Upcoming Cuba news + teacher strike coverage continues here!
Fighting the good fight
TEACHER + UNION
"Parents Strike" are planning to withdraw their children from classes the week of May 4th to protest the provinces new Sex Ed bill. Much more info about the issues is on my Teacher Free Speech Guide to Ontario Sex Ed Curriculcum blog [Go Here] and at the parents' Facebook page @ Facebook
OSSTF Sudbury walks out on strike Monday morning April 27, joining OSSTF Durham who have been on strike for a week now @ OSSTF Strikes!
CUPE workers offer solidarity + support to striking OSSTF teachers in schools @ CUPE
Sudbury public trustees rejected every single "substantive" issue OSSTF brought up at the local bargaining table. Looks like the province and trustees are gunning for a big show down @ Sudbury
Ditto Durham where the school board has announced that no changes in the strike situation are expected @ Durham
Details on how the Sudbury board plans to accomodate parents and students during the strike @ Sudbury
OSSTF D3 accuses Sudbury board of misrepresenting the union's negotiating position. BTW read the "Comments" below the article here for a much more balanced response. Teacher input too? Get writing? Go for it @ Northern Life
Day 1: OSSTF Provincial Exec joins Sudbury D3 on picket lines
Stories to watch: Our Ontario teacher unions move into strike position this month:
OECTA has voted 94.2% in favour of strike action. ETFO voted 95% and is set to go beginning May 10! Meanwhile OSSTF Durham and Sudbury are already on strike, with 5 more units awaiting word! As for OECTA: when will they "walk the talk"?!
The Toronto Sun has set a May 10 OECTA strike date, which is bogus. Typical Toronto Sun muckraking or just plain inaccurate journalism? The real interesting news story here, for our new teachers anyway, is the riled up and hate filled "teacher bashing" tsunami that follows in the "Reader Comments" below the Sun article.
Realistically speaking, brace yourself for more attacks, and ask; how will the affiliates counter the anti teacher progaganda in 2015? Regretfully, public opinion can make or break the teacher strikes, whether it's correct or not.
It's still early in the PR [Public Relations] strategy game plan for all sides, but see @ Sun Comments
Also see my Teacher Free Speech Spring Contract Guide @ OECTA
Hi Mike Harris!!!
CUPE education workers vote 93% for strike mandate @ CUPE!
OSSTF evokes 1997 province wide strike in rallying call for teacher strikes @ OSSTF
OECTA President James Ryan sees an OCSTA "control issue" rather than the OLP "Austerity Agenda" at the root of negotiation woes @ CNW
ETFO President Sam Hammond denounces trustees "agenda of control and micro-management" @ Sun
ETFO President Sam Hammond says teachers are "losing patience" and are "insulted" by the trustees + provinces efforts to strip contracts, erode working conditions, and reduce their ability to exercise professional judgement @ Insulted!
Late April: ETFO, OECTA, OSSTF step up their strike plan strategy @ CTV
Both OSSTF and OECTA have walked away from the provincial bargining table expressing frustration! See my Teacher Free Speech Spring 2015 Contract Guide @ Here!
Here we go again ...
Toronto Star prepares readers for months of teacher strike unrest ahead. Tired, lazy emphasis is on salary @ Star
MOE Sandals claims she's perplexed by the OSSTF Durhams strike: whats the local issue? NDP leader Andrea Horwatch denounces plans to increase class size. PC opposition laments OLP fiscal mismanagement @ Sun
Peel board accuses teachers of using students as "pawns" as May 4 strike date looms. Newbies pay heed: The provinces neo con interests are lining up their ducks with the same time tested teacher bashing tactics to manufacture consent against what the job actions are really about @ Management Agenda
7 OSSTF units are prepared to strike by the end of April: Peel, Durham, Halton, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, K-W! 10,000 teachers will be involved! @ Elliott
The OSSTF strike clock countdown is now ticking at 7 "lighthouse" boards. OSSTF is looking at a "full withdrawal of services" @ Globe
OSSTF Durham warns of April 20 strike date if local CB not reached @ Strike!
OSSTF Durham: ticking bomb @ Star
OSSTF cites Durham boards "complacency and indifference" @ Sun
OSSTF Peel ready to strike April 25th @ Peel
Premier Wynne responds to OSSTF strike notice. Pay freeze issue cited @ Canadian Press
Provincial PC + NDP respond @ CTV
ETFO files for conciliation @ Hammond.
ETFO receives "no board report" from the province. They are "losing patience" and have set a May 10 stike date @ ETFO
OECTA strike rallies begin April 7, with strike votes being held April 23-24th. President Ryan's rally speech is @ Ryan
Teacher strikes ahead?
