Opening Statement

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Teacher Summer News + Views!

It's official! Summer is here! This is your teacher news + views links blog. New entries are highlighted in large type. Please note: My Teacher + Union Acronym Guide is Here! 


Note: Teacher 2014 contract news + views links have been moved to a separate dedicated blog @ Teacher Free Speech Contract Study Guide!

Resource Guide: How much did each teacher union contribute to the NDP, OLP + PC's in the Ontario spring 2014 election?! Search here @ Elections Ontario

Some ETFO AGM delegates are still not happy campers over Bill 115/ the MOU!

ETFO President Hammond's AGM [Annual General Meeting] closing remarks are summarized and a video link is provided. Job actions aren't being ruled out this year if contract talks falter @ Hammond

The Utopia Series: What will school be like in the future? Read @ Pipe Dreams?

Back to school daze: Funniest things teachers have overheard in class Here!

The Joys of Parenting as classes resume again @ School Daze!

Coming in September: "The Ontario Special Needs Roadmap for Schools" Autism guide to provide info and help empower parents. More @ Autism

Ontario universities + colleges are being required to specialize @ New Policy

AMAPCEO, the public service sector union representing provincial government policy analysts, economists, auditors, scientists and veterinarians will vote to ratify a new 4 year contract. It offers more time off, enhanced job security and improved health benefits but a virtual salary freeze. Is this a sign of things to come for our teacher negotiations with the MOE? More @ AMAPCEO

OPSEU warns of ill effects Ontario college funding cuts are having on teaching instructors @ OPSEU

I plan to do an updated blog about this topic. Eventually, but with summer here who knows when? Anyway, many of us are critical here of how our unions have been run. But that doesn't mean "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" so to speak: A Broadbent Institute book review on why "Unions Matter" is @ Broadbent

More reasons for why we need unions @ Count them!

Rank + File's on line newsletter provides an excellent August update on the state of the unions across Canada @ August Union News + Views Updates!

Here's an internet guide to "anti-teacher trolls". It's from the US but we can surely identify most of the same angles + rants up here in Canada too. Quite hilarious if it weren't so sad Trolls!

Trolls? Look: It's Mr. Department of "It's All Those Darn Teachers Fault"!!!

What'll they think of next?! Detroit extends school year into August and experiments with 100 students in a kindergarten class with 3 teachers, 2 of whom are beginners. It is expected that no more than 2 students will be engaged in the same activity at the same time! Thank god we defeated the neo cons in Ontario for another 4 years so as to avoid this kind of BS @ Meanwhile in Detroit...

Meanwhile back in the UK: How the school lunch program has been mishandled No free lunch?

There's lots of teaching jobs in England. Unfortunately there's a lot of disillusionment + burn out too in face of the neo con onslaught @ British Values?

Ontario neo cons continue to wring their hands over our unions fighting back in the political arena. Would they protest if it were business interests supporting the PC's? Probably not @ Sour Grapes

The Globe + Mail explains the Ontario spring election outcome for students in it's classroom edition. Hmmm. Any Comments? See @ Globe

Some of Ontario's Catholic school boards might be facing MOE intervention or court actions as they refuse to allow non-Catholic students to be exempted from religious courses despite a recent court ruling @ Showdown?

There is a new emphasis on requiring day care workers to have an ECE [Early Childhood Education] training on the grounds they can provide better programming and care @ Inside Halton

A lack of respect towards teachers is at the heart of the perfect storm of teacher discontent across Canada, according to this articleGlobe

OECD report finds UK teachers feel overworked + undervalued over there tooOECD

Here's a link to the OECD's Teaching and Learning International survey @ Survey

Sound familiar too? UK teachers spend too much time on administrative work + it 
cramps teaching @ Workload Issue

A school board wake up call: 

Late breaking news!!! Good administration + quality education results from collaborating with teachers + educators, rather than a top down model of trying to be the big "boss". Does the TCDSB know this? Other boards? More @ Working together not alone

Community School Alliance group works to lobby Ontario MOE not to close rural schools across the province @ CSA 

Former Deputy Education Minister Pascal claims Toronto public school voters have to choose carefully who they vote for as their board trustees this fall to end the "reign of error" at the TDSB @ TDSB

Toronto teacher activist + sometimes guest blog contributor to this site Tim Heffernan is running for TDSB public school board trustee. Good luck Tim! Maybe some of our readers can help him out? More info on Tim's Facebook page @ Tim Heffernan for Trustee

OPSBA has created a website with profiles for every public school board trustee in the province. There's a link to info on each school board + the public school system in Ontario. It also contains info on how to run for office. Something to think about! See @ OPSBA

Strike Time! Here are the British Columbia Teacher Federations [BCTF] 5 key demands of the provincial government are @ Big 5

BC government applies to have summer school + year round schooling designated an "essential service". The BCTF is prepared to picket through the summer if a contract deal isn't reached.@ BCTF 

Too funny! BC teachers confront the Education Minister on the golf greens @ Video

An article on why the BC governments approach to teacher negotiations could be considered "mean spirited" at best is Coal Mine

Summer in the city [of Montreal]!

