Opening Statement

Sunday 31 March 2013

OSSTF MOE Agreement in Principle!

OSSTF and the MOE announced today that they have reached an agreement in principle, over issues of concern including sick days, unpaid days, maternity leave, gratuities and local bargaining. The Globe + Mail reports: Deal?!?

Yay or nay? The OSSTF members will decide.

Here's the MOE media release @ statement

PC Education Critic Lisa McLeod accuses OLP of watering down wage freeze and giving OSSTF teachers more gratuities. Claims it sets a bad precedent. Apparently the agreement was reached Friday but kept quiet for 48 hours. A blackout remains in effect until the members get to see and ratify the deal. See: News Black Out + Delay

Well, we've heard this before, so one is prudent to withhold judgement. Especially in my case where we have the family all over + about to sit down for Easter dinner. Well here's hoping for the best with more details to follow later. Now to dinner.....

Is it a good deal after all the teachers have been through or not?


RIP NDP's Peter Kormos: People's Fighter!

Former progressive NDP MPP Peter Kormos is dead at age 60! I saw him one summer day sitting on the steps of Queens Park long after the legislature had finished. I took the opportunity to thank him for all his hard work. I said that I had really regreted when he was kicked out of cabinet after the Toronto Sun got him to pose as the Cabinet Sunshine Boy. A nineties thing .... I thought it was funny myself, but at the time he was given the old heave ho! He said that was all right. He was here to work for the people and that is what he continued to do. IMHO he was one of the few who was into politics for all the right reasons.

Peter was not all that popular within the Bob Rae NDP government. He was an outspoken critic when they reneged on their promise to set up a public auto insurance company. He was also strongly opposed to the NDP "Social contract" when teachers were frozen on the grid and given unpaid holidays [Rae Days] in lieu of further salary cuts. The Globe + Mail reports on his hijinks: In Government

Peter shreds Dalton to pieces. RIP.

The Toronto Star gives an overview of Peter as a maverick political activist who never lost sight of his roots. He even attended an NDP retreat at a tony resort, after they were elected in the early 90's, with his own brown bag lunch. See: Political Maverick

Peter was an unabashed socialist who would not compromise his beliefs. He was funny, passionate and had a personal flair for being unique. Now Magazine Toronto remembers: Now

There was a PC attempt to have Peter tossed out of QP because he dressed in cowboy boots and didn't wear a necktie. He suffered a number of health problems over the past few years. Peter collapsed during a visit to Toronto, was released from hospital on Wednesday, + found dead at home in Welland Saturday morning. See: suspected natural causes

Peter was arrested as a student protester back in the day. When the photo resurfaced years later at QP he just laughed, and agreed that was him alright! Peter was for real. He stuck to his principlesHe will be sadly missed in Ontario politics. RIP!

PS: See Peter's last appearance on TVO Agenda @ Steve Paikin TVO Agenda


Happy Easter 2013!

Happy Easter!

Pope Francis' Easter Address [Urbi et Orbi] has a strong social justice message: Full Text

Happy Easter! I celebrate Easter as a Catholic, others as Christians. If you are Jewish, happy Passover. If you are none of the above, please note this is an all affiliate teacher union blogsite. I hope you can share in our joy and just enjoy a good well earned restful holiday.

The message I wish to celebrate here is one of rebirth and renewal. Our teacher union fight is bigger than any of us for it is based upon social justice and democratic rights. It has an element of ascension; we wish to rise above the abuse and misuse of the government and the workplace to create a better working and living world for all our brothers and sisters. There is progress, there are setbacks, it has happened before and it will happen again. Let's not despair despite the often seemingly insurmountable odds. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. Let us all continue to arise to the challenge for the common good!

On a lighter note: here are a few video Easter Eggs for you:

See Jesus Christ Superstar the 1973 movie @ Complete Movie Version

Listen to the Jesus Christ Superstar original 1970 rock album @ Weber + Rice

Or just enjoy these music videos from the movie:

Superstar @ Superstar

Heaven on their Minds @ Judas

Everything's Alright @ Mary Magdalene

I Don't Know How to Love Him @ Ynonne Elliman

King Herod's Song @ A Vamp

Ho Ssana Hey Ssana Superstar @ Hossana

Crucifixtion @ Crucifixtion

Or see Monty Python's Life of Brian @ Complete Movie Version


Wednesday 27 March 2013

Premier Wynne: Letter to the Teachers

Regular updated news links continue on blogs below .

Kathleen Wynne's in the hot seat: Can she pull a deal out of the fire?

The Premier sent out the following chain letter online Wednesday March 27 to "share". We consider all insightful info here, of course, and so:

Dear [your name here]

Last night, we had some good news. I am happy to hear the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) suspended their advice to members regarding voluntary extracurricular activities.

I hope elementary-school students, teachers and support staff will once again enjoy the activities and programs that mean so much to them.

Here's what this news means for you:

We're repairing this valued relationship. That means creating a better process, one that is respectful of collective bargaining.

Our shared efforts show that positive results can happen when we work together towards our goals.

Our government has immense respect for educators — we recognize the important role they play in our children's lives and in our communities.

That's why I'm so pleased by this news and the similar advice given by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) to its members last month.

