Join this letter of support for BC Teachers

Dear All,

BC public school teachers have voted to back up their democratic rights to fair and free collective bargaining with a full scale strike Friday, October 7, 2005. As a parent in BC with children in our public schools I am very concerned about the situation. The teachers are standing up for our public education system and need our support. Please read the following letter and send me an email (or add a comment to this site) indicating your support. My email is charles.menzies@ubc.ca

In solidarity with our teachers,

Charles

For letter addressed to government officials read extended entry:

Dear Mr. Campbell, Ms. Bond, and Mr. De Jong,

We are parents, students, and community members who share a strong sense of respect and admiration for the hard work and dedication that our teachers in the public school system demonstrate on a daily basis. We are writing to you to express our disappointment in the actions of your government with respect to teachers. We appreciate that you believe you are putting children first in education. But, as parents and others concerned about the welfare of children who have seen the direct effects of your actions in our public schools we would respectfully disagree. Under your administration the situation in schools has gotten worse, not better. Class sizes have increased, support for learning disabilities has declined, and many schools have inadequate resources. Parent Advisory Councils have been compelled to pay for funding gaps while teachers spend more and more of their personal income on needed school resources.

Your government has placed the burden of these problems onto the backs of our teachers. Not surprisingly they have voted overwhelmingly to say No More. We are writing to express our support of the actions being taken by our public school teachers. We also ask that Bill 12 be withdrawn and that the government enter into direct talks to reach a fair, free, and democratic collective agreement with the teachers of BC.

