Snow! Snow! Everywhere snow! I just got back from a short trip to Cuba. Met the teachers. Got to the beach. Photos: top left slide show! Story to follow soon ....
TEACHER + UNION
A cellphone video of two teenage females assaulting a police officer outside of a local high school goes viral amid much amusement. Listen: when it's okay to swear, and hit teachers at will with virtual impunity nowadays, what sort of message do you think young people are getting about respect for authority figures in general? See my blog @ School Safety?. The news story + video is @ Funny eh?
Ontario's new sex ed curriculum is released. The provincial government says it will not be "cowed" by social conservative critics, this time. The program will be implemented at school beginning this fall. It is the first overhaul since 1998. See "Party Politics" below. A separate easy access Sex Ed blog, has been posted for your teacher free research, resource, erudition and discussion purposes has now been posted on my site @ Guide. News story @ Sex Ed
5 myths about the new sex ed curriculum are refuted. What do the MOE documents really say? @ Huffington
The times they are a changing: For contrast, the CBC digital file archives from "Take 30" show us how the sex ed debate unfolded in Canada during the 1960-70's @ CBC
MOE adamant new sex ed curriculum, due within weeks for implementation this fall, won't be pulled off the table this time around unlike in 2010 @ Sex Ed
Boo hoo hoo! We can't add. We have a deficit. Oh no! We have to negotiate new teacher contracts! TCDSB @ How Covenient?
TCDSB faces 2 unpalatable plans for cutting suddenly discovered $16.9 million deficit. Program cuts are pending. The MOE has appointed a consultant to work with the troubled Catholic board. Trustee Rizzo stresses under funding is also a big issue @ Rizzo
Trustee Rizzo alarmed + feels betrayed by board staff over $10 million accounting "estimation error" in benefit payments @ Hard to Count?
TCDSB Trustee Rizzo not impressed!
BTW it was great seeing local OECTA TSU/ TECT Presidents Dave Sollosy + Mario Bernardo respectively on CP24 news during the meeting last night eloquently keeping close tabs on TCDSB accountability @ Needs to be Done!
Fear vaccines can cause autism high despite medical assurances to the contrary @ Autism?
The case against vaccine causing autism in children is explained @ Measle Parties?!?
Toronto Public Health says students will need to be immunized to attend school @ Proof Needed!
100's of inoculated London Ontario students face suspension @ Measles
MOE Sandals cheesed with TDSB response to directives: Principal hiring process, Quan provisos and school repairs found wanting @ Not Far Enough!
PC's accuse OLP of using crisis to shut out community leaders and fast track school closings. Sandals claims new guidelines for parent input will be in place in about a month. Interesting: no mention of teachers. Also, how'd the NDP miss this one Andrea?!? @ PC's
Axe hangs over 48 TDSB schools as trustees scramble to meet MOE's "Directive 9" cut deadline @ Star
Advocates argue changes to funding formula could save schools. Some are of the schools also used as Community Centres for Adult Ed and Daycare. BTW: Differences in Catholic and Public land development taxes distribution vary too. Article @ Global
Local Schools are "community assets" @ Globe
MOE Sandals claims the the province knows "schools are more than just buildings". However, critics argue they still aren't adjusting the funding formula to acknowledge their use as "community hubs" @ Inside Toronto
Liz: Bad school numbers! Bad! Bad!
ETT president John Smith speaks out against closings @ Toronto Elementary
Local Neo Cons must be gritting their teeth over this one: Survey shows 69% of Toronto residents would approve of a tax hike to keep the schools open as Community hubs @ Survey
60 local TDSB schools are being targeted for possible closing as the MOE cracks down on the scandal plagued board @ Yiikes!
How do our politicos decide which schools are closed? Sometimes they might just be playing the number's game @ Star
NIMBY? Majority of school closures would be in city's poorer neighbourhoods @ Star
Mapping the school closures @ Torontoist
Meanwhile know that many TCDSB Catholic schools are currently over capacity. An aggressive international students recruitment program with fees of $3500+ is underway. This could get very nasty!
