Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Will the teachers listen to Buzz?

                                                             High School Kids.

Dear Readers,

This afternoon, I bring you verbatim, an interesting update on the Teachers dispute with the government, by Laura Kane and Kristin Rushowyof the the Toronto Star, titled 'Buzz Hargrove calls on teachers to resume extracurriculars. Below is my response and below that, room for your comment, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

As Toronto elementary and secondary teachers gear up for a Tuesday rally — one scheduled for after school, now that daytime protests have been deemed illegal — their unions are facing increasing calls to bring back extracurricular activities or risk losing public support. And it’s not just students and parents asking for the return of sports and clubs in Ontario schools — one of the province’s best-known labour leaders also says now is the time.

“It’s very difficult to accomplish anything if you don’t have public support, and I’m concerned that they’re losing it because of the withdrawal of extracurricular activities,” said Buzz Hargrove, former president of the Canadian Auto Workers Union. While he believes it is Dalton McGuinty who deserves the “lion’s share” of the blame for the current strife, by forcing contracts on teachers through Bill 115, the loss of support for both teachers and the Liberal government could lead to a Tory premier.

“It’s kind of a pox on all your houses by the general public, and unfortunately that could very well lead in the election to Tim Hudak and the Tories, who are going to be much tougher with teachers and unions.” He said the unions should focus now on the Liberal leadership contest and upcoming election. “I’d also try to convince the new premier to come back to the table and see if there’s a way to resolve some of the issues the teachers are so offended by,” he said.

Hammond, who was not available for an interview, tweeted Monday: “We hope to meet with the next Premier & have a full and frank discussion about a number of issues.” That sentiment was echoed by Michael Barrett, president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, who said, “I see no movement at all until that point, after the 25th, the Liberal leadership convention.”

One side “has to blink,” he added. “But I think that’s a tough one, because teachers don’t have much left in their arsenal” after a court ruled early last Friday that the elementary teachers’ one-day protest was actually an illegal strike, and shut it down. “But public opinion is shifting,” noted Barrett, a trustee with the Durham District School Board. “I’m starting to see a lot of anger. There’s still a lot of support, but I’m seeing more anger with regards to the situation.”

Toronto District School Board Trustee Howard Goodman, in his newsletter to parents, said he can’t understand the teacher unions’ tactics. “Personally, their position baffles me, as I see it reducing support for the valid complaints that the unions (and boards) have raised about Bill 115.” Advocacy and research group People for Education’s forum on this topic said webviews are up as more and more parents talk about the issue.

Annie Kidder said parents are now talking about “what teachers would have to do in order to get parents’ support back,” with the suggestion that if extracurriculars resume, parents would be willing to organize a demonstration in support of teachers and against Bill 115. “I think, as this goes on, it becomes harder for parents to stay completely on-side,” he added. “Even for the ones who were, after a while you’re not so much remembering a wrong that’s been done in some people’s minds, but you’re seeing the continued day-to-day impact in your kids’ school.”

While Hargrove does not believe that the leadership of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is too militant — he says they are reflecting the mood of teachers — he does think most teachers would support the return of extracurricular activities. He added that ETFO and its president Sam Hammond should have remained at the bargaining table longer before Bill 115 was passed.

“I haven’t talked to Sam Hammond, but the government claims they were only at the bargaining table for an hour ... I think if I’d been heading up the organization we would have tried to make the best of a bad situation by staying at the bargaining table,” he said.

                                                                High School Kids.

my response.....

While these Labour folks are incensed by what is happening in Ontario and have lead the charge to cut out extracurricular activities in protest by warning it won't be "business as usual," does this action only perpetuate the tawdry behaviour of those who should know better and continues to victimize kids?

This you tube provides a little more detail....

Using "unprecedented, autocratic" legislation to dictate contracts, then promising to repeal the anti-democratic law is a "disgraceful misuse of government power," Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario has gone on record as saying  "Unprecedented, autocratic legislation to dictate contracts, then promising to repeal the anti-democratic law is a disgraceful misuse of government power and every working person in this province should be alarmed by the steps taken by this minister of education today."
                                                            More High School Kids.

So, in his own words, we have a Union leader lamenting the loss of the good old days of government malfeasance and in a you tube video, we have a government doing an abrupt about face. Thankfully, there is a movement afoot to provide kids with extracurricular activities provided by parents. Is this to provide kids with what they need without teacher involvement? Do we even need teachers involved in extracurricular activities for our kids? Do we even want teachers involved in extracurricular activities for our kids? Is this just a temporary backlash or will this turn into a popular revolt? Besides, what kind of lessen have our kids been taught through this experiment?

                                                       Even More High School Kids.

A free online network www.Schooltree.org says they have provided over 5000 Ontario schools with live community web pages where parents can connect with local school administrators and each other safely, easily and privately. According to their website, "Not every parent can take a day off work and many find it hard to stay on top of news developments," says Schooltree.org Director Jono Landon. "They're scrambling to make arrangements that aren't always the most reliable." Schooltree.org allows parents a safe, private forum to share updates and work together to save programs under threat from the continued teachers' ban on voluntary activities. "People are trying to make up for their kids' lost sports and extracurriculars to whatever degree they are able," explains Landon, who speaks with parents across Ontario. "They're stepping up to support each other and school programs for the sake of the kids."

                                                              Elementary School Kids.

As Buzz suggests, if I were a Union leader, I would also be concerned that the teachers are losing public support because of their withdrawal from providing extracurricular activities, 'which could very well lead to an election win for Tim Hudak and the Tories, who are going to be much tougher with teachers and unions'!
Will the teachers listen to Buzz or is it already too late? What do you think?

                                                          More Elementary School Kids.

nb...this is not an endorsement for Schooltree.org and parents should do their own due diligence.


 bio at about.me/brianweller 
 Today's tweet......

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