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pending teachers strike, BCTF and the gov't

May 23, 2014, 3:35 p.m.
Posts: 433
Joined: Feb. 9, 2011

So having two parents as teachers, and my sister is also a teacher, I can tell you this first hand. Class size and special needs help is HUGE issue. It's severely effecting kids educations, especially in the elementary and middle school levels. My Mom in last year of teaching had five special needs kinds in her class of 34ish students, and it almost drove her to stress leave, and she never quit anything in her life (a aneurysm burst and killed her the end of that year, coincidence?). Teachers are also very underpaid for the work they do, and the time they put in. More so at the entry levels, but still at the upper level.

Also, don't fool yourself into thinking the BCTF truly represents teachers interests either. I mean they do in certain respects, but they're also they same union that's keeping the bad teachers in jobs. Also, seniority rules for all teaching jobs, which isn't necessarily a good thing in teaching. My Dad was an administrator (principle), and he found it next to impossible to fire a teacher, or to hire one who he thought was best for the job.

I guess my point is change is needed much more widely than just contract negations. Yes, teachers need better contracts (which should only focus on salary, benefits, etc.), but also major changse is needed at both the Provincial level, and at the union level.

May 23, 2014, 3:40 p.m.
Posts: 433
Joined: Feb. 9, 2011

and get to hang out with 17 yr old chicks.

Most of your statement is no longer correct, but I'm assuming you don't care about facts after that fucking stupid comment.

May 23, 2014, 3:57 p.m.
Posts: 14369
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

Teachers are also very underpaid for the work they do, and the time they put in. More so at the entry levels, but still at the upper level.

How so?

Given that pay is to a certain extent, a function of supply and demand, and that there is an oversupply of teachers, and that the average salary is ~71K for a teacher and the average salary of a BC employee is ~44K - I'd say they are doing pretty well.

May 23, 2014, 4:02 p.m.
Posts: 11495
Joined: June 29, 2006

How so?

Given that pay is to a certain extent, a function of supply and demand, and that there is an oversupply of teachers, and that the average salary is ~71K for a teacher and the average salary of a BC employee is ~44K - I'd say they are doing pretty well.

Is 44K the average for someone with the same level of education?

May 23, 2014, 5:08 p.m.
Posts: 14369
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

Is 44K the average for someone with the same level of education?

Fair point, but for comparison's sake - a quick search finds that for an individual with at least a bachelor degree, the average salary is ~68K. (Using the calculator here: http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2013/09/12/how-much-money-do-people-just-like-you-make-2/ and using ALL for gender, ethnicity and city)

So still not bad given that we need 900 new teachers to fill vacancies annually, but we graduate 1800 (and potentially have even more still with influx from outside provinces)

May 23, 2014, 5:11 p.m.
Posts: 14369
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

Also, that's just a salary comparison. How many private sector workers are getting Defined Benefit Pension Plans these days? Thats an incredibly valuable benefit (I might math it out later out of curiosity)

*got bored, so I googled RRSP calculator and plugged in numbers to generate a 76K/yr RRSP… took about 1K/month for 35 years (at 8%), but that amount would only last 25 years (unlike DBPP, which is not only perpetual, but often transferable to a spouse).
http://www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca/tools-and-calculators/rrsp-savings-calculator/rrsp-savings-calculator.aspx#.U3_mMCe9KSM

May 23, 2014, 5:25 p.m.
Posts: 1611
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Teacher salary grid in this school district is $42,800 to $86,800.

Add to that benefits and indexed pension.

Teachers are not underpaid by relevant measure, no matter how many hours you think they work. We have students starting in our firm who have 5 years of university under their belts and are still doing another 3 years of articles to get their quals, any one of whom would kill to make as much as a teacher at the lowest rung of their salary scale.

92 cents of every dollar spent in the school system is spent on teacher costs, one teacher here told me after the last strike that after the increase, he had less money in his take home pay because he paying more tax, and his dues check off to BCTF went up.

This is about the BCTF once again wanting to flex their muscles and prove that they are the real government n the province, all the while looking at how much more money they will sweep out of the public purse straight into the BCTF accounts.

The government need PR lessons, but they are not the devils in this mess.

