I went to public school in a small town. We didn’t have all of the resources in the world, but we had some fine teachers and, for the most part, they all worked their —– off to give us the best possible chance in the world. Monday to Friday from 8:45 am (when I wandered in late) to 3:15 pm (unless I skipped out early), they did their best to make sure I didn’t end up someone who would ruin this lovely country.
Teaching is a noble profession…and it’s hard. If you want to know how hard, take a group of 30 rambunctious kids that you’ve never met and who have a mixed bag of language skills, mental capacity, physical capabilities and general disinterest in their surroundings and try to teach them all anything… any one, simple, thing. Who’s up for the challenge? Not me, I can tell you that for sure!!!
Now, before I get to the parents of these kids, I must qualify with the following statements. I do not have kids. I am not interested in having kids. I don’t even really like being around kids. That said, even I realize that investment in the education of kids is the most important thing that we can do as a society. How do I know that? I know because I received an excellent education.
So, back to the parents… Every time I hear some parent whining about how teachers are lazy and overpaid and how they all just get paid to take the summer off, I literally want to drive over to your house and take your children away from you. This is not because I like children (see above), but because it’s clear to me that you do not have any interest in their future.
Parenting is hard. You knew that when you decided to become a parent and, if you didn’t know it then, you surely figured it out by the time your child was old enough to attend public school. To be clear, your job is to raise your kids. Your child’s teacher’s job is to educate your kids. Do not confuse these duties. Don’t cry and whine when the teachers go on strike, because when you do that, all I hear is Homer Simpson saying, “Lousy teachers…trying to palm off our kids on us…”
When teachers go on strike, they do it to protect themselves, but they also do it to protect your kids and the public education system…because nobody else will.
Politicians, and those in power, have never had an interest in improving public education. They are always motivated to gut the system and dispense the money elsewhere. We can’t afford books, but we can afford to host the Olympics. We can’t afford to fix a school, but we can afford to put a shiny new roof on BC Place. We can’t afford teachers, but we can afford to run TV ads explaining how we can’t afford teachers. The reason for this thinking is so obvious that I can hardly believe that I have to type it.
Politicians, and those in power, do not educate their kids in the public school system.
So, when they gut the public education system, they gut you and they gut your kids. They walk away with the spoils in the form of lower income taxes or a shiny new highway to reduce the commute time to their ski lodge in Whistler. They gain, you lose…every time.
Ideally, I’d support a ban on all private education institutions in the province, up to and including grade 12. It would lead to the greatest improvement in our system in generations. If you want to see a school improve, wait until you see what happens when the rich, the well connected, and the political have to send their kids there to learn. It’s kind of like war. If there is going to be a war, there should always be a non-deferral draft. Those in power think a lot harder about sending kids to fight when there’s an equal chance that their kid, or grandkid, might end up in some foreign land getting shot at.
A good education opens up opportunities for kids, for the province and for the country. I think that most parents want the best education for their kids. I just don’t think that most parents understand who is really fighting for the kids. If they did, they’d be demanding smaller class sizes, better materials, the best teachers, the best facilities, and they’d demand to pay more for it all, if necessary. You know…kind of like how the rich and powerful do when they ferry their kids to private school every day.
I know it’s inconvenient when there is a strike. I know you have to run around and figure out who will take care of your kids while all this plays out. But, taking care of your kids is your job. It always has been. And, that job is hard. It always has been. But, this is one of those things where a little effort now will pay big dividends for your kids later.
So, from a guy who doesn’t have kids, doesn’t want kids and doesn’t really even like being around kids, I ask that the government make investment in education a priority, and that they raise income taxes to do it. I ask this because I believe that your kids have the right to an excellent public education and I’m willing to do what I can to make it happen.
Other than the teachers, who else can say that?