE 378
Lynn Bueckert, BCGEU
Brian Cochrane, IUOE
Laird Cronk, IBEW
Robert Demand, UNITE HERE!
Victor Elkins, HEU
Mark Gordienko, ILWU
Mark Hancock, CUPE BC
Amber Hockin, CLC
Steve Hunt, USW
Jim Iker, BCTF
Bob Jackson, PSAC
Dusty Kelly, IATSE
Irene Lanzinger, BCFED
Ivan Limpright, UFCW
Lee Loftus, BC Building Trades
Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor
Cindy Oliver, FPSE
Bonnie Pearson, HEU
Karen Ranalletta, CUPE BC
Jim Sinclair, BCFED
Stephanie R. Smith, BCGEU
Joie Warnock, Unifor

Rally for public #BCed support teachers June 19 6pm #bcpoli #ubc #yteubc

BCTF-BCFedRally

All Together for Public Education
Rally for Better Support for Kids | Rally to Support BC Teachers

Thursday, June 19, 2014 – 6:00 p.m.

Canada Place, Vancouver

 
The Officers of the BC Federation of Labour held a conference call today and pledged full support for the BC Teachers Federation who are now engaged in a full strike province-wide for a fair collective agreement.
 
A mass rally for teachers, activists, parents, and union members is this Thursday, June 19, 2014 at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, starting at 6 p.m.  (Music and creative poster making at about 5)

Petition to support #BCed teachers #BCTF delivered @ChristyClarkBC #bcpoli #yteubc

BCTFRallyJune2014b

Today, we delivered a petition signed by 477 faculty members, librarians, administrators, students, and staff in post-secondary institutions across BC to Premier Christy Clark and Minister Peter Fassbender.

Thanks you to all who signed! Comments made by signatories are extremely insightful and emphasize the widespread support of the teachers / BCTF. We will leave the petition open to reach another goal of 600 signatures.

SIGN THE PETITION TO SUPPORT BC TEACHERS / BCTF

Dear Premier Clark and Minister Fassbender,

We the undersigned, faculty members, librarians, administrators, students, and staff in post-secondary institutions across British Columbia, encourage you to increase your support of public education by recognizing the value of our teachers. We encourage you to demonstrate this recognition by bargaining with the BCTF with an open mind to quickly meeting the teachers’ very fair proposals. The BC Public School Employers’ Association’s (BCPSEA) retaliatory lockout further eroded the teachers’ right to bargain and threatened fair labour practices across the BC public sector. BCTF President Iker argues “It’s time for Premier Christy Clark to provide the employer with new funding that will help bring the two sides closer together on class size, composition, staffing levels for specialist teachers, and wages.” We agree.

Please invest in education and labour by resolving this dispute at the bargaining table rather than through retaliatory lockouts and unrealistic proposals. Please meet the teachers’ most recent proposal for common ground. The teachers, who are the BCTF, and all public sector employees through their unions, deserve a fair, timely process of reaching a collective agreement. Thank you.

Petition to support #BCED teachers #CapilanoU #EmilyCarrU #RoyalRoads #SFU #TWU #UBC #UFV #UNBC #VIU #UVic

BCTFRallyJune2014Students, teachers and supporters at BCTF VESTA rally, June 10, 2014

 SIGN THE PETITION TO SUPPORT BC TEACHERS / BCTF

BC Premier Christy Clark and Minister Peter Fassbender,

We the undersigned, faculty members, librarians, administrators, students, and staff in post-secondary institutions across British Columbia, encourage you to increase your support of public education by recognizing the value of our teachers. We encourage you to demonstrate this recognition by bargaining with the BCTF with an open mind to meeting the teachers’ very fair proposals. This includes de-escalation by backing down on the BC Public School Employers’ Association’s (BCPSEA) retaliatory lockout, which further erodes the teachers’ right to bargain and threatens fair labour practices across the BC public sector. BCTF President Iker argues “It’s time for Premier Christy Clark to provide the employer with new funding that will help bring the two sides closer together on class size, composition, staffing levels for specialist teachers, and wages.”  We agree.

Please invest in education and labour by resolving this dispute at the bargaining table rather than through retaliatory lockouts. The teachers, who are the BCTF, and all public sector employees through their unions, deserve a fair process of reaching a collective agreement. Thank you.

