I am a teacher at a rural high school located south of Calgary.
My parents, upon reading the appalling letter from Dale Stuart published on Sept. 25, forwarded it to me.
I fear that if I don’t respond, the Advocate will not be an advocate of anything but misinformation.
I am not setting out to change minds about the quality of teachers and whether or not they should get a raise. Every person has their minds made up. Even a few members of my family still don’t think I should get paid for what I’ve gone through university to achieve, so if I can’t convince them, I can’t convince anyone.
I am setting out to pull back the blinds on the situation at hand.
Stuart reminds us that the government, who are teachers’ bosses, are actually the citizens of Alberta. I didn’t realize it was Stuart who signed my contract. Last I checked, it was signed by the minister of education.
If Stuart had indeed signed it for me, I would be bringing my concerns to him. He didn’t and I’m not.
The people who indeed signed my contract back in 2008, we’ll call them “the government,” are now telling us they aren’t going to honour the contract.
Instead of using the formula they are contracted to use, they came up with their own. We still get a raise, but it isn’t what we were contracted to receive.
In essence, they are breaking the deal. A deal, I might add, that teachers were told to sign or else.
Isn’t that a bit closer to the extortion and blackmail that Stuart suggests the Alberta Teachers’ Association endorses?
Let’s put it into context.
Back in 2007, Premier Ed Stelmach gave himself a raise that was equivalent to my entire yearly salary. In effect, he stated he was worth not just three of me like before, but he was actually worth four of me.
Even more, each MLA got a similar 30 to 34 per cent raise. Apparently their yearly raises calculated by the Alberta Average Weekly Earnings Index wasn’t good enough.
Hang on, MLAs get raises based on the Weekly Earnings Index? Isn’t that what the teachers’ raise was supposed to be calculated on? Where is the 30 to 34 per cent raise the rest of us voting citizens should have received?
You voted “the government” in, they paid themselves, then they signed my contract. You made your bed, now lie in it.
When “the government” chooses not to honour their agreement, they reduce the value of my contract to the same as the toilet paper Stuart serves his line of misinformation on.
If “the government” is not going to honour teachers’ contracts, who’s contract is next? The companies who are “contracted” to repair our roads? The companies who are “contracted” to run our ambulances? The nurses?
There was a time when a man’s marker was his reputation. I guess “the government’s” marker is now the value of toilet paper.
It makes me look into the future and say, “Oh boy!”