Last Days of School
New President Iker
June 28th is the last day of work for the teachers and June 30th is the last day of teachers’ present work contract and the end of the term for the president of the Teachers’ Union. On Twitter both the union for teachers (BCTF) and support workers (CUPE) have a couple watchdogs, trying to keep us updated during ongoing contract negotiations.
It is interesting to hear Vaughn Palmer asking Susan Lambert on The Voice of BC if the BCTF is connected to the BC-NDP. Susan agreed with Vaughn that many teachers are Greens, and that the BCTF ran $7 Million worth of political ads this year. She says the BCTF is non-partisan; teachers supports kids regardless of which political party governs. I suspect from the election landslides that many teachers are also BC Liberals.
The new soft-spoken, male president of the mostly female Teachers’ Union is Jim Iker. I hope that teachers, like their labour union may be ready for calm. Parents are certainly strike weary. Our government is broke or near broke, just like the rest of us. Politicians didn’t even give themselves a raise this month, although they tried. The recession has been paralyzing, and the employment offices are filled with youth and adults looking for work.
The End of the Sun (Reporter)
Education Report Steffenhagen retires after a dozen years
Janet Steffenhagen’s last day as our intrepid Vancouver Sun education reporter was June 14, 2013. Before leaving she wrote that Jim Iker was elected by acclamation on March 18 2013. Here’s one paragraph of her illustrious reporting: Iker, 60, will take the helm July 1, replacing the fiery Susan Lambert, who was the face of the union as it battled the Liberal government at the bargaining table, in the courtroom, on the picket lines and in schools. When asked to describe her successor in a single word, Lambert called him kind. Janet’s replacement is Tracy Sherlock (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Two Gnawing Education Issues
I wrote about the issues of class size and standardized testing here. The Teachers’ Union sued the BC Government ten years ago and supposedly won two years ago in 2011. The issue was class size. While education collaboration and innovation rage around us all, the BCTF is back in court this September, suing our provincial government over this decade-old issue.
Adrian Dix had proposed changes to our school assessments so that the Fraser Institute could no longer compare schools. As openess and transparency spreads through governments like a fresh breeze and sunshine, it could be more data and more comparisons are on the way.
In the Interest of Justice
Teacher Union President Asks, “Who Holds The Authority?”
I started out looking at middle schools due to the high number of young teens being abused by parental alienation and now we see an intense focus on high schools because of the high number of older teens being abused by bullying. These types of emotional abuses are devastating for teens, can have long term effects and some cases have been fatal. Both parental alienation and bullying are very complex behaviours, essentially involving all of us – the target, the alienator, and the allies or the bully, the bullied, and the bystanders. How do we stop emotional abuse when the leaders or perpetrators are often ill and not criminally responsible and we are all involved or at least standby?
Susan Lambert of the Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) says the union has been working for much longer than a year to advocate for conditions in schools for kids. She questions who holds the authority to negotiate with teachers, hoping that school trustees may have some input, over the government. Generally, trade unions negotiate work contracts, not education or justice policy. But one major way to improve conditions in schools would be to create a teachers’ professional association so that teachers could monitor themselves. Yet no education leaders are advocating for that, after attempting to place corrupt union representatives on the last disciplinary board. Another major way to improve conditions in schools would be for teachers to collaborate with the public, especially parents, but teachers are not very excited about the possibility of creating a broad base of support either.
The Federal Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson, responded to bullying saying that justice was a provincial matter. The Nova Scotia government put out a fluffy report that sorted through why teachers let troubled teens struggle, allowing Rehtaeh Parsons to transfer to four different schools, trying to escape bullying. Most agree we need a broad community response to deal with these deep-seated problems. Teachers and their many allies overwhelm municipal governments. Leaving teacher discipline solely at the local level hasn’t worked. If local police, healthcare professionals, and volunteer groups get involved in fighting against alienation and bullying, it will lift some of the load from teachers. Eventually, teachers must come out and declare they are against parental alienation just like they are against bullying. But more to the point, eventually, we must all come out and declare we are against parental alienation and bullying. Trauma prevention is easier than deep mental health support.
Policy makers do not simply do what they want, particularly in a realm like education, which is costly and involves the future of our children. They must fashion responses according to the menu of available and acceptable options that voters will tolerate. Hopefully, with the start of community-wide responses we are seeing the turning of the tide of bullying in high schools and parental alienation in middle schools.
La fête des bulles d’amour – le 25 avril, 2014
Ensemble, nous sommes capables de beaucoup.
Il n’y a que 301 jours avant la journée de sensibilisation!
Bubbles Of Love Day – April 25, 2014
Together We Can Make A Difference
Only 301 days till Awareness Day!
Parental Alienation: Why Be Aware?
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Re-connect With Your Kids
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