Opening Statement



Thursday, 14 March 2013

ETFO: The Open Letter Reply!

OECTA AGM + my all affiliate teacher + union news link updates follow below this blog.


Logo from the "We Are The Front Lines In Education" Face Book page.

You should be able to sign up with this link. If not please advise asap: Sign letter here

K. Hansen from WAFLE [We Are The Front Line in Education] Facebook writes:
..... There’s this ‘article’ being floated around during the last few days. An article that can only be described as the polar opposite of ‘objective’. It’s making people angry, and it’s making people tired. It’s making people use words like ‘attention seeking’. I can’t disagree with a lot of what’s being said by educators who are responding to this ‘article’. More even than the action of the individual it features, I question the integrity of the media outlet that presents it. I am constantly floored by the misinformation that is served to the general public around these issues in education, but now I see that suddenly the voice of the vast minority is suddenly worthy of more media attention than any other voice. Of course, that makes the rest of us frustrated.


Susan Beattie, a Gr.1 teacher in Richmond Hill has publicly announced she will be resuming EC's on Monday. You can hear the CBC interview and newspaper  articles + editorials at the bottom of my blog.
Here's the letter in question: The Original Open Letter

WAFLE replies:
..... I, also, have an ‘open letter’ to my union leaders. The name of my local leader is Tim Cunningham, and of course everyone is familiar with the name Sam Hammond at this point. I’m not sending my letter to the media because I don’t have need of extra attention. But I would like to share it with you.

Please go to the WAFLE Face Book page to sign this letter before it is forwarded to the media. Show your support + solidarity! It's busy because of March break not to mention St. Patty's day [s] but please read, sign + share. See:  We Are The Front Lines In Education

Here is the text of the member response to the "open letter": 
Dear ETFO Union Leaders;
This has been an unbelievably stressful year. I get to do a job I love and I work with great people. But, as you well know, it’s still stressful. I want to thank you for your unfailing support during these hard times in Ontario education. 
I have not forgotten that when I signed a contract with my school board, I agreed to be part of, and to be represented by, a union. Do I consider myself a ‘hard line unionist’? Not even a little bit. In truth, during my 12 years of teaching, I’ve given the acronyms PETL and ETFO very little thought. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never been falsely accused of anything, never been slandered by a colleague, never had an unresolvable conflict in the workplace…in short, never had real need of you. I’ve paid my union dues and I’ve carried on as usual. 
Until this year. This year, I learnt your names. And I know that every time my profession is slammed in the media or by elected government officials, you get it even worse. And I am very, very grateful not to have to be in your shoes. But I am grateful for your existence.
I understand completely that decisions around extra curriculars and other voluntary activities are a personal choice. I know that there will be no ‘fines’ or consequences for those who choose to participate in such activities. I personally still believe that the rights of thousands of Ontario workers are more important than choir. I understand that to ‘cave’ now, when no REAL progress has been made with new government leaders, would be pointless. Then, it would mean that I would have withheld things for this long for NOTHING. That, to me, would be even worse than to withhold them for a while longer in the hopes of action.
I wonder sometimes if my year might be ‘better’ if I started doing some of the things that I enjoy, like coaching. But I do understand that a protest isn’t effective if it is easy to ignore. This, really, is the only thing that I can do that isn’t so easily ignored. I also walk through the halls of my school, and I bump into students I coached last year, and I realize that they are really very happy. I haven’t ruined their lives by withholding extra curriculars. Their teachers continue to do their jobs and are working hard to provide dynamic and exciting learning opportunities for these kids, regardless of how stressed out we are as educators.
And when I try to think ‘big picture’, I do remember that these kids will grow up, and that when they do they might like to have the same rights as workers in Ontario that I, up until this year, have enjoyed. I do realize that if we allow the current travesty in Ontario education to set any type of precedent, that those rights could easily be denied these children when they become adults. I am continuing, in spite of the negative attention, to continue to try to think ‘bigger picture’. I thank you for doing the same. Not everyone gets to belong to a union. But everyone who works ‘for’ someone else benefits from the progress unions have made. Competitive wages, health benefits, and reasonable working hours are only a scant few of the things that have been achieved by unions over the years. These things benefit many, and I hope that one day they will continue to benefit my current students…even if it means that we won’t enjoy some of the ‘extras’ this year.
Thank you for representing us well, and for your strength in times of such unfairness and adversity. Please continue to think ‘big picture’, and remember that the majority of those you represent support you whole heartedly.

Signed by K. Hansen.