Yours,

Charles Menzies (U. Hill PAC exec and Member at Large, UBC Faculty Association Exec)
Annie Ehman
Charlene Morton
Nancy Langdon
E. Wayne Ross (Professor Department of Curriculum Studies)
Mike Feeley and Linda Quamme
David Green
Teresa Dobson and Thomas Mayson
Sandra Mathison (Professor & Head, Educational and Counselling Psychology & Special Education)
Valerie Pollock
Mari Pighini, MA (The CHILD Project)
Daniel Vokey (Associate Professor Department of Educational Studies)
Danielle M. Law (Developmental Change and Technology Lab)
Rosanne Hood
Kate Trafford, BSc (GIS Technician Human Early Learning Partnership)
Dr. Elizabeth Fendley (Faculty of Medicine UBC, Past Chair, Kitsilano Secondary School Parent Advisory Council)
Laura Neucott
Lynda Prince
Lindsay DuBois (Associate Professor & Undergraduate Coordinator
Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University)
Allison McDonald
Gillian Creese
Emily Marshall
Michele Jayasinha
Graham E. Johnson (Professor of Sociology, Department of Anthropology and Sociology University of British Columbia)
Julianne Doctor (Vancouver DPAC Exec rep)
Alannah Young
Jonathan Hanvelt
Elizabeth Johnson (Curator of Ethnology and Associate of the Department of Anthropology UBC Museum of Anthropology)
Amy Hanser (Assistant Professor of Sociology Department of Anthropology and Sociology University of British Columbia)
Marnie Fukushima-Flores
Jennifer Peterson (PhD Candidate UBC Faculty of Education)
Charles Yates
Wendy Nielsen (Department of Curriculum Studies UBC)
Marg Osterreicher
James Hughes
James J. Feng, (Associate Professor Dept. Chemical & Biological Engineering, UBC)
Lianne Britten
Brenda Penton
Sharon Biwer
Steve Baker
Elliott Brunell (Pres. UBC Faculty Association)
Stephen Petrina
Mary MacAulay (David Livingstone Elementary School Parent)
Kathy Whittam
Heather Burpee
Janet McPhee (cochair Jules Quesnel PAC)
Margaret F. Choinski (Clinical Instructor School of Audiology and Speech Sciences Faculty of Medicine, UBC)
Kevin J. Benoy
Rosalind M. Irving
Lisa Agius
Brian Green
Hansen Chou (M.A. Student University of British Columbia)
Susanne Osmond and Glen Hollingshead (parents of Oliver, grade 3, Nootka Elementary, Vancouver)
Cathi Shaw (PhD Student Instructor, Centre for Educational Technology, SFU)
Steve Spencer
Juanita Skinner Nelson BC SD#8
Anna Coffin (parent of Upper Lynn Elementary School)
Laurel Tien (PhD Student University Of British Columbia)
Shauna Halcrow
Jo-Anne Dillabough (Associate Professor, Department of Educational Studies, UBC)
Shelagh Penty (Department Secretary Department of Curriculum Studies)
Jo-Anne Naslund (Instructional Programs Librarian Education Library, UBC)
Rick Archambault (President, Strathcona Community Centre Association)
Heidi Verburg
Rosamel Millaman Reinao
Robin O’Day (PhD Student in Anthropology, UBC)
Sam Heppell (UBC Student)
Wendy Poole (Faculty Member, UBC)
Beatrice Scott
Shelley Hymel, Professor, Faculty of Education, UBC
Anita Schuller
Lena Lew
Jill Lewis UBC Student/Future Teacher
Sharon P. Fraser
Deborah Barton, B. Ed
Thomas Gauthier
Ben Paré
Kit Grauer (Department of Curriculum Studies, University of British Columbia)
Dawn Steele
Lisa Floe
Dr. J. Olivia Scalzo (parent of a special needs child, and former PAC chair in an inner city school).
Lisa Lindal
Linda Riches (Prince George)
Liz Hamel
Aimee Pollard
Leonard Durante
Patti Baccus
Heidi Gonzalez
Marv Westwood
Margaret Giacomello (Library Technician: Interlibrary Loans – Borrowing Kwantlen University College Library )
Dawn Currie (UBC)
Brandy Wiebe (PhD Student Sociology, UBC)
Tanya Stevenson (Parent and Special Education Teacher Mackenzie, BC)
Lorraine Gibson (GIS Technician/EDI-Coordinator Human Early Learning Partnership UBC )
Lisa Johnson (Manager, Community and Strategic Initiatives UBC Campus & Community Planning)
Amanda Marques – UBC Grad Student
Madeleine Macivor (UBC FNHL)
Barbara Wood (CoDevelopment Canada)
Patricia Fahrni
Felice S. Wyndham (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of British Columbia)
Susan Jaeggle
Hazita Harun
Carolye Kuchta
Mar-y-paz Rivera (IT Coordinator UBC First Nations House of Learning)
Ulrike Radermacher (Co-Chair U. Hill Sec. PAC)
Daryl Sturdy
David Wu
Beverley Gartrell (SFU Sociology/Anthropology, retired)
Soowook Kim (Ph.D Candidate, Dept. of Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, UBC)
Louise Lamphere (Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico)
Scott Gray, Salmon Arm, B.C.
Tracey Rabone, Salmon Arm, B.C.
Louise Craig, Lillooet, B.C.
Keith Craig, Lillooet, B.C.
Shannon Craig, Prince George, B.C.
Colleen Craig, Salmon Arm, B.C., who is a public education teacher
Ann Doyle (UBC)
William Narvey (Kistilano PAC exec and SPC member)
Mike Dowler (MA Music Education Student, UBC)
Marilee Roome
Jacqueline Solway, Associate Professor Trent University
Petra Ganzenmueller (Chair, Sessional Faculty Committee, UBC Faculty
Association)
Jill Warland, (Argyle Secondary School, North Vancouver, BC, Teacher and Parent)
Sowgol Torani
Wes Pue, South Delta
Linc Kesler (Associate Professor & Director, First Nations Studies Program UBC)
Sharon Roseman (Memorial University)

58 thoughts on “Join this letter of support for BC Teachers

  1. Charles, this is a concise but powerful statement of concern about the deteriorating conditions of labour relations in our education system. I’m fully supportive of the sentiments in this letter and would be willing to sign it. What mechanism are you proposing for doing this?
    Gaalen

  2. Dear Gaalen,

    Thank you for your support and your comment. This letter will be circulated through email to each local of the BCTF and sent by fax and email to the Premier and the Ministers of Education and of Labour. As the emails arrive in my mailbox and/or comments are added here I will atatch them to the letter.

    As an individual, my sons and I will be going to one of their schools tomorrow morning to demonstrate our support. I am a member of the University Hill Secondary Parent Advisory Council exec and we have written a brief letter of support that we will be handing to the teachers at our school. For other parents and concerned community members I would suggest similar shows of support.

    Charles

  3. Teachers deserve to be treated with respect and as partners in public education in B.C. I would encourage the government to immediately reconsider the direction they are pushing towards in this province by once again removing rights and imposing their will on caring and dedicated workers who seek to provide good public education for all of us. It will damage our children and our professional teachers in ways that may never be undone.

