Letters to the Editor

Teaching is undervalued

Re: “Teachers: The writing is on the blackboard,” Letters, The Leader, March 20.

Mr. Sawchuk makes several incorrect assumptions in his diatribe against teachers. First of all, he assumes that because a portion of teachers did not vote when a strike vote was being taken that those teachers would automatically be “no” votes.

Second he likes to skirt the truth about B.C. teachers’ salaries. Teachers in B.C. are taking home $2,000 a month less than their colleagues in the rest of Canada, a ridiculous gap that needs addressing.

Third, the “two week spring break” is in reality a one-week paid break as teachers are forced to work overtime each day in order for the second week of spring break to occur. This is a result of school boards needing to save money in their budgets by closing schools for the extra week. All of this is necessitated by the downloading of school costs onto local boards from the provincial Liberal government.

Fourth, “lieu days” are simply just that. Teachers have worked for those days during the summer when they are not paid and get those days off in lieu of days previously worked.

As for teachers’ pensions, the public should know that 90 per cent of the pension is generated from investments and member contributions and only 10 per cent is funded by the government.

I find it particularly galling that most of the diatribe seems to be coming from men, and that they don’t seem to take umbrage with workers in male-dominated professions having a pension plan or making comparable wages to their colleagues in the rest of Canada.

It seems more and more to me that this is a gender issue where female-dominated professions, like teaching, continue to be undervalued in our society.


Arlene Laing, Surrey

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