B.C. teachers' strike: How some parents are taking action
East Vancouver mom helps launch a PayPal drive for the BCTF's strike fund
A website set up to raise money for B.C. teachers during the ongoing province-wide strike has collected almost $3,000 in its first three days online.
The site, Families Funding Teachers, was set up by parents who say they are angry with the government's decision to compensate them during the teachers' dispute.
"Parents wishing to re-gift their $40/day bribe money can do so easily here," the site says. "All money goes to the PayPal account of the B.C. Teachers' Federation and will be directed toward their strike fund."
- LATEST NEWS | B.C. teachers' strike
- Registration opens for $40-a-day education support pay
- ANALYSIS | After a wasted summer, stalemate rules
Kate Milberry, an East Vancouver mom with a PhD and a specialty in social media, says she helped create and launch the site on Labour Day after a lively Facebook discussion with her community.
She says she was incensed when she first heard of the government's $40-a-day compensation plan—believing that money should be going directly to teachers and education—and likened the payments to a pressure tactic.
"Receiving money from the government could be something that makes them [caregivers] feel better. It certainly could make their lives easier, and they might be more inclined to turn around and pressure teachers to go back to school," Milberry said.
The site is encouraging anyone and everyone — whether they have school-age children or not — to donate funds to the BCTF, and Milberry says the thousands of dollars that have come in is an encouraging response.
"I think it's compelling because people are in fact fronting this money. People don't have the $40 a day in their pockets. They are advancing it to teachers, and I think that really shows a commitment."
Milberry says the BCTF has assured her the money will go into its strike fund and will be used to help cash-strapped teachers.
Making space for classwork
And while many B.C. parents have been scrambling just to find daycare spaces during what is supposed to be the first week of school, some other B.C. parents have been taking more direct action.
- Parents scramble for daycare as B.C. schools remain behind pickets
- Parents in 'panic mode' as B.C. teachers' strike delays school year start
- Day care camps: where are spaces still available?
East Vancouver dad Lars Konge decided to make school happen, whether the province and the B.C. teachers' union are involved or not.
He hired a teacher and turned his living room into a classroom for six children, including his daughter who is enrolled to start Grade 2.
"When they do go back to class, I don't want her to be further behind on the curriculum," he said.
Further west, one Vancouver Island community also decided to make school happen this week.
Lisa Bell, a mother of four, is one of the fill-in teachers guiding roughly 20 students through classwork in the community centre serving Qualicum Bay and Bowser.
"It's really important to keep their brains going. The kids have been out of school for three months now, and it's time to get back to something that is a little more regular," she told CBC News.
Tiera Hodges, another parent-turned-teacher, said no one participating at the temporary school is attempting to replace B.C.'s professional educators.
"We're not trying to undermine the teachers in any way. We're trying to show the public the kids need this," she said.
Keeping football season going
Community coaches are stepping up and making sure high school football is able to get underway despite the teachers' strike.
Kris Pechet, one of the directors of the B.C. High School Football Association, says he's received letters of authorization from 37 school administrations and estimates that 75 per cent of B.C.'s high school football teams will be on the field this fall.
Bill Haddow, an English teacher at Hugh Boyd in Richmond, B.C., and a football coach for the last 38 years, says his team sadly won't be joining them.
"My clock has been set for a long time. I am supposed to be on a football field, I know that. It just hurts, it hurts bad, not to be able to work with those guys and give them the opportunities they want," he said.
For the school teams that do continue, they won't be using school property and will hold games on community fields, Pechet said.
"We have asked every coach and programs that do participate not to cross any picket lines," he said.
Are you doing something to take action while school is out?
Share your story with CBC News in the comments below.
With files from the CBC's Steve Lus and Chris Brown
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.
Become a CBC Account Holder
Join the conversation Create account
Already have an account?