Montreal Canada firefighters storm city council to protest proposed pension changes after mayor refuses to meet to hear their concerns @ Paper flies! 

Neo Con mouth piece Sun News is of course shocked that the Ontario teacher unions are sending solidarity funds to our BC colleagues. The big spoiler is that they never declare "Big Business Wages War on Labour" when it comes to corporate welfare or the austerity agenda. Nope! This article is called @ Big Labour wages War

The "History of Autism" provides a primer for teachers + parents @ Diagnostics

Quebec Walmart found guilty for union busting! Every dollar you save comes out of the workers pockets. With Walmart all is hardly as it might seem. More @ Walmart Sucks!

Kingston students up to Grade 11 will ride public transit for free starting September 1st @ In Transit

Textbook prices have sky rocketed in the US waaaay above the inflation rate, and I'd bet it's even more so a problem in Canada. Here's how some stateside schools are trying to get around the problem often to the publishers chagrin @ $chool Text$ 

Technology might best help accommodate cognitive disorders in the US workforce @ Hi Tek! 

Classrooms are increasingly being flooded with the latest electronic devices + gizmos, but despite the hype, the verdict is still out on whether its a always a good ideaHigh on tech?

Info on the cognitive drawbacks to reading from a screen @ New York Times

ONA [Ontario Nurses Association] will host a float in this years Toronto World Gay Pride day parade in Toronto @ ONA

OSSTF's World Gay Pride activities are available @ OSSTF

Info for ETFO @ ETFO /ETT's @ ETT

OECTA is hosting a float this year too. It's still a sensitive issue for some Catholics.

Catholic Register interviews teachers who oppose OECTA's participation in this years parade. However, the article omits that OECTA inclusitivity for LGBTQ students was passed by an overwhelming majority at a past AGM. @ Catholic Register

OECTA President James Ryan takes stand for Catholic LGBTQ students. 

Archive: President Ryan justifies OECTA participation in this years gay pride parade despite church criticisms @ Catholic Register

OECTA President James Ryan reports that Catholic teachers from across the province came to join in the Toronto World Pride Day parade this year. They were well received by parade participants and those in attendance for the parade, That's good bridge building for sure. @ World Pride Float

Handy Tip: How to possibly save a lost MS Word document if ...... oh I dunno ....... the power goes off or you forgot to save changes? BTW am I the only one flabbergasted and really p.o'ed with Microsoft 8 in general?! I hate it! Hate it! Hate it! Grrrr ..... Anyway, more @ Word

Ontario Legislative Assembly Teacher Forum on teaching our students about parliament democracy + active citizenship will be run from Oct 19-21 this year. Details @ QP PD


Queens Park Summer Recess: Everybody out of the pool!

Toronto York Labour Council's analysis of the Ontario Spring Election + where we go from here as union progressives is a must read @ TYLC

The provincial election turnout was up marginally in Ontario to 52.1%. Elections Canada is considering alternatives to the traditional ballot box to get more voters out. It's also calling for an independent review of 3rd party ads @ Voting

QP Scuttlebutt: Former PC honcho Tim Hudak has not been in attendance at the legislature since he lost the election + was removed as party leader. However, have since learnt that he was sworn in as MPP in a private ceremony. The election butt kicking must be tough to take!Then to get kicked out as leader by the PC caucus! Wow!

There's got to be a morning after .... Liberal majority: Dr Jeckyll or Mr. Hyde. The budget revisited @ What was that all about?!

The Ontario spring election resulted in a Liberal majority, seemingly against all odds. What next? For the OLP? NDP? PC's? Some punditry @ Global

Bad Losers? Neither opposition leader Tim Hudak nor NDP party leader Andrea Horwath showed up for Premier Wynne's swearing in ceremony at the Queens Park legislature. We know Timbo is a mean nasty man, but Andrea surprises. Of course Hudak has nothing to lose, he's all but gone now, a sad Tory footnote. Rumours NDP leader Andrea Horwath will be resigning were dispelled. She says it's up to a possible leadership review at the upcoming November NDP AGM, as it is every year.

