Questions asked

Available evidence demonstrates that, despite the province’s financial affairs being in good order, the NDP Government is satisfied to keep school teacher salaries close to the lowest paid in any Canadian province.

Either they’ve fallen for the neoliberal myth that public education should not be a financial priority, or they are worried that potential voters are so persuaded.

Government is OK with paying 7-figure salaries to people who look after money and 6-figure salaries to MLAs and guardians of property. But paying decent remuneration to people educating our children is anathema.

I asked this question five years ago. It remains valid.

If I presented you a professional who holds three university degrees, one a masters, a variety of professional development certificates and has 22 years of faultless experience, what would you say that person should expect to earn in salary?

If I told you that professional is a teacher, would your answer change?

Categories: Education

16 replies »

  1. My expectation would be a salary of between 100 and two hundred thousand a year, teacher or not. Teachers should be on the higher side of that. Ironically, I have a masters degree and over thirty years experience but as an artist people would expect my salary to be next to nothing – and it is.


  2. Norm, trying again:

    G. Barry Stewart, perhaps some of the old campaigners can remind younger teachers about the “Apple Campaign”:

    From the BCTF website:

    “During the first 50 years of our history (1917–1967), there is no evidence of any organizational intervention by the BCTF in the electoral processes of the province. As a teacher organization we had a close working relationship with the Department of Education and the government of the day. However, the Federation’s role was most often subordinate and non-critical. That changed in the 1969 election when the BCTF, on the heels of its “Over 40” campaign, geared to raise public concern about large class sizes, ran its “Apple Campaign,” granting an apple designation to education- friendly candidates.

    This electoral action debut was followed by a dramatic intervention in the subsequent 1972 election when then BCTF president Adam Robertson publicly declared that “We won’t live with it.” He was referring to changes introduced by the Social Credit government of the day, changes that would: restrict a school district’s ability to raise revenue (they had the right to levy local taxes then); chip away at teacher tenure rights; and impose a government ceiling on teacher-arbitrated wage settlements (local bargaining). Teachers were opposed to the government’s actions and strongly supported their organization’s move to influence the upcoming election by calling for the defeat of that government. Thousands of teachers responded by working for opposition parties in that election. The government was defeated.”
    July Morning


  3. July Morning, thanks for that historical reference.

    Great… now teacher-bashers are going to blame us for ICBC and the ALR, LOL!


  4. – First posted May 30, 2014 at 10:18 PM, reposted to correct typo –

    Thanks for the support, Norm! I was wondering when the blogosphere was going to touch on the issue. Laila Yuile debated it this week as well.

    There is an excellent editorial floating around the Black Press papers this week. I won't copy-paste it all — but the closing sentence put it very well: “If something isn’t done to bring some rationality into teacher talks, we’re looking at a future where educators watch the clock rather than attend their duties, both paid and unpaid, and that would be a great loss.”

    Rain or shine, we've been out on the sidewalk in front of our school at recess and lunch this week, as we have been forbidden to do any work at these breaks… basically modified “house arrest.” Our administration has been amazingly kind and supportive through it all. Our beef is not with them at all.

    Our district had its strike day on Monday. No one was surprised that the missed day was already taken off our paycheque for May 30 — but most were shocked/angered when we looked at our on-line pay stubs on Tuesday and saw that the 10% partial lock-out wage reduction was already taken off for the rest of the week. District payroll had been ordered to do this, even though the LRB hearing had not taken place. It would have been far more appropriate to wait to see if their inflammatory jab was upheld. But no: they wanted to poke us in the eye, then kick us on the shin before the cops arrived.

    Most of my teaching days are behind me, so I can roll with the punches… but Christy and her henchmen are doing great damage to the younger teachers, who will be in the system for many years.


  5. – First posted May 31, 2014 at 2:43 AM, reposted to keep with revised comment above –

    Keep your eyes here because I expect to post an extended article about the current education mess. It is written by a person who is a school teacher and a parent. Not a union activist, this individual faults actions on both sides and, most of all, worries that the system is degrading steadily and the quality of learning is less than it could be and less than it needs to be to meet future challenges in a world that grows steadily more competitive.

    I think it is a very thoughtful piece that needs to be read by all. I hope it can be posted by Monday morning.


  6. Thanks for bringing this up again, Norm.

    I’m really puzzled why Mr. Horgan and his gang, after appearing to be on the educator’s side and lambasting the Liberals, for umpteen years, have now taken the same stance.

    Is this another Geoff Meggs directive?