  4. Our children are taught to value respectful dialogue and negotiation, and to abhor bullying. It is time our elected officials were schooled in the elements of fair play, and conducted their business accordingly.

  5. There is still time for the government to reconsider bill 12. I hope that the members of the legislature consider carefully the significant implications of passing this bill – for the students, for the teachers, for other workers in BC, for the future of their government, and for democratic negotiations in BC. I hope that MLA’s in good conscience, will vote AGAINST Bill 12 in order to stop the bullying. Maybe this can mark the end of the Liberal slide into more and more heinous legislation.

    If this bill is passed then I fully support the actions that the teachers take in good conscience.

  6. I have absolutely no faith in a government that delivers, out of the blue, a tax break to business in this Province, and yet, at the same time, cries poor mouth that they do not have the resources to offer anything to educators. It seems that when it comes to matching tax breaks offered to Alberta businesses, we havehave no hesitation in doing so, but when attempting to offer our teachers the same wages and benefits as offered in Alberta, we don’t want to demonstrate a similar degree of enthusiasm. Shame on our vindictive Premier.

  7. How can you be so blind to what you are doing to people who care for our children. The people who teach right from wrong while the rest of us have to work to pay the taxes that keep people like Mr. Campbell and his cronies in the lap of luxury. Their life styles are lived on the work of so many who they strive to harm.

  8. I want to thank the teachers of BC who voted to strike. I thank you because you care enough about our children, the future of our province, to teach them that when someone tries to bully you it is wrong and that collectively bullying can be stopped. Not only do you deserve a fair and respectful contract but, a process of negotiation that does not smack of the typical callous, counter-productive and corrosive promises this government makes time and again. I would rather not have my children attending school under these circumstances and in these unhealthy learning conditions. It is time we make the education of our children a priority by supporting the professionals who help to mold and guide their minds. It’s time Mr. Campbell, Mr. De Jong and Ms. Bond go back to school and learn how to share!

  9. The teachers I know DO have the interests of students at heart. There is no need for the adversarial positioning that characterizes BC politics. As a parent and a teacher educator, I am proud of our public school system and am losing patience with a government that is systematically trying to destroy it.

  10. As a public school teacher, I’m very encouraged and grateful for your support of teachers and the future of public education. We are standing up for a system that can provide a high-quality education for all students, but has been, and continues to be threatened.

    The Labour Minister wonders what type of example teachers are teaching students by engaging in an “illegal strike”; well, for me it’s quite obvious. We are teaching students that it’s important to stand tall with conviction, courage, and integrity, in the face of personal loss and public outcry, for a society that protects a common good. Will it be easy? No, of course not. But, it’s the right thing to do. This is the lesson kids will learn.

    The teachers I work with, through and through, are determined to stand tall for as long as it takes. With your help, we will win. And, future generations will benefit.

  11. The caring for and teaching of children in our society is continually undervalued — whether you are a stay-at-home mother or father, a daycare worker, a nannie, or a teacher. Isn’t it time for us to wake up to the importance of these roles and acknowledge that importance with recognition, respect, and compensation?

  12. I, too, would like to thank Mr. Menzies and those of you who have posted thus far for your support. I have only been teaching for ten years, but I have witnessed a deterioration in my working conditions as well as the learning conditions for my students. It is the latter of the two that concerns me most. I, too, would rather not be on strike, but I know that it is the only (and best) way for me to fight for my students. We have tried for several years to work with the provincial government, but they will not listen. In the past, the teachers have gone to court to fight for rights that have been trampled on, and when the court was on our side, the Liberals created a bill to make what they did “ok”. They have also dismissed the International Labour Organization’s chastising of their decision to stip our contract and collective bargaining rights and its recommendation that they withdraw this legislation. The Liberals have “fail[ed]to abide by the standards signed by Canada under the umbrella of the United Nations.” (CTF National President Doug Willard) Because of the actions of the Liberals, teachers no longer work in a democratic society. Teachers have been left with no other option than to take part in what the Liberals dare to call “an illegal strike”. Thank-you again for all of your words of encouragement and support. “United We Stand…”

  13. Our teachers do a wonderful job. They are more than just teachers, they care for our children until a parent can arrive, they stay later after school to watch children when parents are late. They work late nights, and early mornings preparing classes. Our teachers look after the wellbeing of our children. They deserve more. Please support our children, by supporting our teachers.

