Opening Statement



Monday, 2 March 2015

Teacher March News + Views!

Hello everybody! Welcome back! See the categories below for your latest Ontario Teacher Free Speech News + Views links. Updates are later included in large type. The 2011-15 Archives are located for easy reference top left of your screen. My Blogsite Acronym Guide is @ Here! 




TEACHER + UNION

MOE announces a .8% GSN [Grants for Special Needs] cut in it's ongoing "austerity" budget balancing act. It's a very sad day indeed, when even the province's more neo con lite dramatics involve sacrificing our most needy students! As ETFO points out, more supports are still badly needed for integrating our special needs students within the classroom setting. However, the TCDSB Catholic board seems ready to score brownie points by even outdoing the MOE pay meister cuts. See below. Alas, MOE details and more @ Sped 

ETFO's concerns about Sped integration in the regular classroom setting is @ ETFO

OSSTF President Elliott responds with disappointment in government's lack of support for the development of "front-line" Sped services @ Here!  

OECTA President Ryan laments money wasted on building administrative empires and excessive testing while GSN's cut @ There!

Parents express their concerns @ Star



Special Ed students!?! The door is that-a-way ....

OSSTF President Elliot comes out swinging in his presidential address to AMPA 2015 @ Speech

OSSTF AMPA delegates learn of possible teacher + support worker strikes commencing the end of April at 7 boards: Peel, Durham, Halton, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, K-W. 10,000 teachers would be involved. News report @ Star

OECTA Strike rallies will begin April 7 with votes on April 23 and 24th!

MOU'er Ann Hawkins defeated Rene Jansen 330-311 to become the affiliates first non Catholic Provincial President. 4 anti MOU candidates have dropped out of the executive election races. They cannot reveal the reasons for doing so. My understanding is that the reasons for doing so were discussed in camera, at COP, so can't be repeated. Wow!!!

No motions were passed on Saturday, the first day of AGM.

OECTA LGBTQ Working Group approved at AGM! Congratulations everybody! Sometimes progress is measured in very small steps. Doesn't seem the local Gay Pride parades were approved too ....

OECTA AGM approved a $50 fee hike to $1000 a year.

My blog on developments at the OECTA AGM 2015 are @ Manufacturing Consent!

BTW: Glad to see more teacher bloggers throwing their hats in the ring! For an alt point of view on OECTA AGM 2015 see Mark W's blogsite @ Hcdsbnews.org

MOE Liz Sandals appoints committee to recommend how TDSB can be better run @ TDSB

New TDSB committee's stated mandate is to examine governance, how to restore public confidence, and ensure student well being @ Globe

Videos of the MOE announcement @ CBC



OECTA TSU President Szollosy questions MOE Sandals on GSN's at AGM!

TCDSB teachers, support staff and students pay price for board accounting errors and MOE Special Ed funding cuts!!!! Follow up to story below: TCDSB trustees meet until early hours of Saturday morning to rush through $19,046,000 in cuts! Councillors Jo Anne Davis + Maria Rizzo worked hard to reduce the hit, notably for librarians, 5th Block, Fraser, and supervisors, with mixed results. More details, with news links as they become available, to follow!



@tsuOECTA quick fix on the approved cuts! More details to follow .....

TCDSB continues the charge to out cut their OLP paymasters with an austerity budget based in part upon an anticipated 2% cut in GSN's, that as it turns out is .8% instead. [see above]. The much touted consultation process, besides not being very transparent, or accountable, nor having much heart and soul continues to basically shut out meaningful union, parent and student input. The March 26th board meeting provides a case in point. 

OECTA TECT President Mario Bernardo was the only union voice allowed to speak, for 5 minutes at that. Also giving short presentations were CPIC, OACPE, CSAC + a few students, including 2 from Fraser. New lows were hit as Chair Mike Del Grande reminded a crying student, suffering from depression, that only 35 seconds remained in her presentation on the ill effect of cuts to support services!

Next on the cutting table? A 100% reduction in secondary school Gifted teachers, [Bright lights -go elsewhere!], 100% cuts in 5th Block + Junior Literacy Program teachers, a 96.6% cut in Elementary teacher librarians, [Reading + writing -who needs it?!?] $1.6 million in cuts for International Language Instructors, [Total elimination!] as well as 30 non classroom resource teachers [Chop! Chop! Good bye!]. 

