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BC teachers fight to protect public eduction

Tara Ehrcke

April 5, 2012

The mediator appointed by the BC Liberals to work out a deal between teachers and the government has a history of donating money to Christy Clark’s Liberal Party. He is also author of a report for the provincial government in 2006 titled “Working Together to Improve Performance: Preparing B.C.’s Public Education System for the Future.”

He is Charles Jago, and he is being paid $2000 per day. He has no experience as a mediator. Choosing him is just the latest insult to struggling BC teachers.

Teachers had been without a contract since June 2011. This year they had conducted limited job action, refusing to do report cards, attend meetings with management or conduct extra-curricular activities.

In mid-March the Liberals imposed Bill 22, essentially taking away the legal right to strike, and mandating a “net zero” contract. The government has unilaterally increased class size, removed limitations on the number of “special needs” students per class, and taken away hard-won rights to seniority, job security and due process.

The BC Liberals are committed to moving more sharply to a two-tiered education system: a cash-strapped public tier for the 99% and a private school system for the elite. They have been strangling funding to public schools and funneling the money into tax breaks for corporations and public funding for private school students.

A three-day walkout by teachers in early March drew high levels of public support. Christy Clark’s BC Liberal government also faces job action from government and hospital workers. This is a government in free fall.

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