Opening Statement

Thursday 5 November 2015

Teacher Free Speech November News + Views!

Welcome to your latest teacher free speech news links compendium! My blogsite acronym guide is @ Here! 


ETFO and OSSTF education support workers have reached TA's with the province @ Star

Divide + Conquer? All Alone! Ontario Council of Education Workers, a coalition representing skilled trade and ESL instructors from 6 different unions is the only remaining union without a deal @ Star

CUPE leadership has voted to recommend their TA for a member ratification vote to be held by December 4th. There doesn't seem to be much news on this, so I had to ask around ...

Media Attack: ETFO Kindergarten teachers are centred out for not filling in comments on the Kindergarden students fall report cards in the latest Toronto Star "expose". That's despite the fact they aren't mandated by the province and the existing patchwork policies across the province are on hold while they are being reassessed @ Star

Toronto Star is catching up with the Globe and Mail in ratcheting up the teacher bashing to sell more newspapers in a languishing market. The province's neo con interests are also indomitably rubbing their hands. Makes me wonder who is orchestrating the wider media campaign ....? Meanwhile, in the latest Star expose, we learn that OSSTF teachers won't see their OTPP pension plan contributions penalized for the spring strikes @ Star

86% of ETFO teachers and OT's/ 96% of ETFO local units, a "double majority", have voted to ratify the central agreement. Highlights include a number of enhancements in the form of reviews, recommendations, enshrinements,  and "every efforts" are included in the new contract, according to the media release. OT's will get classroom keys. Some health and safety recommendations will be implemented by the boards @ ETFO.

Details of ETFO's "Double majority" voting process are Link

The media reports @ Global

Speaking Out! Former Nova Scotia teacher union leaders are urging members not to vote to ratify their latest tentative agreement on December 1st, because it was negotiated under the gun @ Nova Scotia

NSTU [Nova Scotia Teachers Union] reaches a tentative contract with their provincial government! The contract ratification vote is December 1st @ NSTU

Promoted? Embattled TDSB Director and alleged bully queen Donna Quan quits the board 18 months early to assume her new post at the MOE @ Star

Quan: Wot me worry?!? 

Seems the Wynne government is not above coaxing a bully with a sweat heart deal when it comes to Director Quan @ Star

Province and Anishinabek First Nations sign new aboriginal education pact for far west and Northern Ontario that includes PD @ Sault Star

TCDSB: 35% is the new zero! It's good to see the mainstream media also pick up on the Toronto Catholic board mark story! Very interesting how TCDSB Spokesperson John Yan openly admits that the board only consulted with teachers through "Department Head" meetings. Regretfully, the Toronto Star article doesn't emphasize that this clearly violates the terms of the OECTA TSU contract which the OCSTA trustees at the board agreed to .... I venture letting the trustees off the hook as far as contract law issues go! 

The article becomes more of a "he said then he said type" arms length piece instead, focusing mainly on their God awful 35% minimum mark decision. As such it pussyfoots around the very key principle of respecting teacher professionalism as an important contract issue. That's been a very important and key teacher concern underlying the tumultuous CB negotiations over the past 14 months, often overlooked as now, in the media court of public opinion. 

Doesn't seem fair, folks are still not getting the whole picture. Still, it's a provocative read that will reach a lot more people than the union memo or my indie blog will [See above]. Hopefully, it can still help further spotlight the TCDSB's questionable "consultation" practices and lack of respect and due process. Will they deal fairly and above board with the teachers and all 7 labour unions in the school community, as they now try to negotiate their local contracts? Follow the contract agreements they sign? Don't count on it .... 

Bit of good news; Yan is clarifying that the 35% is only for midterms now. Perhaps a hint of trustee cold feet at the publicity shy and very subterfuge Catholic board? Think Code of Silence @ Star

OECTA TSU President Dave Szollosy: Fighting the Good Fight at the TCDSB!!

