The new plan by the province to pay parents $40 a day per child for every day the teachers’ strike drags on into September is not the worst idea in the world. Let’s face it, many parents need financial help with finding child care.
Of course, it would be better for everyone – parents, teachers, government and especially kids – if the government was focused on actually ending the strike.
It seems that the teachers were expecting that the cash saved by the strike would eventually be plowed back into education in this province, at least partially meeting their demands for smaller class sizes, better support for special needs kids, and a salary bump.
So giving the money away might be popular with parents in the short term. In the long run, it will likely be less popular if it stretches out the strike. That $40 per kid only goes so far.
It is nice to see that, after a month of inaction, both sides are going back to the bargaining table Aug. 8. This time they need to stay there and make peace, one way or another. Take the bargaining teams out for a Vancouver Canadians game and a couple of beers to make them friendlier. Buy a steel shipping container and lock them inside in the hot sun until they crack and compromise. Pay for a horde of conflict-resolution experts.
At this point, maybe some marriage counselling? The whole battle has become so vicious it seems more like a drawn-out divorce than contract talks.
Our biggest question isn’t why are the government and teachers still at each other’s throats, but why did it take this long to finally get everyone to come back and start talking again?
Summer school may have been largely cancelled, but both sides in this dispute should still have their backsides in seats and their pencils sharpened. Keep them there until they graduate to a new contract.