Recent comments

  • Reality is not what it used to be   1 year 7 weeks ago

    The Nelson-y idea that money is 'attracted' to evolved souls is disgusting and evil. Sorry, sub-Saharan Africa--you're just not ready for a full belly yet, not like the Boomer elites of Nelson, BC! If people are willing to believe that, why don't they just come completely out of the closet as white supremacists, given how unequally material wealth is divided along racial lines in this world?

    Better to posit that wealth is a sort of cancer that's attracted to weak spiitual immune systems--it ultimately swallows up and replaces the soul. We don't only see this insane attitude in pot-dulled hippie discourse--Christianity manifests the same concept through the concept of 'stewardship' to which some of that religion's more benighted believers subscribe.

  • OP/ED: Minister releases statement on BCTF job action   1 year 8 weeks ago

    ... the government is, in the final analysis, the people. Right? Whose nose is being cut to save whose face?

    The kind of condition your daughter has to cope with, Ken, is not all that unusual. We were lucky. Our son is autistic, and at the time he was about 7 at the time the B.C. Government was headed by Dave Barrett. The government then funded a special school for autistic kids, the teacher-student ratio was 2 to 1. That's right, two teacher per child.

    Although of limited ability due to his autism, our son lives under supervision in the lower mainland, but has a full-time job cleaning in a restaurant kitchen in the lower mainland. Minimum wage, but has not been unemployed for a single day in his adult life.

    Was the public expense of his education worth the effort? Even if you ignore the personal experience and the social aspects of the life he has enjoyed, on purely economic terms the answer is a clear yes. 

  • OP/ED: Minister releases statement on BCTF job action   1 year 8 weeks ago

    You may be right Andre, and maybe class size and composition is an issue where "The Provincial Government needs an education about education" .... to steal the title of one of your previous comments. 

    One of my daughters is a teacher. When she told me her Grade 4 class had 29 students, my comment was "well....when your mom started teaching she had 43 students in her Grade 4 Class."

    My daughter then told me that her class has about 60% ESL (English as a second language); including two new immigrants with no Engish at all. Six of her students have IEPs (Independent Education Plans) because 3 are autistic, 1 mentally challenged and 2 with other learning disabilities.In addition, she has to cope with two students with severe behavioural problems.

    Out of her 29 students only 5 could be classed as "typical, ordinary students" and she commented that if all her students were like those 5 she could teach a class of 50.

    Bundling the kind of mix my daughter has to teach, together in one class seems unfair to everyone including teachers, students and parents. It only benefits the employer (the Government) by allowing cutbacks in special needs educatiion.

    I can understand why teachers want class size and composition on the negotiating table.          

  • OP/ED: Minister releases statement on BCTF job action   1 year 8 weeks ago

    I have not done enough research to categorically state the following to be true.

    My understanding, however, is that the reason salaries for B.C. teachers are below the Canadian average is that teachers had agree to a lower rate of pay in exchange for class size/composition considerations. Class size/composition, so teachers maintain, affects teaching efficacy.

    The government then went along with it then. Today the government is determined to use the lower salaries as the base line for future wage increases, but to detach class size/composition from the contract.

    The teacher traded salary for class size/composition, and now the government wants to maintain the salary half of the deal but reverse the class size/composition half.

    No wonder tempers are flaring.

  • OP/ED: Minister releases statement on BCTF job action   1 year 8 weeks ago

    I would be interested to hear from the folks who registered "thumbs down" to Andre's suggestion. 

    From what I have read, BC teachers are paid less than most of the other provinces. What would be wrong with paying teachers at the average rate of all the Southern provinces?

    A teacher in BC after 4-years of academic training (Category4) can look forward to starting at about the same pay as a school janitor.(about $43,000 per annum).

    A Category 6 teacher with a total of 6 or more years of academic and professional studies, including an acceptable graduate degree, can look forward to receiving about the same starting pay as a City Public Works labourer (about $53,520 per annum).

    It makes you wonder why anyone would want to be a teacher in BC!  

     

      

      

  • OP/ED: Minister releases statement on BCTF job action   1 year 8 weeks ago

    How about paying teachers at the Canadian average, based on Statistics Canada figures?

    http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-604-x/2012001/tbl/tbld2.1-eng.htm

    According to Stats Can the starting salary for teachers in B.C. is the lowest of any province and territory. Heck, the top salary of a B.C. teacher is less than the entry level for teachers in the NWT!

