Do the teacher’s have a tenable position? Have the students and parents been left in the lurch by teachers?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  December 18, 2012  The province released a statement earlier today setting out, from their perspective, just what the issues are in the current labour differences between the province and the Elementary School Teachers Federation of Ontario as well as the Ontario Secondary Students Teacher’s Federation.

The province is just one side of the story.  We have had email from several dozen parents with view points but there has not been an article they could comment on.

Here is the province’s position as sent to us by the Liberal Party of Ontario.

Appreciate that the Liberal Party is in the midst of a leadership contest and that the candidates will jockey for position and favour from those that have registered as members of that political party.  It will be interesting to see what we get in the way of comment from the teaching profession.

I will bet a decent lunch that we hear from Cory Judson within an hour of publishing.

Elementary school students in the public system have shut down schools for a day as they rolled out their strike action across the province.  Do they have a tenable issue?


Since 2003, we’ve worked together with our teachers to raise student achievement — test scores and the graduation rate are way up and our schools have been called the best in the English-speaking world. When people talk about excellence in education, Ontario is part of the conversation along with places like Singapore, Finland and South Korea. This progress for students and parents was achieved in partnership with teachers — and that’s why we raised teacher pay and improved working conditions more than any previous government. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Thirteen years of NDP and PC governments left Ontario’s teachers under appreciated, undervalued and underpaid. When we had the privilege of forming government in 2003, we made a commitment to improve teachers’ working conditions. And we did.
  • Prior to 2003, teacher compensation had not kept pace with their contributions in the classroom. That’s why over the last nine years, teacher salary rates have increased by 22 to 25 per cent.
  • Prior to 2003, teachers did not have enough prep time. That’s why over the last nine years, teachers have been provided four hours of paid prep time outside the classroom, up from about 2.5 hours.
  • Prior to 2003, teachers did not have the support they needed to provide individual attention to our students. So we hired 13,400 more teachers to make class sizes smaller and 11,745 support staff to help. There are also 4,500 more specialist teachers now working in elementary schools, helping with music, drama, art and physical education.
  • As some teachers now engage in one-day legal job actions aimed at our government, it’s important to note that the legislation they protest is the same legislation that will protect their wages, prep time and jobs for the next two years.
  • The recession has left Ontario with a deficit, and the global economy is still uncertain, so we need to make wise choices, while protecting these gains in education. We choose to increase spending in the classroom and keep full day kindergarten while freezing teacher pay for two years.
  • In February 2012, as we sought negotiations with teachers on a new collective agreement, we asked for a two-year pay freeze and an end to the practice of paying out up to 200 banked sick days upon retirement. It was a tough negotiation with one union taking their leave from the table after less than an hour of negotiating, never to return.
  • Others persevered and the government reached negotiated Memorandum of Understanding with our Catholic and French teachers and some support staff. And as the school year got underway, we introduced the Putting Students First Act, Bill 115, which is based on these negotiated agreements.

The Hudak PCs have been clear — they’d cut full-day kindergarten, firing teachers and sending 4- and 5-year olds home. The NDP would give teachers a pay raise — they can’t say “no” to their union supporters, and that means they’d have to take money out of the classroom.

For the past nine years we’ve supported our teachers with real tangible things that they asked for — higher pay, more professional development time, better working conditions and increased time to prepare. We made things better for teachers and that’s made things better for students.

Now — as Ontario families and businesses work hard to overcome a tough global economy — we need to be fair to all Ontarians in recognizing what we can’t afford right now. And our government looks forward to working with teachers on the goals we share: building an education system that’s better for our students, better for our teachers and among the best in the world.

That’s the provincial governments position – what’s your take on all this?

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4 comments to Do the teacher’s have a tenable position? Have the students and parents been left in the lurch by teachers?

  • Walter Mulkewich

    The article forgot to mention that the issue is Bill 115 and that the Provincial government passed the bill – so who is laving who in the lurch?

  • Donna

    As a Public Service employee I do not put much faith in the idea that teachers are striking simply over a 200 day pay out at retirement and a wage freeze.

    It has to be more complicated than than just a wage freeze and a sick day payout at retirement.

    In recent agreements my union gave the same two items.

    Wage freezes and minimal increases have been the norm for me for many years. This year was 0.5%.

    I do not know a single co-worker who was upset about any of this.

  • Duke

    Just proves that even throwing lots of taxpayer money at special interest groups does not solve a problem.

  • Walter Mulkewich

    The Liberal Party gooblydeegook missed the point. Its about Bill 115.