On Thursday, Nov. 10, the Supreme Court of Canada made an historic 7-2 judgement.
Read more: B.C. teachers celebrate top court ruling
It agreed with the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and all public school teachers in British Columbia that the provincial Liberal government of Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark had illegally stripped teacher contracts of class size and composition language. That contract stripping had allowed the government to create a whole generation of students who had and still are enduring unwarranted large class sizes, reductions in service to students with special needs, reductions in school programs and courses, school closures and a poorer underfunded public school system.
In making its unprecedented decision, the Supreme Court broke for a 20-minute break before coming back with its ruling.
This government preferred spending millions of dollars on fighting teachers’ requests for a quality educational experience for all students based on reasonable class sizes, proper educational support for students with special needs in inclusive classrooms, and adequate resources through adequate and sufficient public school funding.
Our teachers have valiantly laboured to maintain quality education experiences for all their students despite continual annual cuts to education funding every year since this government has been in power. It has been through the willingness of teachers to pay out of their own pockets to fight for their students to have the requisite learning conditions to maximize their educational opportunities.
British Columbia public school teachers have been the lone concerted voice for students over the past 15 years of education underfunding. Most parents, district and school administrators and boards of education have stood with the government in allowing our educational system in British Columbia to suffer.
Now it will be up to all of us to ensure that the judgement quickly reverses the only mechanism that protects the rights of students to a quality education by reinstating and working to improve the learning conditions for children and the working conditions for the dedicated teachers of our province.
I want to convey my deep gratitude to our teachers for their persistence. It is also my hope that the voting public will keep in mind the millions this government wasted in a war against their teaching staff all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. This may be an incentive for parents and the general public to keep in mind this waste and the lack of respect this government has shown our children and grandchildren and think of electing a different and more education-friendly government in the 2017 provincial election.