     

     

  • Op/Ed: Thoughts from a teacher's kid   1 year 8 weeks ago

    This article will give you an idea of employment terms in other developed countries:

     

    http://www.themuslimtimes.org/2013/07/countries/switzerland/salary-study-swiss-teachers-among-highest-paid-worldwide

  • Op/Ed: Thoughts from a teacher's kid   1 year 8 weeks ago

     

    The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Should we mark your "essay"?

  • Op/Ed: Thoughts from a teacher's kid   1 year 8 weeks ago

    I wonder just how much the "poor little children" would benifit from teachers making in eccess of $200,000.00 per year. and be required to work only 4 hours per day three days per week.    Some how, I don't  think anything would change.

    I read my grandson's grade eleven research essay a few months ago and I swear to God, if that was grade eleven work and rated at the given 90%, I dread the thought of him becoming a leader of our country, a doctor or anything that requires an education. 

    Les Anderson

     

  • The provincial government needs an education about education   1 year 9 weeks ago

    I admire your idealism and solution-oriented thinking, Andre. I'm afraid, however, that I no longer think we live in a democracy at the provincial or federal levels. Rather, we live in a system that merely serves the interests of capital--a place where good ideas--or ideas of any sort beyond the crude math of 'efficiency'--hold no sway.

    I can only imagine that things will get worse and worse for teachers and for everyone except the 1% as EVERYTHING is now measured solely in terms of 'productivity'. I was just reading an article from the Boundary Sentinel that speaks of Christina Lake's attempts to save their school. Parents saying that the value a school to a community can't be measured in dollars. Well, guess what? It can and it is. Say farewell to your school.

    This all reads as very depressing, doesn't it? I'm not writing from a negative space, however.  Maybe the most worrisome thing of all is that I seem to have accepted this view of things as a simple fact. Too many of us have drunk the Kool-Aid of 'money talks' and we'll now end up riding that train to whereever it leads us--then hopefully begin to rebuild after we hit rock bottom.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 9 weeks ago

    Publishing an anonymous letter is not protecting a source, it is enabling a person to avoid accountability for a point of viewe expressed.

    When a reporter protects a source it means that the reporter gains access to information which the reporter then uses to publish a story after having verified and confirmed the veracity of the information provided which then contributes to a story of public interest.

    I have the right to believe that lawyers are crooks because they help criminals avoid the consequences of their actions, and that accountants are leeches because they help the rich avoid paying their fair share of taxes. If I have evidence of a lawyer or an accountant committing an act that is, if not outright illegal then at least unethical, and I pass that information to a reporter on the condition that I, the source of that information, be protected because the lawyer or accountant in question is my employer, then the reporter has an obligation to protect my identity when the information I have provided is used to corroborate a story published under the reporter's name.

    If all I want to do is make it known to the world that lawyers are crooks and accountants are leeches, I have the option of setting up my own blog, my own web page, or of fixing posters on power poles and highway overpasses. I need not attach my name to such publications.

    For a newspaper, be that of the digital or real paper kind, to publish my opinion anonymously, is to do what Will is says. That is so even if it is done by the Globe and Mail.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 9 weeks ago

    Everyone on this thread needs to make a poster from this link and hang it on their wall -

    Ethical Journalism
    www.caj.ca/principles-for-ethical-journalism/

    Applicably to these stories -

    • "We avoid allowing our biases to influence our reporting."

    • "We don’t participate in movements and activities that we cover."

    • "Editorial boards and columnists or commentators endorse political candidates or causes. Reporters do not."

    • "If we promise to protect a source’s identity, we do so."

    • "We seek to capture in our stories the diverse values, viewpoints and lives of the people in our communities."

     

    That anyone daring to criticise the BCTF is subject to witch-hunting on these sites is very disturbing.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 9 weeks ago

    A thumbs up to you Will for the stand you are taking. Burqa comments are not my thing. I know little of journalism, although I do write the occasional column for this and other papers. But that is not journalism, it is opinion-voicing. And that I do under my name.

    I have spent over 35 years of my working life as municipal administrator in small communities, starting in the NWT, then the Yukon, and finally in B.C. Over the course of my municipal career I have taken my share of public accusations, threats, humiliation, and misrepresentation. That is not to say that I did not have some darn good experiences too. But with reference to the verbal stoning and abuse I have taken, there is no way - no way at all - that I ever wished for a burqa to hide my identity.

