Waffles on School Crisis
confrontational Minister of Education, Christy Clark, is hedging
her bets on what to do in response to an 88.9%
vote by teachers to pay their $90 college fee to the BCTF's
"Democratic College Fund" rather than to the government
appointed College. Teachers are upset that the Campbell government
has decided to treat them differently than other self governing
professions, which include lay representation on their regulatory
bodies, but have a majority of members who come from their
the School Act a teacher must be in good standing with the
College of Teachers in order to teach. A teacher who hasn't
paid $90 by November 30th will be suspended by the College,
and on December 31st will be designated as not in good standing.
In an interview on November 20th with Jennifer Mather on CKNW,
Clark said it would take until January or February before
she could say what should be done. She suggested that some
teachers could break solidarity and write a cheque to the
college. The education system could not operate if thousands
of teachers were fired. The dispute over the College is an
example of how solidarity can limit the power of government.
could decide to waive the teacher's fee and write a cheque.
That solution could be implemented with a resolution from
the government appointed College directors. Given the preference
of the government for draconian measures, it could also legislate
that school boards must deduct $90 from each teacher's pay
whether they like it or not. Either "solution" would
further sour relations between the Campbell government and
BC's teachers. Clark appears to be hoping that teachers' solidarity
will be broken so she can get out of the hot spot she created.
It appears that she is prepared to wait until January or February
before saying what she will do. Meanwhile, school boards and
their administrators have yet another crisis, courtesy of
the Campbell government.