A new year is rapidly approaching and with it comes renewed hope and promise. Teachers in British Columbia face a tremendous challenge against an employer with a drastically different view of public education. British Columbia teachers are amongst the highest qualified educators in the world and our voices are being muffled amongst the chatter of educational pundits and policy makers. Converting a proud educational tradition in this province to a clone of failed foreign educational agendas is what is in store if the provincial government is successful in achieving its radical educational reform agenda. How else can you explain a new Teachers’ Council and Education Plan being announced and legislated while teachers are on strike? How can an educational plan be put into effect without the support of teachers? By changing the educational profession as we know it is how.
What do I wish for 2012? I wish for teachers voices to be heard. I wish for a fully funded public education system that meets the needs of every student and puts students first. I wish for an employer that sets aside rhetoric and comes to the table with more than a vacuum cleaner waiting to remove items from our contract. I wish for a teachers’ union that understands the magnitude of the battle we are in and takes every step possible in ensuring the membership is informed and on side. I wish for an education plan that stops using buzz words and gets down to practical implementation of educational reform and puts money into the equation. I wish for a collectively bargained solution to the current job action and not legislation imposed by a hostile government.
2012 promises to be a year like no other in BC public education. Either we move forward and truly make public education a priority or we move towards the complete transformation of public education into a semi-private system. Perhaps this is what the Mayans were referring to.