Discussion also centred on a $5 a day staff school parking fee which could pull in an estimated $3 million in revenue. Meanwhile, board admin and governance only face a $546,000 budget cut. There was no mention of whether the new parking fee will also be extended to those working at the board CEC offices. 

OECTA TSU Communications plans to forward a copy of the union presentation to members asap, with timely unit updates going via it's "tsuOECTA" Twitter link. A news video from before the meeting isGlobal

The TCDSB claims its over $40 million debt is due to an accounting error in calculating benefits and from a reduction in ministry funding cuts for Special Ed. The local OECTA TSU TECT units meanwhile continue to push for accountability and consultation, neither of which the Catholic school board has a track record for being forthright or proficient with. 300 jobs are to be cut @ Docs

Cuts will occur in Special Education. All 57 primary and junior literacy intervention teachers and it's remaining 45 teacher librarians are on the chopping block @ TCDSB

OECTA TSU President Dave Szollosy has advised his members that possibly 123 secondary school teaching positions could be cut. Like TECT the elementary unit, TSU continues to seek, to little avail, a "fair and transparent reporting" from the board, as well as "more open and respectful consultation and good governance processes." Currently, grievances to that effect stretch back over 6 years! [TSU News List]

OECTA TSU continues to closely monitor the TCDSB budget debacle. President Szollosy reports that they still haven't received full disclosure of the school board's funding cuts and budget expenditure lines to answer how the "deficit" was actually created in the first place! To date there is no evidence of a 2% [$20 mil] cut in MOE GSN's [Grants for Special Needs] as the board claims! 

The Ontario Sunshine List 2015, of public servants earning over $100,000 a year was released today. Go take a gander at what schoolboard admin is earning! See list @ Sunny The news report is @ CBC



TCDSB Sunshine List: A sunny day for some, not so for a lot other!!!

BTW, MOE Sandals refused to answer if GSN has been cut when questioned from the floor at OECTA AGM 2015! [Twitter @ tsu OECTA]

The next TCDSB board trustee meeting is 7pm March 26 at the CEC offices Yonge and Sheppard. Info on the board's public consultation process can be found @ TCDSB 

Unofficial "Teachhard" blogger comes out swinging with a ton of scuttlebutt on the TCDSB @ Teachhard

Excellent ongoing and timely updates on the TCDSB budget debacle are available on line at OECTA TSU's Twitter link @ tsuOECTA. There is also an article @ Catholic Register

Excellent ongoing and timely updates on the TCDSB budget debacle are available on line at OECTA TSU's Twitter link @ tsuOECTA. There is also an article @ Catholic Register


Danger! Danger! TCDSB: Big $$$ missing!!!

TDSB teachers take note: the Sped funding argument is also being used to justify cuts too. One wonders if the boards are in part engaged in some fast political foot work before local contract negotiations begin in earnest?!? 

TDSB votes to axe 88 elementary and 168.5 secondary teacher positions, which will be eliminated through attrition @ Cuts! CBC  CTV

The cuts include 50 Special Education [Sped] positions. A review of Sped funding from the MOE is ongoing @ Globe

The cuts include: Elementary -59 ESL and 22 Sped, Secondary -34 ESL and 14.5 Sped @ CP24

ETT denounces TDSB cuts as hurting the "most vulnerable" students @ Cuts Hurt Kids!

Special Ed students to be left hanging despite board reassurances to the contrary @ Chop! Chop!

The TDSB was considering 100's of teacher and support staff job cuts, apparently to balance it's budget due to declining enrollment and funding cuts in Special Ed. On the chopping block are: 98 elementary positions, 168.5 secondary, 33.5 Speed support staff, 59 el ESL and 34 secondary. News @ Star

Required Reading: Hugh MacKenzies Harris-Era HangOvers: Toronto School Trustees Inherited Funding Shortfall is @ Download

Salary freeze? Fair Hire? Sick and other leaves? The initial CA proposals from "Management"; the Trustees and the province are posted @ Teacher Free Speech Contract Guide!

