To the Editor:
(Open letter to the BC Public Schools Employers’ Association and the BC Teachers’ Federation)
We understand that despite several months of negotiation, the parties remain very far apart and are outraged that this dispute continues. As extremely concerned and aggravated parents, we demand that you find a solution that will end the teacher job action immediately.
We remind you that parents in the Kootenay Lake school district are actively involved in public education because we believe in its value for our children and society. At the Oct. 27 Kootenay Lake District Parents Advisory Council meeting, parents discussed the “teach only” campaign currently endorsed by the BCTF. This job action has turned the focus away from our children’s education and toward the seemingly intransigent positions of BCPSEA and the BCTF. We urge both parties not to undermine our children’s education in favour of fulfilling their own needs.
The BCTF has assured us that teachers will maintain close communication with parents; however, parents in the Kootenay Lake school district are frustrated that teacher-parent communication is inconsistent within and between schools as well as between districts throughout the province. Some parents are receiving detailed information about their children, while others have received nothing.
We are also concerned about the toll this campaign is having on principals, vice-principals and school district administrative staff who must fulfill their required duties, without collaboration from teachers, plus undertake additional supervisory responsibilities to ensure the safety of our children. School administrators need to get off the playgrounds and back to managing schools.
We believe that the learning environment that is marked by positive parental involvement supports and enhances the public school education system.
Further, the Kootenay Lake DPAC finds it unacceptable that the BCTF is limiting grade reporting to Grade 12 students when the Passport to Education government program that provides up to $1,000 per student is based on grade 10, 11, and 12 course grades.
The time is now to address what is important. We implore you to negotiate based on your mutual interest in the provision of quality education of our children and reach a settlement within 30 days, so that our trust that B.C. public schools are still the best place to educate our children can be restored.
Kendra Mann, Vice-Chair
Kootenay Lake District Parents’ Advisory Council