The Memorandum of Agreement signed on January 5, 2017 allowed teaching positions to be created while discussions on implementation of the Supreme Court of Canada decision continued

$50 million and 1,100 teaching jobs – the first step in righting 15 years of wrongs

When the $50 million interim agreement between the BCTF and the BC Public School Employers’ Association was announced on January 5, 2017, President Glen Hansman was quick to counter the government’s efforts to take credit. “It’s going to take a significantly higher investment than $50 million to undo the damage this government has done to a generation of students,” said Hansman in his news conference. “It has been almost 15 years to the day since then-Education Minister Christy Clark first brought in the unconstitutional legislation. The work to repair the damage to public education has only just begun.”

Teachers, parents, and the media were also quick to place this increase in funding in its proper context on social media. The new money came because the Federation, with the support of BC teachers, fought for it in the courts, in our schools, and in our communities. The 1,100 new teaching positions did not materialize because the government suddenly cared more about public education. Those new teaching positions are in our schools because the Supreme Court of Canada forced the government’s hand.

The government’s line that they were “excited” to have the opportunity to hire more teachers was seen for what it was—bad political spin.

The Vancouver Sun’s Vaughn Palmer took to Twitter and dampened any government hopes that the agreement would be seen as BC Liberal good will.

For 15 years the government could have reduced class sizes, they didn’t. With proper funding, they could have hired back the specialist teachers their unconstitutional legislation got rid of. They didn’t. This government has had 15 years to do something about the illegal legislation Christy Clark brought in, but they chose to underfund and attack teachers every step of the way.

Making up for that record is going to take a lot more than $50 million. That’s just the down payment.

As we approach election day, May 9, BC teachers, parents and our allies will have to continue putting pressure on the government, MLAs, and potential election candidates to fully implement the stripped language and fully fund the costs.

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