MOE Sandals is auditing senior board staff raises while insisting on a teacher salary freeze @ Globe

News links on the TCDSB "mystery" deficit continue below ...


USW Crown Plant Workers Toronto: Month 18 of strike!!!

Ministry of Labour sends in an "expert" to analyze the issues behind the 18 month USW 9176 strike. Boy! Took long enough @ 18 Months!!!

Support the United Can Workers in month 18 of their strike!!! Check any cans you buy to support the boycott. Here's how @ Crowned! 

Here's a link to the USW 9176 Facebook page for news updates @ Facebook 

Here's my report on a visit to the picket line way back when @ Week 5!


Boycott cans with the "Crown" logo on it!

Catholic schools in Alberta might "out" students to their parents if they want to join a GSA @ Alberta

MOE to ask medical body to ban gay conversion therapy @ Star

OSSTF D9 President advocates a one school system merger in Ontario. MOE reiterates support for the Catholic school system @ OSSTF

Ontario's hard hitting public awareness campaign against sexual harassment and assault spares no punches. Notch one up for the Wynne government's progressive social policies whatever else the political differences. More info, plus see the ads @ It's Never OK

Here's the governments 5 step action plan to stop sexual violence @ TVO

The CCPA's Orientation to Child and Youth Mental Health Services: A Guide for Teachers is @ Download!

US teacher threatened with termination for criticizing common curriculum on social media @ Free Speech?

Teaching Assistants at York University + U of T in the GTA are on strike after rejecting contract offers. Connect the labour struggles to the provinces austerity agenda @ Austerity



U of T strike over as TA's agree to binding arbitration @ Arbitration

York TA's reach another tentative deal, seem optimistic @ Star

Heated York TA strike turns ugly! See article + video @ Shocker

U of T and York TA strikes continue! There are 2 weeks of classes left @ Strike!

2 of 3 CUPE units reject York U offer @ Strike!

TA's are earning significantly under the Toronto poverty rate at both universities @ Living Wage?

For more info on the TA strike visit this website @ We Teach Ontario

University of Toronto students walkout to demand a tuition refund for classes missed during TA strike. The university has refused to meet with the TA's making negotiations impossible @ U of T

OECTA offers new modular online courses @ E Learning

Former NDP Education Minister David Cook has been nominated Chair of the EQAO @ EQAO

Some practical sexting + cyberbullying info for teachers and parents @ Blog

The psychology of workplace bullying by admin and even our colleagues, or for that matter some students, is often the unspoken elephant in the room whenever we talk about teacher school safety: How to spot a psychopath @ Here! What can be done @ Work? What if it's a fellow teacher @ Teachers?!

Report Card language continues to baffle @ Eduspeak

Don't blame teachers for the gobbledly gook on report cards! Honestly, we are forced to write this drivel. This is very insightful @ MOE



Awaiting Spring ...

Remember the Bill 115 Charter Challenge?!? Canadian Foundation of Labour Rights: "Summary of Current Challenges + their Impact on Union Security in Canada" @ Download

PARTY POLITICS

With enemies like the Ontario PC's, why would progressives need friends? The party leadership contenders continue to shoot themselves and the party in the foot. Patrick Brown seems to be taking the lead in signing up new members, each of whom will get to vote for him as the new, largely unknown party leader @ PCs

Critics from the Ontario religious right often seek support from the PC party over wedge issues like the current Sex Ed debate. However, as in this case, they are being mislead. The PC caucus is supporting the new curriculum inside the legislature, the other PC protest grand standing notwithstanding. It's a cruel trick they play on their fringe supporters time and again.