Thank god my kids are finished. Now if I could talk one of them out of wanting to be a teacher …..

interesting, lots to respond to here.

quickly though, you feel that the value of work done by someone who's articling is the same as someone who's teaching a child?

curious as to where you got the 92 cents figure from, that seems high to me.

and you really think this is about the bctf wanting to "flex their muscles?" i just had a conversation with one of the patron here whom i've known for quite some time. he's also been a teacher for 29 years. yes i realize his thoughts may be biased, but talk to any teacher who been in the system for more than a dozen years and they will tell you that there has definitely been a gradual decline in the level of education that can be provided. i asked him if teachers had a choice between raises or money to improve the classroom most would take money for the classrooms as they have done in the past.

as an aside i asked his thoughts on the idea of the percentage of teachers that are in it just for the job and he figures it's less than 5%, that the vast majority of teachers are there because they want to do the job. those that don't want the job typically don't last very long because it's too difficult an environment to be in if you don't want to be there.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity ~ Seneca

May 23, 2014, 5:26 p.m.
Posts: 1611
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Also, that's just a salary comparison. How many private sector workers are getting Defined Benefit Pension Plans these days? Thats an incredibly valuable benefit (I might math it out later out of curiosity)

for me this is the one thing that makes their total compensation package fair or even more than fair.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity ~ Seneca

May 23, 2014, 5:42 p.m.
Posts: 168
Joined: Dec. 30, 2004

I do not believe teachers are underpaid, with the pensions they get and the benefit packages it is quite an attractive compensation package; combine that with getting 3 months off a year and I can see why there are more teachers than there are jobs out there for them.

Teachers say it is all about the kids yet they refuse to negotiate on their pay packages (or is this just the BCTF??) and are insisting on a 15% raise over the contract period when many other public unions settled for far less in recent negotiations.

If class size and the number of special needs kids per class were the primary issues for teachers then they would drop their demand for the 15% raise accept the wage increase the govt is offering and negotiate on class size only.

It would be interesting to hear how much in union dues the BCTF collects each year as well as what the union execs all get paid.

I think that the BCTF needs to go, I do not know exactly how it should be replaced but the present situation does not work. Maybe each school district should deal with the hiring and wage demands of the teaching and admin staff for that district??

If a teacher is doing a poor job and/or not living up to job expectations in other ways they should be able to be fired. Wage increases should not be automatic but should be based on some sort of criteria other than another year goes by so i get a raise…..the whole union entitlement mentality needs to be changed.

The situation is a mess, both sides are at fault, although i feel it is more on the BCTF than the govt.

May 23, 2014, 6:04 p.m.
Posts: 433
Joined: Feb. 9, 2011

There's a lot that goes into salary, but just looking at the range doesn't give you an appropriate view on how they're actually paid. A large number of teachers are cat 4 or 5, so they're already in a smaller bracket, with very few making above 50k (explanation coming). In the new system you can get to 5+ easier if you do a separate undergrad, as teacher training will give you a full second bachelor degree. but cat 6 you need a masters. Also you can't start going up your "steps" until you're on a continuing contract (the loophole that keeps many teachers in the low pay brackets), and how quickly you move up the steps depends on how what your contract is for (.7, .8, 1.0, etc.). Some teachers can spend years without a continuing contract, stuck at the lowest pay scale.

Also, teachers from the older system can be stuck in an even lower category that doesn't exist for new teachers. My Mom did her teaching undergrad in the 70's, and was able to get a teaching certificate after three years of university. So that meant she doesn't even have a degree at all (which was fine and normal back then). She made under 30,000/year many times, even with 20+ years experience. Extremely unpaid.

And say what you will, but most teachers I know put in 60+ hours a week. People love to argue this point, and I know some teachers don't, but I've seen it first hand more often than not.

Regarding the BCTF - who only really speaks for a small percentage of teachers according to my sister, I've seen what she pays in union dues, they're definitely not getting their money's worth.

