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Canada Striking teachers claim parents, kids on their side in education fight

09:15  14 february  2020
09:15  14 february  2020 Source:   windsorstar.com

Entire Ontario public school system to be shut down Feb. 21 due to teachers strike

  Entire Ontario public school system to be shut down Feb. 21 due to teachers strike Ontario's four largest education unions are planning to strike on Feb. 21, resulting in a complete shutdown of the province's public education system, Global News has learned. The news comes as the leadership of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF), Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) and Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) attended an event on Wednesday in Toronto at which Education Minister Stephen Lecce was speaking.

Manual provides ‘dos and don’ts’ for how to smear the strikes , claiming that ‘ teacher strikes hurt kids and low-income families’.

Your kids aren't your mates. You're their parent , and your responsibility is to provide them with guidance Our children are, of course, the most precious things in our lives and we will naturally fight to Homework is – and always will be – a tug-of-war between parents and teachers in primary school.

The head of the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation is challenging the Ford government over its claims the current labour dispute is a primarily a quest by public educators to pocket more money.

If the ongoing classroom disruptions were just about teachers’ wages, “that’d be pretty stinging,” OSSTF president Harvey Bischof told reporters in Windsor on Thursday.

Rather, he said, the rotating strikes by teachers and educational support workers are targeting the Progressive Conservative government’s efforts to pull “hundreds of millions of dollars out of the education system” through such measures as increasing classroom sizes, withdrawing in-school supports and mandating outside-the-classroom e-learning.

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But They’re in a ‘Gladiator Fight ’ Over Education . On one side are those who have hewed to President Barack Obama’s centrist position on schools: supporting high-performing charters, which are publicly funded but privately managed, while putting pressure on teachers ’ unions to raise student

Teachers weren’t expected to respond instantly, and parents didn’t generally turn up in reception asking to see a teacher . Vic Goddard, headteacher of Passmores academy in Harlow, which was profiled in the Channel 4 series Educating Essex, said parents are entitled to criticise schools.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd:  Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation speaks on Thursday, February 13, 2020, in front of Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor where members were holding a one-day strike.© Dan Janisse Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation speaks on Thursday, February 13, 2020, in front of Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor where members were holding a one-day strike. “The government is trying to manufacture division — it’s not there,” Bischof said after addressing hundreds of teachers, education workers and their supporters, including students and parents, during a pre-noon rally outside Kennedy Collegiate Institute.

Asked whether the unions could be moved to withdraw their demands for inflation-level pay hikes in return for smaller classroom sizes, Bischof said that was “a discussion to have at the (bargaining) table.” There have been no formal talks with the OSSTF since mid-December, he said.

Most Ontario teachers have now lost between 2 and 3 days of regular pay because of strikes

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Meanwhile, educators and parents packed streets in pouring rain to march from City Hall to district headquarters on Monday, pressing for higher pay and smaller class sizes that Taehyum Kim sent his two sons to their San Fernando Valley schools so they wouldn't ruin their perfect attendance records.

For parents , one way to do that is to keep kids home from understaffed schools, an act that carries consequences for the school district: Every day a student doesn’t go to class, the district loses state funding. But working families still need a place for kids to go while their teachers are out protesting.

Thursday was another day for thousands of local parents to figure out what to do with their children, as public and French elementary and high schools in Windsor and Essex County were shut down again due to the ongoing labour dispute between the provincial government and Ontario’s teachers.

a group of people that are standing in the snow:  Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation speaks on Thursday, February 13, 2020, in front of Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor where members were holding a one-day strike.© Dan Janisse Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation speaks on Thursday, February 13, 2020, in front of Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor where members were holding a one-day strike.

“This didn’t start by us going to the bargaining table making outrageous demands,” said Bischof. For the OSSTF, he said the dispute began last March when the Ford government’s previous education minister announced Ontario was going to cut a quarter of the province’s high school teachers and “implement e-learning like in Alabama.”

Bischof acknowledged to the strikers that “parents are absolutely having a disruption in their lives,” but he said internal polling is showing the public “overwhelmingly behind us,” including in Conservative ridings. “The finance minister is in deep, deep trouble in his riding,” he said, referring to Ajax MPP Rod Phillips.

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“We’re in the middle of an absolutely historic fight,” said Bischof, adding that “in 30 years in education, I’ve never seen this kind of (public) support.”

The school battle has pulled together Ontario’s various unions in the education sector. Absent a new labour agreement, all of Ontario’s education unions will take part in a province-wide walk-out next Friday.

In an email to the Star Thursday afternoon, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce described that as a “needless escalation” and called on the teachers’ union leaders “to accept private mediation today.”

“We’ve made very significant moves on our position, but union leadership hasn’t moved on substantial items — like their already generous benefits packages and maintaining hiring based on seniority rather than on merit,” said Lecce, who concedes “there is an impasse” in contract talks.

a group of people that are standing in the snow:  Striking teachers, education workers, support staff and supporters are shown on Thursday, February 13, 2020, in front of Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor.© Dan Janisse Striking teachers, education workers, support staff and supporters are shown on Thursday, February 13, 2020, in front of Kennedy Collegiate Institute in Windsor.

Bischoff said public support is critical to getting the government to reverse classroom spending cuts. Countering the union polling, Lecce said the government’s own polling shows Ontarians “actually agree that the government has offered a fair and reasonable deal to teachers and to education workers.”

Ontario overpays some parents for elementary school strike compensation

  Ontario overpays some parents for elementary school strike compensation TORONTO — Some Ontario parents have received up to four times more money than they were supposed to be paid under a government plan to compensate them for elementary teachers' strike days. The Progressive Conservative government announced last month that it would give parents of children affected by the strikes up to $60 per day. Education Minister Stephen Lecce frames the offer as money to help parents make last-minute child-care arrangements, but critics are calling it a "bribe" as tensions grow between teachers and the province amid a bargaining stalemate.

Teachers in the nation’s second-largest school district are asking for smaller classes and larger support staff. Officials say they cannot afford to say yes. Teachers walked off the job in Los Angeles on Monday, demanding higher pay, smaller classes and more support staff.

The Education World Teacher Team shares their strategies for increasing parent involvement and ensuring parental support. "I also call parents for good reasons -- just to tell them their kids did something well, that they have a polite and considerate child, that their kid is improving.Some

Lecce argues there is “broad consensus” that “the people of Ontario want the government to make the case for compensation being at one per cent.” He told the Star he was “also committed to maintaining those class room sizes through innovative offers with the unions.”

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OSSTF District 9 president Erin Roy, representing 1,500 members in Windsor-Essex, said teachers are “essentially asking for the status quo”. Local parents, she added, have been “very supportive and are educated to the fact that what the government is saying doesn’t add up.”

Said Bischoff: “We’re going to keep up the pressure.”

dschmidt@postmedia.com

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Ottawa English elementary students may have class cancelled two days again next week as teachers announce new strikes .
About 50,000 Ottawa English public elementary students will be out of school for two days this week and possibly another two days next week as the teachers’ union escalates strike action. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced Tuesday evening that its members will stage rotating strikes again from Feb. 10 to 14 if no contract deal is reached with the provincial government. They plan a province-wide strike on Feb. 11 as well as rotating strikes that will hit boards on different days. At the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, ETFO strikes will close elementary schools this Wednesday and Thursday.

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