Educators Matter is seeking stories about teachers and staff who have selflessly helped others in a significant, and meaningful way @ You Matter!
Alberta teachers possibly face up to 2,500 layoffs as province's oil industry tanks with the world market. Controversial Oil Sands Project now a pig in the poke? Hmmm. Story @ Alberta Bound
Quebec MOE unfazed by marijuana strip search of 15 year old female student. Ontario MOE says it would be a no go here @ School Strip Search
OECTA's Catholic gay teachers continue to be the only group in Canada who can be legally discriminated against contrary to our Constitutional Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The OECTA TSU Human Rights Committee hosted a well attended + very constructive social for the union's LGBTQ members, allies and friends on Feb 5. Provincial President James Ryan and local president Dave Szollosy were in attendance. A handout on the teachers' existing CB rights as well as the text for a motion to be forwarded at the March AGM creating a new working group was presented. Notice will be forthcoming for the next gathering this spring. I will repost the handout on a separate blog in solidarity for your erudition. Guest blogs are also most welcome of course. Stay tuned for updates!
Code of Silence Alert? Tight!
"Observed at this month's OECTA COP"/ or "The Mystery of the "My OECTA includes Marshall Jarvis" T-shirts!": Objectively speaking Marshall was one of our top Catholic teacher union warriors during the good fight against the Ontario Harris Eves Neo Conservative government. Marshall deserves this recognition. The honour is due whatever political differences now exist years later. As a retired OECTA political activist and a fighter on our front line classroom and picket lines, I don't doubt this.
However, during my OECTA years I saw 2 different management styles of delivery for General Secretariat service; Marshall's political one, and the more arms length administrative style of Greg Pollock before him. Putting aside the obvious politics of the moment, I have to wonder if the deeper problem facing OECTA right now is a question of which approach is best for the organization, and hopefully not one of personal allegiances. As such, the t-shirts timing is certainly questionable to say the least!
Do the t-shirts presence at an OECTA COP the month before the OECTA Provincial Presidential election at March AGM smack of a power play? The very thought makes me wince. Is there a move a foot to manufacture consensus for a Hawkins, O'Dwyer Jarvis triad at the head of OECTA after the March presidential election? Or to make sure whatever way it goes, that the union continues to be managed in the same way as it is now, without the deeper and more open discussion that should entail?
A more important question of direction in governance is what needs to be resolved to clear the air and help OECTA get it's mojo working again. At such, the mystery t- shirts regretfully seem quite disturbing and distasteful considering the more recent controversy's since the 2012 MOU, Marshall's other considerable and noteworthy contributions to the association notwithstanding. See my Teacher + Union in the January Teacher Free Speech News + Views for more info @ Here
You can easily make a cone o' silence too! Or something like that!
MOE admits inconsistencies in tracking info on "violent incidents" at school boards across province. Great! Also note how the info only includes attacks on students. Meanwhile the boards are playing innocent. However, my experience in Toronto was that everybody has got one of those them there darn "Cones of Silence" [see above] on, when it comes to disclosure. The public has no idea of how bad it really! Read @ Sun
Parent transfers her autistic child from a Catholic school in Algonquin and Lakeshore citing the board's inaction on a violent incident involving a death threat and bullying @ Inaction
Toronto parent carries a sign advising others her son is autistic for when she has to deal with a meltdown in public @ Idea
Expect some details finally on what the province is offering teachers at this month's Collective Bargaining talks. If the OPSEU negotiations are any indication, it's very slim pickings indeed! Teacher union affiliate updates continue to be posted on a separate blog. The OPSEU details as well as some upcoming provincial CB + OLRB meeting dates are posted here. More news continues to follow as it comes to my attention. Please feel free to provide Comments + info in the space below the blog @ Ontario Teacher Free Speech Contract Guide!
Solidarity forever? USW Toronto Crown Plant cannery strike enters month 17!!! Please check your beer and pop cans to see where they are made and BOYCOTT!!! Pass it on!!! News article @ Star and my first hand blog coverage of the strike from Oct 2013 is of course still @ On the Lines!
