Opening Statement



Monday, 25 November 2013

Teachers November News + Views Digest!

My Teacher + Union Acronym Guide is Here!

This popular blog feature is late this month. A lot of "Teacher + Union" news coverage has been going on in my other blogs. I will add links but not repeat that all here. "Party Politics" requires a few links be reposted so the background manoeuvring at QP during the Ford Debacle doesn't get overlooked. Next months Teacher December News + Views will start on time. I promise. Anyway ...


TEACHER + UNION

Teacher Reminder: Did you get your flu shot? Info @ Flu bug

Secret MOE consultation for "building the the next phase" of their "education strategy" was only sent to + shared with select unspecified "stakeholders. Hmmm. Read @ Big MOE Secret?

Teacher free speech is still alive + well for now, here at least. A mile blogstone was reached this month with 280,000 reader visits to date! Please share my link in solidarity! Together we are strong, can stand up to the bullying + make sure the unions represent the teachers interest above all else!

This month has been OECTA, OECTA + more OECTA with some discussion of ETFO's official overview of Bill 122, the new School Board Collective Bargaining Act 2012.

The OECTA coverage has mostly taken place in the Ask Angelo OECTA Q+A blogs. A year ago, the OECTA silence was deafening. Hopefully we won't go through that again. The open forum free speech blogs are @ Here! and @ There!

Bill 122 is currently in 2nd reading at QP. Guestimates are it won't pass until this spring. By then we could be headed for a provincial election. Its hard to see how the PDT can begin without the new bargaining procedures in place. In a nutshell, the OLP plans to move to provincial bargaining. The trustees will now wield more power and influence. The NDP is fighting for changes to the Bill every step of the way. It's too weak for the PC's liking. Hudak's Blue Meanie act has not been winning many accolades, and he hasn't given any indication of lightening up. Perhaps the OLP is thinking Bill 122 can steal some of the PC's anti teacher union support while appeasing Wynne's trustee buddies?


CUPE provides a Bill 122 update @ Clash crisis!

This Ottawa Guardian article provides a good overview of some key issues. Then the writer bares his neo con fangs over the supposed David verses Goliath struggle of the trustees against the teacher unions. His solution? Deem us an essential service so some "meaningful" negotiations can be held. Aaaargh @ Bill 122

Any possible OLP boot licking and butt kissing by the teacher union affiliates must be carefully monitored. Some ETFO members feel their union hasn't said enough about the position they will take. As for OSSTF? I have been negligent in covering them and have some catching up to do. If any readers are following that story carefully please let us know what's happening!

Meanwhile, there are disturbing reports that the local OECTA presidents were being urged to ask the members what they would be willing to concede in the upcoming negotiations at a meeting late last week. Whew! More about this at Ask Angelo! I have also heard it through the grapevine, but have been unable to confirm, that the OLP plans to target the teacher benefit packages and salary grid in the upcoming contract talks. The ETFO Overview of Bill 122: The School Boards Collective Bargaining Act [2013] is @ Overview


I'm sitting on a pretty good OECTA story that a lot of you know something about, the rest no. OECTA President James Ryan sent every member a letter last week. Most of the Catholic boards have not been honouring the terms of the OECTA MOU, let alone the Me Too clause. It's quite the mess, very, very bad in some units. I've been following the correspondence from OECTA TSU [Toronto] where the guff from the TCDSB is unbelievable. Rene J, Dave S + everyone keep slugging away at it. I also have James letter about the situation to MOE Sandals + know PE is waiting for a response, with bated breathe, hopeful for some good news. Hmmm. Thing is I'm kinda pooped from all the news scoops so far, and it's only late November. Might just want to continue with this blog for awhile. I enjoy it a lot. Haven't done it for awhile + a lot of you come here for the links, so we will see when. Stay tuned.

BTW, I've just tweeted archive backgrounder links to my many previous blogs on the big MOU/ Me Too issues between OECTA + the Catholic Principals + School Boards going back to July 2012 via my Twitter hashtag #davidchiarelli


How the Grinch stole Christmas: Santa arrested for civil disobedience in supporting Walmart strikers in Ontario CA! Who's being naughty not nice now? Walmart of course! Howza bout a lump of coal in their stocking eh??