The Supreme Court of Canada's decision that the right to strike is constitutionally protected could have an impact on the educational sector @ BLG
MOE has announced that Ontario's education budget will be frozen this year. Minister Sandals claims that because of declining student enrolment the amount of funding per pupil will actually increase. She is also targeting unused school space as a budget saver @ Sandals
MOE nixes Hamilton Catholic board plan to demolish unused school wings to balance budget @ HCDSB
Picture of Sunshine? Indie HCDSB News blogger reports that according to the latest Sunshine list, Halton Director Paula Dawson was paid $17,000 more than allowed. Seems the MOE's turned a blind eye! Or maybe they got their shades on?!? More @ Oops! Me Bad!
Shhh! Don't tell anyone!?
Ontario School Bus Association calls on boards to release collision reports. Over 1500 cited in Toronto alone since 2010 @ Crash
Dufferin Peel Catholic Board + the Archdiocese of Toronto seem to be involved in the cover up of a school priest from the US. He has confessed to a series of sexual assaults on a 9 year old boy in a suicide note @ Dufferin Peel
Dufferin Peel Catholic board admits it does not report sex abuse allegations to parents or the community @ Peel
Neighbourhood school streaming is helping to create the systemic inequities of a two tiered education system in Toronto @ Segregation?
TCDSB budget cuts continue with minimal accountability, transparency, consultation or discussion. The local OECTA and CUPE units have joined together to make recommendations, as per the board's request [Letter]. Regretfully, only 5 minutes total twere allowed for the unions to present as a part of the very dubious and flawed board "process". [Process] Trustees Rizzo and Davis continue to often ask good questions, while nonetheless voting for job and program cuts. The unions wonder why the board balancing act doesn't involve more admin cuts and selling off a few board properties. Indeed the 2015 Sunshine lists shows fat pay raises for senior administrators are definitely not on the chopping block too [Sunny]. See my TCDSB March News + Views coverage @ Here!
TDSB will now be making an additional $7 million in cuts. MOE funding announcements cited @ TDSB
TDSB releases list of 41 school safety recommendations in wake of student stabbing death including giving teachers for more supervision duties as cops on the cheap. Duh! It's a vicious urban jungle out there folks!!! What about the teachers' safety?!? @ Safe Teachers too?
TCDSB: Further cuts now include: 14 principals, 8 VP's, 30 EA's, 4 Guidance, and $500,000 in PD. Not mentioned is the 106 secondary school teachers cut @ CP24
Sign the Teach All Kids petition to protect programs for children with severe learning challenges from the TCDSB's drastic cuts @ Change.org
TCDSB is now looking at revenues to balance the budget with a running total of nearly $30 million in cuts having all ready been made @ City TV
Cuts include I.T. services, textbooks and a 5% cut in general non staff cuts. The board has until June 30 to make the cuts before the MOE gets on their case. Why the mad rush?!? More @ 1010
The Catholic board will be now running operations just like in an old fashioned "company" town! Yup! Trustees have voted to charge teachers and staff for parking at school and the board offices! Now you will pay to park to go to work for them on property they own? It's a lot like the mean, nasty company towns of old where they owned everything. You worked to pay them off. Even at $5 a day, that's $100 a week, up to about a $1000 a year! Sounds like a pay cut to me! And it's because they made a mystery accounting error they won't provide a line by line breakdown for?!? Other board teachers: watch out!
BTW: wondering what the OECTASA Secretariat contract looks like from 2012 when we plebs got the OECTA MOU? What a scoop! "OECTA Watchdog" launches another much needed blogsite into the teacher free speech cybersphere @ OECTASA
OECTA Watchdog has also added an OECTASA poll @ Poll
Alberta Catholic schools may be preparing to "out" students to their parents if they join a school GSA club, under the new provincial legislation, @ GSA's
CUPE 3903, the York TA's union celebrate a major strike victory with a new contract that strengthens tuition indexation and includes a new LGBTQ employment equity clause! Bravo @ CUPE
Striking TA's at University of Toronto and York earned widespread faculty and undergrad support @ CPCML
Contrary to popular opinion, public services sector wages aren't sky rocking @ OPSEU
Re: 19 month USW Toronto Crown Plant Worker Strike: This weekend there's a GTA Education Workers Solidarity Rally at the plant on Saturday April 11 2015, from 12 until 2pm. It's sponsored by ETFO Peel/ ETT, OSSTF D19/20, and YCT OECTA, Why not go too to show some much needed solidarity against contract stripping? See you here?
TYLC President John Cartwright addresses the "business of inequality" at Crown @ TYLC
My report on the GTS Education Workers USW 9176 Rally @ Solidarity!