A new Supreme Court ruling might've just struck a major blow across Canada against the neo conservative war against our union movement when it comes to limiting our right to strike @ Precedent?
Queen's Park legislature resumes: 6 big issues for the Wynne government @ OLP
Useful: Visit the Queens Park website for orders, notices, committee meeting dates and more details etc. etc. etc. @ Here!
Behind the scenes with Pat Sorbara; Premier Wynne's controversial Deputy Chief of Staff and allegedly one of the most powerful unelected figures in the government @ Sorbara
Pat Sorbara sits tight while police investigation mounts into Sudbury election scandal @ Globe
Former NDP MP/ Liberal candidate Glenn Thibeault handily wins the Feb 5 Sudbury Ontario provincial by election. BTW, he had the mine workers' endorsement. Would seem like another wake up call for our "well, we're not a socialist/ union party anymore" Fed + provincial NDP to me, but hey ..... @ OLP
PC McNaughton breaks party ranks to wade into sex ed debate.
Premier Wynne accuses some sex education protesters of being homophobic @ Wynne
PC Leadership Race Schism: McNaughton + Brown appeal to anti sex ed protesters, Elliot plays coy. Meanwhile party supports the new curriculum @ Split
PC MPP Rick Nicholls advocates students opting out of evolution studies @ Dinosaurs?
No to evolution + sex ed? Social conservative pandering threatens effort to reform PC's into a moderate governing party @ Leadership Race
5 spectacular PC leadership meltdowns @ Issues
PC's wrangle with their spectacular knack for clutching defeat from the jaws of victory during the the past 4 provincial elections. Possibility of rapprochement with teachers also discussed @ Leadership Race
Dept of Do As We Say: The OLP majority government continues to preside over a new QP legislative season unfazed by the opposition protests over yet another patronage scandal. Why don't the PC's and NDP get any traction? Don't Ontarian's care? Or, is it more an incredulous question of them usually being guilty of the same unsavoury patronage politics of which they doth protest so loudly @ Cohn
IN THE NEWS
Bill C-51: Canada's New Terrorism Act, is to be passed into law asap! News story now moved and incorporated into my Feb 23 blog: Is Canada Under Attack 2! @ Here!
Obama's recent speeches on terrorism and Islam avoid the jingoism of Harper + Bush. Indeed, one might want to consider promoting better development and growth throughout the Muslim world rather than continue waging tragic wars we don't win. [Saaay: wasn't the US victorious in the Iraq War 13 years ago?!?] However, Obama still continues to publicly ignore that the west and it's allies do not have a good track record, to say the least, in the Muslim world.
The US and it's western allies continue to prop up corrupt, oppressive regimes [ie: We like the Arab Spring. Oh wait -no we don't!] and exploit the region for natural resources [read oil]. That has created a historic and ongoing void where terrorists can readily spread hatred and recruit extremist followers.
The real truth of the "terrorist threat" actually lies much deeper than the usual usual platitudes and glittering generalities we constantly hear in the media both in the US and now in Canada. Are the "terrorist attacks" really being mainly fueled by terrorist hatred of "freedom" and "democracy"? These might help manufacture consent for dubious adventurist wars but alas, quite frankly, folks in the middle east often have historically much more profound reason to hate us! See how! More @ No Justice No Peace!
Canada's "Fox News North" goes the same direction as US "Target" stores: out of here! Yes, "Sun News" went off the air for good early Friday the 13th! Sun blames the low viewership for it's neo con rants on being denied access to Basic Cable TV Packages here in Canada. No more nasty attempts to Manufacture Consent for their right wing agenda on the public dime by blaming unions, pinko's, ne'er do wells and Muslim extremists for the nations ills @ Going Going Goon!
Raoul Castro to retire! Calls presidential election!