How does MOE Sandals try to pull off a media comeback in face of the 15 month teacher and support worker CB fiasco? By trying to evoke her long past activist days with a Globe + Mail newsworthyish concluding address at this years "People for Education" Annual Conference! Yup! Folksy Liz quips about getting back to work now as the "Minster of Education" rather than as "Minister of Collective Bargaining". Her words ring rather hollow when one considers all the ill will and teacher bashing that she has helped facilitate. See below and @ Globe

Then it becomes timely to "make show" by throwing some money at school infrastructure, that's no doubt needed, though the timing of the grand announcement is certainly suspect, and the needs, among many, significantly greater @ Liz Again!

Missing News Piece: Opening 30 new schools while closing 88 others and cutting Special Ed funding/ services isn't a step in the right direction @ NDP

Hamilton board has reached tentative agreements with it's CUPE education workers and OSSTF teachers and OT's. Remember, central agreements have all ready been reached province wide for most teachers and staff but many of the local CB talks have yet to be concluded. Alas! Don't expect much big news! The large ticket items are off the table and exhaustion has set in! More @ Spectator

Latest Star article on union concerns with the new CB "process" can't resist a highlighted PC jab about "enabling" teachers to "duck crucial interviews with parents". As one wag observed on Twitter, we usually only wish more parents did request them. Alas @ Star

Dept. of Double Standards: Canada Taxpayer Association questions the Alberta School Board Association's spending on the public dime, unlike in Ontario, where their focus is only on the big, bad teacher unions @ Alberta

Globe + Mail "expose" shows OSSTF had $65 million in financial reserves when it accepted the OLP CB payment. Dunno how secret that was, am pretty sure it was posted here some time ago and is common practice .... Anyway, no Comment from OSSTF! Makes me wonder why everybody doesn't just give the OLP MOE their stupid money back? 

I'm not arguing it isn't fair, considering the flawed screw up of a CB Act that the affiliates had to waste so much time and grief negotiating under. It's just very unseemly + compromising, especially considering that now the OLP has agreed to audit the union expenses too! What BS! You can see the OSSTF story @ Globe

BTW, is it true that OECTA's latest bargaining memo tells their members that they just did what everybody else was doing, when they accepted the million dollars from the OLP?!? 

ETFO is having a relatively lively and open member debate on ratifying their new tentative agreement, which in the opinion of this teacher free speech blogger, is as it should be. Can you imagine what would happen at some of our other affiliates, if anybody had posted the "Vote No" videos on Youtube like Durham ETFO PAC has @ LINK and @ LINK  

ETFO and CUP reach tentative agreements. These news links have been moved to their own blog @ LINKS!

OSSTF support staff go it alone! Please note: they might well need our support and solidarity! They are threatening escalated strike actions if their pay is deducted for WTR because they can't reach an agreement under the OLP MOE's admittedly flawed CB process, as the Wynne government proceeds full tilt with it's austerity agenda @ CTV

OSSTF President Paul Elliott calls OLP plans to deduct support worker pay disrespectful and unfair @ OSSTF

Disgrace: The majority of OSSTF's 15,000 support staff are female and among the lowest paid in the public service sector, though they fill key roles within our public, Catholic, English and French schools across the province @ Elliott

Deb: Double standard? ... Ummmm, what's a double standard mean ...?!?

More Double Standards: Wynne government agrees to a Tory motion to audit the teacher union's CB expense payments. Still no news mention of similar monies received by the trustees @ Star

MOE Sandals leaks details of the ETFO agreement before the members see it! Now the Toronto Sun is engaged in some more teacher bashing, comparing the details of the 3 different agreements reached by ETFO, OECTA and OECTA for their so called "perpetual sick days" @ Sun and @ Sun

CUPE BC Chapter President Mark Hancock defeats Ontario President Fred Hahn as the incoming National President of Canada's largest union @ CUPE

Meanwhile in Quebec, rotating teacher strikes will be carried out throughout November as CB talks stall. Hmmm. Sound familiar? Kinda sorta .... Anyway, they are getting pretty creative with the picketing, and the "Raging Grannies" are back too @ Quebec

Here's a refreshing take on the importance of music as a teaching subject at school @ KIMT


Go Liz Go! Right out the door ...