Black Friday is going badly for Walmart among strike actions across the US! That's one way to get their attention. Hit them where it hurts! In the wallet ... BTW Black Friday in Canada is turning into a complete farce! The corporate interests are trying to jump start it as the biggest sales event of the year, without any real sales. Just your regular stuff and some loss leaders. Let's face it -it isn't ANYTHING like in the US here. It's just a very lame marketing scam. CP24 was at a near empty Yorkdale Mall in Toronto promoting it since early this morning. Very embarrassing and irritating. Sure, by this evening the mall will be packed like it always is before Christmas. Methinks the emperor has not clothes! Anyway back to Walmart @ Black Friday

Here's an interesting angle to the whole Toronto Mayor Rob Ford scandal that is often overlooked: The TCDSB Catholic School Board was accused of a cover up involving controversial Mayor Rob Ford's "quasi-employee" status as the "football coach" at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School. The 91 police court documents released under the Freedom of Info Act include a wide variety of the local staff, administration and policing concerns about his presence in the Catholic high school. These include a previously withheld police letter over a improperly conducted "criminal security check" of his "coaching assistant". Story @ Toronto Star

State of the Unions:  Walrus.ca's activist John Lorinc critiques the decline of the big unions, and the increasingly successful appeal of smaller more grass root hands on unions like "Unite Here!" Some interesting reading for anybody at the OFL Annual Convention this week. Sitting listening to the big leaders' long winded speeches praising each other while the "newbies" agree? These can be turgid affairs! Bet the big boys don't want to hear this @ Goo Goo Bajoo!


How to rebuild the union movement?

OK. I can dig it. The theme of this years OFL Annual Convention is "Challenging Hudak's Anti Worker Agenda". The teacher unions are all out in strength coz quiet frankly we are all going to need each other + labour a lot in daze ahead. Day 2 we get flooded on Twitter with just plain folk photos of the local execs + eager members to prevent the proceedings from seeming too monolithic, impersonal and big brother unionish. Then there's this photo with everyone in matching gray outfits, like something right out of Orwell's 1984. BTW is that OECTA 1st President Ann Hawkins in the bottom left giving us the solidarity forever fist?


[Hi Maureen! Whew! Glad to see you there keepin' an eye on things 4 us!]

99% of Michigan teachers decide to stay in the teacher union despite Right to Work law that allows them to opt out. Difficult to ask but one wonders what the result would be like here in Ontario? Story @ 99%!

I can't resist this rant. It's triggered by an OTF article called "Book Reports No More". Look. I know we're keen on using multimedia technology in the classroom, me too but I still believe teaching is also, as Neil Postma once said, a conserving activity. New is not always good, nor old always bad. Cursive writing has all but been eliminated and written off as outdated but it does teach fine motor skills, and allows us not to be held hostage by a keyboard or a camera. Art teachers have quite rightfully been complaining about students not knowing how to properly hold a pencil by the time they reach secondary school too. For shame. This is just plain wrong headed thinking in MHO.

And now, it's book reports that are on the chopping block?!? Listen, it's essential to be able to concisely summarize and critique what we have read in an orderly logical manner using the written word without being dependent on using a computer to express ourselves. The kids can express themselves in computer projects, on line, in a multimedia lab or whatever. I have no problem with that, far from it. But please don't get so caught up in the new technology that you believe it's not necessary for students to attend to the rigorous and concentrated task of writing book reports anymore. The long lost art of handwriting is important but I suppose they can use a word program too. Just make sure they use written words, please! It will be even more tragic if they lose this invaluable if not trendy skill too!!! Read @ OTF

OTF Planboard scores top points though for this good techie idea. All teacher members can access it for free. You can write, edit and share your lesson plans on it. Plus it comes with an Ipad App! Available @ OTF Planboard


Why we need qualified teachers ....

Florida student threatened with expulsion from private Christian school unless she cuts her Afro. Sly Stone had an Afro, so did Ike Turner, Roberta Flack + Angela Davis. But I suppose that was then + this is now. You can see her picture. She doesn't cut it so looks round like all those other funky dudes back in the day. That would be my advice to her. Anyhow, sounds like she's going to fight it. Good for her @ Florida

Arkansas student threatened with expulsion for wearing an Vera Bradley bag to school. However, the girls are allowed to wear a purse. Sounds like a double standard to me. He should tell them it's a "man bag". I think so. Seriously guys should put their foot down in this modern day and age about a "man's bag". It doesn't mean the guy is gay, and if he is, well up here in Canada that wouldn't fly. What BS @ No Mens Purses

You think we got it bad? In the UK the education ministry is insisting on individual teachers meeting "targets" that are set for them by an inspector, rather than allowing them to use their own professional judgement about what they'd want to improve or further develop according to their own interests and skills. Sound familiar? Now one UK teacher has been told to "target", that is to say get rid of her northern accent @ NUTs!

