Friday, October 18, 2019

Prince Rupert's Correspondence Course in Teacher/Government labour negotiations

It seems that MLA Jennifer Rice and members of the Prince Rupert District Teachers Union just keep missing each other.

That at least appears to be what we can divine of the current state of conversation as delivered through a pair of Letters to the Editor of the weekly newspaper in recent weeks.

The back and forth notes on the state of education in British Columbia have played out in the letters to the editor page of the weekly, offering a glimpse at how the local government member and local membership of the BCTF view the current stalled status of contract negotiations.

The dialogue, of sorts, began following a late September teachers' rally outside the Ocean Centre offices of Ms. Rice, who was out of town at the time and thus could not receive the intercessions of the teachers personally.

The North Coast MLA did however follow up on the rally, penning her thoughts on education by way of an editorial page contribution last week.

An overview of how the MLA views things which has delivered a counterpoint correspondence this week; with Acting President Kathy Murphy putting pen to parchment, or fingers to keyboard, to offer up some rebuttals to the notes of October from Ms. Rice.

The Murphy Manifesto if you will,  opens with a take on the North Coast MLA's comparison of apples to apples of last week, with the eye catching title of "How do you like these NDP apples MLA Rice?"

The first observation is that of student funding and notes how students in BC receive $1,800 less than the national average as well as how British Columbia teachers are the second lowest paid in the country; a situation that in the view of the membership is something that has contributed to a serious problem of recruiting qualified teachers to the community.

The letter then goes on to challenge Ms. Rice's apple to apple notes of last week, chronicling how the current NDP government is very different from that of the party's days of power prior to 2001.

That as the PRDTU rep makes note of the difference in funding for education today, compared to what it was the last time the NDP held the financial levers in the province.

Ms, Murphy's refresher quiz for the MLA highlights an NDP budget which allocated 20 percent to education in 2001, compared to as the Acting President notes, is the less than 11 percent of the 2019 Horgan budget.

She also observes how the current proposals from the government won't improve student learning conditions and will serve to keep the province below the national average.

The full address for the MLA and other interested readers can be found here.

Ms. Rice is out of town again at the moment, so we may have to wait for the next mail delivery at the weekly paper to learn if she has any rebuttal points to share to the lesson plan from Thursday.

While the MLA and her constituent exchange messages through what appears to be their preferred message board, the pace of those negotiations remains rather glacial, with few details emerging from the ongoing blackout that has been put in place during the talks.

Something which only leaves for message making and talking points through social media; most of which is coursing through twitter these days, found from such forums as #Bced and #bctf to name a few.

The few nuggets of information that have been mined from the discussions can be explored through our archive page created to track developments in the dispute, which you can review here.

For more items of interest related to education in the Northwest see our archive page here.

To view the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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