Sign the petition in support of BC teachers / BCTF

Rally to support #BCed teachers #ubc #sfu #ucapilano #yteubc #bcpoli

BCTFRallyJune2014

Rally today (10 June) to support BC teachers @ 4-6pm
BCPSEA 1333 West Broadway (between Hemlock and Birch)

 SIGN THE PETITION TO SUPPORT BC TEACHERS / BCTF

Petition to support #BCed teachers / #BCTF #bcpoli #ubc #sfu #yteubc

BCTFQueenMaryElementary2014BC teachers picketing at Queen Mary Elementary School, Vancouver

 Sign the Petition to support BC teachers / BCTF

BC Premier Christy Clark and Minister Peter Fassbender,

We the undersigned, faculty members, librarians, administrators, students, and staff in post-secondary institutions across British Columbia, encourage you to increase your support of public education by recognizing the value of our teachers. We encourage you to demonstrate this recognition by bargaining with the BCTF with an open mind to meeting the teachers’ very fair proposals. This includes de-escalation by backing down on the BC Public School Employers’ Association’s (BCPSEA) retaliatory lockout, which further erodes the teachers’ right to bargain and threatens fair labour practices across the BC public sector. BCTF President Iker argues “It’s time for Premier Christy Clark to provide the employer with new funding that will help bring the two sides closer together on class size, composition, staffing levels for specialist teachers, and wages.”  We agree.

Please invest in education and labour by resolving this dispute at the bargaining table rather than through retaliatory lockouts. The teachers, who are the BCTF, and all public sector employees through their unions, deserve a fair process of reaching a collective agreement. Thank you.

Sign the petition in support of BC teachers / BCTF

On the #BCed student movement #bcpoli #ubc #yteubc #edstudies

BCStudentWalkout2012

The myth of the infantile and third Person

On 4 June I watched as a small group of students walked out of our local high school in frustration, a quiet stand but not quite a protest. One student muttered “hardly an angry crowd.” Just as candidly, another student posted: “The walk out was shit.” Another used the f-word to emphasize “failure.”

Wisely, the students were counselled by teachers to stay in class. But equally wisely, students encouraged each other to figure out how and when to take a stand as student-activists. Compared with the walkout in support of teachers in March 2012, this did not reflect the students’ ability to organize. It was just a minor test of the system. And unlike the Quebec student movement in early 2013, which drew secondary and post-secondary students together for a shared cause, the BC student movement has yet to materialize or find common ground across levels of education.

One of the problems at this moment is that students are infantilized and familialized, reduced to children caught in the throes of a bad parental relationship.  It’s unclear how or why this happened. The @BCWalkout2014 Twitter and “Save our Students” Facebook, which began organizing the walkout at the end of May had a bit to do with it: “The two sides are like parents who are divorcing and have stuck their children in the middle for the last thirteen years,” the appeal to walkout went. “Each side claims to be “fighting for the students” yet each side fails to show how they are doing so.”

SoSBCStudentWalkout2014

On 2 June, major media providers, such as the Vancouver Sun and CTV News repeated and quoted the lines and logic. Student frustrations, CTV News reported, were “built up like emotions in a child caught between two divorcing parents.” I hear teacher educators at UBC repeat the same, seemingly afraid to offend the government by supporting the teachers.

On queue, the day before the 4 June walkout a grade 12 student wrote a letter to The Province:

I am writing to express my discontent on behalf of a vast population of public-school students concerning the current collective bargaining between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government. To say a dysfunctional relationship between two parents doesn’t affect the children would be an outrageous lie. The relationship between the BCTF and the province is very much the same and the effects are mostly felt by the students.

The day after the walkout Carolina Tedula tried to work with the metaphor in the Times Colonist, but concluded that “the teachers and the government are far from being different faces of the same coin:”

With respect to the student walkout, and its comparison of the teacher/ government fight to the fight between two divorcing parents. To me, a more realistic comparison is this: The government is the deadbeat spouse, the teachers are the spouse asserting his/her rights and his/her children’s rights, with full backing of the Supreme Court of B.C.

