Opinion

Scrooged by the strike

The buzzing in the hallways of local schools was in its annual pre-Christmas holiday pitch this week. Adorable elementary concerts, a whack of special activities in junior high and the post-exam exhilaration at high school made the week fly by for teachers and students.

Though most involved in the daily rigours of the education system — students, teachers, administrators, support staff and parents — are looking forward to a two-week break from the learning environment, there’s one school-related stocking stuffer everybody is hoping for on December 25.

Don’t get your hopes up because Scrooge still rules the mood in the BC Teachers’ Federation strike.

Since schools re-opened in September, the education system has been under massive stress. The job action has made the last three months challenging to say the least. Administrators are overworked, teachers are torn, parents are upset and students are not getting the education they deserve.

And it’s far from over.

The sides are still massively far apart and when they return to the table on January 4, there is still much work to be done. Since the troubles started the two sides have had 62 sessions. The movement has been tiny when the bigger problem is considered.

In the last few weeks we have started to receive letters from all sides — administration, parent groups, teachers. Frustration with what is going on in Vancouver boardrooms is growing exponentially by the day.

We are not going to get into the blame game. Both the BC Public School Employers Association (who are on the side of government) and the BC Teachers’ Federation deserve to share the blame. The large majority have long since tuned out the politics and posturing. We just want a deal.

Students will return to class in January under the same damaged situation which they have endured for the last three-plus months. It’s too bad that in the spirit of the season both sides of this dispute couldn’t have something special for under the tree.

 

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