Of course, we've been working out this issue while sticking to our plan to reduce the deficit.

But I am confident our new government's commitment to fairness, consistency and respect will continue to result in real progress.
Would you please forward this email to a friend?

Together, we'll chart The Way Forward, strengthening a school system that is already the best in the English-speaking world.



The Hon Kathleen Wynne, MPP
Premier of Ontario

 COMMENTARY: One is reminded of Education Minister Kennedy's Christmas 2003 letter to the teachers. As our new MOE he let us know that effective immediately he had eliminated the onerous Conservative PD program. We had been required to complete regular courses at our own personal expense to keep our jobs. Not that I or for that matter a lot of teachers ever did, but it was getting tense before the autumn Tory election defeat. The letter was a very pleasant and thoughtful Christmas card indeed. 
Now the situation is quite different. We have come full circle and been in conflict with the Liberal Government since the PDT process in early 2012. A solid year of teacher protests and job actions was greeted with the MOU being enforced upon ETFO and OSSTF under Bill 115. With the elimination of Bill 115, and the OSSTF and now ETFO's decision to lift their extracurricular advisory, we might well declare the protest period effectively over. The problems are not.
The only officially planned actions, that I am aware of, is the ongoing teacher union talks with the MOE, behind closed doors and as in ETFO's case under a news black out. Come to think of it we haven't heard much more about OSSTF's apparent deal either. OECTA, of course, is once again saying nothing. 
We are at any unhappy stand off. It is generally understood that the MOU contracts will remain in place with the Liberal Government adamant that there is no more money available to improve the terms. The sole emphasis seems to be on negotiating a new PDT contract provincial collective bargaining process for our next contract talks to start next year. While that sounds promising, it has come from the Liberals at great cost and grief. It still does not deal with many of the existing problems with the MOU. Will that be enough for our teachers in the classroom who must bear the weight?
Premier Wynne's style of government has emphasized conversation, cooperation and respect, which we see referenced in her letter above. She is obviously eager to rebuild the positive relationship the Liberal Government and she herself as Education Minister had for the better part of the last ten years. The chain letter approach is questionable in that it links teachers together through an OLP website. The political implications are quite deliberate. The email will be resent with the party logo and her personal signature on it to your "friends" 
Her government is hanging on by an NDP thread based upon 6 key goals they demand be met for their support of the upcoming budget. Otherwise the minority government will fall and we will find ourselves in a spring election. The polls have suggested the results could be quite close, OLP, NDP or PC with even a repeat of the situation all three parties now find themselves in. We could speculate endlessly, as one suspects the OLP is doing now, when Premier Wynne sat down to write the letter. Nobody can tell with any assurance what will happen next.
Kathleen's personal touch is familiar if not very calculated here. Of course, it is political and the familiar terminology serves to reinforce the same themes we have been hearing since January 26th. The big question now is whether the teachers will buy it, and whatever else is on the table in the current talks, to create labour peace and union support in the short time ahead? Or is it a case of too little too late?

 Pssst! Pssst! Jane! Ask her to give us a break!

ETFO MOE EC Accord Reached!

Regular updated news links continue on the next blog.

ETFO EC advisory lifted! See President Sam Hammond's letter to the members @ ETFO EC Advisory Lifted!

Premier Wynne announces she is pleased that ETFO talks are "building trust". Notes no compensation increase was offered in exchanged for the EC accord. Otherwise no details. See the premier's press release: Wynne


Executive meets with local leaders next Wednesday!

MOE talks continue. Some concrete items are on the negotiating table. Members will get to vote on any deal. More details to follow.

The ETFO media release reiterates the key points from Sam's letter: Media release

The Globe + Mail report basically provides an overview of the EC situation to date @ ETFO EC's

The Toronto Star report considers members online reactions. Notes EC's were and remain voluntary and up to the individual teachers @ More


It's interesting how this story is breaking online first through the social media rather than the regular news outlets. Both ETFO and the Premier's office released the notice simultaneously through their media websites.
Perhaps they are trying to avoid the usual leaks and confusion. At any rate it's refreshing to see the new media being used so well. Other affiliates take note!

More discussion about what happens next follows on my blog below ...


Tuesday 26 March 2013

Easter All Affiliates Teachers News Digest!

My blog acronym + phrase list is here!

A Happy Easter to one + all! With spring comes the promise of rebirth +  renewal ~ Now there's a sign of hope for us all!


OSSTF + MOE reach agreement! Announcement made Easter Sunday. Also see: Big story!

ETFO EC advisory lifted! See President Sam Hammond's letter to the members @ ETFO EC Advisory Lifted!

These two stories have been forward to separate blogs. Ongoing news link updates  continue here.

The Premier's letter to teachers has also been moved up to a separate blog. See March 27.

ETFO EC OLRB hearing to resume Tuesday 2:30 to decide if verdict still needed. Boards say yes. EFTO says no! See: Back to the OLRB!

Globe + Mail writers claim "inside sources" at ETFO have told them the accord is a basically a goodwill gesture. No cost ways to regig the MOU terms and improve the CB process are likely being considered. Listen: I seriously doubt any insiders at ETFO are telling them ANYTHING. The news black out is just that. Anything else is just speculation based upon ideas that have been kicked around in public for sometime now even outside the ETFO context. Anyhow, see: ETFO Accord?

