BC Views: Cold climate on Planet BCTF

Tom Fletcher responds to comments made about his last column on the teachers' strike.

The stories began tumbling out as soon as last week’s column on teacher union indoctrination of students was posted on our websites.

Most parents, retired teachers and administrators requested anonymity, because their kids and grandkids still have to go to school, or they have relatives or fair-weather friends in the B.C. Teachers’ Federation who mustn’t be enraged by any contradiction of their dogma.

There was the Grade 3 art class in Langley where students were assigned to create anti-Bill 22 protest signs. There was the Grade 6 teacher in Greater Victoria who started a one-hour drill on BCTF talking points by telling students not to believe anything they see in the media. There was the middle school in the Gulf Islands that dismissed students early to force them all out in a show of solidarity against the latest of many legislated settlements.

And there were the BCTF-BCGEU pickets that blocked entrances to government offices here in Victoria, harassing, threatening and physically blocking office workers in an effort to force them to join the thousands bused in for the traditional howling show of strength for Big State Labour bosses on the legislature lawn.

In my 20 years of criticizing the policies and tactics of teacher union radicals, I have had my office windows smashed twice. I have seen a mob of self-absorbed strikers push a senior off the sidewalk into the snow. My daughter has been subjected to hard-left environmental propaganda in elementary school. I’ve never seen anything quite like this.

But hey, let’s be constructive here. First, I should emphasize I understand that these incidents do not represent the vast majority of dedicated teachers, who wouldn’t think of intentionally abusing their position for personal or political gain. I mean that sincerely.

And thanks to all the teachers who sent me lecturing letters, particularly those who insist that they don’t really want another 16-per-cent raise, because their first priority is improving classroom resources.

Volume doesn’t permit individual responses to everyone. Authors who begin along the lines of “Sir, you are an idiot” receive lower priority. If I don’t get back to you, please convey your willingness to accept a brief wage freeze to your union executive. They’ve scaled back some of their more egregious prep time and paid leave demands, but apparently your admirably altruistic message has not yet been absorbed.

And yes, I’m aware that the Harvard study of class size and performance I mentioned last week examined charter schools in the United States. I understand that “charter school” is considered coarse language in B.C. As with health care, there must be no serious competitive dynamic or other dangerous experimentation permitted within the unionized state monopoly model.

And thanks for suggesting I’m an agent of the B.C. Liberals, who invented poverty 11 years ago.

East Van MLA Jenny Kwan touched on it in the debate on Bill 22. Children coming to inner city schools hungry, inadequately clothed, with lice. Abused children.

I can assure Kwan that these tragic realities are not confined to the hellish B.C. Liberal era of spending increases.

Indeed, I witnessed all these things in my three-room school in Tomslake, B.C. in the 1960s. Social Credit was to blame then. I remember the school more for its great teachers than its undrinkable water or alcoholic principal.

And to all those who provide spelling-challenged advice on journalistic objectivity, here’s the thing. The first rule of opinion writing is to have one. I’m not looking for middle ground in the cold vacuum between Earth and Planet BCTF.

 

Tom Fletcher is legislative reporter and columnist for Black Press and BCLocalnews.com

tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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