Read my report on a visit to the USW pickets @ Week 5!
Just how much expertise do the "education experts" that are so regularly quoted on all things educational actually have? Perhaps not much @ PHYS ORG
Encouraging paternity leave can be a good way to get men to take on more child care duties @ Male teachers?
BC teacher sues her school for harassment and bullying after she had complained about the coaches abusive language towards students, including her own son @ BC
UK teacher union NUT is concerned over the government's "Prevent" program. Ironically, it seems "Prevent's" goal of protecting "British values" from "terrorism" and "extremism" can also prevent any meaningful discussion of ideas from happening within the classroom setting. If a student says something politically incorrect or wrong in the heat of a lively debate, then the teacher might very well have to report the student to police @ Nuts
4 out of 10 UK teachers quit within the first year due to becoming exhausted, stressed and burnt out. The UK's neo con education policies, often made up on "a wing and a prayer" are to blame @ ATL
Autism Parent Resource Kit: Share @ Ministry Child/ Youth Services!
Teachers: up in smoke?
OCT has spoken out against an off duty TDSB teacher who it seems was illegally smoking pot, claiming that we are officially on duty 24/7. The behaviour could apparently shake "public confidence" in the system. As a result a teacher could be disciplined even though it the activity is outside of school and the regular instructional day. So, what if a teacher has a medical marijuana licence? How will the schools accommodate that? With a vapour room? Or wouldn't one be allowed to teach anymore?!? Could you use up the 90 sick daze? Qualify for LTD? ;-) Besides, if teachers are in fact on duty 24/7 does that mean we should be getting a work load raise after all?!? The BS boggles the mind @ Not So High Times?
If in doubt and living in the Toronto area, perhaps it might be wise to contact Dr. Shecter and the wonderful staff at the Cannabinoid Medical Clinic to see if you qualify for one of Mr. Harper's medical marijuana licenses [ie injury, nerves etc.] @ CMC
Teachers at one TDSB school are using an alternative report card to avoid using MOE approved "asset based language" [read gobbledy gook]. It simply requires providing comments in plain "clear" but "kind" English instead. With all those student "fragile egos" and "parent explosions" though, I wonder how long this will last?!? More @ Human Report Cards
If you have any doubts that the Wynne OLP government is through with teachers look no further: they are ready to introduce a bill limiting third party election advertising! BTW: the article states OECTA spent $2.2 and ETFO $1.2 million during the 2013 provincial election. More @ CP
Ontario is balancing the budget on the back of the public service sector as it moves further to the political right @ Austerity Binge!
Premier Wynne accuses PC's of stoking anti sex ed protests for partisan political reasons @ Star
PC leadership candidate Monte McNaughton drops out of race and endorses Patrick Brown against Christine Elliott. The vote will be held May 3-7 with the results announced at the party convention on May 9th @ Globe
Christine Elliot's claim that "Fiscal irresponsibility denies social compassion" might be too progressive for the many PC neo con's who'll be voting in the leadership race @ Pinko?!
Are we watching the PC's shoot themselves in the foot again?!? The weak leadership choices might help the OLP stay in power for many years to come @ PC's Go 2 Hell
CAMH is calling on NDP MPP Cheri Di Novo to with draw her motion to ban conversion therapy in Ontario. Seems CAMH is getting a lot of heat over its program that tries to turn trans kids straight @ Now.
Parents tell Kathleen Wynne having an openly gay premier helps their homosexual kids @ Globe
Ontario Premier Wynne has spoken out against the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It allows companies to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers. Wynne invites companies like Apple, who have expressed concern, to come to Ontario where LGBTQ rights are protected @ Indiana
IN THE NEWS
US President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro ended 50 years of silence between the two countries at the 7th Summit of the Americas on the weekend. Castro brought up the deplorable US track record on Cuba. Obama reiterated his claim that the US does not support "dictators" though he did not mention which ones. Both expressed interested in finding ways to normalize US Cuba relations so they can get a more constructive dialogue happening!
Obama is next looking at having Cuba removed from it's bizzare inclusion from the US's list of "terrorist nations". The meeting also allowed him to play down the "summit subtext" of anger and disillusion over US interference and manipulation of the conference and the Americas. For starters, many of the nations were adamant the US had to finally allow Cuba to attend the conference for the summit to be more credible @ NY Times
Castro explains that the US and Cuba will need to "agree to disagree" on a move forward basis. Obama made reference to disagreeing with a "spirit of respect and civility @ BBC
Cuban President Castro y US President Obama will cross trails in a potentially high profile encounter as the US continues to "normalize" it's relations with Cuba. Get this: The US is finally allowing the Caribbean state to attend the Organization of American States [OAS] "Summit of the America's". The summit's in Panama April 10-11th. No doubt US imperialism will be the elephant in the room vis a vis US control and interference in this assembly of the "other Americas".