The Toronto Star engages in almost the exact same game of speculation with the added twist of also throwing teachers long opposition to EQAO into the guessing game. Notes Wynne's sparring matches with ETFO go back to when she was MOE during the 2008 CB negotiations and sees a draw in the war of attrition within the wider political context at Queen's Park these days. See: Guessing Games

PC's demand to know what's going on "behind closed doors" Strictly political posturing 4 sure. 4 Friday update see: Black out

Here's a recent letter to the editor on what a waste EQAO's are. Rumours persist that figures in somehow with new deals being struck. See: EQAO?

Commentary: It's human nature to be intrigued by guessing games especially when the personal stakes have become so high. Also considering the great distrust resulting from the high percentage of disappointing surprises we've experienced along the way. Fair enough. It is unreasonable though to take any of the above reports as gospel truth or privileged information. Proceed with caution and let's wait to see what if anything ETFO can pull out of the fire. We need to give them credit for holding out so long, nay, for being left high and dry in many instances by the other affiliates. IMHO, if all the affiliates had their veracity + perseverance we all would all be sitting there now with them in solidarity to strengthen our clout on the issues, rather than be watching from the sidelines with what table scraps we've been thrown. Give ETFO time to battle on!

Globe + Mail editorial is "galled" with ETFO's announcement! Repeats false claims teachers faced fines + punishments if they didn't do as they were told when the advisory was in place. Portrays ETFO as the big bad union bully again. Horrendous, however one might feel about the announcement. I hope ETFO takes them to task over this totally misleading garbage. See and weep at the diabolical spin @ A Loathsome + Odious Editorial

Kim Zarzour reports on parent, student and teachers reaction to the ETFO EC announcement in York Region. She also provides a cross section of the flurry of tweets as the decision is debated online. See: Reactions

Ascension I

Students should realize inflated high school marks will drastically drop in university where the average mark for a class of students who graduated high school is "C". No more giving A's and B's like candy to make you feel good. See: Reality Fix

Dunno where to include this now. I included in this blog before Tuesday nights unexpected announcement:

ETFO continues to openly share what the union is doing: Guelph President Doug Cook criticises MOE Sandals approach to teacher negotiations. All listening and waiting, no action? See: Sandal Scandal?

Latest ETFO teachers explain why they are taking a "pause" from EC's. Nice grass root insights! See: No to EC's!


IMHO, after a one year run the teacher protest is ostensibly over.  None of the affiliates are involved in any ongoing organized protest activities now that the OSSTF + ETFO EC advisories have been lifted. Individual teachers, of course, can continue to withdraw from participation, but let's face it, the heat will be on for everybody to get onboard at the school level as the EC's resume.

After the Harris Eve years I did not resume EC's, from then on. I dedicated my voluntary time to our union activities instead. As a beginning teacher, I had been Mr. Extracurriculars, as many new teachers are. I teach in downtown Toronto where our supervision concerns can be quite serious. One takes on a lot of responsibility with very little support, should anything go wrong. Quite frankly I'd bet our board would wash it's hands of you rather than risk any legal liability should anything bad happen. In essence, it was much better for me, if not much more hour intensive, to get involved at our union local level, chairing the PAC [Political Advisory Committee] and later sitting on the executive between 2000 through until now. I believe I definitely made the right decision. Help our unions, our teachers and we help our students too.

The MOE has insisted from the beginning that approximately 20% of the teachers will not continue with voluntary EC service again. I suppose I am a case in point, going back to the last [until now] teacher protests, when I decided to do the same. It could be interesting for discussion purposes. Now that the advisories have been lifted what will you do? Will you continue with EC's? Why or why not?

Ascension II


Wynne's "labour peace" could be a short stop gap measure. See: Lotsa niceties?

Labour report shows rising wage inequality in Canada would rise as a result of PC Hudak's US style Right to Work [for less] plan. See: Weakened Unions

OECTA TSU follow up: It is worth noting that our release officers, including President Rene Jansen + 1st VP David Szollosy attended Joe Palumbo's visitation. [See last blog.] My complaint is that the rest of our executive, or me at least anyway, was not asked if we could attend his mass in the release officers absence as has been past practice when they need coverage. Most regretfully, when I was frequently asked if I was at the funeral in any official capacity I had to say no unless I be accused of trying to misrepresent myself back at the local office due to the ongoing dispute over my blog, and indeed the contentious notion of OECTA communications in general since July 5th. For that reason I did not attend the burial ceremonies.

I am growing weary of this b.s from at least one of our members, so take that as you may. Perhaps I should run as OECTA TSU 2nd VP this year to try to put an end to this nonsense? I truly appreciate that some of you [and not just the usually more well known opposition names] have been asking me to do so while promising your assistance + support, but I really have to ask myself if it's even worthwhile anymore, or I am accomplishing more with my writing than I can running against the tide in the TSU office, or with OECTA 4 that matter? Any input is appreciated while I roll this over in my mind, as the unit elections are coming up soon.

BTAIM OECTA activist Joe Palumbo's MOU OLRB stand with the Metro 7 needed to be acknowledged, and I hope that was accomplished here. Our great personal sympathy at his unexpected passing needed to be more openly shared between past union friends and foes alike despite any political differences as well. If in so doing I stand accused of doing wrong by our unit, well then mea culpa. Goodbye Joe and God bless!