Teachers in British schools are represented by a number of Unions. They cross each others picket lines. Basically its impossible to engage in any effective, collective actions, for reasons that should be self evident. NUT [National Teacher Union] wants all the teacher unions to now amalgamate into one big union. Makes sense @ One teacher union?

PARTY POLITICS

Late November Party Forum Poll: PC=38%/ OLP+32%/ NDP=23%

This would translate as a PC minority with 47 seats at QP, compared to the OLP with 44 + it doesn't say in this Sun article for the NDP. It's only worrisome if the PC's continue to go up + the NDP down, otherwise its more or less within the regular perameters we've been seeing. Still, the only way we are going to rest assured our social and labour gains in Ontario are safe long term is by uniting the left. Would seem so obvious but both the OLP + NDP remain intransigent as ever. Kind of hard to see how the OLP is lefty anymore but maybe an election loss would smarten them up. However, methinks that would be like suggesting one drink Draino to cure a sour throat. Not a good idea to hope for! Story @ Forum

308 adds the latest results into its aggregate numbers to chart the overall party polling trend results, providing indepth analysis and insight. Updated @ 308

The Toronto Sun might've now decided PC Tim Hudak has finally got the political fire in his belly + hit his stride. Remember though that he still polls as the least favourite party leader by far. Sun perspective @ Tim gets a rise?

NDP + OLP go on QP offensive against PC's RTW 4 less agenda @ QP


An interesting month indeed: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is @ Cracked!

How did the provincial political parties react?

Premier Wynne said the province wouldn't intervene in municipal Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's dismissal. What can/ can't the province do? More @ Wynne

Wynne outlined the 4 criteria that would need to be considered before the province would intervene, including a request from city council and all 3 party support @ Media Release

Meanwhile the Ontario PC's under leader Tim Hudak have some back peddling to do! Don't forget they have embraced the Ford brothers and played footsies with them a lot over the past year. The Ontario PC's Ford Link hopefully would've provided them with a much needed breakthrough into the Toronto ridings. They got a Holyday win in the past OLP stronghold of Etobicoke Lakeshore, but at what cost? Here's Ford + Lisi at the Doug Holyday campaign office during last summers by-election @ PC Connection?


NDP Party Leader Ann Horwath a clear winner at OTF Convention.

Archive: Hudak's Ontario PC's were thrilled that Doug Ford wanted to run for them in next provincial election, bring his family style of "brash politics" to QP! And now? Bring 'em on baby! More @ Brash Politics!

Damage Control Time: Can PC Tim Hudak find a way to quietly dump the Ford Bros now too?!? Story @ Macleans

Find out why the Tory neo cons are really right royally p.o'ed with former Toronto Right Wing Poster Boys, the Ford Brothers @ Toronto Sun

Now see why they will have a hard time selling this to a lot of the right wing rank and file in Toronto. Things go better with coke @ The National Post

Thank Rob Ford + Mike Duffy for the re-re-re-return of the Canadian political satire rag @ Frank!

IN OTHER NEWS

Early winter woes? Well, take at gander at the beauty of winter in Northern Ontario! See the photos + video from Terrace Bay, north of Lake Superior @ Snow + Ice!


Digital divide: We do or don't, all things not being equal!

There is a growing class division in Canada between those who have access to computers and those who don't. Read about Canada's digital divide @ Apple

Now consider what will happen when this same divide occurs between the developed and the developing world. Reread my blogs on the computer situation in Cuba @ Cuban School Computers

2017: Happy 150th birthday Canada! Guess what?!? The big oil companies like us so much they are helping sponsor the event from the get go starting now, at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa. Ahh Jeez guys! I'm getting all choked up! What's the sound of one hand clapping? An interesting location! Are we in for some historical revisionism? Indeed, the museum will now contain oil industry links so we can understand the history of our country .... ummm .... Story @ 150th b'day celebrations!

CULTURE KULT INK


China's new People Liberation Army Tactical Strike Unit! Take no prisoners?

Cold War Update! Communist girls are more fun! How to tell? Read the Chinese Military Review BlogSpot @ Peoples Liberation Army Time!!

