A Vancouver Island high school student is calling on B.C. premier and education minister to end the ongoing strike.
Meghan Henry is a Grade 9 student at Ladysmith Secondary School.
Henry says she found out last night there will be no school on Tuesday.
“I found it very frustrating because we elected all these people into office and they were appointed to help us with our education,” says Henry. “We are missing school, I can’t get my timetable and I did not get my report card. All these things are stacked against us.”
Last week, Henry sent an open letter to the Premier Christy Clark’s office, education minister Peter Fassbender and the Board of Trustees to voice her concern.
“I feel like it is always the teachers and the government and we are kind of in the middle,” she says.
Christy Clark’s office replied, saying:
We do know how distressing this whole situation is for everyone who is involved and those who are impacted, such as you and your classmates.
Your comments have been noted and we will continue to work towards resolution of this matter. We know how important it is to you, parents, teachers and other students across the province today and for generations to come.
The Board of Trustees replied with:
You have clearly put a lot of thought into this unfortunate situation. We know this dispute has been frustrating all around and we are hopeful that the meeting today between the Minister and the BCTF will be encouraging. Stay tuned, there should be some more news later today.
But Henry says the generic replies are not enough.
“Other provinces, they are not on strike and they are learning right now. And in B.C., we are sitting here and we do not know what to study,” she says.
Henry is 14-years old and does not qualify for the $40/day credit available for parents of school children 13-years old and younger, and says she can’t afford to hire a tutor.
She plans to study on her own, but does not have her timetable, so she is not sure what exactly she is missing.
“I am going to look up the curriculum online and see what I can do to get myself ahead.”
“The teachers are going to have to cram,” she says. “In the end, we just won’t get as much done. Some students may fall really far behind.”
See Meghan’s full letter here:
Dear Ms. Clark and Mr. Fassbender,
My name is Meghan Henry and I am 14 years old and going into 9th grade. I am here to tell you that you have both utterly failed. For a year now, you have been “trying” to negotiate a contract for the teachers. What has changed in that year? The teachers were pushed into a strike by the government and have lost pay. I was denied the right to write my final exams, get my report card, receive my September 2014 timetable and I don’t qualify for the $40/day I could use for tutoring.
Ms. Clark, I really admire your persistence, but I wish you would put your plans out in the open. By the contract you are offering the teachers it is pretty evident that you wanted them to strike. Who can blame you really. It saves you so much money that can be put to use in other ways.
The only problem with having the teachers strike is that students, like me, fall behind. If we don’t go back to school until October or even later our hard working teachers will be forced to cram in all of the material in a shorter amount of time. I am a straight A’s student so for me learning the material faster might not be a problem but for other student it is very detrimental. Aren’t we required to cover all the learning outcomes? Administrators are always stressing the importance of attending classes. You are causing us to miss school and our learning.
Politicians are elected to represent the public and have their best interest. How is cancelling my only source of education in my best interest? My feelings are hurt that you do not care about my education enough to offer a reasonable contract to the teachers.
Only meeting a couple times this summer is unacceptable. In the media before the blackout you were saying that “negotiations were going on”. But in reality you were offering a horrible contract that no one in there right mind would take and having the attitude of “take it or leave it”.
Why would you put a clause in the new contract that rips up the contract after the court decision? It implies that you want to cause more disruption to all students education and that’s not what you were elected for. It is implies you don’t follow the law and contracts. The new BC Education Plan develop by your government promotes the three C’s: Communication, Critical Thinking and Collaboration. Why aren’t you applying this motto to the negotiations?
It’s time to stop playing the blame game and think about your actions. Your actions that affect my life and my education.