There are ways to help students

While teachers may not be available to do as much, parents can volunteer

Editor, The Record:

Once spring break is over, Mission parents have been told it will not be business as usual. As government escalates this conflict by forcing teachers through legislation, teachers respond by withdrawing services. The government has the right to enact Bill 22, and teachers have the right to do the minimum work for which they are paid, while students’ pay the price with no end in sight.

Mission teachers voted with an overwhelming majority for their Action Plan. What this means to students is: no extra-curricular activities, no field trips outside of instructional time, no planning of prom/award ceremonies. Teachers will be less accessible for extra help that students may count on. Sports like rugby and track and field will be cancelled. There are many more events and activities that will cease. These actions centre the pressure directly on students.

Parents remain split on this issue. Many parents agree with some of teachers’ demands. In the conflict there are philosophical differences about the direction of education, class sizes and composition, accountability and assessment, employee rights, wages, and money for support services and technology. Students motivated by extra-curricular activities or depending on extra help outside instructional time will suffer. They will pay the price in the teachers’ fight for better conditions in our system, whether improvements are achieved or not. When teachers respond to this conflict by withdrawing the time and care that makes them so valuable to students, parents struggle to be supportive.

What can parents do?

Express any agreement you have with teachers by communicating to your MLA, or the Minister of Education insisting on more education funding for the areas you see need it most.

If you’re disappointed with the teachers’ vote to withdraw services, send an e-mail to your teacher and to the Mission Teachers’ Union expressing how this action will affect your family.

Engage as much as you can at your school during this action. Parents can step up with grad/award ceremony planning, perhaps even coaching sports. With persistence, let your principal know you want to be involved.

As parents, we need to support students where we can; connect into the schools where you are able. Many of us don’t have a lot to give, but if we all do a little bit, parents can be significant agents of change to a struggling system.

Scott Young

Chair

Mission District Parent Advisory Council