PC caucus showed Mr. Hudak the door after he lost the election race that was his to win. No doubt the anger must've been quite palatable. Now they are promising a complete over haul of the party. Not so the NDP. The simple fact is they have lost the balance of power to a Liberal premier who seems more progressive than their leader Andrea Horwath. Moreover, it seems the NDP Toronto caucus, or whats left of it are being told to put up or shut up. Much of the NDP's traditional union support isn't happy with where the party is going either. More @ Whither too?

It seems a lot of Tories weren't on board with Tim! The PC ridings got the most declined votes during the election. A true blue Tory will not vote OLP or NDP they just won't vote, or now it seems they have declined their vote Decline

A profile of the possible contenders in the PC leadership race is @ Who's next?!

Planet Earth to Ontario PC'ers: Are you finally getting a reality fix? More @ Speculative

A breakdown of the new Wynne cabinet is Shuffle

The premier has taken on the Intergovernmental Affairs portfolio in addition to her other duties. Liz Sandals holds onto education. MPP Dr. Eric Hoskins has been moved into Health + Long Term Care. Deb Matthews is now Minister of the Treasury Board as well as Deputy Premier. More? A quick look at the new Cabinet is OLP

The cabinet now includes 3 MPP's from Northern Ontario @ More Inclusivity?

By the way, are we going to get an inquest into the Ontario spring budget polls? Overwhelming they weren't even close. Something is obviously not right about them anymore. What's going on?!?

The Liberals ran their successful election campaign on the budget. Now they sit with a majority, working during the summer to pass it through the legislature. They needn't worry. With a clear cut majority neither the PC's or NDP can stand in their way. But do the numbers add up? Well yes and no @ Cohn

Having been outnumbered in the  budget vote by the Liberal majority government, the NDP + PCC opposition battle now moves to committee appointments @ Majority Govt

Are there dark clouds of cuts and strikes on the horizon for this fall? More @ What next?

Premier Wynne warns of 'difficult choices' ahead in order to balance budget @ Choices
FYI: here's a breakdown of the Liberal "Austerity Budget" @

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath warns of a Liberal "Trojan Horse" budget @ Andrea

Andrea is keeping a brave face but bottom line is that the NDP no longer hold the balance of power at QP @ Cohn

Wynne win? The new Ontario Pension Plan payroll deductions will begin in 2017 @ New

Wynne's winning win: With the OLP budget passed the QP legislature adjourns until after Thanksgiving ... when you have a majority, you do as you please Adjourned

Tim Hudak's PCs crash + burn in the provincial election that was his to lose. No wonder he resigned. The party is pissed! The post mortum begins @ CBC

It's argued that Tim Hudak didn't lose the election. Rather Kathleen Wynne won it @ Ottawa Citizen

Hudak's 100,000 election mistakes @ Bye!

Don Drummond critiques the flaws in Hudak's so called Million Jobs Plan, and suggests Wynne might still cut 100,000 jobs. It's just all "more nuanced" then that Mr. Drumbo

NDP's Andrea Horwath doggedly insists the Liberals won a majority because they got Ontarians to vote for them out of fear of a Hudak PC government. Not too hard to do! She still plans to stick around to carry on the good fight. Andrea comments on the election results @ Fear + Loathing?

Group of 7 demand Horwath be tossed out as leader for abandoning labour + social issues in the provincial election @ Sun News

Wynne's new majority + the make up of her cabinet shows that doors are open to women, gays and other minorities now at QP unlike when it was an old boys club in day's or yore Toronto Star

PC's are throwing a wide net to replace resigned party leader Tim Hudak. It seems there are draft movements going on to get Fed Tory cabinet ministers John Baird + Lisa Raitt to run @ Tory Draft?

It's official: Christine Elliot is taking her second run at the PC leadership post. She promises a fresh approach, which I suppose sounds a lot better than Hudak's stale old Mike Harris one, but we will see. For what it's worth I have met with her before on PAC work. She is one of the few Tory's you can actually talk to. She at least listens. With Hudak we had none of that. Most people don't realize that. Timbo would not even talk to the teacher unions in any attempt at being inclusive as he made his master plans for education. He really was a Grade A #1 prick. But look where that got him. Read Christine's letter @ Toronto Star

PC MPP + sometimes Education Critic Lisa McLeod is considering a run at the leadership race. Meanwhile the party is holding public consultations on what voters want in a PC leader @ PC Race

Hampton Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton gauges support for PC leadership bid with tour of province to see if she can build a new coalition @ New PC coalition?

