Our take: Leave the kids out of future contract talks

In the ongoing debate about the teachers contract dispute, there have been two sides: either you’re with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, or you’re with the B.C. Liberal government.

Frankly, we’re not with either.

And despite both sides paying heavy lip service to this being “about the kids” we’ve yet to see any evidence of it from either camp.

Teachers want a wholly unrealistic wage increase and the government is doing an admirable impression of Ebenezer Scrooge as it has watched classroom conditions deteriorate without lifting a finger.

We’re not particularly sympathetic to either side. We are, however, incredibly sympathetic to students.

And we’re going to make the argument that in this labour dispute, students shouldn’t be in the equation at all.

Because a labour contract should be just that: a labour contract. Wages. Benefits. Hours, overtime and safety.

Throwing educational concerns into the mix has made things far too complicated. There’s too much to negotiate.

Hash out a strictly labour-related contract. Then bring in an independent auditor tasked with determining what’s required from an educational point of view. Let that person mandate classroom size and composition, and hold both sides responsible for making it happen.

We just can’t trust teachers, or the government, to keep educational concerns at the forefront during these talks. One side is coming across like a spoiled, petulant child. The other is a heavy-handed bully.

So teachers and the government can best serve students by keeping them out of the labour dispute.

Fight to fatten your wallet or balance your budget in the appropriate venue, and stop holding our kids hostage in the meantime.

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