Hopefully parents hung on to those handy back-to-school flyers that were stuffed inside issues of the News Bulletin last month.
The teachers’ strike appears headed for a settlement, awaiting a vote from the B.C. Teachers’ Federation today (Sept. 18).
Parents and other taxpayers should be disappointed that it took three weeks into September before the two sides learned to use their words, stop hitting, share and play nice. If they could come to an agreement on Tuesday, they should have been able to come to an agreement three weeks earlier. But better now than never.
We know that some educators experienced financial hardship, and that some parents faced day-care challenges. This fight was about the kids, though, we were told, and we think the kids will be all right.
Students have enough weeks left in the fall semester to get caught up on the curriculum, and they have more than enough time for proper exam preparation. They’ve missed out on some extra-curricular participation, but they’re still going to get that football season, band trip and Halloween dance. They still have almost a whole school year ahead to make friends, build character, have fun and be kids.
For some students, the teachers’ strike was a learning experience. A few of them considered the issues and a few stopped by the picket lines. Mostly, they left it to the adults who have been entrusted with children’s education all along.
We hope and we think that some good has come out of the strike. Certainly six years of labour peace is an attractive idea. Neither side gave in on class size and composition, not really, but if those are such clear priorities for teachers, then they’re right to continue to voice their wishes.
A strike was a failure by both sides. Sometimes it’s OK to agree to disagree, but not when it causes collateral damage. Maybe three weeks is minimal damage. Maybe this school year can still be one of the best ever.