Out spoken former PC MPP + Hudak critic Peter Shurman has his own blog now! Interesting @ Shurmanations


Oh oh! Not good!

Tornado's sweep through Southern Ontario's Tornado Alley twice in exactly one week causing destruction in Angus and Tecumseh. The climate is a changin"! Fortunately they missed Toronto. Still, remember last summers flash flood? Last winter's crippling "ice storm"? Surely nobody still believes we are not causing serious damage to the environment + it's payback time anymore?! Seems nobody is safe as the environmental chickens come home to roost in Canada and around the world @ Tornado Alley!

Simcoe and other rural communities across Ontario and indeed Canada are promoting themselves as a place for new immigrants to settle. Indeed, the flood of new Canadians into our large cities [Toronto, Montreal Vancouver etc.] can be overwhelming. There's many other excellent places to build a good life across our country! New opportunities @ Immigration

Shirtless teacher goes after Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in the video seen around the world. It's about timeGone Jogging!

First foot print on the moon award goes to Neil Armstrong!

This month is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon walk. 45 kool colour photos are posted @ A Giant Leap!

Latest Rob Ford news is posted @ My Ford Blog!

Brave New World or 1984? Is this the shape of things to come: a woman is spooked by a "peeping drone" flying outside her 26th floor apartment windows @ Video

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow has a new series of Rob Ford "Monster Truck" ads, as he returns from rehab, supposedly cured, + ready to run for mayor again @ Radio Ads

A new Cold War? Russia responds to economic sanctions with a ban on food imports from Canada, the US, and EU @ Sanctions

New Cold War? Here we go again?!

Point/ Counterpoint: OK, so the Russians are gunning for a new Cold War right? Well yes and no ..... so who's been flexing their military muscle the most: the US? Or Russia? It might not be so clear cut as it might seem New Cold War?

Required Reading! "Dr. Srangelove: or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb!" revisited: Absurdist visions + Cold War Kulture revisited @ Ka-Boom?!

Dr. Srangelove Redux?!  Original film link below in Kulture Kult Ink!

  Is there any moral equivalency between the way the western media, and our leaders, including those in Ottawa Canada, are reacting to the Malaysia Airlines and Gaza Strip news stories? Only an immoral lack of one, according to @ F.U 'ped!

All hellzapoppin' in the Middle East this summer with the Israeli's stepping up the action in the Gaza Strip while Hamas [not to be confused with Hummus, a middle eastern treat!] continues its rocket attacks. However all might not be as it seems. One point of view Justified Vengeance?

Tanks a lot! Not a good sign!!!

How do you spell "unbiased"? You don't! So much for Canada's reputation as the "honest broker" in international affairs. I liked it better when Canadian forces were used as Peacekeepers under the auspices of the UN with less emphasis on being a cheerleader for military "Peacemaking". Might makes right? Prime Minister Harper encourages world leaders to side with Israel @ Honest Broker?

Sign of the times? Warfare in the social media age ...

Israeli air strike kills at least 10 in a UN sponsored school in Gaza. It's the 3rd school attacked this week. So far there have been 7 in all. As a teacher, this is pretty hard to brush over or ignore @ Different Kind of School "Strike"

Israel in Gaza: yay or nay? Proportionality seems all out of wack to me but you can think for yourself. Here's a counter view @ Myths?

A sign of the times?

A swim in Lake Ontario anybody? No? Oh! Phosphorus pollution in the Great Lakes is creating algal blooms which threatens to destroy 20% of the planets fresh water supply! Sign + share the petition @ Here!

Canadian doctors refuse to endorse Health Canada's new anti marijuana campaign @ No!

Is Trudeau's promise to legalize marijuana in Canada a winner? What will the NDP do?

Polls show support for Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau's plans to legalize marijuana if elected in 2015 Canadian federal election @ High 5's

Federal Conservatives dicker with vague half way measures instead @ Tory spin control?

Medical marijuana prescriptions are making Canadian doctors feel like they are caught in the middle of a political football game, perhaps because of the Federal Conservative government's bad half assed planning @ Legalize It But Not Legalize It?

More medical marijuana studies needed?

Here, apparently, are the Canada wide fan FIFA soccer standings from the CIBCFootball?

Beer wars coming to a head! Look for cheaper suds this summer in Ontario @ Beer Wars?!

Report suggests what happened to passengers aboard lost Malaysian Flight MH370, but nobody still really knowsLost!