Castro will be in good company with fellow progressives from Venezuela and Bolivia. Perhaps they can give the US a good run for their money when it comes to the autonomy, and self determination! NIMBY? The US espouses the principles so strongly in word. Alas, but not in practice with the OAS states!
Perhaps Che was right about Bolivia after all? 50 years after he was hunted down and killed by CIA trained operatives in Bolivia, MAS [Movement Towards Socialism] President Evo Morales considers himself an admirer of Che [Che] [More Che]. However he is striving to achieve change in the economic and environmental wasteland of Bolivia through peaceful means. Betcha Barrientos must be rolling in his grave! We will watch with bated breath developments in this summit and in the years to come, as Cuba is once again "allowed" by the US to join the table. Visit the OAS site @
Evo y Che!
For an insightful backgrounder on US interference + meddling in the affairs of the OAS see @ Hemispheric
Reality Fix: Despite the drivel we are fed in the mainstream media, US supported dissidents in Cuba do not actually have a very high credibility rating there. Surprised? Think about it! It makes sense! How bizarre do you think US sponsored "dissidents" would be here in Canada?!? Hopefully Cuban scholars and academics who have been constructively debating the changes sans the US style jingoism are in store for a better shake as the new reforms take hold @ Cuba Si!
US OAS: Tanks a lot!
BTW, stay tuned for first hand reactions to US efforts to normalize relations from the Cuban school community later this month here on my site!
A Broadbent Institute study shows that Canadians under the age of 35 tend to be more left wing in their views nowadays. Too bad they don't also vote @ 35
Former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has become an advocate for the "legalization and regulation" of marijuana. Seems Federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau and he have knocked heads. Now that his former job's gone "up in smoke" Bill Blair will be running for the Liberals in Scarborough South West in the upcoming federal election @ Blair
Federal Liberals continue to receive heat over tepid opposition to Bill C51 @ C51
Bill C-51 will jeopardize the Canadian Charter of Rights + Freedoms to further Harper's dubious US style War Against Terrorism @ Charter
Kenya school massacre: 147 students! No CF-18's!?
Blogger "Antonine Speaks" questions if racism is to blame for our lack of interest in the terrorist massacre of 147 African students at a school in Kenya. Where's the international outcry and much thumping of chests? @ 147!
Syria: just what the heck are we getting into?!? All helluza' poppin' with massive terror attacks against students, teachers and citizenry in Nigeria and Kenya but nada! No CF-18s "to the rescue". Nothing! However, PM Harper's Conservatives have used his parliamentary majority to extend Canada's controversial military intervention in the US "War Against ISIS" for a year. We will now be involved in air strikes in Syria, as well as Iraq @ Syria
Whatever happened to PC senator "Old Duff"?!? That's what the courts want to know! It should come as no surprise that the Harper government would rather you didn't see his PC fund raiser video anymore @ Old Duff
Manufacturing Consent: it is increasingly common to blame the poor for their own misfortune as the gap between rich and poor continues to grow into a chasm @ Fault Lines?
Reigning senior Misao Okawa, from Osaka Japan, has died at age 117! Her secret? She ate lots of sushi and udon noodles @ 117!
KULTURE KULT INK
Carlos Verela hangin' out at the Hotel Nacionale Cuba!
Cuban protest singer Carlos Verela is popular in Cuba for his often critical, but acceptable "Nueva Trova" style songs about the challenges facing the revolution. Jackson Brown has recently covered "Walls y Doors" in English. Hear @ Varela and @ Brown. The lyrics are translated @ Here
"The Who hits 50!" tour touches down in North America April 15th. Then it's off to Europe for a bit but back for 2 Toronto shows on Oct 19+21 [Tour]. This is seemingly the final "final tour" but we've heard that before [think of the much touted last ever Who concert in Toronto 1982 ...] These working class "Mod" punters were part y parcel of the Holy Trinity of Rock, when I was a young rocker, though I'm not sure they are as well remembered today as the Beatles or the Stones! Too bad. They were so hip it hurt! The Who's hard hitting socially and politically aware lyrics and strong power pop garage rock sensibility continues to influence new bands thru today. For a trez kool taste of the "Oooooo" back in 1965, check out this vintage Who Mod video @ I Can't Explain
Added bonus [for reading this far!]: when's the last time you danced to the Beatles + Fat Boy Slim's version of "I Am The Walrus"?!? Never??? Watch this @ Youtube