Letters to the WebWeaver!

Teachers

As I write this, New Brunswick's public school teachers have begun another "Work to Rule" campaign in their on-going contract disputes with the provincial government. By the time you read it, hopefully, this latest round of confrontation will have been concluded and things returned to normal in the schools.

Teachers are frustrated with an increasing feeling that the importance of their work is being marginalized by a government that fails to show any real sense of what education is all about. More and more, classrooms are becoming laboratories for social experimentation at the cost of quality education. Programs that were at one time designed to stimulate intellectual curiosity and growth are now directed to as wide a spectrum as it is possible to concentrate in a classroom of thirty or so students. As a consequence, student performance falls off and teachers bear the brunt of the blame.

In fairness to the present government, this is a situation that had begun to develop under its predecessors who now sit in opposition in the provincial legislature. As a criticism of this government, though, they were supposed to offer a viable alternative to the way things got done back when they took office with their first mandate. That hasn't happened, at least as far as advancing the cause of education in the province is concerned.

I remember several rounds of "work to rule" campaigns when I was teaching. Overwhelmingly, I remember a sense of frustration as a year of hard work on extra-curricular projects was scrapped at the last minute, victim to intransigency against which I protested, always to no avail. I remember, too, the continuance of that frustration and disillusionment that continued into the following year and longer; students who had been disappointed at the curtailing of something important to them during confrontations were reluctant to commit themselves to new projects the following year.

After the last such personal experience, I was led to believe that teachers would not opt for "work to rule" again as a negotiating tactic. It was deemed to be too divisive and altogether unfair to students who, most often rightly, felt that they were being held for ransom.Instead, (as I remember) some form of compulsory arbitration would be used to settle contract disputes. Obviously, someone has blinked at the prospect of submitting "reasonable" negotiating packages to an independent arbitrator for his or her choice. It is a measure of the distrust in that option that teachers feel that they must, once again, resort to what is an effective, although highly distasteful, weapon.

One can only hope (at this writing, at least) that the situation doesn't persist, or accelerate into something worse. Government has to begin to take seriously the critical issue of class size and composition if it really wants to begin to move back in the direction of quality education in this province. Both sides have to begin to pay more than lip service to the truth that they both function for the purpose of serving and educating students, rather than, once again, using them as pawns.

Chantal Kaye

HI there, I'm original from Campbellton but now live in Ottawa. I enjoy going to your site to get the latest news and stuff.

Salmon festival is coming up in the next week or so why don't you have any information on your site about it ??

Cheers

Chantal in Ottawa

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In Answer to your question Chantal

We have contacted a few of the Festival committee members and asked to have a copy of the program in time for us to type it all out and place it on the site but we are still awaiting.. sorry..

Irene

 

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