Public perception of teachers during labour disputes

What is it about teachers? Their on-the-job performance, their pay, their benefits are polarizing to the parental public. And no more so than right now with BC teachers beginning a strike today and Ontario teachers already in disagreement with their government.

Part One of The Current


It's Monday, March 5th.

Elections Canada says it has received more than 30,000 complaints about robo-calls related to the last Federal election.

Currently, some of the callers admit they went to the right polling station but now think they voted for the wrong party.

This is The Current.

Public perception of teachers during labour disputes

This morning in British Columbia, it won't summon the province's 41,000 teachers to the classroom. They're on the first day of what is expected to be a three day strike. It's the most recent escalation of a contract dispute between the teachers and the B.C. government.

The impasse centres on wages....the government says there is no room for any increase and its back to work legislation is expected to take effect soon.

Both sides seem entrenched.

We heard from BC Teacher Federation president Susan Lambert, followed by Premier Christy Clark.

In Ontario, there are musings that teachers' wages could be frozen and benefits rolled back. And prospects of a labour disruption in that province's schools has some Ontario residents angry at the educators.

That sort of sentiment prompted a teacher in B.C. to write Dale Bass, a reporter and columnist with Kamloops This Week. He described all the extra hours he puts on evenings and weekends, doing things such as marking papers, and how he doesn't earn enough to pay for his own children's post secondary education. We heard from Dale Bass with more.

To discuss the public perception of teachers, especially in times of labour disputes, we were joined by three people. Jon Ferry, is the Metro columnist with The Province newspaper in Vancouver. Anne Whiteaker is president of the Confederation of B.C. Parent Advisory Councils and she was in Victoria. And Nina Bascia is a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at The University of Toronto. And she was in our Toronto studio.

This segment was produced by The Current's Ellen Saenger, Josh Bloch and St. John's CBC producer, Heather Barrett.

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