May 23, 2014, 6:08 p.m.
Posts: 5998
Joined: April 10, 2005

As soon as normal folk such as yourselves start bad-mouthing working class folk like teachers, the corporate bigwigs [HTML_REMOVED] politicians have you where they want you. Ever heard of divide [HTML_REMOVED] conquer? That's what is happening when the working class fight amongst themselves. Our attention [HTML_REMOVED] anger should be going towards the fat cats who vote themselves huge raises, not middle class people who are trying to make a go of it. As for people's statements about public sector employee's "huge pensions"…that money is deferred wages [HTML_REMOVED] costs the taxpayer nothing. Employers actually save money when their employees switch to a PSPP pension.

May 23, 2014, 6:12 p.m.
Posts: 433
Joined: Feb. 9, 2011

I think that the BCTF needs to go, I do not know exactly how it should be replaced but the present situation does not work. Maybe each school district should deal with the hiring and wage demands of the teaching and admin staff for that district??

If a teacher is doing a poor job and/or not living up to job expectations in other ways they should be able to be fired. Wage increases should not be automatic but should be based on some sort of criteria other than another year goes by so i get a raise…..the whole union entitlement mentality needs to be changed.

I would agree with all this, and the teachers I know would as well.

The situation is a mess, both sides are at fault, although i feel it is more on the BCTF than the govt.

The education system/school/districts are extremely poorly funded, and not well run by the current government. Once again the teachers I know tell me this is the biggest issue by far. The BCTF seems to fighting their own "battle", and not pushing for the real needs. It's the perfect case of the few speaking (incorrectly) for the many.

May 23, 2014, 6:37 p.m.
Posts: 7707
Joined: Sept. 11, 2003

Teachers are not underpaid by relevant measure, no matter how many hours you think they work.

In BC you could argue they are on the basis that BC teachers are the lowest paid in Canada, according to Statistics Canada

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-604-x/2013001/tbl/tbld2.1-eng.htm

Add on top of that the high cost of living (housing, gas etc) in many of the population centres in BC, relative to most of the rest of Canada.

Not arguing about who is worth how much, but if you think teachers in BC are not underpaid compared to teachers in the rest of the country, you are mistaken.

And didn't Christie Clark give her inner circle of aides up to 18% pay raises last year?

May 23, 2014, 7:13 p.m.
Posts: 14369
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

. As for people's statements about public sector employee's "huge pensions"…that money is deferred wages [HTML_REMOVED] costs the taxpayer nothing. Employers actually save money when their employees switch to a PSPP pension.

It's a net benefit to the teacher and should be included when looking at or discussing their total compensation package.

May 23, 2014, 7:38 p.m.
Posts: 3368
Joined: Dec. 10, 2002

The situation is a mess, both sides are at fault, although i feel it is more on the BCTF than the govt.

The situation is a mess but to primarily fault the teachers shows complete ignorance to how the Gov has been dealing with teachers for 12 years.

2002 Bill 28 legislated that the right to bargain for class size and teacher supports. 1500 teacher librarians, ESL teachers, special ed Teachers and counsellors were laid off.

2011 the BC Supreme court ruled that the legislation was unconstitutional.

2012 Bill 22 passes that many felt was virtually identical to Bill 28 that was ruled to be unconstitutional.

2014 bill again struck down by the court as unconstitutional and further it was ruled that the Lib Gov "strategy was to put such pressure on the union that it would provoke a strike by the union." -Madam Justice Susan Griffin

The decision was appealed by the BC Gov. More limbo.

I recently had a child start Kindergarten. There were 3 un-identified special needs kids in her class of 22. It was chaos. Many parents were reporting that their kids who were once excited to attend school were crying in the AM not to go. 8 kids ended up being pulled from the class before Xmas. Most ended up in private schools. We were the last to pull out. Our kid who was super pumped on school now wanted to avoid the place. She had been super happy and easy going in daycare and was used to being apart from us during the day. We ended up paying for schooling for 2.5 years that we couldn't really afford. I feel this is a direct result of this Govs policy towards public education.

The Premier and former Minister of Ed sends her kid to private school. Does anyone wonder why? I wonder how many other MPs send their kids to private school Christy obviously knows how messed the situation is.

"May a commune of gay, Marxist Muslim illegal immigrants use your tax dollars to open a drive-thru abortion clinic in your church."

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