I thought I'd have a picture of my shiny new bumper to show you today but on the way home from the repair shop I happened upon a gather of several hundred teachers, students and their supporters. They were assembled in the lot occupied by the Kelowna Farmers Market behind the School District 23 office.
BC Teachers have been on strike, or I should say "protesting" for the past few days (our "democratic" provincial government has legislated they are not allowed to strike). Whether you agree with the teachers requests or not there is something that cannot be denied by anyone with children in the public school system, or those with teachers as friends or relatives. The current system is not working and something must be done.
|Governor General Award winning teacher Rhonda Draper|
Class sizes are ever increasing, split classes seem to be the norm, the number of students with special needs are increasing while the number teachers hired to assist these students are decreasing. Teachers are working longer hours, either at home or in the classroom, and many of them are taking money out of their own pockets to buy supplies for their students. Support staff like librarians, psychologists, and resource teachers are having their hours cut and must spread themselves thinner all the time.
This is not a problem that's limited to BC. Ontario public school teachers are struggling with many of the same issues, and I would imagine it's a cross Canada problem. In fact if you've seen any of the American documentaries like Waiting for Superman it's safe to say it's a North American problem.
What is it that keeps our governments from realizing the importance of public education and the value of teachers and support staff that are educating the citizens of the future? It boggles my mind. If I had school-aged children right now, I'd be doing everything I could to scrape together the money to put them in private school. And that's just not right. We should not have a two-tiered system. Every child deserves the best possible education, not just the ones who can afford it.