MOE Sandals Has Got To Go: NDP Education Critic Lisa Gretzky grills the OLP on it's flawed teacher and education support worker CB "process" and the ensuing chaos in our schools. She asks whether Education Minister Lz Sandals will be fired for the mess @ Youtube

New Conservative Twist: PC Opposition Leader Pat Brown lambasts the Wynne government for not providing enough funding to reduce the 16,000 student wait list for autism services @ Northumberland

Wynne move to privatize 60% of the huge Hydro One provincial revenue generator is described as "unnecessary" and "boneheaded". Gee, didn't teachers once support the Liberals against a similar misguided Hydro sell off scheme when the Torys where in power?!? Yup @ Star

Common Nonsense: This month is the 20th anniversary of Mike Harris' "Omnibus Bill". It was a one size fits all legislative massive bully boy approach to provincial politics that can allow the government of the day to shove through wads of new legislative changes to the political landscape quickly with minimum debate.

Interesting, it was former Harris minsters [Think Flaherty, Laird, Clement ...] who went on to help the Harper PC's also employ "Omnibus Bills" to push through stacks of federal legislation, further trashing the open, accountable democratic process in Ottawa. They are a practice Trudeau now promises to end @ Star

OPSEAU advocates an LCBO monopoly in selling legal marijuana alongside liquor at it's stores for health and safety reasons. However, such a complete monopoly, besides being a huge cash grab for government and big business interests alike on marijuana sales and distribution, could also thwart home and micro growers @ OPSEAU


Paris: major landmarks don't seem on radar.

Be careful: News continues to be made speculatively on the run as attacks on Paris make it look like the Middle East @ CBC

We currently know little or nothing except that the attacks took place. You can watch the war drumming on CNN. [ie. "What will WE do?!?", rages the US announcer as he pulls out his hair over events in France ...] There's also live social media feeds @ @ Zee

Sins of Omission? Or "why do they hate us so?!?" 100's of medical facilities and 670 staff have been killed in Syria and Yeman since coalition forces began airstrikes in 2011, according to the Physicians for Human Rights. There has been little international news coverage nor a public outcry. Damn those evil terrorists trying to destroy freedom and our way of life, eh..... or or or ..... perhaps it's a lot more complicated then all that?!? @ US News

Meanwhile 400,000 Syrian refugee students in Turkey are without classes due to the military madness Human Rights Watch

A question of balance? 147 students were slaughtered in a terrorist attack on a college in Kenya on April 2 of this year. CNN did not provide non stop coverage. Jet fighter planes were not sent in. Matter of fact I bet most folks didn't even know, or don't remember. It was covered in my Teacher Free Speech April News and Views. Like now, questions were being raised online through the social, if not the mainstream media, on whether ..... oh I dunno, questions of race had anything to do with it getting much, if any coverage?!? Paris is not in Africa @ Inquisitor

Noam Chomsky warns that the US is often considered the world's biggest terrorist nation outside the country. The finding is not being reported by the US run polling companies! Read and see the interview @ Chomsky

Backfiring? In an open letter to President Obama,  4 drone pilots claim that air strike civilian casualties and devastation are actually radicalizing the war regions where they are being used @ Verge

Planned Parenthood Terror Attack: When a mid easterner commits terrorism, a religion is at fault. With a person of colour its some racial group. How about when it's a white male domestic terrorist?!? In the US, he's a lone wolf who's just "off the grid". More @ Colorado

Do white males enjoy certain priviledges because of our whiteness, when suspected of violent, terrorist acts, that are not afforded to others? More @ Post

Terrorist Group Exemptions: White? Male? Just "off the grid" ...?

