MLA Report: Reckless management of B.C.’s public education

For 12 years, Christy Clark has waged war on teachers, with students and parents as collateral damage.

One of the most discussed political topics over the last few weeks has been the judgment against Christy Clark and the BC Liberals stating that instead of doing what is best for B.C.’s children, they did everything they could to try to provoke the teachers into a full-scale strike.

As most of you will know, before becoming the MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke, I was a teacher and a principal. I have taught in Canada and Africa, and I believe the opportunity to learn is the greatest gift we can give to our children. It is also the best investment we can make into our future.

For 12 years, Christy Clark, first as Minister of Education in Gordon Campbell’s government and now as Premier, has waged war on teachers, with students and parents as collateral damage. For example, students who graduated in 2013 have spent their entire education coping with reduced services in larger, more complex classrooms.

This Liberal government enacted laws that no longer allowed teachers to negotiate classroom conditions. The Supreme Court then ruled the law was unconstitutional and ordered the government to fix it.

Rather than following the direction of the courts, the Premier chose to reintroduce the exact same unconstitutional law in 2012, and took further action to purposefully provoke a teachers’ strike. The Premier was entirely motivated by political gamesmanship — what was best for students in classrooms was never even considered.

With the judge’s 2014 ruling, we now have access to court records that prove the government’s actions were entirely focused on shutting down British Columbia’s school system through a strike.

As someone who has spent my entire career working in the education system, this kind of reckless disregard for our children’s well-being almost defies belief. This government has shown absolute contempt for our public school system and, with the announcement they plan to appeal the judge’s latest ruling, they are also showing absolute contempt for the rule of law.

Norm Macdonald is the NDP MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke. Contact him at norm.macdonald.mla@leg.bc.ca, 1-866-870-4188, or visit www.NormMacdonald.ca.

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