The full WAFLE commentary is posted below my March 12 blog @ Go down to Comments bar

The links below will give you just an inkling off all the negative media attention the original open letter has received and how it is being used by the main stream media to misrepresent ETFO in it's struggle against the MOE:

Here's a CBC interview with Susan Beattie over her "open letter" announcing that she will be resuming EC's. Tim Hudak will like this. One wonder if she will also turn down any union gains ETFO makes during the voluntary boycott. Hear @:  Union Boss Pressure?

Divide + Conquer: This Toronto Star editorial uses the open letter as a call for all teachers to speak out against their union + supposedly for students. For shame! See: The Letter

Susan sent an "open letter" + suddenly the Toronto Star  spot a union mutiny! The article doesn't say who else or where but no matter. All they need is an unconfirmed reason + there you go, it's for real. I wonder if she understands how she is being used? See: Mutiny?!?

My school edition blog is totally in solidarity with ETFO + WAFLE over the union attack that has been unfolding in the main stream media using the "open letter".  IMHO, the ETFO teachers' steadfast courage in sticking to your protest agenda sets an excellent example which all the affiliates should be following. I encourage everyone to check out their Face book Page @  We Are The Front Lines In Education

Don't forget to sign the letter while you are there to show your support + solidarity, whatever your affiliate!!!

You can also share my link using the Twitter in the left hand column, or copy it from the address box above.

COMMENT BELOW!

13 comments:

Skinny Dipper said...

Thanks for your support.

David Chiarelli said...

My pleasure. Please share my blog link too so we can get + share the grassroots teachers point of view from those of us who are fed up with all the b.s. In solidarity!

Anonymous said...

David, if you go on to the We Are the Front Lines.. home page, top right-hand corner in the NOTES section, all education workers can sign the letter with name and location only to be sent off regardless of position or affliation. Hopefully some OECTA members will have the courage to sign. Can you promote/encourage this?

Wendy Goodes said...

Thanks for the support you provide to teachers in all unions, as well as other union workers! Your site is another place where solidarity is felt, and I have shared your link with many others so that they too can get that sense! The sensationalism of both Susan Beattie and the gentleman in today's paper are simply astounding! It is truly unfortunate that the media won't focus on Kathy Hansen's letter like they did the other two. Should be interesting to hear what Martin Reg Cohn has to say tomorrow, and Seth Berstein as well after their coffee meeting tonight!

Anonymous said...

When the male teacher from Markham says "I've been teaching for 6 years" is when I should have stopped listening. There is one mistake, in my opinion, O'Dwyer made. All grid teachers should have taken a three (yes, three) year wage freeze and 12 unpaid days (and throw in a required history course on education in Ontario for good measure). Or maybe Mr. Thomas is already at the top of the grid because of the unions hard work to recognize related work experience? As for taking a hit for the kids, I can't count the number of colleagues that have never been in the schoolyard on the first day of school for their own children because they were at school for someone elses' children. And the "I wanted to make a difference" speech is getting really old. Few people wanted to make a difference in the lives of children in 1997 or 2003. What life changing experience attracted Mr. Thomas (and many others) to the profession in the past 8 or 9 years?

David said...

The grid debate has long been a point of contention. Older teachers figure we've been there, done that, now you are going to have to take the hit too. Younger teachers figure they have a lot of debt + expenses as they are just starting out, whereas we pretty much all ready got it all. Any other opinions on this?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this link, David. I think WAFLE is looking to get 1,000 "signatures", I'm sure you've helped a great deal in posting the link.

Hope you have a happy St. Patrick's Day this weekend!

Anonymous said...

Please sign the letter posted on WAFLE. I had hoped to see your signature there, David. There are a few OECTA signatures. Please help to promote.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for signing the WAFLE letter!Please continue others to sign. Happy St.Patick's Day weekend to you!

Anonymous said...

As long as teachers continue to support the corrupt Liberals they amount to nothing more than hypocritical church mice. Teachers who enable Liberals deserve what they get.

Anonymous said...

ETFO, OSSTF, OPSEU, retired teachers, Hong Kong, BC, Texas,638 signatures so far, have all added their signatures to WAFLE's open letter. Thank you, David for helping to support. Letter will be sent to the media on Monday. Would be nice to 1000 signatures. "If you agree in the sentiment of the letter", feel free to sign!

Anonymous said...

HI David,

Not all teachers are on facebook. Is there another way to sign the WAFLE letter? You can't even access the page without a facebook account and I do not want to have to set up an account just for the sake of signing though I would like to be able to include my signature somehow.

Thanks.

David Chiarelli said...

Check the new link I've added. I found it through Google search and it seems to work even if you don't have a Face Book page. It's at the top of the Blog in BOLD.

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