The following media release was posted by ETFO on May 5, 2015.
ETFO to Take Strike Action to Stop OPSBA, Government Demands that Would Compromise Students’ Learning Conditions, Strip Collective Agreements
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has advised the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the Liberal government that its teacher and occasional teacher members will be taking province-wide strike action as of Monday, May 11, 2015.
ETFO members have been forced to take this action in response to demands during central bargaining from OPSBA and the Liberal government that would strip collective agreements, reduce teachers’ ability to use their professional judgement when providing instruction, and compromise students’ learning conditions.
“We are not going to comment on strike action details publicly until we’ve had an opportunity to communicate with all our members this week,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “What’s important to realize is that the government and OPSBA want to layer on more bureaucracy into the education system, and compromise the ability of teachers to do what’s best for our students.”
OPSBA and the government have tabled numerous demands, including:
- removing class size language from collective agreements, which would give school boards latitude to increase the number of students in elementary classrooms;
- directing how teachers should spend their preparation time, which would interfere with teachers’ ability to plan lessons, prepare specialized plans for students, and engage with parents;
- curtailing teachers’ ability to use their professional judgment in determining how to support student learning; and
- rescinding the fair and transparent hiring practices that school boards are now required to follow under Regulation 274.
“OPSBA wants the ability to determine how teachers teach,” added Hammond. “The person in the education system who knows your child best – your child’s teacher – would no longer be able to develop an instructional plan based on your child’s specific abilities and needs. That doesn’t make any sense when it comes to what’s best for students.”