Editorial: Teachers’ strike timing no good

Would have been more effective in September, rather than over the summer break

There’s a lot of fuss over the B.C. teachers strike, and true enough, graduating students have something to be concerned about.

Who is going to take any notice of this ill-timed strike?

Except for the students, those with their futures riding on the outcome of their provincial exams and those who are just happy to be released into their summer vacation a week early, that is.

For the rest of us, the first 11 weeks of the strike are going to be tough to tell from the annual school summer holiday.

There is only one group that stands the possibility of being hurt or inconvenienced by a teacher’s strike. And that’s the students whose education teachers say they are trying to protect.

Whether or not teachers deserve a raise is not the question here. The question is whether either side in this dispute should be using students as pawns, or worse yet, sacrifice students’ education in pursuit of their own goals.

Especially when one of the big themes of the dispute so far has been teachers coming forward in media, advertising and blog posts to talk about how devoted they are to their students.

You can’t have it both ways.

In the case of the strike, the better choice would have been to hold off until September; then students would have been able to finish their school year properly, and the strike action would have come at a time when it would have been both less damaging to student education and more effective as a bargaining tool.

But both sides need to start negotiating fairly, leave the students out of the advertising campaigns and get this dispute — which has roots stretching back to 2002 — over with. Then, maybe, we can do away with labour disputes for a while, and get back to educating our young people.

After all, that’s the most important thing, right?

 

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