See Joe's slideshow in the photo gallery @ Joe's photos

[I understand the need for confidentiality in your gmail responses to my OECTA TSU election discussion. I greatly appreciate your support and advice.  Many thanks. I will think it over.]

Thunder Bay conference for First Nation youth discusses educational changes to meet their needs. Also see the Nishiyuu story in my "Other News" section below. For Thunder Bay conference info go to: First Nations Ed

ALT [Alberta Teacher Association] elects a new president and gets a tentative contract offer guaranteeing job security. Incoming President Ramsankar speaks to CTV Edmonton: Alberta teachers

OSSTF No Free Ride Youtube video going viral. Great! Watch + share if you haven't all ready! A must see: Free Ride Rocks!


Former progressive NDP MPP Peter Kormos dead at age 60! Story moved above to separate blog. RIP!

Ontario fiscal restraint? Look to Ottawa for 11 billion reasons why. This has often been a long standing element of our provincial cutbacks over the years that escapes many reports. See: $11 Billion!

Forum Poll ranks parties PC @ 35%, OLP @ 32%, NDP @ 26. Seat wise: OLP @ 50, PC @ 43, NDP @ 14 Here's how the leaders fared: Horwath@ 44%, Wynne up sharply @ 40% Hudak up @ 27%. See: Forum Poll

308 breaks the numbers down into charts + graphs while tracking trends, both provincially + federally. See: 308

ETFO provides a Queens Park summary for this week. Geez these folk are good. Wonder if they are hiring? :-) See: QP Highlights!

QP Briefing does so to with links to lots of goodies; documents + articles and so on. Ignore the error sign + it will load. You can only go so far here and they want $ but it's interesting: QP Brief

Leading by example? Brought to you by the folks who are telling us we need to tighten our belts: here's the Ontario Ministry of Finance's Sunshine list of public servants who are earning $100,000+ in 2013. See: come rain or shine ...

Global News Toronto provides a "who's who" on the Sunshine list: $100,000+

A PC business strategist toots the Hudak PC's horn as the "party of ideas". The "party of bad ones" as one wag tweets. Read this Globe + Mail news article. It doesn't say "opinion piece" ... @ Mr. Ideas!

Or are they the "Party of No" headed into a Tory Trap of their own making? Yes. See: Mr. No!

Here's OSSTF's pre budget submission to the provincial government. See: Ed Budget

People 4 Education's Annie Kidder claims education budget will hold no big surprises. Salary freeze already known. Cap on secondary credits. More FDK $'s, but less for operating expenses. We will see. Big issue of course will be whether the budget enjoys NDP support. If not this will be the calm before the storm as teachers launch our spring provincial election campaigns. Link to follow.

Expect much gnashing of teeth as our teacher affiliates work to co-ordinate their election strategies this time around if that's the case. I myself am leaning towards the idea of trying to do so under the TYLC [Toronto York Labour Council] Education Committee umbrella in Toronto, where there is way less animosity between the locals, but I will have little or no say on this, except for my one TSU executive vote. I think our one saving grace is PC Hudak seems hellbent on shooting himself in the foot. The last polls show little change in the overall seat count. I'd prefer the parties just try to make the minority government work. Quite frankly I am not confident in any of them should they somehow form a majority government. Anyway, go to my Comment bar + have your say.

Martin Regg Cohn claims NDP's Horwath is "rebranding" herself as a populist tax fighter and road warrior in the war of mass transit verses cars. I can hear the angry roar of my NDP readers all ready. See: NDP Rebrand?

One needs to read the Montreal Gazette for the story on how McGuinty stacked the judiciary with patronage appointments before he left office. See: Judiciary

TDSB school trustee Irene Atkinson remains on ventilator after house fire. Irene is a well know progressive. See: Get well!

Karl Marx: "I told you so". How his capitalist critique of the class struggle now seems to be coming true. How will it shape our understanding of politics? This is from the New York Times no less. See: Das Capital anybody?

Conservative leadership [read Prime Minister Harper] moves to silence a MP Back Bench revolt over abortion funding. I often tell my many good colleagues who have strong convictions about the issue that the PC's are not your friend. They will say whatever they think you want to hear to get elected but then? For a case in point, see: PC back bench MP revolt silenced 


What's there to a foot wash? Pope Francis raises eyebrows with his variation on a Holy Thursday tradition. See: Pope Francis

England teacher strike heats up with threats of civil disobedience. See: NUT's

270 Nishiyuu Cree youth trek 1600 kms on foot to Ottawa to protest 4 better conditions 4 our First Nations People. Bravo! See: 1600 km on foot!

Celebration rocks Parliament Hill: See the video of their arrival: Cree Youth

Lost residential student art find help tell story of aboriginal discrimination and abuse. See: Student Art Find

Prime Minister Harper passes on greeting Cree youth to see the new Toronto Zoo Panda bears. See: Prefers Pandas?

Sorry everybody, the PM went to see the new Panda Bears instead!

US Walmart sales fall as low wage understaffed stores +  empty shelves drive customers to Costco. The workers continue to try to unionize for a living wage + decent working conditions. What you sow you reap. See: Walmart financial woes!

