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CONTRIBUTION · 1st June 2012
Liz Thorn
Thatís it, Iíve had it! If I have to listen to one more news report proclaiming that teachers are divided on the issue of refusing to do extra curricular activities Iím going to spit!

Of course weíre divided! Teachers are always divided! Teachers are intelligent, strong minded individuals who make up their own minds. We donít take orders worth a darn. Just ask our administrative officers. Getting teachers to agree on anything is like herding cats: We show up to workshops with nothing to write with or on; we talk during meetings; a friend of mine works in a school where the Math and Science teachers insist on using the 24 hour clock and campaigned hard for new digital wall clocks for classrooms. (They didnít get them Ė no money). The humanities teachers resisted. To be fair, this was more of a running joke than a serious issue but it illustrates my point. Teachers know that there are two sides to every question if not three or four.

However, Kitimat teachers recently took a poll just to make sure and we can now announce that there is one issue that we are all absolutely unanimous on. We are all completely opposed to Bill 22 Ė The Education Improvement Act.

My first objection is that it doesnít improve education, it makes it worse. The government is once again entering into a round of education budget cuts and Bill 22 effectively gags teachers from doing anything other that write letters to the editor about it. Weíre not allowed to bargain for anything that will cost money, but they can impose all the cuts they like. Years ago I explained to some friends that the special needs students who werenít being served were the ones with mild learning disabilities. Now the ones being cut are the ones with moderate cognitive disabilities Ė read 16 year old body, 10 year old comprehension.

Apart from that, Bill 22 is in violation of several international labour laws. It is ridiculous that teachers in Mexico, for goodness sake, are concerned that our rights are being violated!

And lastly (for the moment) Part 2 of Bill 22 has been copied and pasted from Bills 27 and 28 which we spent 10 years and many thousands of dollars (youíre welcome) challenging through the courts and which the BC Supreme Court ruled illegal just over 1 year ago. In other words itís illegal provincially too.

You may not be hearing much about education on the news (other than how divided teachers are) but rest assured the teachers of this province are very angry and we have not gone quietly back to work. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; wrong actions will come back to bite you Ė and teachers have sharp teeth!