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19th Century labour relations for 21st Century education in BC?

Tara Ehrcke

January 3, 2012

In a surprising move, the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) tabled a package that intensifies the attacks and concessions in teacher bargaining.

BCPSEA now wants to remove job security provisions, fair access to assignments and positions, teacher autonomy in professional development and classroom teaching practices, and due processes in teacher evaluation and discipline.

Imposition of this type of relationship would effectively de-professionalize teaching. It is an approach being pursued vigourously in the US, where teachers have less and less ability to meet the individual needs of students as they are forced to conform with new standards, focus on testing rather than creativity and problem-solving, and increasingly have fewer and fewer rights to negotiate collectively.

Rather than respecting the professional opinion of teachers, BCPSEA wants teachers to be subject to directives of the employer in many areas of their work, or else be subject to dismissal. Such an environment of control will put a chill on teachers and reduce creativity, variety and adaptation to student needs.

As one teacher asked, why are they bullying, not bargaining?

A full version of this article is available at

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