Fly Sunwing: Flight attendants ratify first contract! See: Flying High

Young[er] teachers: Who had/ has it best? Worst? Input your graduation date in the time machine link to see. Visit: a time machine link!

Remember I was writing about some strange police cases a few weeks ago. Seems Toronto Police Chief Blair is taking action, calls officers on conduct unbecoming. See: Need Top Cops

Here's an argument against the new media and the decline of the traditional media giants. Boo hoo hoo. Still, we examine all points of view here for balance. I would love to have a discussion with the writer about paradigm shifts. The media giants once benefited from such a shift, but now it has shifted again. There are always pro's and con's, and it requires new ways of thinking. See: Old vs new

OK comrades! Pose right there! Smile if you love Kim Un Jun!

North Korea dictator issues Full War Declaration against US + South Korea. Not necessarily anything new here, it could just be a trick to internally prop up the Kim Un Jun regime. Still, be aware that the US air force and navy are moving into position while North Korea is reportedly assembling an invasion force along the South Korea border. Supposed long range missiles are about as powerful + accurate as Iraq's outdated Scud rockets during the First Gulf War but could still deliver a very messy if not strategic nuclear strike on the south or possibly Japan. See: Text of statement

The White House responds: Not taking chances

This article seems to make pretty good sense of the situation and North Korean brinkmanship, so to speak. See: North Korea?

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: His 12 greatest gaffes to date. Incredible but true. If you are not from Toronto do not watch this. Good Lord what other folk must think! See: From Bad to Worse

The latest: Was a totally pie eyed + stumbling Mayor Ford kicked out of the Military Garrison Charity Ball for our wounded soldiers? Brass confirm disgrace.Toronto Star article and the Ford press conference @ Plastered?

Even more recent: This week a city aide solicited a football coaching position for Ford at Marshal McLuhan CSS offering them $10,000 to start up a  team. The Parents Council is meeting this week at Don Bosco CSS to discuss his future as football coach at their school among much controversy. See: Mr. Football

Ford: "Who's drunk?!? Me??? C'mon! Kiss the Panda bears! Kiss the bears!"

Canadiana: 15 things to grumble about in the Great White North? See: Oooooh Canada!?

Welcome to the Dark Side ~A Monty Python Easter:

"The Killer Rabbit + The Holy Hand Grenade": Language may offend. Tell the kiddies to go to the other room and see: Killer Bunny!

Then there's "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" if you enjoy a little more dark humour. Watch: Bright Side?

More from Life of Brian:

He's a very naughty boy!@ Brian + His Followers

Blessed are the Cheesemakers! @ On the Mount

Stoned 4 saying "Jehovah" @ Jehovah

For lighter fare see my Jesus Christ Superstar Videobar below this blog column!


Tuesday 19 March 2013

March Teacher Union News Link Digest 3

Welcome Spring! The equinox if not the weather!

To everything there is a season ...


Toronto Star relents + prints ETFO President Sam Hammond's letter disputing "open letter" EC claims a week later. It would be nice to think the social media buzz had something to do with it but who knows ....? See:  Sam's letter finally published!

Was Susan Beattie's open letter misguided + demeaning? See: EC bully claim

ETFO General Secretary provides an update of what the affiliate has been doing to help it's members + uphold the charter. Can you imagine OECTA's Marshal Jarvis doing this? It would probably be locked up in the official website's ridiculous top secret members only area! C'mon OECTA, lets get with it. Hope you  + the new PE can look into this and try to do something about it next year James. Please!

Such commentary adds to and becomes an important contribution to the teacher dialogue going on all around us. Meanwhile OECTA is left sitting on the sidelines with the OECTA code of silence still in place like we are the teacher Vatican or what not. Seriously, there are few interesting OECTA links I can add to my weekly digest that most folks don't all ready know about or would want to read.

Instead the monolithic OECTA offices invariably issue some dull communique referring us to somebody else's document, or saying as little as possible that might be remotely interesting or informative. Or it's "private." 

I know your tweets are good + even contain worthwhile links or info to share. For crying out loud they are even personable. Still that's just something you do and it's definitely the exception. The rest of OECTA provincial? Ho boy! It's about as interesting as watching paint dry. My regrets all, but it needs to be said. For contrast go check out the public online and regularly updated: ETFO Voice

Meanwhile ...

Here's an ETFO update on continuing talks with MOE this week and next: Steady as she goes. Team is sticking to their talking points as members have been advised. Members reply with 1000 signatures to "open letter on EC's acknowledged with thanks. See: MOE talks

Sundays spent marking .. at Dufferin Mall Toronto!

ETFO/OSSTF Sunday teacher "Grade In" protest makes it's mark at Dufferin Mall in Toronto. Nice one. Gives folks a better idea of what we actually do besides teach class. See: Marking

People 4 Education explains "the invisible side of teaching:" all the many things we do beside teach class during the day and perhaps volunteer to do EC's after. Excellent. Please share @ All this + more

OECTA take note: Here is how you are supposed to use, not oppose or fear the social media. A handout+ presentation link attached. Might I suggest this does not just apply to twitter either? From the CLC Political Conference, where most of my executive probably was on Saturday. Hope you were listening GV!? See: Viva la Social Media Revolution!

