Teachers’ union has supported education

As a teacher, I was often asked by students how to respond to a bully. Most often, I said, “Walk away, smiling, saying ‘Have a nice day’.”

Dear Editor:

As a teacher, I was often asked by students how to respond to a bully.  Most often, I said, “Walk away, smiling, saying ‘Have a nice day’.”

The reality is responding to a bully often just plays into their hand. It is with that knowledge that I respond to the offending comments, and bullying, that I believe Andy Thomsen committed in your publication.

In an effort to focus on the facts and avoid vicious rhetoric like, “collect about $40 million a year in taxpayer-funded union dues” or “ridiculous increases in salaries and benefits,” which Mr. Thomsen tosses about, I will stick to information, statistics, and facts that can be verified.

First, the B.C. government has lost several Supreme Court cases regarding the ripping up of contracts with evil unions. While not another court loss, the B.C. government settled out of court (for $30 million) with Boss Energy over shady moves regarding mining licensing.

The contract provisions that the government stripped from teachers were protections for class size, the number of special needs students assigned to each classroom, the number of librarians, counsellors, and other support teachers.

The evil union has spent a great deal of teacher money (deducted from our pay cheques) to pay for legal costs, fighting this government, to return funding to school districts so students can have supports they once did.

Thank you Mr. Thomsen for telling teachers that spending their money fighting an illegal act that hurt kids was wrong and greedy.

The reforms in education are nothing more than carefully worded spin to convince the public that spending money on public education is not as worthy as a roof on a stadium, or legal bills, or corporate tax cuts.

The statistics show some interesting things about retired teachers.

These are people that Mr. Thomsen makes the most disparaging of remarks about.

In the 2009 report on the Stats Canada Survey on Volunteering, “top volunteers” gave 14.25 hours a week to causes.

Retired teachers in the Thompson-Okanagan gave 31 hours a week to causes.  Clearly, a few retired teachers made the grade.

Why does Mr. Thomsen have such an issue with retired teachers running for the board of education?

Would he be as disgusted if retired bankers or business people ran for The Chamber of Commerce?

Would it be inappropriate for retired physicians or nurses to run for the local hospital board? That, unfortunately, isn’t a possibility, since the B.C. Liberals did away with health boards and replaced them with appointed authorities.

I submit two questions for your readers, and perhaps, for Mr. Thomsen. First, would great teachers make bad trustees? Second, do you realize the amazing contribution that retired teachers make to your community?

Kevin Epp

Okanagan-Skaha Teachers’ Union



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