This blog post has had a correction made to it. I have been informed that Susan Lambert has never refused to meet with the Minister of Education.
Today, while talking with Stephen Quinn on CBC Radio One, George Abbott, BC’s Minister of Education, issued a personal invitation to Susan Lambert (president of the BCTF) to sit down and discuss the government’s intentions, on a without prejudice basis;
“At numerous points over the past several months, I have offered to sit down with [BCTF President] Susan [Lambert] on a without-prejudice basis—she and her team and I and my team—to take the time to walk through all of the things that we are aiming to achieve with respect to evaluation, professional development, hiring, all of those,and many other issues around class size and composition. On each occasion, she has declined to sit down with me.
There are plenty of opportunities for her and for the leadership of the TF to explore those issues, either with me or certainly they can explore them with the mediator, Dr Charles Jago, on a without-prejudice basis as well, but again they appear resolute in not exploring any of those opportunities.”
[Quinn asks, “What would Ms. Lambert and the BCTF have to gain by sitting down and talking to you right now?”]
“Well, the first thing they could gain would be an understanding of what it is we want to achieve, rather than filling in their vacuum around understanding with all of the assumptions about nefarious goals by the government. They clearly do not understand where we’re wanting to go there, and on every occasion I’ve been rebuffed when I’ve made the offer that I’d love to clarify those issues with them, because, again, we’re not inventing any new here: What we want to get is some consistency across the province in those areas, rather than having sixty different versions of all those things, which I think is inappropriate in a provincial system.”
Correction here; I previously claimed that Susan Lambert has refused to meet with the minister. Apparently this is not true. According to the BCTF Lambert has never refused to meet with the minister. Additionally, I have been informed that if George Abbott was serious about meeting with Susan Lambert he would write a letter to her, not issue an invite over the CBC. I stand corrected.
Stephen Covey, author of the classic book on success states that one of the first rules of highly successful people is the ability to first seek to understand and then to seek to be understood. It appears that George Abbott is willing to help Lambert understand the goals the ministry of education is working towards.
It remains to be seen if Susan Lambert and the rest of the TF table officers will accept this latest olive branch.
To listen to the Stephen Quinn – George Abbott interview in its entirety, visit the CBC Radio One website.