School board trustee must stand up for students

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To the Editor:

Elections can bring out the best in us all — promises are made, candidates try to communicate their platforms and to earn votes in the community. Teachers take seriously our job of educating young people about our democratic traditions and encouraging active citizenship. With the Nov. 19 elections coming soon, it is time for the public to closely look at each candidate and recall that actions speak much louder than words.

Mel Joy, local school board chair, claims that teachers are targeting her and attempting to unseat her. If anyone in the community is campaigning against Joy, it is most certainly because of her actions at the provincial level as head of the BC Public School Employers’ Association. In this role, her actions and words have made a difficult round of bargaining even more troubled.

How did she imagine teachers would react to her threats to cut 15 per cent of our pay, or even to lock us out? Kids and parents know we’re in school, 100 per cent committed to our students.

But Joy’s threats are damaging relationships across B.C. and not reflecting our community’s reality. It is not about whether we like someone; it is about what that person would do as a trustee.

Joy claims she has respect for teachers, yet her work as chair of BCPSEA directly targets teachers and demonstrates that she is clearly out of touch with the reality in our Creston classrooms. Is it respectful to expect teachers to be able to provide quality services to their students when the system is chronically underfunded?

Does Joy know that teachers every day face hungry children? B.C. has the highest child poverty rate in Canada for the eighth year in a row. In a province as rich as BC, this is truly shameful. What has she done as board chair to speak out for these children to meet their needs?

Teachers are encouraging voters to ask such questions of the trustee candidates. Will the candidate stand up for our students? Or will the candidate merely shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic?

Students need trustees who will advocate for them, not trustees who willingly implement Victoria’s attack on public education.

Rebecca Blair, President

Creston Valley Teachers’ Association

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