Archive for September, 2014

September 26, 2014

La Presse reports Liberals planning massive overhaul of education system

September 26, 2014

La Presse is reporting today that Couillard Liberals are planning a massive education reform that includes the abolition of school boards, reduction of private school subsidies by 50%, reduction in the number of ministry exams and the creation of a professional order by teachers.

Read more: http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/education/201409/25/01-4803683-reforme-tous-azimuts-en-education.php

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September 25, 2014

Candidates for EMSB Chair discuss school board cuts with CBC Daybreak

Candidates for EMSB Chair Angela Mancini and Anne Lagacé Dowson discuss school board cuts with CBC’s Mike Finnerty. Click here to listen.

Be sure to verify that you are eligible to vote in English school board elections by calling 1 (888) 353-2846

September 17, 2014

CJAD’s Gang of Four discusses cuts to parental leave

Anne Lagacé-Dowson, Robert Green and Trudy Mason discuss cuts to parental leave and the Couillard government’s austerity agenda.

Click here for the podcast.

September 11, 2014

Why Teachers Fear the Worst of Clark Government

Signs mount that union busting, privatized schooling are true agenda.

By Tom Kertes| Published September 10, 2014 by TheTyee.ca

Today, public school teachers in British Columbia will vote to end their job action if the government agrees to leave the issues of class size and class compensation to the courts. Both parties are almost on the same page when it comes to wages and contract length, but regardless the government continues to say the two are miles apart, and continues to refuse to participate in binding arbitration.

Why this government is so adamantly against making any deal with teachers, other than a deal that essentially amounts to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation giving up its court case, giving up on wages and giving up on any issue of importance to its members, is what everyone watching this dispute is asking.

The point of government is to work within a system of balanced power that supports the community as a whole. One way to do this is through public education, which provides schooling on an equal and equitable basis and with public oversight. Public education, in contrast to private education, is universally accessible. