Wednesday, June 4, 2014 100 Mile Free Press
The big sendoff
BCPSEA, BCTF need conversation
he relationship between the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) continues to disintegrate. Their recent duelling press conferences have once again magnified the poor state of contract negotiations in public education in B.C. Public education is the cornerstone of a healthy, productive and innovative society. The current round of negotiations is just the latest chapter in a confusing and complex history; both bargaining groups must sort it out – soon. It appears they have given up on making a real effort to find common ground, and instead focused their efforts on winning a publicity battle that is detrimental to our children and their teachers. We will not accomplish anything until both sides dial back the war of words
and make an honest effort what is best for students, to repair their damaged parents and teachers, and relationship. Unfortunately, the quality of our public the more militant voices education system. in the debate have been Neither side in this amplified, effectively debate should use the drowning out the more end of a school year as reasonable ones. leverage. There Rather than are far too many devising cunning innocent parties ways to apply whose futures public pressure are negatively on each other, impacted by these why don’t the regressive and BCSEA and unproductive BCTF stop negotiating ploys. talking to the There doesn’t media, and start appear to be any Adam communicating commitment to Olsen with each other? find common Both sides ground. Perhaps should be locked it is time for the in the bargaining room and BCSEA and BCTF to go to not allowed out until they counselling because unlike can present a strategic plan an estranged couple, divorce that outlines the pathway is not an option. to a healthy and productive In the short term, let’s relationship. introduce an independent I am not talking about third party to arbitrate a fair a long-term contract. contract. For the medium I am talking about a and long term, British commitment to a new Columbians must demand relationship focused on both parties find a way
he Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) graduation ceremony and prom in 100 Mile House went off without a hitch, and in many ways, it was a community celebration. The two-day celebration began with the graduation ceremonies, which is commonly know as the cap-andgown ceremony, and it began with the Class of 2014 grads doing their processional in front of a packed arena at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre on May 30. There were a lot of smiles, cheers and clapping and more than a few tears shed by parents, relatives and friends as the grads marched out in pairs. PSO principal Vic Brett was the master of ceremonies, and after the singing of O Canada, Canim Lake Band Chief Mike Archie welcomed everyone to the event with drumming, song and a prayer. School District #27 schools superintendent Mark Thiessen, school board chair Tanya Guenther and 100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall gave the official greetings speeches. However, it was Thiessen who caused the biggest stir in the audience when he announced Vic and Edda Brett had officially announced their retirement a few hours before the ceremony began. There was a huge round of well-deserved applause for the Bretts. Joseph Pennock, as well as Kaila Paterson, Mikayla Rottluff and Michelle Contreras provided the musical entertainment. Vic, Geoff Butcher and Ty Lytton presented the diplomas, which was equally enjoyed by the students, parents and the presenters. Cailey Armeneau and Ryan Langford gave the Valedictorian Address to their fellow graduates. The highlight of the evening was the awarding of the Governor General’s Medal to Adrianna Johnson who achieved a 98 per cent average in grades 11 and 12. The Prom was held the next day and it was a huge success and thoroughly enjoyed by the grads, thanks to the hard work and effort of the parents’ Dry Grad Committee. It started with the grads arriving at the arena in their vintage vehicles and all types of unique and interesting forms of transportation. There was a twist this year. The parade mustered at 100 Mile House Junior Secondary and travelled down Birch Avenue, which was lined on both sides with cheering spectators, before making its way to the arena. It was quite the sendoff for the grads who entered their formal education years as wide-eyed youngsters not knowing what to expect. Then they were nurtured and educated by their different sets of caring teachers who prepared them the best they could to go out into the world as secondary school graduates. Whether the grads choose to go on to post-secondary education or to upgrade their trade skills, they will, eventually, be our future leaders – and we wish them good luck in whatever careers they pursue.
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to mend their bitter and unproductive interactions. Let’s focus on an arbitrated contract that will get us through the next two-three years, but keep the mediator around for that period and require all three parties continue meeting until they can reconcile their differences and drastically improve the quality of their negotiations. A strong public education system is the most important investment we can make in our society, and it is not just a longterm investment; the social, economic and cultural benefits of a high quality education are evident immediately. It is not appropriate to let this situation continue to erode; we owe it to our children, their parents and teachers to implement a process to identify the deeprooted issues and resolve them. Adam Olsen is the leader of the BC Green Party.
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