Popular misconceptions #1: Parents assume teachers should be providing EC's for their kids as a part of our job. Obviously they have little understanding of all the work we need to do besides teach during the day. In what other job do you do extra work for less pay? Bottom line? It can't be expected or bought with vague MOE promises of better days ahead, after what we have been through. Will the madness never end? See: Teacher duties

Popular misconceptions #2: Big bad unions? ETFO is not threatening teachers who participate in EC's: Think again

The damage has all ready been done though. Don't think the media doesn't know what they are doing. See this irate letter: Grrr unions!

Don't give up the fight!

Popular misconceptions #3: No EC's = no success? Students who didn't get EC's this year are still applying for university in record numbers. Surprise! They don't just come to school for EC's!!! If anybody is going to university because of EC's perhaps they got it all wrong to start with? See:   EC's or else fail in life?

Twittering tweets! Teachers discuss EC decision: EC's?

Interesting retweet making the Twitter rounds: If EC's are so important should students be required to participate?!? :-)

ETFO members explain why they are taking an EC pause: EC's still on pause

Toronto Star claims EC's are back on across Toronto. "School spirit" days more or less require everybody to participate. TDSB Chief Academic Officer claims sports returning as a result of OSSTF lifting EC advisory. The Toronto Star continues to lead the charge. See: EC's back in Toronto?

ETFO Waterloo advises members to hold tight on withdrawal from EC's until MOE puts something concrete on the negotiating table. Seems EC's are still up in the air despite MOE claims to the contrary. Sports + proms remain uncertain + it's getting late in the school year. See: MOEs Waterloo?

Here's a video link to TVO Agenda's round table discussion on "Is a teachers work never done?" See: TVO Agenda

ETFO ETT is advising teachers who receive the TDSB survey on EC's to contact the local office. See: Toronto Board EC Survey Advisory

Need some hugs + to know you are appreciated? Visit: Thank an Ontario Teacher!

Metro 7's Joe Paumbo had a moving and well attended funeral mass this Saturday morning at St. Clare Church in the old Italian section of Toronto near Dufferin + St. Clair. Joe's mother, family, the students + staff of Chaminade CSS were in attendance, as were the Metro 7 [MOU OLRB complainant group]. Also other political activists from our unit. His contribution to the teachers' union movement was mentioned in the eulogy. For full details + to send messages or flowers go to: Joe

Good bye Joe Palumbo. Thank you for your stand against the OECTA MOU!

My heart broke for Joe's mother. Whatever the age, the sorrow of your children dieing first, must be unbearable. Please remember her in your thoughts + prayers.

Nobody from our local union exec attended. I was surprised that as 3rd VP it wasn't even mentioned to me especially if everybody was busy. I'm persona non gratis + not to be trusted because of my blog and my hard line MOU position in support of the OLRB hearing + against the local contract in December. I went to Joe's funeral anyway strictly on my own out of respect + because I felt it was the right thing to do, other internal politics not withstanding. We should always honour our union fighters.

My blog on Joe is @ Joe Palumbo

BTW: Overheard at OLC training session today: "Social media is the only tool where you have complete control of the message. If you don't have it you're dead."
Quite essentially, that is why my colleagues hate and are afraid of this blog. Thanks to @SimaSaharZerehi for tweeting this.

Re-meet  Past President James Ryan as he wrapped up his last term in office. In "Heart Speak" James talks about OECTA + teaching. I think it gives us a good insight into the kind of person and leader he is as he returns to the challenges of our presidency during these difficult times come July 1st. See the youtube video @ James Ryan

A world map showing which countries have the highest and lowest teaching qualification standards for teaching secondary school. US is still just a bachelor degree. Canada a bachelor degree with training. More countries require a masters now. A few still just require you complete high school. It's interesting how they are spread out, not necessarily what you might think. See: Worldwide Teaching Requirements

Go see the full map! Blue is masters/ Purple is secondary school/ Red includes that with training.

A crash course on effective leadership 4 principals. Even though this is based upon a US study I think it makes some good points here. Y'know I think it was better when we had the principals in the teachers union. The collegiality principle [ no pun intended or is there?! ;-] was much more solid. Any comments? See: Real School Leadership?

OSSTF past President Earl Manners in a news article from 2000 when he was staunchly in support of withholding EC's. Boy how times change! See: Yesteryear reflects on "Which way forward for teachers?" since the J26 Rally. See: J26 Follow Up

Rural school bus companies in jeopardy as big boys move in on contracts. See: School buses

The OECTA Porter Airline protest. Hear Chris Karuhanga speak. See how well I hold the flag. Sid doesn't say much but I think he was impressed! ;-) See: Porter Protest

Justin Trudeau given the screws by a lobbyist over his teaching background, asking why that would make anyone qualified to be the Canadian Prime Minister. Excuse me?!? A lot of folk have no idea of our qualifications or training standards! See: No respect

Poetic Devices X blog explains "Why am I tired of teaching?" No. It's not the kids. Read:
Plain Truth Of It All

Teaching career doesn't pan out. Don't try this at school! It's not hard to understand his frustration these days though. Hmmm. Are teachers being psychologically bullied by a system where we have to teach with our hands tied behind our backs while the MOE + media dump stupid ideas and abuse on us. Then somebody snaps? This clearly isn't a good idea but like I said .... See: Snap!

