Well, it looks as though school is not going to start next week for kids across British Columbia. The ongoing BC Teachers Strike seems to still be at a standstill, with both sides playing a very public game of chicken. While it was promised that the parties would be at the table diligently over the summer, there were few meetings between the government and BCTF…only one I believe. Both sides spent most of their time grandstanding in front of the media blasting the same messaging. Finally, the government brought forward their $40/day childcare promise…declaring that parents would be paid for each day their children are out of school because of the strike.
Next Tuesday would have been the first day of school. We can pretty much guarantee that this won’t happen. If it does, I’m betting we will see Madame Christy Clark swaggering up to a podium to be the hero who announces the resolution.
There are no winners in this situation at the moment…only losers. I have little hope that this entire debacle will change the landscape of public education in our province. I am still contemplating what, exactly, will accomplish this. My gut tells me that as a result of this BC Teachers Strike, parents will be more attune to the conditions in their children’s’ schools. They will be less likely to stay quiet and accept overpopulated and underfunded classrooms. They will speak with their vote come election time. All of this is good…but doesn’t make the looming days and weeks ahead any easier.
And what of our kids next week? Many parents are scrambling to figure out what to do with their kids. Not everyone (read hardly anyone) has the luxury of a parent at home, a flexible employer or schedule. I feel lucky in that I work part-time and from home, so we can juggle and manage things. I’m certainly not feeling sorry for myself here. But there are a BUCKET LOAD of people who I do feel sorry for in this whole fiasco…they include:
They were soooooo looking forward to going back to school. My daughter misses her pals, her teachers and her routine. My son was all set to begin kindergarten. When I told him it may not start next week, he was so upset. “Do I have to go back to daycare?” he asked.
God knows most people here need two incomes to make ends meet. I can’t imagine what parents who HAVE to go to work over the coming weeks are struggling with. It is so stressful to find quality childcare at the best of times, never mind in a pinch when EVERYONE else is looking.
Okay…my hat goes of to single parents because I have no idea how they do it. RESPECT. How they are going to manage working full-time, finding childcare and paying for said childcare (even with the damn $40/day subsidy)? Talk about stress.
Parents of special needs children
I understand and respect that school is not daycare. However, as the sister of a special needs individual I can understand that, for parents of special needs children, school provides much needed respite. Further, many special needs children will inevitably regress in their development the longer they are out of a structured learning environment. Finally, finding aid and care for children with developmental, emotional and behavioral issues will be extremely difficult during the time that the strike continues. I want to give all of these parents a hug.
High school students
I’m not too concerned with my elementary aged kids missing a few weeks of instruction. Believe me, I would far rather they be in school and learning, but let’s be real…it’s not going to affect their chances of getting into university. However, what about high school kids? Many of them will miss crucial instruction that will be preparing them for provincial exams, university application and trades apprenticeships. These kids are getting royally screwed.
What about the school staff who are not teachers? Educational Assistants, custodians, administrative staff…will they still be receiving their salaries while the strike continues? If not…what are they supposed to do? Find temporary work until this all blows over?
Whether they will say it or not, I believe there are many teachers out there who would just like to get back to work. They have followed the lead of their union and it hasn’t, unfortunately, gotten them very far over the last few months. Many are in debt, or close to it…with no end in sight.
I feel sorry for you because you are so near-sighted. You are failing to see the potential in our children. Instead of putting “Families First” like you promised, you have turned families against you. In truth, I don’t feel sorry for you at all. You’ve made your bed.