    Delia

  14. Congratulations to the MLAs engaged in the nearly 17 hours of fillibuster of Bill 12! It is so important that our fight for public education in BC becomes part of the public record, and not put down as the moanings of a small “interest group”. Please sign my name to your letter Charles.

  15. Our children are our future and I am fully supportive of what they need to do their job effectively.

  16. Greetings, Charles. Please add my name to the list in support of our hard-working elementary and secondary school teachers.

    Beverley Gartrell (Sociology and Anthropology Dept. SFU, retired)

  17. The right to strike in a free society ought to be protected, not criminalized. I fully support our teachers and their position in the labour dispute. Their demands are neither unfair nor unreasonable; rather, their demands demonstrate respect for our students and genuine concern for the state of public education. Our teachers clearly take their roles as educators seriously–my only wish is for our elected officials to do the same.

  18. I work as a support worker with students with special needs. I see the effort and time the teachers give to students. I know the time and effort they expend is far more than the public realizes and they are entitled to get a far wage increase that reflects their job. For some students, school is a refuge and a place for them to socialize and feel safe. Teachers make this possible and enrich the lives of so many students. Support them.

  19. Wow! I am in the schools as a Special Needs support worker, I have worked in this profession for over twelve yrs. I have slowly watched the continuos deterioration and crumbling of our children’s learning needs and rights. Last yr. our grades 4 and 7 classes had 35 kids in them, and you couldn’t hear yourself…let alone anyone else think.. I would pull kids and try to find a closet to help them in somewhere…and watch as teachers spent countless hours prepping lessons…that alot of them didn’t have time to personally explain to each individual student…,
    I applaud the one SMALL voice our teacher’s are making and stood with them on Friday, brought them snacks, and a table and chairs…someone needs to make this bully STOP!!!,

    please add my name to your list, Charles,
    thanks,
    LeeAnne Christen

  20. I am in full support of the teachers strike. Our children are our future, but without our teachers, the future is not going to be very bright.

  21. I strongly support our dedicated, hard-working and talented teachers. BCTF has made reasonable proposals for well-deserved modest salary increases and for improvements to education such as class size caps and restoring cuts to programs for children with special needs.
    The response of our provincial government is shameful.

  22. Hon. Michael de Jong, Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services:
    Sir;
    I must write in protest against yet another politically imposed contract on BC Teachers. I am a now partially retired science teacher, doing some private educational consulting with First Nations, and working for my former school district as a TOC. It has to be obvious to all that the current model of reaching a collective, equitable agreement which serves both government employees needs, and the general public in BC is seriously flawed. Enough time, and many events have passed since the 1900’s for this to have sunk in. It is time for your ministry, and government, to put a major effort into creating a fair and equitable method for all, to resolve these problems without jeopardizing service to the public you are committed to serve. Simply legislating workers back to work will not do. It also sends the signal that those involved in government and the public service do not have either the competence, or
    the desire, or both, to serve the people of our province. I certainly do not wish to think, or believe that is the case.
    I can also testify to the deteriorating conditions affecting students learning conditions. Lack of teaching staff input is one of the factors leading to this sad state of affairs. I believe the current good international standing of BC students is a tribute to how innovative and hard working the majority of teaching staff are. But I can also say the tolerance of staff to manage increasing large and diverse classes is wearing very thin. Personally I am finding classes of 30 students, many with what appear to be learning, emotional, and behavioral problems, causing major learning losses for those who are capable and wish to learn. You have only to talk to many students, particularly at the Grades 6 to 10 levels, who at times feel they can get more done by not coming to class due to the disruptive behavior of some, and the one on one instruction needed by others in their class. By grades 11 and 12, many of these “educational advantaged” students get away from these difficulties by separating into the academic course streams of high school. Meanwhile the rest of the students either linger, or compete for what ever they can get educationally. In addition, a number of very worth while, smaller enrolling classes, and “frills” such as music, art, and drama, are suffering. If the school or board choses to run a small class, a larger one appears to have to result due to staffing limits. At this time I know of a young neighbour in a Math 8 class of 37. I also know from personal experience of chemistry, and biology classes of 30+ pressed into a class room designed for 24. Trying to teach a lesson in such a room is uncomfortable for all. Labs can be down right dangerous, or not done due to safety considerations.
    If you have had the time to read this far,I thank you. I have devoted nearly 40 years to the joy of helping youth get an education, and find a place in their society. I do not plan to stop dead quite yet. The kind regards of former students, and news of their success is too much to give up.
    I Remain Respectfully Yours
    J. Barrie Bolton
    108 Mile Ranch B.C.