PC leadership race flounders on Sex Ed and Evolution issues in our schools @ Race

Patrick Brown -PC mystery man. Kind of a scary back rooms prospect @ Brown

Federal MP Cheryl Gallant's kiddie porn statements raise ire of PC leadership candidate Christine Elliott PC

PC footsies with the far right anti Sex Ed fringe are not proving to be a winning political tactic. Premier Wynne quickly delivered a KO punch to leadership hopeful hopeful McNaughton over his "homophobic" comments. Now conservative pundit Michael Coren is sniping at the fringe too PC's

Premier Wynne open and direct in dealing with criticism based upon her sexual orientation L Word

The Liberals go full tilt over PC Evolution statements. NDP Party Leader Andrea Horwath points out that the PC Sex Ed debacle is allowing the Wynne government to bury their latest political scandal in Sudbury @ NDP

My Teacher Free Speech Guide to Ontario's New Sex Ed Curriculum is Sex Ed

IN THE NEWS


PM Harper is about to extend Canada's participation in the air war in Syria for a year. Europe and UK decide against it. Not only do we know very little about the political situation there, but its pretty certain there aren't any good guys for us to help, far from it @ ISIS Etc.

wades further into The Harper Conservatives are accused of using fear mongering to drum up support for Bill C-51: their new "Terrorism" Act. See @ West Edmonton Mall

Trudeau deflects criticism from an angry audience over his support for C51 the controversial new Terror Act. He claims he won't let Harper use it to make "political hay" during an election year. Shortcomings to the bill will be addressed in the party platform @ C51

C-51 unprecedented in peace time @ Segal

Feds conveniently release edited video of the Ottawa terror suspect. Basically any half wit could make up this sort of "political statement". IMHO? It proves little about the need for C-51 Kulture of Narcissism

For more info, see my blog @ Is Canada Under Attack?

It seems the terrorist interests have now gotten themselves a good Public Relations media team, just like everybody else. The focus shifts to how to counter the radicalization efforts. I dunno, you can't get the students to do homework but they are easily convinced to become a terrorist?!? Siddiqui probes deeper @ Radical




What does "normalized relations" really mean? Paris Hilton has been spotted in Havana! No word the Cubans are ready to back out of any deals as a result, yet! Yup! Paris is the kind o' capitalista girl Fidel y Che warned you about amigos y amigas! Still, our girl seemed more oblivious than usual posing in front of the Habana Libre [nee Hilton] hotel, that the family got beat for when it was nationalized after the revolution. I've stayed there. Pretty kool "room with a view" digs in the heart of the city, lots of history, close to everything. But in serious need of a makeover! Ditch all the furniture. Completely redecorate. Paris to the rescue?!? Huge empty, unused casino floors provide a challenge too! Don't forget: the Castro bros gave gambling got the old heave ho too while they were cleaning up the place! Story @ Hilton Scoop @ Havana Paris



Paris Hilton in Habana: Weeee! [See Hotel Libre rear centre!]

Canuck's continue to safely hang out and wander about Cuba with impunity. As the US moves to "normalize" relations with Cuba, US citizens can now travel to Cuba for 12 reasons, but tourism still isn't one of them. Unless you are Paris Hilton one supposes ..... Please note: It is the US government which restricts the travel options, not the Cubans.  However, a signed affidavit of one's intent will do. More @ Huffington

Tourism in Cuba spikes in the wake of the announcement that the US will rekindle relations with the island. Maybe everybody wants to see it first before it gets really crowded? @ Cuba Si!

Cuban government accuses the US "economic, commercial and financial blockade" of being a "flagrant, massive, and systematic" violation of the human rights of every day Cubans @ Euro Co-op

Researchers have analyzed 15,521 penises to determine that the average length, when erect is 5.16 inches. No relation was found with shoe size or the length of the index finger. Now you know @ Blinded by Science!

Russian President Putin makes public appearance after having been "missing" for 10 days @ Lost + Found Possible reasons for the disappearing act @ Putin

Top York civic leaders get a taste of a night on the streets as a part of a homeless fundraiser. The temperature drops to -27 degree Celsius @ Kim Z

KULTURE KULT INK


March: Lion or lamb?

It's said that in Canada we can take perverse delight ranting on endlessly about how cold it can get! Well, this winter has been no exception! We had 23 Extreme Cold Weather Alerts in Toronto last month! Here's hoping for a warm weather snap! Hello Spring! Where are you ......?! @ Brrrrr! 