In the entire history of childhood, those unfortunately experiencing painful break-ups, separations or divorces have never once been able to organize a collective opposition movement. Obviously it is not difficult to comprehend why or why not. Freud did not allow it and daddy or mommy won’t allow it either. So it is impossible for this logic to work to any degree in organizing a student movement. Here, one is infantilized as much as one subscribes to the storyline.

It’s equally impossible to build a movement out of third persons– those that seemingly rise as silent majorities and voices of reason at the point of politics. The myth of the third person is the myth of the Canadian way. These myths have had their day but will never underwrite momentum for a student movement.

At some point soon, a major test of the BC system has to materialize, as there has to be something more to education and life than the promise of a job when youth unemployment rates are increasing toward unprecedented numbers.

#BCed teachers strike #soldaritylookslikethis @FassbenderMLA #bcpoli # yteubc

BCTFstrike2014

Solidarity Looks Like This

British Columbia Teachers’ Federation President Jim Iker and BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair are on the picket line this morning in Vancouver as teachers, parents and students stand together. Yes, Minister Fassbender and BC Liberals, solidarity looks like this. BCTF teachers deserve a fair deal and fair bargaining practices. Minister Fassbender, the BC Federation stands for and with the BCTF teachers, solidarity looks like this.

BCFedBCTFstrike2014

BCTF President Jim Iker and BC Fed President Jim Sinclair on the picket line this morning in Vancouver

#BCed teachers begin rolling strikes #bcpoli #edstudies #yteubc

fair-deal

VESTA, May 24, 2014 /CNW/ – All schools across School District #39 Vancouver will be behind picket lines [today] on Monday May 26th, as local teachers join their colleagues across the province in taking a stand for smaller classes, better support for students, and a fair and reasonable salary increase.

“Teachers in our community, like teachers across BC, don’t take this job action lightly,” said Gerry Kent, President of the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association. “As teachers, we care deeply about our students and we empathize with parents who have to rework their schedules. Many of us are parents too, and that is one of the reasons we are taking this action. Parents and all citizens should be dismayed by a decade of annual budget and service cuts made by underfunded school districts across the province. These cuts affect the education of our children and grandchildren.”

Teachers are being forced to step up job action because they have been at the bargaining table for 16 months and the provincial government and the BC Public School Employers’ Association still refuse to offer any improvements to class size, class composition, and other important learning conditions for students. On top of that, the employer’s wage offer is unfair especially considering that the last time teachers got a raise was July 2010.

BC’s per student funding is $1,000 per student less than the national average, a level of underfunding that has had serious consequences across the province. Provincial government underfunding has affected a generation of students since 2002. Supports for students with special needs and English language learners, and other services provided by specialist teachers such as counsellors, librarians, and speech and language pathologists have been eroded because of staffing cuts caused by underfunding.

The rotating closures are part of a two-stage strike plan that teachers approved in March, with an 89% yes vote. Any extension of the rotating job action will depend on developments at the bargaining table.

“Teachers remain committed to reaching a fair deal at the negotiating table.” Kent said. “This government must make education a priority, show respect for the work of teachers and come to the bargaining table with the funds needed to improve supports for students. Premier Clark and Minister Fassbender need to stop the rhetoric and show real leadership. Putting families first requires a strong and well funded public education system.

For more details, please visit www.AFairDeal.ca

SOURCE VESTA: Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association

#BCed teachers may move to rotating strikes #bcpoli #yteubc #edstudies

CBC News, May 12, 2014–Parents in B.C. are being prepared for an escalation in teacher job action should current contract negotiations fail.

Vancouver School Board superintendent of schools, Steve Cardwell hasissued a letter to all parents and guardians warning of potential rotating school closures across the province should a settlement not be reached.

“We understand that the BCTF may choose to escalate their job action to a second phase which could include ‘rotating’ school closures,” the letter states.

“If this were to occur, the union would be providing us 48 hours of notice and we would, of course, advise parents of this action.”

The letter was not intended to alarm parents, says VSB spokesperson Kurt Heinrich. Rather it was intended to keep them in the loop.

“A big part of that is just to make sure that parents aren’t going to be caught unaware of the situation,” he said.

