I have to choose two stories that, for me at least, are the most significant for 2011.
The faculty strike at Vancouver Island University in March and April and the current job action by B.C.’s teachers – or should I say, the B.C. Teachers Federation.
In Nanaimo strikes and job actions in our educational institutions affected and continue to affect tens of thousands of students and their families.
The outcome of the strike at VIU is well documented. Students there were shuffled along with passing grades, even though for the duration of the strike most of them were not taught the material they paid for and came to Nanaimo to learn.
The faculty association never did get what it set out for – a no layoff guarantee in their new contract.
Our children’s education is again the potential hostage should the teacher’s job action deteriorate into a full blown strike to try and force a new labour contract from the government.
And who will benefit? Propaganda from unions, federations or whatever labour organizer, invariably claim students will somehow gain from withholding educational services, but labour unions advocate for workers, not students.
Many teachers who are dedicated to their work have found ways around restrictions imposed by the job action to mitigate the impact on students, but inevitably our students suffer.
It’s a sorry state of affairs, especially when our children need every scrap of education they can get as they grow up and face a world of unprecedented