Opinion » Maxed Out

Time to change the delivery of education...and other musings



While I don't exactly have a horse in this race, I'm as concerned as the next person about the outcome of the current pissing match between the Liberal government and the British Columbia Teachers' Federation, at least assuming that person doesn't particularly like sharing a bus seat or proximate bar stool with an uneducated person and isn't keen on seeing their provincial taxes go sky high.

I don't have a kid in school and I'm not planning on making any. But I am relying on the kids who are in school now to become fully functional, educated, gainfully employed adults so they can work hard and contribute their own tax dollars toward those the government sends me for CPP and OAS every month, dollars that in turn will let me enjoy not working and making fun of the way they dress, until I get too old and senile to enjoy even that.

Let me state up front I support the teachers 100 per cent. This is not to be confused with supporting their union 100 per cent. Just as the government we elect often seems to act in ways we'd rather it not, I suspect the union often acts in ways that leave many of their members saying things like, "Are they out of their friggin' minds?" For example, the union's early and oft-ridiculed demand for bereavement leave for teachers in the event someone close to them, or someone they knew, or someone they'd once heard something about, or someone they wish they'd have known, or someone who somehow contributed to the cosmic life force of humanity died was, let's be generous here, a tactical blunder. In that particular usage, tactical blunder can be defined as a move so incredibly stupid it alienated virtually everyone who might have been sympathetic to the union's cause.

But anyone who has any knowledge of unions knows union management — oxymoron alert — and the bargaining team often fails to really reflect the issues important to the rank and file. So I don't hold it against teachers when their union leaders seem, occasionally, out to lunch. I support the teachers 100 per cent.

Some of the most important and influential people in my life were teachers. Now, to be fair, so were some of the most demoralizing, ineffectual and coma-inducing, but life is like that. You get good ones; you get not so good ones. The same can fairly and honestly be said about people I've worked with in every job I've ever had, union or not.

I'm going to sidetrack into a colourful anecdote so if you're not interested, just skip down a few paragraphs. I had an American History teacher in high school that was a bona fide U.S. Civil War nut.

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