    If nothing else, having to stand by and account for what you say and how you say teaches you how to think before saying anything at all. And that, over the long term, is rather useful.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 9 weeks ago

    Kyra,
    I admire your elegant put down. Very well done.
    However, what I find "sophmoric" is the argument the write may face "economic, social and emotional jeopardy"!
    Based on what?
    Apparently, its based on your say so.
    I also want to be clear, as I perhaps was not earlier. My argument is, by publishing the smear, and that's all it was, no basis in fact, with a shielded name, you basically promoted the person's view, while protecting the person. That's aiding and abetting a smear.
    I am a journalism graduate and worked many years in the field. In all those years I never saw or heard of an editor publishing a letter anonymously where there was not some very clear and verifiable proof the author of the letter would face persecution as a result of the letter being published. In fact, in over a decade working with newspapers, I only saw one letter published anonymously. It was kept anonymous because it contained information that would have identified a minor in an abuse case. Most papers simply will not publish anonymous letters, ever. Its something you should seriously consider.
    I also find your excuse, that somehow the letter managed to create dialogue and bring people together, sophmoric, and little more than self-engrandizing, self-importance.
    The argument that many people feel the way the author does is not backed up by fact. And if many people do feel the way the author does, then the threat of negative reaction against the author is diminished. But the real problem was the letter itself, it was little more than reiteration of BC Liberal negative talking points. To claim teachers' desire for a better contract is driven by greed is nothing more than hyperbole. To lump all teachers into such a statement is little more than an attempt to bully via public shaming.
    Yes, part of your job is to talk about the elephant in the room, but that's not what you did. You let someone else do it. Had you written an editorial about a letter you received, fine, but that's not what you did. You willingly protect someone who was attempting to smear the hard working people who teach our children.
    As for your allusion to my "angry vehnemence", what is that buy a out and out attempt to marginalize my point of view by annointing me with the "angry man" label?
    If I am angry, and I don't believe I am, acerbic maybe, angry not, such anger would be justified by the fact the media are now engaging in yellow journalism by protecting people who make unfounded insults against an entire profession.
    Then again, based on this latest letter from you, and the fact you allowed a smear to be printed anonymously, its pretty clear who is in the business of smear, labelling, and Hearst-like marginalization.

     

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 9 weeks ago

    I don't feel bullied, although I feel your tone has been fairly wantonly disrespectful. I'm okay with that.

    You can say I was wrong and made a bad decision, and you're welcome to your opinion, in fact I value it as a self-assessment tool. You can say I should be sued, and I'm fine with that, as I'm confident my understanding of journalistic legalities is adequate to manage my position.

    My only objections to your rhetoric are a) saying I shared the letter writer's opinion, which was a blatant falsehood; b) saying I had no reason for withholding the name - my refusal to share said reason with you is miles from proof that it doesn't exist.

    Finally, c), it's sophomoric, I think, if not totally disingenuous, to insist that the threat of physical violence is the only form of jeopardy possible. There also exists the potential for economic, social and emotional jeopardy, and your willingness to sacrifice admitting knowledge of all three at the alter of your moral superiority is grossly unfair, I think, to the letter writer in this case - a form of smear, perhaps?

    It's also worth noting that many people share this letter writer's views - the letter in question wasn't inventing the wheel, it merely brought the issue front-and-centre, allowed for rebuttal, caused support to rally ... and generally did more to promote the teachers' cause than could any pro-BCTF commentary.

    Part of my job is to talk about the elephant in the room when everyone else remains silent. I believe the letter writer's viewpoint is the elephant in the room in this regard, and angry vehemence like yours serves only to drive the conversation underground, rather than actually changing minds or solving any problems.

    Food for thought.

    Regards,

    Kyra Hoggan

    Editor, The Castlegar Source/Trail Champion

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 9 weeks ago

    Internet comment activists (or ICA's) accomplish a lot for our communities and really make a difference for the teachers on strike, so your work is important, and we all very much appreciate your efforts will. I commend you for being up late at night working so hard to make things better. I am ashamed to say that at 11 15 last night I was sleeping, while you were still awake, behind the computer, getting the job done. We need more people like you.

    I feel like writing an anonymous letter about how much gratitude and respect all of us have for those selfless individuals who sacrifice so much to get names published on the letters for our local online news websites, but I wouldn't want the editor to have to go through anymore bullying about the anonymity, so I won't.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 9 weeks ago

    Willy,

    How clever of you to try to turn it around like that. Did you think it up all by your self?
    I'm impressed. You should notify Stephen Harper of your ability to make such unfounded inferences. I'm sure he has a place for you among his short panted boys.
    Actually, your post says a lot about you, and nothing about me.
    One of the things it says is that your reading comprehension could use some work.
    I don't really care who wrote the letter, although they seem rather cowardly. What I'm concerned about is the media protecting smear artists.
    The author of that letter smeared teachers, and the Editor, Kyra, helped him or her. I don't think our media should be in the business of smear, or aiding and abetting smear.
    You seem to think differently, which leaves me wondering if you are the smear artist. If so, next time, have the courage to put your name to your art.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 9 weeks ago

