Opening Statement



Thursday, 19 September 2013

Special Edition: Sept. Teacher News + Views 2!

Welcome back! Autumn officially begins here at 4:40 pm Friday September 20th. I've decided to post a "Special Edition" of my 2nd September "Teacher News + Views" blog . It covers some items of interest I'd like to address.


Eye see it's autumn!

Blog acronym dictionary is Here!

Some Housekeeping:

Yes, this is an independent all affiliate teachers blog. Yes the big news stories recently have been OECTA, OECTA + more OECTA. Yes that will change with the news of the day like last year. If you are not an OECTA member worry not. Meantime I think the Brock decision thread could have some very interesting implications for all of us as teacher unionists to consider as well.

The "Comments" below each blog contain very vibrant + active discussions + debates on the big issues that concern you the most. Check them out, if you haven't all ready. Click the "Comments" link at the bottom of each posting. Remember this is an open forum where we can speak our minds, sharing our opinions and points of view. We are big boys + girls. We can think for ourselves + make sense of the information there within, thank you very much. I'm honoured to be able to offer you this otherwise rare option as fellow professional teachers.

Knowing at least a few of the complainants, who've I've always got along well with, differences over the MOU notwithstanding, I really have to wonder how they felt about the verdict. We should proceed with some caution here. The Discipline Panel threw the book at Richard, whereas it could've just selected some of the penalties or even none at all. It is shocking they decided to go all the way with such apparent avarice. One wonders if that's really what all the complainants would've wanted? To remove a President and all of his membership privileges? Remember it was the Panel that decided to proceed accordingly, not the complainants. Just because the Panel could do it didn't mean they had to, especially if they'd better considered the associations collective sense of well being, and need for unity.

BTAIM please remember, respect goes a long way. You may remain anonymous. Its understandable with the oppressive if not downright bullying situations many of us face. However, if you want to make a contentious statement about anyone that can't otherwise be substantiated, I will need to insist you accept ownership of your own words, and identify yourself accordingly. You will see my own name assigned to those opinions or points of view that are my own.

Recently there have been a plethora of Comments + an excellent feisty discussion + debate below the Brock blogs. I'm happy just to moderate and throw my own 2 bits in here + there, rather than post another blog of my own on the topic for now. I will continue once I have something substantial that you should read or see, to add to our overall understanding of the case.

 
Guest blog are always welcome! I don't censor different points of view. This site has had over 240,000 reader visits. Mostly in Canada [4/5's], the US + UK but also around the world. I can never figure out why I have regular visitors from Russia + China. Maybe they like the little pictures?!? You can check the running total on the counter near the top right side of my site.

If you want to be heard + have something interesting to say, please submit your guest blog in a word file using regular black typeset, nothing fancy. Highlight yourself in bold. My gmail address is listed in the top right screen. Cheers!

BTW: Richard is aware of your Comments here + appreciates the support + understanding. As you might guess he is laying low in a very dark place right now, having been unceremoniously sent to hell in a rubber raft. He is unable to join us in person but know he is still alive + well. Hang in there Richard! Still no cavalry coming to the rescue on the horizon, but then you aren't one to go silently into the night anyway. Whew! No nice way to put this -what bull shit!

The Toronto $tar has added an impenetrable "pay wall" after your 20 free views a month. I'm not interested. I don't want to encourage them. I also don't want to be indirectly $elling $ub$cription$ by referring you there. Please note, I'm now using the Toronto $tar links sparingly while adding more alternate news links. They can be more interesting + insightful anyway. I'll also continue using the other mainstream media links that we don't need to pay for. Toronto Star links will be identified for your consideration before you go to the site, using up a free view. By the way, a reader has recently added a few strategies to avoid the pay wall problems in the Comments below this blog that you might well want to read!

I've noticed the Globe + Mail has a pay wall too, but if you try a few times you might find you get though. If I run into the same situation as with the Star, I will also act accordingly.

It's interesting to notice the newspapers columnists concern on Twitter with the pay walls. It has taken a large bite out of their readership, so maybe I'm not alone in my disdain for such out dated business ideas. Too bad they can't think outside the box, what with the new paradigm shift, or at least priced their services much more prudently.

My Tweets go out regularly when something new has been posted or is of importance. I include archive links related to the stories of the day. You can also find these below my blog column. There are currently 401 posts listed in my Archive. You can sign up to follow me at Twitter. My hash tag is: @davidchiarelli


In my regular news + views I will be continuing to add your news + views links under the headings below. I am also going to use them here:

TEACHER + UNION

All the teacher affiliates [AEFO, ETFO, OECTA, OSSTF] are waiting for the provincial government to set the new PDT [Provincial Discussion Table] terms of reference for the 2013-14 contract year. The province claims to be "consulting" with everyone first. Let's see. Don't expect much news until late October to November ...