Cuban President Raoul Castro has announced that he will be stepping down! Cubans will be going to the polls in 2 years to choose a new leader. I haven't seen any coverage of the announcement in the mainstream news. Find out more soon here about local reactions to this and the recent announcement of efforts to normalize Cuba US relations. A separate blog on my recent February Cuban School Project visit to Santiago de Cuba is forthcoming. I'm still just trying to readjust to the deep freeze back home here in Canada. Brrrrrrrr! Stay tuned!
Here's an odd sign of the times: police in Pakistan are instructing teachers on how to use firearms against terrorists @ School Attacks
How well do Prime Minister Harper's Federal Conservatives understand or care about the needs of the average Canadian working family? Not very, according to these revealing charts @ No way!?
After Pride survey finds only 16% of London Ontario LGBTQ feel safe with their same sex partner in public @ No holding Hands?!?
In Canada we love to brag about just how cold it is and how much snow we get! No doubt this recent "snow train" video is a klassic @ Toot! Toot!
Harper Weed Control: Go ahead given for growing 9000 more medical marijuana plants in Halton Region @ Agri-Business High!
Up in smoke: Ontario's "Peace Natural" Co. required to recall legal marijuana that's too strong. What BS! Word is street boo is stronger + cheaper. What to do @ Hi Low!
Justin T on Flag Day: Casual + Calculated = Cool?
Fed Lib's Justin Trudeau + Jean Chretien attended a packed rally at U of T Mississauga Campus Feb 16th to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag. Justin pointed out the Maple Leaf Ensign was very controversial at the time. Many British Canadians still wanted us to fly the Union Jack! [Indeed you will still see it on our Ontario provincial flag today!] Jean pointed out the PET Liberal government was "building diversity" to the largely well healed + educated ethnic audience. The auditorium was packed with potential voters from the Toronto 911 riding's, no doubt central to the festivities!
Justin was casual but calculated, a chip off the old block? Dunno what the old man would've thought about his stand, or lack thereof, against Bill C-51; the Harper "Anti-Terrorist" Act [see above]. Of course, that leaves the NDP's Tom [We're not A Socialist Party Anymore!] Mulcair alone in the anti-"Anti Terrorist" Bill bull pit but with little or no chance of toppling the Harper Conservatives once and for all in this year's federal election. All is certainly not well in our true north weak + cold!
Goon but not forgotten: Rob Ford fishes around for pocket change for charity by auctioning off memorabilia from his recent fiasco as Toronto's mayor @ Ebay
KULTURE KULT INK
Leslie Gore: Now it's Judy's turn to cry?!
60's Teen Dream Queen Leslie Gore dies of cancer at age 68! "It's My Party" , she could cry if she wanted, aaaaaand you'd cry too -if it happened to you! Sorry! Loved it! Couldn't resist! Hey! Did you know Leslie was also a 60's proto-feminist. Yup! Life was not ALL "Sunshine Lollipops" ! Check out her grrrrrrl klassic "You Don't Own Me!" . Tres rad! Not something a "nice girl" should think or say at the time! Seriously! Obit + music videos @ It's My party!
No! It's Bryan's Party: Johnny Bi Bye!
BTW: Ever heard Bryan Ferry's straight faced cover version of "It's My Party" ?! Well, it's the early seventies now .... and so was "Ferry"! Very! Get it?!? Heh Heh Er...... most folks on our side of the Atlantic missed the point about "Johnny" . Still Bryan was a hit in the UK, where even Elton John could publicly admit that ..... Gasp! No! Really?!?! He's what???? ...... C'mon! Next thing you know somebody will be claiming that Liberace was actually gay!!!!! ...... well anyway, it's @ Youtube
Get it: Liberace = Liberation?!? Never mind ...
17 dirty reasons why Apple is NOT as trez kool as many folk might think @ Apple sucks?
My Youtube Bar below this main column presently features a selection of Gorillaz videos. My fascination lies in the groups fabulous combo of klassic 21st century pop music and graphic materials fueled by my rediscovery of the band's albeit pre-existing recordings on glorious vinyl. Nice big gate fold covers! Yummy warm vinyl sounds! You will find a selection of their trez kool videos there! Enjoy!