His classroom may be closed for the summer, but North Vancouver primary teacher Ian Cunliffe won’t be taking any time off. On Aug. 8, Cunliffe will begin in Sparwood to run and walk over 1,100 kilometres across B.C., and will run from Yahk to the top of the Kootenay Pass on Aug. 12/13. An attempt of a marathon a day for 22 days will draw public attention to the decade of cuts to B.C. public education by the Liberal government.
In his six years of teaching, Cunliffe has witnessed the erosion of funding to B.C. schools and the impact these cuts are having on students. With an education funding shortfall once more projected for 2013, he feels that he can no longer remain silent and has decided to take a stand.
“For years now we have been asked to do more with less,” he said. “We’ve reached the point where the average teacher is spending over $1,000 of their own take-home pay trying to bridge the funding shortfall in order to meet the needs of their students.
“It’s time for people to demand that government commit to adequately funding our public school system to ensure every student has an equal opportunity to succeed.”
Cunliffe is a primary school teacher and teacher-librarian with the North Vancouver school district. He is a parent of two young children and has completed several ultra-marathons, including the world’s toughest race, the Marathon Des Sables (a 240-kilometre race across the Sahara Desert).
Follow his journey at Facebook.com by searching “22 Marathons against Bill 22”.
— BC TEACHERS FEDERATION