Racist hatred and violence against Muslims in Canada after the Paris attacks was fanned by the Harper Conservatives federal election campaign @ Cole

Unfinished business: Trudeau has promised to discontinue Canadian CF-18 fighter jet attacks in the "War Against ISIS". However, as Nov 12th they were still involved in strike operations in Iraq where operations are continuing under the defeated Conservative government mandate @ Globe

Blood on our hands? Canadian airstrikes are alleged to have killed 10 civilians in Iraq. Check out the numbers game in estimating casualties @ CBC 

The number of murky outside forces involved behind the scenes in the recent Russia Turkey conflict provides more reasons for Trudeau to get our Canuck CF-18 jet fighters out of Syria el pronto @ Star

Something wicked's brewing: Remember the invasion of Iraq to remove the WMD [Weapons of Mass Destruction] that it turned out didn't exist? Well, now here's CNN rattling sabres over the downing of the Russian plane in the Sinai as the "emergence of ISIS as a global threat". Note the whole article is based upon suppositions. Count all the "ifs" "would's" and "believed to be's" in the breaking story. Even the title and entity of ISIS is rather murky to begin with. Throw in the growing Russia and US tensions in Syria and we have the potential groundwork for a new Cold War thriller @ CNN

New Trudeau cabinet: Smile + say "Goodbye Steve!"

Trudeau government recalls parliament for Dec 3, with the Throne Speech to follow on Dec 4th. A tax cut for middle class Canadians, paid for by a tax increase to those earning over $200,000 is intended to be in place by January 1st. Trudeau will take on the portfolios of Youth and Intergovernmental Affairs @ CTV

Trudeaumania Part 2: The swearing in ceremony is a very public affair for a change. I watched with interest all day; he performed a masterful media job that was very hopeful and refreshing after years of Tory diminishing expectations and divide and conquer rule. Of course, with charisma, there is form, but we'll also want to see if there's content, that is still to come. And it is not easy to dare challenge the status quo, at home or abroad. Still, I think it was a day when we could all once again feel very proud and glad to be Canadians again. Now if only Mulcair could've pulled that off @ Rideau

Important to note! Top Queen's Park staffers from the Wynne Neo Lib government are now off to Ottawa to work for Trudeau. Their involvement was why I wouldn't endorse or vote Liberal, what with the way the Wynne government has turned on teachers. Anyway, told you so @ More

Alt perspective: MLPC warns that the new Trudeau government will deliver a neo lib agenda under the guise of a renewed cabinet system, using a UK Blair syle "deliverology" model helping them to forward their key goals past the traditional government hierarchy and bureaucracy in Ottawa. It worked for McGuinty and the Ontario OLP, up to a point, and now key advisers Katie Telford and Gerard Butts are off to the PMO [Prime Minister's Office] to help Trudeau implement it too! Real interesting What to Expect?

Media Bias or "Enough is Enough": a media analysis reveals 71% of Canadian newspapers endorsed Steven Harper, down from 95% in 2011. How does the saying go, "You can fool some of the people some of the time but ...."?! @ Huffington

CLC President Hassan Yussuff notes union members are pleased to watch Harper's "sorry ass walk off the stage" due in part of course to labour's "Heave Steve" campaign. He also notes that the outcome was still not ideal, and that members will need to hold the Liberals to account. Issues mentioned include C-51, C-377, C-525 and an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women @ CUPE.

Yussuff/ Trudeau: post Harper labour rapport?

Trudeau meets with CLC to recommit that his government will repeal C-377 and C-525. President Yussuff emphasizes that labour is ready, willing and able to help with the Syrian refugee crisis @ CLC

Yussuff expresses relief with Trudeau's open approach after 10 years of outright hostility towards labour by the Harper government @ Huffington

Because it's 2015: Trudeau dispels gender equity "concerns" about his diverse new cabinet and signals more openness and transparency in government @ CBC Videos Etc

New Trudeau 30 member cabinet is very inclusive of Canadian society today and has regional balance from across the country, with what some consider a lot of bold choices from the plethora of possible candidates from whom he could choose @ Cabinet List

Little reported: Cabinet's inner Planning and Priorities sub committee among others is not gender balanced though @ Globe and @ Post

How about Equal Pay? As "Junior Ministers", 5 of the women will be earning less, a situation Trudeau blames on a bureaucratic glitch he says will be fixed @ The Rebel
and @ The Star

There are lots of changes with the new cabinet, potentially both good and bad. Read the fine print @ CBC

Trudeau promises "government by cabinet" @ CTV

A brief overview of the many pressing issues facing the new cabinet members in their different portfolios @ 660

"Because it's 2015" Part 2: Canada is having a hard time exporting it's "dirty oil" out west via the Keystone Pipeline. Now US President Obama has nixed the project, making for some extra interesting ethical challenges. We'll watch with interest how Trudeau stick handles the environment portfolio with Canada's economic interests at the upcoming December United Nations Climate Change Conference @ Star

Alas! The NDP: what next?