    Witherton, the bullying was done by the intitial letter writer who did nothing but smear teachers, aided and abetted in the activity by the editor who chose to help hide the writer's identity.
    It is not bullying to challenge the media on a bad decision.
    I have not tried to coerce the editor, nor have I asked her to give up the name. I have not threatened the editor, or the letter writer. I have said the letter writer was cowardly, and I stand by that assessment.
    Look up "bully" in the dictionary before you accuse people of it.
    There is something really wrong in our society if we can't question or challenge the decisions of public figures, whether they be politicians like C. Clarke and S. Harper, or media personalities like writers and editors.
    And there certainly is nothing bullying about challenging a person who hides behind their anonymity while producing smear to own up and have the courage to put their real name to their attacks.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 9 weeks ago

    GrownUps Pay Taxes.

    And don't mind doing so.

    For they realize we really do get a lot for our tax dollar.

    Like a lot of the stuff we take for granted.  That make BC the best place in the world to live.

    Like a good education system for example, and good accessible health care.

    To heck with F-35's and expensive foreign wars and mandatory sentencing to force us to build more jails--sure, those things we could likely do without.  

    But let's pay the taxes to keep our education and healthcare (and infrastructure) top notch. Or at least adequate.

    I feel bad for how the teachers are being demonized and scapegoated and fear that morale may suffer as a result of this government full-on assault, particularly if it finds resonance with the media and voters, which I pray it does not.

    For then the kids will lose and we will all lose.  

    And the damage done will continue to be felt for many years.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 9 weeks ago

    From reading your replies...Will, it sounds like you are desperate to find out the Author's name of the letter so you can retaliate, harrass & go out of your way to make life hard for them because you do not share the same belief as the Author. Let it go man & move on!

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 10 weeks ago

    You're bullying. That is lame.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 10 weeks ago

    You claim you withheld the author's name to protect them from possible hassle as a result of expressing their opinion.
    Meanwhile, you have nothing at all to base such a decision on. There have not been personal physical attacks on anyone who has presented their opinion.
    What's more, that letter was not opinion, it was smear. It should not have been printed, name or no name. It was an all out personal attack based on innuendo.
    You claim to support teachers, but when you published that smear, you did not protect them.
    Nuff said.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 10 weeks ago

    "Without this willingness [to spend public funds] no significant educational improvement can be expected. Here there is the predictable bar to effective action when the overriding issues of puiblic costs and possible taxation are encountered."

    These are the words of JK Galbraith, "the Culture of Contentment", p. 181.

    Ayn Rand would disagree, and so would a few other thinkers on her side of centre. Problem is that the proof of who is right and who is wrong will not become evident to the next generation. If decisions made today result in a reduction in the quality of education, the next generation will pay the price for our decisions. The bucks we save today will be of little value then. If decisions made today result in higher educational achievements, the next generation will enjoy benefit of the price we paid while they were still in diapers. 

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 10 weeks ago

    For God’s sake why are people against not only teachers but anyone else having a living wage? Why should anyone have to bring a calculator with them when grocery shopping for fear of not being able to pay? Do you think politicians worry, we pay their wages. Why should the 1% have all the money and be able to have a good life are we not humans a well? They should pay their fare share and we would see a better world. I have a hard time understanding why people are so hard on their fellow humans, is it jealousy that someone will be better off than them or are they just hateful? We see people bitch about anyone that would like to have a better life why is it really?

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 10 weeks ago

    I'm tired of hearing variations of the "if they don't like it, why don't they just get another job".  By the same principle if you're whinning about teacher's high salaries and wonderful benefits, which presumably you help pay for with your taxes - why don't you get a new job which pays more so you can stop whinning about taxes to pay for childrens' education?  Maybe you could even get a job as a teacher?  Or if you don't like paying for government services, why don't you move to a country that doesn't have any taxes, or government services?
    Oh wait, only teachers should have to change profession, or uproot themselves and their families from where they live if conditions aren't perfect.

    Also, anonymous, try to pay attention to the union demands.  Most are about class sizes, and support for the children.  Not about pay. But I don't think asking for pay increases that at least match inflation (specially after no raises for so long) is out of order.  It's not like the cost of those many years of education to become a teacher is getting any cheaper.

    And the last election?  No one party won a majority of the popular vote, nor was education the only issue.  So I don't know how you can twist that to interpret the will of the electorate as being against the teachers.