No. Teaching is nothing like in the movies @ Movie Misses

Xtra Magazine's decision to stop publishing a hard copy news box print edition raises issues of LGBTQ visibility, especially in Vancouver, Canada. Why not wait until the online edition makes it redundant? Anyway, Xtra ends a 31 year run @ Xtra!

OK. So what colour is the dress? Yes, it seems to change colour. It's all in your head. This was the major online story this week during the dog days of winter @ Dress?


So. Have you seen the Indian Beatles? These dudes are going to be big I tell you! It's a really big show @ The Indian Beatles



So sweet it almost hurts! Rene Dominique's ukulele version of the Beatles "I Will": Love and innocence lost and found @ I Will!

COMMENTS:

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey David is it normal behaviour for a unit president quickly to make a Unit Executive meeting an information only meeting, not allowing Unit Executive members to add items such a new website design to the agenda? And then replace that meeting with a special all unit members invited update session on collective bargaining? Maybe there should be a forensic audit and investigation into that decision? Why does this new president keep canceling her Unit Executive meetings?

David Chiarelli said...

Apoarantly there was a big announcement surprise of sorts at todays COP?

Anonymous said...

I heard that it was an emergency meeting, Maybe they had to discuss T-shirt designs.
Former Idealist

David Chiarelli said...

Yes but there is also a special announcement about the election.

Anonymous said...

Is that why Halton has an emergency information meeting tomorrow?
Former Idealist

Anonymous said...

Special Announcement about what election?

Anonymous said...

Some observations from one of the 20 or so unit members that attended the Halton Elementary Oecta Unit meeting on Thursday night....20 people out of 1700+ teachers...hospitality?? As usual no dinner provided to unit members...coffee only until 7pm. Other years unit meetings drew lots of unit members? What's the problem now? All that money that is spent for feeding other unit members at other unit meetings-where is it being spent now? A proper meal provided to members giving their valuable time to show up to meetings is basic hospitality shown by other units.

Unit Executive members hollering at other ones e.g. "We don't want to listen to you all night!" and no one at the front table corrects her outburst. He was making valid points.
The unit office used to be a lively place....and now it is an unwelcoming sealed up place.
The unit office needs to be open year round for union activities.
What are the unit office hours? Are they posted anywhere?

When unit members asked why they are not given copies of Oecta's first bargaining proposal to the government they were treated to a list of reasons for confidentiality listed by OECTA Provincial and always treated like they are nuisances for asking such questions. Other unions provide this transparent information to their members why not Oecta?
Interestingly enough, Horst Schweinbenz, Unit appointed Speaker by Oecta Provincial, agreed that unit and union members should have a copy of Oecta's first bargaining proposal and advised members to email Oecta Provincial President James Ryan and ask him for a copy of it. Halton members should follow Horst's wise advice.

Sitting there watching the front table, it is obvious there are big divisions in opinion about what constitutes proper service and transparency to unit members. Why??

OBSERVANT IN HALTON

David Chiarelli said...

Rumour was that a number of candidates are/were about to drop out of the OECTA Provincial race, but that remains unconfirmed.

Ms. Chievious said...

As an OECTA member, I am so disgusted,disillusioned and disheartened by the lack of integrity on the part of our so called Catholic leaders. Anyone with a moral compass would be ashamed of the ongoing antics. How can you claim to be Catholic when you don't even have a soul?

Anonymous said...

I heard three dropped out. Unconfirmed: Julie P. Chris K. I don't know the third. Sadly these are good people we are loosing. Too much BS at provincial?
Dear Observant in Halton
Your observations are so spot on.... This is why some of us don't go any more. The transparency that Nina spoke so loudly about when it pertained to Richard no longer exists. It was only there to bring his enemies to the table, to reverse any bylaws she wanted and to pass GS's motions. If she didn't feed you it is probably because she's broke. Last year it was Richard's fault because after "she" betrayed us Provincial had not sent our funds. Pretty things around the office are more important like pillows in her office.
Former Idealist

Anonymous said...

Don't ask James for any help, he doesn't do that! After all the money they spent last year sending the fake audit to every member to their home, to every school, all the threatening registered mail that Executive members received weekly for weeks on end....
Former Idealist

David Chiarelli said...

