It’s not surprising that negotiations between the provincial government and the B.C. Teacher’s Federation are ongoing and schools will remain closed for who knows how long.
What is surprising?
That the government decided to provide the primary caregivers and parents of students under the age of 12 years with $40 a day.
Those funds are supposed to help with daycare costs while the strike continues, but it seems to me that in a place like Fernie, where daycare spots are limited to begin with, the parents of hundreds of elementary and high school kids are going to be left with limited options to deal with this unfortunate situation.
Parents are scrambling to get their children into full time programs. Summer camps are finished and the cost of childcare is much higher than $40 a day, especially if you want to provide your child with tutoring.
The government has estimated that the program will cost the government around $12 million a day, money that should be going into solving the issues within the schooling system.
The students are really the ones suffering here.
Even if the $40 a day somehow paid to send a child to daycare, they won’t be receiving the same education and training they would be in school.
These children need qualified and experienced teachers educating them properly, but instead they’re getting pushed around and spit out in a fight that isn’t theirs. And it’s a fight that’s length is undetermined.
According to veteran mediator Vince Ready, as of Saturday, neither party had made a compromise on debates regarding class composition, benefits, wages and term. Rumours are floating around that school may not start up again until October.
What are children going to do in the meantime? That’s a month of potential learning flushed down the drain. Will children have to make up for this lost time next summer?
When I was younger, living in Ontario, a similar situation arose where teachers were on strike. It was for a mere week or two, weeks that our babysitter took on the role of educator.
The problem? We [my brothers and I] didn’t respect her as an educator. Once you see someone solely as a caregiver, it’s hard to think of him or her in any other way.
Like I said before, B.C. children need to be taught at their grade level by a qualified, educated teacher, and $40 a day is not going to pay for anything comparable to the public schooling system.
To me, this response seems like a Band-Aid solution to a much bigger issue.