  7. Sooooo.
    It’s not “about the Kids” after all?

    As we have been told again and again in Union ads over previous teachers negotiations until that time worn “its about the kids” arguement wore a tad thin?

    Its about the money.
    Trouble is…….
    Teachers are paid very well for the 8 months of the year they work.
    ( 2 months in Summer off, 2 weeks at Christmas, 2 weeks Spring break and the 2 weeks of “professional development” ……. apparently those high salary university degrees require constant upgrading).

    Sorry, but.if the teachers dont like their “starvation” salaries, their union protection, their pensions……go work somewhere else.

    This taxpayer has paid enough.
    The ICBC fiscal dumpster fire rate increases is enough for one year thankyouverymuch.


    • Pro D days in SEPT after 2 months of summer break?
      Pro D days every month of the school year?

      WHAT, in God’s name do teachers need to be “professionally developed” for on a monthly basis,
      YEAR after YEAR after YEAR after YEAR.

      Spare me.
      Pro D days are nothing more than a union perk negotiated in lieu of a salary or vacation increase.
      Funny thing .
      Ever notice Pro D days ALWAYS seem to be tacked on to the beginning or the end of a weekend ( or better yet a Long weekend).
      Tis a rare Pro D day in the middle of a week.
      Just sayin.
      And judging by the amount of students that go immediately into “after school” tutorials…… Professional Development seems to be making teachers even worse.
      Heres an idea.
      How about wiping out all Pro D days and spend more time with your students in class ( instead of endless field trips).
      Or better yet.
      You can all repaint the fading colors on the crosswalk every month.

      Health and Education takes 80% of every tax dollar collected.
      That leaves 20% for police, courts, parks, highways, snow removal, forest fire fighting, on and on and on.

      Pass a Law.
      No more than 80% of every tax dollar allowed for Health and Education.spending.
      Then sit back and watch the teachers and nurses unions eat each other alive.
      Solidarity forever indeed.

      This taxpayer has had it.
      And I’m not alone
      The NDP know that if they knuckle under for the teachers the nurses will be standing with their hand out next, threatening to “leave” if they dont get what they want.
      Fine .
      Go see how “green” it is on the other side of the fence.
      The private sector, non union, unpensioned hard scrabble rabble that pay the majority of the tax revenue of this province have had it.
      Cry us a river of tears.
      That fiscal boat is still sinking.
      And we refuse to bail it out again and again and again.

      rant over


  8. Maybe its about the provincial share of $4.6 billion to build 12.8 km of rapid transit?

    Every time a new SkyTrain line is built, schools and hospitals close.


  9. You will need to get your facts straight nonconfidence. ProD days were bargained for by inserting those in the school year but at the same time extending the school year also, but with no extra pay. So even if you take out all those ProD days, you don’t save money as they are non-paid days and the school year is shortened.


  10. Noncon,
    Perhaps I wasn’t asking the right questions in my search tool… but I could find no definitive chart on where our BC provincial tax dollars go (as separate from federal and municipal). I’d like to see a chart, if you know of one. You’d think the government would make things easy! There’s way too much chaff on the internet.
    What I did find was this 2016 article, showing the decline in per pupil funding, since the Gordon Campbell days. If it’s been declining, something else has been going up. Teachers are looking for a correction to that trend: for students and, yes, for themselves.


  11. Noncofidencemotion, an average facebooker, reading your piece above, would naturally become enraged with such blatant featherbedding and thievery of tax dollars.

    But, we aren’t all facebookers and some like to do their own research and fact checking; Mr. G.B. Stewart being one of them.

    You can be cut some slack though, because it seems likely your keyboard turns singulars into plurals and adds random days to your researched curriculum. Here, let me show you:
    “Pro D days (plural) in SEPT.”
    “Pro D days (plural) every month of the school year.”
    “WHAT, in God’s name do teachers need to be “professionally developed” for on a monthly basis, YEAR after YEAR after YEAR after YEAR.” There’s those random additional days, I mentioned.

    But, to be fair and not hastily judge or suggest hyperbole on your part, I took a quick peek at my local school district calendar and discovered it is vastly different from where you reside.

    Victoria School District:
    Professional Development Days: (non-instructional days) 2019-2020.
    September 23, 2019
    October 25, 2019
    November 22, 2019
    February 14, 2020
    May 15, 2020
    One additional day with date to be chosen by each school.

    Seems to me that adds up to 6 out of 10, in session school months, or did a clerical error miss December, January, March, April and June?

    I’m so confused.


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