Teachers and Social Responsibility
• Children are good at concealing poverty,but they can’t hide it from their teachers
• Hunger halts learning
One in Five Children Lives in Poverty
Every day, teachers see the effects of poverty on students. Teachers know that hungry children can’t learn properly and insecure families can’t provide a nurturing learning environment. Teachers know that education is an antidote to poverty. That is why teachers defend public education, and work with other citizens to defend the broad range of social policies that help make our society more equitable.
The BCTF has, throughout its history, recognized that quality public education for all can grow and develop only in an atmosphere of social and economic justice. Teachers see adequate income and health and social services as part of an integrated whole. For that reason, we have taken a stand on the broad range of social-policy questions facing our province and country—and, these days, Canadians face many such issues.
Current government policies have abandoned not only social programs dedicated to equity but also the objective of full employment. Teachers don’t believe that governments have the mandate to break their commitments to citizens—commitments to maintain adequate resources for fundamental programs such as Medicare, social services, Employment Insurance, and education.
There Is an Alternative
During the past decade, the number of children living in poverty in Canada has risen by 362,000—39%—as governments systematically cut social programs. We were told, “We have no alternative.” It often seems that the only government priority has been to cut taxes—regardless of the human cost. Social policy has been sacrificed to tax reduction. While the BCTF accepts that the public debt is a serious problem, it does not accept that debt should be—or can be—solved by cutting social spending. Many economists have shown that cutting social and other government spending increases deficits by taking money out of the economy and causing long-term social dislocation.
We call upon governments to develop a strategic plan for rebuilding Canada’s public financing capabilities through:
1. A systematic approach to job creation.
2. Maintain low interest rates.
3. Ensuring that corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
4. Increased taxes on wealth.
5. Regulation of cross-border capital transfers.
Did You Know?
Compared with children in families having adequate income, children in low-income families have:
• half the participation rate in organized sports
• one-third higher incidence of lower math scores
• twice the incidence of delayed vocabulary scores
• twice the incidence of poorer health, such as poorer vision, hearing, speech, mobility, dexterity, cognition, and emotional disorders.
Children in low-income families do not have the same life chances as children growing up in families with adequate incomes. (BC’s Campaign 2000)
To order additional copies of this brochure or other BCTF publications, call the BCTF Communications Department.
|The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation is 44,000 teachers, working together to achieve goals adopted by its founders more than 80 years ago: to promote the cause of education, to raise the status of the teaching profession, and to promote the welfare of teachers.