It sounds like Nina might be stuck in a pretty bad situation, that's for sure. Halton Elementary continues to fester. No justice no peace.

Anonymous said...

Another interesting observation at that Halton Elementary unit meeting last Thursday night. Turns out Unit President Nina said that Oecta Provincial could not allow all Oecta members to vote for the Provincial President electronically because it would cost $250000.00 to implement. Seems she got that figure from the Ann Hawkins election team.
And therein lies the problem with Oecta- they have say $125000 a year to pay Executive Assistants (Kevin O'Dwyer)and unit presidents like Nina make $150000.00 per year but they don't have enough money to pay for members to have a vote. It's the MOU all over again. Perhaps these fat cat union bosses should reduce their salaries to give union members the right to vote? It all gets paid for from your union dues. Austere times call for an analysis of every dollar spent by the units and union.

David Chiarelli said...

Hello Anon!

Unsubstantiated KB comments will need your real name attached or reword differently please.

Solidarity!

David C

Ms. Chievious said...

Dear Anonymous,

Agreed on all points except O'Dwyer gets closer to 180 not 125. A mere pittance when compared to MJ's 220 + benefits mind u. Is it true that Nina, a 1st yr, inexperienced president is making more than almost every seasoned president in the province? If so? Y? Payback?

Anonymous said...

Vote for a CATHOLIC Teacher to be the next Provincial President of the Ontario English CATHOLIC Teachers Association. Vote for Rene. He is a teacher. Oh yes, and he is CATHOLIC. AGM DELEGATES-You have an independent vote use it. What would this union look like with a non-Catholic at the top elected position provincially?

Anonymous said...

And he didn't vote for the MOU!
Former Idealist

Anonymous said...

Dear David,
Nina put herself in the situation she is. She betrayed her mentor, the entire Halton Unit executive (except 2 other traitors) and staff. I guess her salary is a pay out. Except it is the local membership that pays for it. now we know why no dinner for late meetings.

Anonymous said...

Is this a CIA operation or something?

David Chiarelli said...

Please explain comment! Thanks for contributing!

Anonymous said...

The CIA gets fed better at meetings!

Ms. Chievious said...

Perhaps the CIA reference alludes to the covert nature in which Halton Elementary has been operating, since the hostile takeover by MJ who has since gone rogue. Can anyone else think of an organization, in a democratic society, where an official's contract ends and is not renewed by an elected Executive only to be ignored?

Ms. Chievious said...

I see that, as usual, the OECTA Provincial Presidents carefully selected AGM delegates who would pay homage and give a standing O to our GS, the same man who took us from "We will not back down!" to "How far would you like us to bend over?" I'd pay good money to see MJ trapped in a room with rank and file teachers, not those continuously feeding at the union trough. Something tells me the reception wouldn't be quite as warm. Keep up the facade OECTA since that is after all what you excel at. If only you could put forth a quarter of that energy into actually doing what members pay you to do-protect them and not yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Well that's it we did it. We have a Non Catholic as the head of the Ontario English CATHOLIC Teachers Association. Let the public mockery begin. I noticed not once did our President Elect have to even mention Catholic Education in her speech.

Anonymous said...

A close race as expected, sadly not the result I would have liked to see. How soon we forget about the MOU and those who voted in favour. Guessing the first order of business once the new executive sits is a new contract for their buddy MJ.

Anonymous said...

The clickers are an untrustworthy device for elections. In our Municipal, Provincial and Federal election ballots are still old school "mark the spot". There is a definite paper trail to recount and review votes should the need arise. Today's elections done with the clickers which have proved problematic.all weekend leave us questioning the validity of the results.

Anonymous said...

I am sad to say that paper can also be tampered with. Halton Elementary's elections last year went to cardboard boxes instead of previous plastic locked boxes. These were stored in Comeford's trunk. Deemed a safe place by him and Jarvis.Where did they travel to?
Nina was at the local office late that night. Candidates are not supposed to be there.
I believe 20 spoiled ballots for the treasurer's position. Are teachers really that incompetent? I don't think so.... The candidate that lost was a very outspoken person who asked many questions many questions.
Secondary people knew the results that night. In the trunk eh?

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A careful analytical study!

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