    CC. Hon. Gordon Campbell, Premier; Hon. Shirley Bond, Minister of Education; Charlie Wyse MLA South Cariboo; Editor 100 Mile Free Press;

  23. Any province where an employer can force a unilaterally written contract on employees and threaten them with fines and even prison if they fail to comply effectively has no labour laws at all. Best of luck with your struggle to improve public education.

  24. I unconditionally support the teachers in their strike. Somebody has to finally stand up to this government… I believe that what they are doing is a deliberate attempt to drive all social services to such dire state as to create spublic support for privitizing everything. Then the governemnt will be free to give all the money to their corporate buddies… Just my little conspiration theory. But sounds awefully plausible, doesn’t it?

  25. The BC liberal government already has 9 directives and rulings against it’s actions from the UN (ILO) world court regarding this government’s violations of worker’s rights. The BC government ignored these rulings. The only reason the teacher’s strike is ‘illegal’ is because the government abused legislative power to designate teachers as ‘essential service’- a designation normally reserved for those jobs in which people’s lives or safety would be at serious risk if deprived of such services. If we value democracy then WE ALL need to stand up to this government. The Liberal’s actions are NOT just the concern of the teachers at this junction. Hard won democratic rights, and the rights of all workers, are at stake in this one.

  26. The following is extracted from a facsimile cover sheet sent to MLAs Campbell, Les, Penner and James: “I have addressed you as MLAs only, rather than emphasize your Offices, because I wish to emphasize that you are MLAs in service to the Electorate and exist at the pleasure of the Electorate, not by the Grace of a political party. I consider the entire actions of the House in this matter to be reprehensible – the conduct of the present government members in their obvious campaign to precipitate a crisis that could have been avoided by any pretense at negotiation and the distasteful level of sanctimony displayed during the process, when Members own hands were, and are, manifestly unclean. The passive conduct of the Opposition during the events leading up and subsequent to the Legislation cannot be excused – I had thought concern for education would exist on at least one side of the House. I urge you all to read the ‘Taking a Stand’ bulletin and all consider the electoral wet sands on which you stand. DA Carson, voter, Chilliwack-Kent.” I must mention the facsimile numbers for MLAs Les and Penner were out of service. DAC.

  27. Incovenience to parents is not an educational issue nor is it a labour issue. Bill 12 is just wrong and the teachers are right to stand up to bullies.

  28. I spent many years teaching in the BC Public System and now teach in Kazakhstan, Central Asia. In this country, whose record of human rights is horrendous,people often tell me how lucky I am to be from Canada. I am ashamed and embarrassed to see the government of my home province emulating the kind of undemocratic behaviour my Kazakh colleagues and I witness here everyday. My colleagues and I stand in full support of the BCTF’s courageous actions. Please add my name to the list of supporters.

  29. Please add our names to the list :

    Christine Kufner – concerned non-parent/non-teacher
    Doug Sloan – ditto

    Campbell River

  30. I support the BC Teachers in their fight with an unjust government.
    Keep the faith
    Solidarity for ever

  31. As a former teacher and counsellor in the Vancouver school system I have seen the tremendous deterioration over many years in the learning environment of our students and in the working conditions of our teachers. Resources and support staff have been cut so severely that it is not possible for children with any special need to truly be receiving the education they deserve. This has a big impact on every student. Every child should be benefitting from what we’ve learned from all the research that has gone on this decade. We are more able than ever to meet the learning needs of every child. But without adequate funding this will never happen. We must make the education of our children a priority.

  32. I support the teachers, but feel that both sides must take a step back to get negotiations underway. The legislated essential service designation for teachers is very questionable and should be changed.

    Ken Cretelli (Grandparent)

  33. If you deem education to be an essential service, Mr. Campbell, how can you justify slashing education funding? Surely it must follow that teachers deserve — in fact, have a right to — the tools they need to provide this essential service. Instead, you bully them into accepting crowded classrooms, inadequate teaching resources and a lack of support for students with special needs. Are you looking for an exit strategy to the mess your government has created? Here it is: Sit down and talk to the teachers and give them the respect they deserve, and the tools they need.

  34. keep up the fight our kids deserve this. a long time coming. the parents of langley special needs support group

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