You might or might not take a gander at my photo slide show in the top right of my blog site. Lately I'm just clicking photos everywhere I go in my hometown city of Toronto where I have lived much of my life. I use my cellphone or Ipad. I make no pretenses of it being high art. Of course, I don't miss the familiar Toronto sites when on location, but mostly it's just everyday life, in glimpses and scenes of the city. My notion is that sometimes this can say so much more about a cities heart and soul. Of course, you will see a little bit of everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. Enjoy if you will.

Yup. November 22 was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of US President John F Kennedy. I understand that most people today weren't born then, so of course they won't remember that day. It seems thought that every generation has it's pivotal moment. Something just plain awful inexplicably happens, time seemingly stops, everyone and everything is in free fall as the world pivots, and then continues off in a different direction, 9/11 being a more recent case in point. Conspiracy theories anybody? To this day we still are not quite sure what really happened or why to JFK in Dallas on Nov. 22 2013. At the time the press + limited TV media was much more easier for the various interests + powers that be to manipulate and withhold. In the modern global village everybody has been all over 9/11 from the get go, so we are perhaps no longer so malleable or naive, or are we? The US government sure seems royally p.o'ed about the Wiki leaks. Look at all the BS that came to light! Be careful folks! 9/11 resulted in a major reversal of privacy and civil rights law to catch often dubious terrorists and evil doers in both the US and Canada. Also some really questionable wars and dicking about in the middle east. I remember JFK. Might I suggest you should think about it too @ 50 Years


Meanwhile in Nealy Plaza: Hey! This must be the grassy knoll!?!

Here's what Nealy Plaza, Dallas, Texas, where Kennedy was shot, looks like today. It has truly become a pop mecca, which is interesting and fascinating in and of itself @ JFK site pix

Interesting class plan? Compare the political, social, economic and strategic implications of the Kennedy assassination during the 1960's + 70's with those of 9/11 today?

Some interesting new JFK resources: Here are what 3 witnesses to the Kennedy assassination recently had to say. Evil can seem so indifferent, unexpected and even bland @ Dallas

I realize my JFK slide show was rather brutally realistic this year, but then so was the Kennedy assassination. Its time to stop hiding from that. No more puffery. Let's make it clear: Kennedy was shot first through the throat. Jackie K leaned over to ask him what was the matter. As she was looking into his eyes, the next bullet blew off the top right side of his skull, spewing his brains all over her + the rear of the car. The photos show Jackie crawl out on the back trunk. In shock, despite the risk she was scooping them back into the car. Interesting footnote: one leftover bullet was later found still loaded in Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle.

A lot of what happened was not known then. A lot is quite possibly still not known now.

The Beach Boys remember recording their hit "Warmth of the Sun" on Nov 22. They explain how their feelings at the time affected the music @ Warmth


The big question that will always haunt the baby boom generation: What would've happened differently since Nov 22 1963 had JFK lived. I read the Steven King book "November 22 1963". An interesting concept of time travel but a crap out at the end. For some more thoughtful and credible insights consider @ Huffington

Let's go on a "what if" roll! What if these dead rock stars had lived? What would they look like and be doing today? Jimi Hendrix? Janis Joplin? John Lennon? Bob Marley? Elvis Presley? Kurt Cobain? More @ Lived?


What if Bob Marley was still alive?

The world around us can be shockingly speculative, pointless and mundane. I think so. Maybe life is just a series of random occurrences. Opportunities for us or somebody else to seize or not seize. Hopefully we can capture the moment to our advantage and help as many others as we can. I often believe that myself. TS Elliot's poem JR Proofrock captures the essence of frustration, meaningless and the mundane so well for me. Now its a graphic on line comic book, a quite good one at that @ TS Elliot

Here's another disconnect between the concrete world and the cyber one, besides handwriting and book reports. Soon there will be computers that can take care of our male sexual needs without requiring a real live partnerWomens' options aren't considered but I would assume that too. Anyway, "hand jobs" will apparently come first. Some guys polled think that would be great. Others are too worried. Indeed, what if computer gremlins ever got hold of the speed and stop controls?!? @ Robogirl


Robogirl sez: I love you!

Closer to real life: A neat photo + poem from 'Nam @ Flickr

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

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A careful analytical study!

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Help! I Have No Arms!
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I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

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

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I have an ugly baby!
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Let's save all our money + buy pants!
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Oh no! I got something in my eye!

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The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

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Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

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Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

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It runs the length of the ball field!