An open letter to Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education:
As a relatively new Minister of Education, it would be helpful if you would take a fresh look at the relationship between your government and our teachers.
Your predecessors’ tactics have not improved our education system. Isn’t it time to put children first?
The issue is class size and composition. They must be manageable. The math is simple, more students per teacher means less teacher time per student. Some children need extra help, others need extra challenge.
Add the issues of behaviour and motivation and the math becomes simple. Because some students need more attention, others don’t get their fair share. Is this what you want?
Quite simply Mr. Minister, meeting these complex needs requires hiring enough teachers and teacher assistants to do the job.
To say the province can’t afford adequate education services is horsefeathers. It’s a matter of priorities.
Your government has money for lawyers to appeal B.C. Supreme Court rulings. It has mega bucks for advertising its agenda and for the Speaker of the House to diddle away. And how much did the roof on BC Place Stadium cost? This list is a long one if you need more examples.
Mr. Minister, did you really say class size and composition doesn’t matter in the education system?
Do you see any private schools basing their advertising and promotions on that sad philosophy? As for teachers’ salaries, what about the salaries (and golden handshakes) paid to Crown corporation employees (eg. BC Hydro, BC Ferries). The rationale there is that you have to pay high salaries to attract good people. Wouldn’t that also apply to teachers? If teacher quality is the issue, won’t you get what you pay for?
B.C. needs a vibrant, energized public education system. Spend the money in the classrooms where it will benefit the students.
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.