Wizard of Odd? MOE Liz Sandal's wish list! If only I had a .... See: Wish away

Hey! R U sure U didn't just come here 4 my Hendrix review at the bottom of my blogpage?!?!?


Wynne's OLP hold Toronto 416 ridings by 42%/ NDP 30%/ PC 25% in latest Forum Poll. Honeymoon continues. See: Toronto Lead

Trudeau to Wynne: "Well I guess I'll be catching a Porter flight outta here .... "

OUCH!!! Justin Trudeau spotted crossing Porter Protest Picket Lines to catch flight out of Toronto after OLP Heritage Dinner date with Wynne!!!

A tale of 2 Trudeaus. Like father like son? Robert Fulford of the National Post writes: Trudeaumania?

Wynne's OLP: "dead government walking"? Despite the niceties + bump in the polls nothing has really changed. Wynne stays Dalton's course. See: DOA?

Down but not out: OLP still able to fill the "largest room in the province" for the $1200 a seat yearly Heritage Dinner fundraiser. Kathleen wore a dress. Her speech was received politely but not with a lot of enthusiasm. It would be foolish to underestimate the size of the OLP election war chest. TVO Agenda's Steve Paikin reports: Heritage Dinner

Here's Wynne's speech on "collaboration". See it on Youtube: Heritage Speech

Wynne's high tech digital strategy + tools 4 winning  the leadership race. See: Wynnes high tech win

OLP Health Ministry "social farter joke" goes viral on CNN. It's a part of an anti smoking campaign ie: Are you a social smoker? Get it? Never underestimate the laugh power of a fart joke. Just ask any grade schooler or Gr.9 student. Still ..... ? 4 my money I prefer the "Free Ride video." against RTW [below] See: OLP Fart Jokes?!

PC Hudak promises to raise the retirement age for teachers + public servants. Dunno how carefully he has thought this through with our OTPP pension plan. It isn't that easy, unless he can legislate ..... Tim eyes your pension

OTF Press Release: Agreement reached. Stability for Ontario's Teacher Pension Plan. Hmmm. Anyone seen the facts + figures on this yet? See: OTPP?

Tough questions + decisions: Andrea speaks @ London Canadian Club luncheon Friday.

NDP Horwath acknowledges "Made in Toronto" economic solutions don't always work well for the rest of the province in London speech. She promises to recognize the cities unique challenges. See: Andrea in London

NDP: Students can't afford tuition hikes. Ontario's are all ready the highest in Canada. See: Tuition Hike?

Socialist writer argues that the NDP on the wrong side of the progressive political spectrum in supporting Mayor Rob Ford's counter attack on the supposed "war against the car" at the cost of public transit, which is of greater value to working families, if not the middle class in Toronto. See: Car Wars

Usual party differences, along with the traditional male political sensibilities put aside, Horwath + Wynne are starting to talk the same talk using the same new political style. But can they walk the walk in actually delivering the political goods? I wonder, will it become a question of choosing between tweedle dee and tweedle dum come next the election again? See: New QP style

Do the gas plants, helicopters + the Toronto casino issues show Kathleen Wynne could be a "warrior premier" with a twist or will next weeks budget be her Waterloo? See: Wynne winning?

Back to the future? Here's a 2005 TVO Agenda video of a Wynne, Horwath, + Hudak debate. Take it as you may. Is it insightful or have things changed? Comments? See: TVO debate

Hudak continue to drive supposed wedge between teachers + union in Mississauga News editorial board meet. Presses Right to Work [4 less] issue. Make no mistake, it's a full fledged corporate agenda assault folks! See: Hudak interview

Disingenuous Fraser Institute reports engages in fear mongering before our spring budget warning Ontario could become the next Greece. The CCPA [Canadian Council of Policy Alternatives debunks the story. Repeat after me: Ontario is not Greece. Duh. See: Pre budget fear mongering

CCPA counters the austerity binge arguments: Tax cuts create a deficit. Corporates get all the breaks for little return. Read: Read this!

Made in Canada: Author Activist Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine!

2012-13 Ontario Budget Time? The Shock Doctrine comes to Ontario! Take advantage of a self made economic crisis and then cut cut cut public services come budget time to balance the books 4 right wing fun + profit! Don't worry about the real facts or let them stand in the way. Folks will flip anyway! See OPSEU report: Crisis bloody crisis!

Budget primer: A must read for our political erudition. Download the full text of the OPSEU Ontario budget crisis report here: Shock Doctrine Budget Report!

While you are at it you might want to participate in the OFL's People Budget consultations too. See: The Peoples Budget!

Useful NDP backgrounder: Closing corporate tax loopholes could save $1.6 billion by 2018! Hey! We could eliminate the deficit starting here!!! No. Why not? See: NDP Backgrounder

Queens Park Morning Briefing: You can check these daily for a good overview of what's happening. I'm basically just sticking on my blog to those issues with a teacher/ educational angle. For more see: QP Morning Briefing

No fooling about with gas jokes here! Hazel tell them all off at QP hearing!

