Here's a little perspective on the benefits issue in the teachers strike:
Christy Clark keeps saying the teachers are asking for $125 million in benefits. I think it's important to be accurate here. The teachers have asked for an increase in medical and dental benefits which, in order to cover all 40,000 members, works out to about $11 million.
$11 million is not $125 million.
And as an FYI, teachers last received an increase in medical and dental coverage in 1993. So that's 21 years since their last increase in extended coverage. Do you think medical and dental costs have gone up since then? I think the teachers are due.
The remaining $114 million of the $125 million in the proposed benefits package we keep hearing about would cover Cupe workers for special needs children, prep time for teachers, teacher librarians and resource teachers for special education and ESL students. So the remaining $114 million doesn't cover things like 'unlimited massage' as Christy Clark likes to call it in the press.
To me the $114 million actually benefits the students in our classrooms who deserve a good education in the public school system.
(FYI, prep days are not 'days off' either. The last time the teachers received a prep time increase was in 1994. Again, I think they're due.)
Unfortunately, Christy Clark will lie in the press and spin facts until they're fiction as she dismantles the public school system in this province (which is what she's been doing since 2002) for one reason: She is setting the stage for a voucher system for private schooling in this province.
I have friends and colleagues who have their children in private school. And I genuinely celebrate their financial ability to school their children in this way. But MOST people in this province cannot shoulder these costs. As a forward thinking society, we all benefit when all children (and future leaders) in this province get access to the best education we, as a people, can provide them. Let's not allow Christy Clark to turn this into a class system, further widening the gap between the wealthy and those doing their best to provide for their families who may not have the income to pay for a great education.
The provincial government is legally bound to provide that great education. The Liberals have operated ILLEGALLY in providing for education for 12 years. This was the verdict of two courts. But Christy Clark doesn't care what the courts say. She will keep going until she destroys public education in this province once and for all. Don't let her. Keep calling your MLAs. Write letters to the editor.
And, if you can, come down to a huge rally in support of our public teachers this Friday, September 5th at 5pm at Canada Place.
Don't let Christy Clark and the Liberals get away with this. Let's make our voices heard. If we speak consistently in tandem with the legal system, she will have no choice but to listen.
AKA, The Happiness Detective