While we expect this school year to be less “interesting” than the last one, the education agenda in Ontario remains confusing, and the future looks uncertain.
The provincial government will continue to expand its influence—who pays the piper calls the tune, after all, and with school boards entirely dependent on the province for their revenue, areas of local “control” will likely continue to diminish. With teachers and education workers represented at the government level by their provincial organizations, the migration of responsibility towards the centre is unlikely to slow.
We are currently adjusting to the “provincialization” of our LTDI plan, and the benefits plan could well be next. In the meantime, the government has indicated a new set of rules for the next round of bargaining, and our challenge will remain: how do we apply leverage on important local issues once the big ticket provincial issues have been dealt with? Watch this space—and the ETFO website.
In the meantime, I can report that the Board has agreed to “stand down” any ongoing investigations and meetings resulting from the conflict over the Progress Reports last year. Discussions continue to implement removal of all related documentation, e.g., letters in files and resulting grievances. A clearing of the state of this matter, I believe, is a positive start to the year, and opens up the opportunity for further discussions with board officials on items of concern to teachers, such as the Progress Reports. We have a mutual interest with the board to reduce unnecessary stress in the system on students and their teachers and other workers, and we can participate in this dialogue on a professional and constructive basis.
I hope your year has started well. Please do not hesitate to call us as the office (416-393-9930) with questions or concerns, or to arrange a visit to your school by your Executive Officer.