Meanwhile, the NDP's Tom Mulcair meets with his decimated party ranks downstairs in the basement of parliament hill. No longer leader of the Official Opposition, that went to the PC's, he will still stick around promising to provide a "progressive opposition" to the Trudeau Liberals. A reorganization is coming. I certainly hope they drop the conservative pandering. His parties "balanced budget" promise clearly didn't win over the many new expected voters, while alienating a lot of his parties traditional left wing support. I still stand by my Mulcair endorsement, for the reasons given, but have to wince! Now, in true grit style, Trudeau is all but promising to make the rich pay as he steals his the NDP's thunder, leaving them in the dust. Well, it's good to know he can still laugh at himself, not many could under the circumstances! More, plus see Tom's new dance NDP

PET + Fidel Habana 1976

Viva Cuba: Justin Trudeau arrives at an interesting time as the US reestablishes relations with Cuba. Pierre supported the socialist revolution despite the US economic embargo. The Trudeau's are even family friends with Fidel Castro, who was quietly present at Pierre's funeral when Justin delivered his famous eulogy. This CBC mini documentary makes for a good backgrounder as we watch the Canada-Cuba story develop now that he is PM tooPET 1 and @ PET 2

UNESCO praises Cuba's educational achievements. Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the Americas and provides free universal access to an education for all it's citizens. That's despite a crippling 54 year US economic embargo against the beleaguered Caribbean socialist state. BTW; Schools aren't closed to balance the budget in Cuba @ Granma


For something a little different this year, you might want to peruse the Exclaim! "Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Gifts for the Hip Hop Fan!" Yes, hip hop, often gets a bad rap [heh, heh, heh .... er] for racist and misogynist lyrics, but it's also created a lot of great, contemporary, street poetry too, that would even make Rimbaud blush. Check out the "Rap Yearbook", which discusses, debates and deconstructs the most important rap song from every year since 1979 @ Hip Hop!

Hip Hop? Rap? I show my age. A lot of the early greats, when I was still in university and haunting the late night dance clubs, like Toronto's "Twilight Zone", in the late 70's/ early 80's also had a strong social justice message to it. Here's 2 of my favourites: Afrika Bambaataa @ Renegades of Funk and Grandmaster Flash @ The Message  

Mind you this is a fun read, more of a teaser and a good introduction. Maybe not as festive but more insightful further reading could include; Jeff Chang's Can't Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, Nelson George's Hip Hop America, and Elijah Wood's Talking 'Bout Your Mama among others ......

Eh?! Yup. And here's how I use to dance, before I hurt my lumbar @ Planet Rock

Believe that last bit?! Then maybe can I interest you in buying some private property in Cuba ............? ;-)



Anonymous said...

Hi, you've said above: so called "perpetual sick days".

Can you correct the record and specify exactly how the sick day structure is now? Not asking for any unratified contract details, just a clarification of what the current plan is and the provision for refreshing the days. Thanks

Kulture Kult Ink said...

Not my wording, but it is a loaded term in my books, as it is used in the Sun article being referred to. Follow the link to see how the sick day plans vary between affiliates as described in the article.

Proper doctor notes and documentation are of course required, so it is not somethimg casual and flippant. A glitch existed/ exists where somebody who is very sick and needs a continuance of benefits might have to come into work or be cut off.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Look at Halton Elementary OECTA Unit. New bylaws drafted to stifle any discussion of real issues in the next unit election. Sanctions and penalties drafted by the Legislation Committee to muzzle those running in the election. Worse yet election and meetings being run by retired non unit members. And Richard was bad????PLEASE!!!

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Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
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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!