Is education funding sacred or not?

Kamloops Daily News
July 4, 2012 01:00 AM

It won't be business as usual for many teachers this fall - so says Jason Karpuk, president of Kamloops-Thompson Teachers' Association.

A lot of teachers are fed up with volunteering and paying out-of-pocket for things that should be funded by the provincial government, Karpuk says. That amounts for thousands of dollars for some teachers.

"They say if it's not being funded, they guess it's not important. It's disappointing to the teacher."

We have a feeling that Karpuk is wrong, and that most teachers will continue to pitch in with volunteer hours and their own money. Teaching is just too important to them, and they will do what it takes to do the job to the best of their ability.

Still, we almost wish teachers would - every single one of them - stop doing or paying extra. Then we truly would find out what the provincial government considers to be important. We might learn that the government's idea of a good education is much different from what parents and students think it is.

At that point, the pressure would be on. Voters could demand an answer - is education going to be properly funded or not?

Of course, the other result of an end to business-as-usual might be disappointing for teachers. It could be that most people won't notice. Or if they do, they will be willing to live with it. Or maybe parents would be willing to fill they gap with their own money.

Regardless of the outcome, it would bring things to a head. This is important because when governments talk about cutbacks, they almost always say health and education will be spared. They figure that voters will punish them if they cross that line.

If teachers were to stop carrying on business as usual, it would be akin to a cutback. Without teachers tossing money into the pot, there would be less money spent on education, something voters supposedly won't tolerate.

If the provincial government fails to make up the difference - in essence, cuts back on eduction funding - then voters can decide just how sacred education really is to them. If we don't make a fuss, it could very well embolden the government to cut back even more.

So . . . business as usual? Let's hope not.


© Kamloops Daily News

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