“As soon as we would receive that notice, we would immediately be communicating it to our parent population so they would know what to expect. And then we would go from there “

A  B.C. Teachers’ Federation spokesperson said that while escalating job action is a possibility, there are no plans at the moment to move to stage 2 job action.

During stage 1 action, teachers are refusing to supervise students outside the classroom or communicate in writing with principals and other administrators.

Teachers are still taking attendance, marking and assessing students, completing report cards, communicating with parents and participating in volunteer extracurricular activities.

Their contracts expired last June, and the federation says it’s being forced to take action because negotiations are slow.

Read More: CBC News

The Amazing E. Wayne divines, predicts and bends #bced Ministry’s back-pedal #bcpoli #whystopatfinland

E. Wayne Ross, WTBHNN, May 8, 2014– On Tuesday May 6, 2014, the “Amazing E. Wayne”—renowned mystic, soothsayer, prophet, knower of things about BC politics—wrote the following about BC Minister of Education Peter Fassbender’s announcement of an investigation into the bizarre story of Rick Davis, the BC Ministry of Education official who commissioned a $16,000 report on Finnish teacher education from a 19-year-old high school graduate he met when she as deejaying at a wedding:

I’m doubtful we’ll get any real insights into this bizarre episode, at least in the short term, because Education Minister Peter Fassbender indicated that the investigation would focus on contract “procedures” rather than substance of the decision making process.

As predicted the Fassbender investigation found that everything is hunky-dory in the Ministry. Read all about it here.

Fassbender’s, technical investigation into procedures of doling out single-source contracts, misses the larger point, which is the misguided judgment of education ministry staff in this case, particularly Rick Davis. Opting to CYA politically reinforces the point I have been hammering on since this imbroglio came to light last September, that is, the BC Ministry of Education actions demonstrate a profound lack of respect for the teaching profession, teacher education, and educational research in general.

#BCed schools cut budgets, struggle with shortfalls, layoff teachers #bcpoli #yteubc

Tracy Sherlock, Vancouver Sun–

• [Vancouver Budget reductions] will result in more than 26 full-time positions being eliminated, on top of the 24 positions already slated to be cut due to declining enrolment or previous decisions, such as a plan to close an adult education centre…. The school board is forecasting a $26.6-million shortfall for the 2015-16 school year and a $3.76-million shortfall for the 2016-17 year, when enrolment is projected to increase. School board elections will be held this fall.

• Coquitlam trustees passed a balanced budget this week that included cuts to make up for a $13.4-million shortfall. Those cuts included 163 positions, including teachers, support staff, special education assistants and school administrators. Parents in the district are planning a rally against the cuts on Friday at MLA Linda Reimer’s office in Port Moody.

• In Langley, the school district’s budget is short by $3 million, and the district will look at program changes, staffing cuts, reductions in supplies and possibly school closures, the Langley Advance reported.

• In North Vancouver, after cost cutting last year, the budget for next year includes a $2.6-million surplus that will be used to maintain staff levels next year and pay for increased costs like the CUPE wage increases and BC Hydro rate hikes, according to the North Shore News.

• The Chilliwack school district is facing a $3.1-million shortfall, but hopes to balance its budget through attrition and reorganization rather than job cuts, the Chilliwack Progress reported.

• The Burnaby school district passed a balanced budget earlier this month that included the elimination of 27 positions to cover a $3.1-million shortfall. The changes include larger class sizes to eliminate 11 teachers and cuts to custodial staff at many schools.

• The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district passed a balanced operating budget on Wednesday night, including cuts to cover a $5.02-million shortfall. The cuts included classroom teachers, English language learning staff, clerical staff, information technology staff, the elimination of a summer reading program, changes to student transportation and other cuts.

• Trustees in New Westminster passed a balanced budget this week, making up a $2.69-million shortfall by cutting night school, increasing class sizes, and laying off more than 25 employees, the Royal City Record reported. Some of those layoffs may be avoided if enrolment is higher than anticipated.

• The Surrey school district is expected to have budget information available at its May 15 public board meeting, but the district has said it is facing a shortfall.

• West Vancouver has presented preliminary budget proposals calling for the use of $1.5 million in surplus funds to balance the budget, which will be voted on May 20.

Read more: Vancouver Sun