Many OECTA members including local Presidents, remain aghast at the glossy provincial memo sent out to everyone. It informs them about Halton Elementary President Mr. Brock's dismissal over the summer holidays. Also there's the "Special Edition" [ a Collectors item?!?] posted on the provincial website front page. Overkill? If so why? Just a lack of tact? Or insult added to injury?

The OECTA Code of Silence otherwise remains firmly in place creating uncertainty and fear, especially among the smaller units. What's the real message here? Let's hope provincial cleans up its act + justice is done for Mr. Brock, instead of lashing out + crushing anybody who says boo about OECTA's summer surprises; first the Mou, now this. It's keeping the members + presidents looking at each other + wondering; who or what next? Why so secret? Alas!

BTW an OECTA letter on the Brock decision went out from provincial today [Friday the 20th]. If I know about it, it must be within the public domain all ready. No word yet on whether it is supposed to be a big secret ie] is confidential, for the local presidents only, or for the members whom they represent. If you're an OECTA member you might want to contact your local office Monday to enquire + keep checking back here to see what's happening. Hopefully you are not about to be treated like mushrooms again! How do you grow mushrooms? Keep 'em in the dark + feed them s#%t! Sigh! Alas!

Oddly ETFO Provincial seems headed towards increased secrecy now too. After a stellar year with leading edge + timely coverage of the affiliates affairs for members via excellent twitters + the Control Your Future website, these have dried up to a trickle. You might want to contact your provincial office to let them know you don't want to be left in the dark too. This is ridiculous! Who works for whom in our teacher affiliates?
The members or the leaders???


PARTY POLITICS

PC Leader Tim Hudak faces an interesting weekend at the Sept. 20-21 party convention this weekend where there could be a possible leadership review. If there isn't an actual leadership vote, expect the media to read the yay or nay votes on a leadership review to be the leadership vote. Not necessarily scientific but Timbo + the PCs could be in for a rough ride ahead if the divisions splitting the party over whether Hudak has to stay or go persist. He remains unpopular with voters across the province. The PC's can't break the poll ceiling with the numbers they will need to win a spring election, or at least a majority win, which many think should be within reach. His extreme neo con policies are not going over well with voters nor all the party faithful. It could all be very good news for both the OLP + the NDP if the PC's implode, us too as teacher unionists! Stay tuned!

Meanwhile all 3 main parties remain tied in a dead heat, at least according to the aggregate polls. The NDP's Andrea Horwath has the best leadership numbers, followed by Wynne who has even slipped a bit this month. Hudak definitely trails badly.
We are headed for a very interesting year at Queens Park indeed!

IN THE NEWS

The world continues to unfold as it shouldn't. Expect the situation to persist. It is promising however, to see international problems + issues being taken to the United Nations + International Court of Justice again. I'm thinking of Syria. Still, one wonders how much further behind the world would be if 9/11 had been dealt with in these forums rather than the dubious "Coalition of the Willing" in it's "War on Terror". It still continues to drag on + on + on to little constructive avail. Sure, it's a long and trying process requiring great effort + fortitude but have we been doing much better just killing each other off instead? I think not. 

It might sound Utopian but I seriously wonder why the powers that be claiming to represent us don't listen to the people, be they political leaders, big business or our teacher unions. The collective will + well being? Bah. Surely we can do better than the current mess we are all in here at home + abroad. Hmmmmm.

KULTURE KULT INK

The title of this column comes from an underground "Zine" I used to publish back in the late 80's + early 90's. Few if any of you will remember or for that matter have even seen it. I'd like to resurrect it someday, on line. This is not really the same, except that both are themed on my obsession with pop culture. IMHO, everyday events along with the popular forms of mass media and expression tell us a lot about our life and times. Often more so than the exclusive, elitist world of high art. That applies now + in ages past. Anyway, keep watching this section of my news + views if you are so interested.
I also regularly post music + video links here for your interest + amusement when you visit, to provide a relief break from the more serious business. All work + no play makes for sad boys + girls!

BTW, my music + book reviews have been updated. They are posted towards the bottom of my blogsite if you scroll down.

 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On the topic of the newspaper paywalls, there are several legal work-arounds.

(1) If you have more than 1 browser installed, you can simply switch browsers when you use up your "free" views for the month. The paywalls work via cookies on the particular browser.

(2) If you have more than 1 device, or you use a different computer at work vs. at home, each device will count articles separately so you can double or triple your free views that way.

(3) an even simpler solution (my preferred one) is to use either Google Chrome or Torch browsers, both of which have the option to right-click on a link and select "view page in incognito mode" or words to that effect. Incognito mode does not store cookies, so as long as you close all the incognito windows/tabs each time, you start out fresh each session with 10 or 20 (as applicable) free articles to view.

I responded to a survey from The Star about paywalls and suggested that if they had a system whereby one could pay an annual fee, say $50, for free viewing of a personal selection of 5 newspapers, I would sign up and pay it (and select The Star, the Globe, the NYTimes, the WaPo and one other), but I was not willing to subscribe to a half-dozen papers individually. It's easy enough to get free print copies through the public library and/or recycling.

Happy reading.

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