Opening Statement



Sunday, 1 April 2012

OECTA Everyday Teachers Video

The link for the next stage of our OECTA "Who Speaks for Children?" education campaign  can be found by clicking on it's title below:


Everyday Teachers, Extraordinary Impact


You can find my "Who Speaks for Children?" report and Youtube link in my October blog archives. During the fall Ontario provincial election it drew a lot of kudos for providing a graceful and poignant reminder. Voters were encouraged to consider each party and candidates stand on education in deciding who they'd vote for. Our election endorsements then followed based upon that criteria.


Our focus remains on our students, teachers and our schools. "Who Speaks"  emphasized the hard work that has gone into building our Ontario education system into one of the best in the word. At last count we rated third place amongst all the world's school systems. Our campaign, be it by video, flyers, buttons, posters and street or media ads helped make sure education remained a front burner election issue. We did not want to see all the good work over the last eight years be destroyed to help balance the provincial budget, like during the 1990's.


Our new minority provincial Liberal party government at Queens Park has pledged that education will not be cut to pay off the current deficit.  This is good. It's commitment seems to have focused on two key Liberal policies OECTA has strongly supported; all day Kindergarten and class size caps. Our teacher association is pleased because we fought hard for both of these. Please see my Sept. 16 Who Speaks for Children? post in my Blog Archive.


Our concern now is for our teachers, who make the system work so well. The government can spend as much as it will on the education system.The human element is the professional, well trained and caring everyday teacher.  You can't have one without the other. Unfortunately, in our recent PDT [Provincial Discussion Talk] on our new contracts, that same Liberal Government has surprised us by asking for a pay and salary grid freeze, a reduction of our sick days, and a cap on it's contribution to our pension plan. Please see my March 1st PDT Contract Shocker blog.


The OECTA PDT talks continue, under a news blackout, as our association works quietly behind the scenes to find a better solution. Such "quiet diplomacy" has been OECTA's well respected trademark. Please see my March 11 Windsor AGM Education Minster Reception blog.


The government is in a financial bind. As proud Ontario citizens we understand that. The recent budget called for a 2 year public service salary freeze, so the freeze seems pretty certain. What about the other cuts they have suggested in PDT?

Let's see if OECTA can work together with the Liberal government as we have for the past 8 years, to find more creative and effective ideas that help with the deficit but recognize our professional and personal commitment to making our education system work. Everyday Teachers then, is intended to help the public, and hopefully the minority government appreciate how every day teachers work to inspire and help our students. As such we provide the human spark which ultimately has the most extraordinary impact. It is the everyday teacher who makes Ontario's education system work so well for our students!

All my blogs can be accessed via the Blog Archives at the bottom of this column.

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