VANCOUVER - British Columbia's education minister says the government has no intention of legislating teachers back to work.

But Peter Fassbender did not immediately commit to or reject a call from the BC Teachers' Federation to bring in a mediator to resolve the dispute.

Fassbender says the province does not want the strike that has shut down public schools to drag on into the summer or fall.

But he said the two parties are not even close to reaching a deal and labelled the latest offer by the teachers' union unrealistic.

Federation president Jim Iker says the union's offer is fair and he accused government of stonewalling the talks.

Teachers have been on picket lines since Tuesday, following three weeks of rotating job action.