Meanwhile in the Ukraine: Oooops!

Travel Tips!

Don't fly one way out over the Indian Ocean!

Don't fly over war zones!

Don't fly Malaysian Airlines, even if they have a seat sale!

Lost + Found? Reporter rummages through dead folks luggage live on air at Malaysian Airline crash site. What next? @ Video

Iraqi Islamic militants [ISIL] claim they've beheaded an American journalist after Obama resumes air strikes. Hey! I thought that war was over and Bush won?!? Guess not @ Iraq Again!


Reggae great Jimmy Cliff plays his acoustic guitar and discusses his iconoclastic 70's reggae flick "The Harder They Come" @ Harder They Fall

Here's an added bonus: Johnny Too Bad by the Slickers from Harder They Come. Too koooool Reggae Bad Boys Make Good!

Your daily guide to reggae news is @ Here!

Stay Tuned: As you might or might not have noticed I'm posting a series of blogs on my trip to Jamaica this summer. More on the music, culture, my travels etc to come! Here's an interesting documentary on Bob Marley. It's posted in 2 parts and is about 30 minutes long. It focuses on a photographer who knew him well. He talks about his photos and time with Bob between 1974-81 @ Hype Life Magazine!

John Lennon's 70's squeeze, May Pang, takes her collection of photos on the road from his 2 year "lost weekend" partying in LA with Phil Spector, Mick Jagger, Harry Nilsson, Ringo, Keith Moon, Paul McCartney etc etc etc @ Lost + Found

This August is the 69th anniversary of the atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands of civilians died in a flash! Here's Yoko Ono's Peace message @ Give Peace A Chance?

It's movie time at Kulture Kult Ink!

After Hiroshima + Nagasaki were nuked the world was never the same again. Here's some pure Cold War Kulture Revisited; a link to "Dr. Strangelove: Or how I learned to stop worrying + love the bomb!" Also see above ["In The News"] on why this is well worth watching [again] @ Cold War Revisited!

Is death a good career move, musically speaking? Here's the top 10 earning dead musicians. Check it out @ Dead heads?

Mork from Ork: Robin Williams fell to earth for a good 35 year run!

Robin Williams suicide shocker: What was he thinking?!? 

Perhaps Robin William's suicide will lead people to take depression more seriously?! More @ Depression

Seems the original 1960's Star Trek was way ahead of its time in predicting future technological advances! Kirk knew! Spock too! @ Bold Going ...

Music sales diversification!

A picture is worth a 1000 words: See how music sales have changed over the last 30 years in only 30 seconds @ 30

Young folks are killing the big business music industry. It might not be a bad thing, as indies pick up the slack Big Biz No More?

Vinyl lives! Records have made a come back! But are they too expensive for the everyday music aficionado verses the big bucks collector? More @ Vinyl Lives!!!

Vinyl record sales are up 40%, with increased sales among the under 30 age group. Music stores are responding to the trend. This article also has some good tips if you want to get a turntable and start listening to them again. Also an interesting analysis on why record albums have more appeal @ Vinyl is back! 

Collecting vinyl: what's hot? What's not? @ Financial

Some notes on the "vinyl culture" underground @ Think Vinyl!

Will "streaming" music "on demand" replace records + cds? Perhaps they will become a specialty market? It is becoming increasingly difficult to find them except in specialized shops, which is kind of underground and kool anyway. Still there is a lot at stake. More @ Streaming? 

Hip Hoppers out exercise rockers + everybody else in list of 25 sportiest songs @ Exercise Time?

Well that may well be but I still like the Beatles!!! My latest Beatles 2014 Blog revisits Abbey Road directly below ..... 

Rough Trade: the Movie? The story of Carol Pope and company will focus on the music scene in Toronto during the late 70's /early 80's. If you were there, maybe you can help out. It seems like only yesterday @ Toronto Scene 

Are the 80's finally over?!? Seems so. Our iconic Canadian "Muchmusic" music video channel is being cut down to a skeleton staff + it won't being doing much even at that. Does anybody even watch Muchmusic anymore? Does it still show a lot of videos?! Hmmm Not Muchmusic?

More exciting than the Bobby Kennedy Assassination?!? Archie takes the bullet for a gay friend in the upcoming final edition of the "Life With Archie" comic @ Riverdale

Death metal? Here!?! Harumph! Listen this is .... er ... er ... a respectable teacher blogsite [or something like that]. If there is to be any it better be played on a ukulele. Yup @ Cannibal Corpse!?

More to come .....


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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!