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion gives all parties at QP holy old hell over the gas plant issue. Decision not a question of if but when. See: More QP gas jokes?

Province mandates 20 minutes of physical activity a day for elementary students which few get. Mental heath resources also lacking despite new emphasis. It's all about reading, writing + arithmetic: P.Ed?

So who lit the spark of reality beneath the provinces butt? People for Education reports on the issue of mental + physical health programs in our Ontario schools. Ouch! Download the report at: Healthy Schools?

Here's a real interesting point of view to consider! MOE concerns with EC's: Curriculum on the cheap? See: EC's: a cheap substitute?

Ya can't blame it on the little old ladies! Home care focus could be a smarter, more comfortable, cost effective + realistic way to deal with the medical health care needs of our ageing population. Gurneys + hospital beds? Given my druthers I myself would much rather die at home on my reclining chair in the music room surrounded by my loved ones listening to Jimi Hendrix with some nice lighting and meds and .. and .. No seriously this makes sense! See: Senior Health care


Giant sea monster spotted off coast of BC!!! Good lord! Would somebody please call in the Canadian Armed Forces? Yah! A couple of CF-18's jet fighters should suffice! What?!? It's just an 18 meter cephalopod???? Whew! Well I for one will sleep much better tonight knowing ... For video and report see: Sea Monster!!!

Trouble in BC! [Artists Conception]

Tres excellent OSSTF video by Canadian Producer Bruce MacDonald [Hardcore Logo] puts free ride Right to Work [for less] provisions b.s. in a very easy to understand context + explains what a contract is + why you need one at work. Required viewing! Please share: No free ride!

Canadian provinces differ on how to define "bullying" while trying to stop it at school. See: Bullying

"The Old Man + The Car": Papa Hemingway's 1955 Chrysler found in Cuba!

Cuban Soul: Car lovers rally to restore Ernest Hemingway's 1955 Chrysler New Yorker convertible. Ernest left it to his doctor. Same family in Cuba has been using it since he died in 1961. Can't get spare parts because of US economic embargo. Still has original motor. Amazing "only in Cuba" type story of perseverance. God I love them. You couldn't meet a more friendlier down to earth people. See video: Hemingway's 1955 Chrysler

Hooray! I reached my 85 factor on March 21 2013! The date always sounded like something out of a science fiction movie to me 26 years ago and now it's actually here! The future certainly isn't what it use to be, some big mistakes but otherwise I'm a pretty happy man. Confident + gives me lots to think about. My life part 3 ...

The fall of modern journalism before the techno onslaught. I love this! Are the big boy main stream media giants about to fall? Can I help give a push with my blog. See: Son of Gutenberg

Theatre of the absurd? A Toronto friend gets a ticket for driving too slow. He's hesistant to turn on an advance green because a lot of drivers don't stop for them anymore. What next?

I have always wanted a pet ostrich.I would ride it to school to help the environment and avoid traffic jams. I would keep it on on our condo balcony during the nice weather or in our laundry room when it is not. Janet says absolutely not. Too bad. Ostrichs can be trained to do many things. 4 example: How to train an ostrich to dance: Pet Ostrich anyone?

Ipolitics considers Canada's place in the world today: the past isn't what it use to be? The Cold War is over + the UN loses clout. What's a peacekeeper to do? See: Oh oh Canada?

"C" is for cephalopod"

Campaign Life Coalition crowd of 350 protesters march on Queens Park with 25,000 name petition demanding abortions be defunded. Politicos speak. See: QP Rally

Bill 18 version of GSA issue creates furor in Manitoba. Gay student shouted down + victim of slurs during tv interview at school. See: GSA Pt 2

"On Jesus and Social Justice" from the Journal of Socialist Renewal @ Opiate or Social Justice?

Canada's latest US retailer, Target stores, require new employees to watch this anti union  video. See the video and transcript @ Targets Unions

Liberace spotted in Lake Ontario! I think ...

The CRTC neo con Sun News Media application to be put on basic cable package, giving them access to t.v. sets in most everyones' living room in Canada?!? The CRTC has received 53,000 names for it verses 20,000 against. Those in favour claim it reflects their values and views on Canada. Sun News is scaling back to requesting a 5 year licence now, to clinch the deal. Well, it's in the CRTC's hands now. See: Sun News Cable? examines the anti union bias in the Canadian media. Are the journalists shooting themselves in the foot by buying into the agenda? Very interesting read: the irony of anti union journalists!

Teacher protests to rock England + Wales. A VERY familiar story, same government  characters + media lines. Ho boy! See: our story is international in scope! Maybe we should send over some teacher union advisers? Umm. No. Not Kevin or Ken ... See: Nuts!

Teacher protest and strikes spread to UK!

Hear why the teachers in England are upset. A first hand account of their working terms and conditions. It's really, really bad. Read the farmdonkey blog @ English Farm Donkey

Yoko Ono joins US anti gun protest by tweeting photo of ex Beatle John Lennon's bloodied glasses. Lennon was killed by a rabid fan who senselessly shot him with a few exploding bullets to the neck and back. Powerful messaging! Read: Imagine no guns!

Bonus Feature [4 if you read this far ... ] The 50 most common popular misconceptions?!? Visit Youbabaloo @ Yababoon!


Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!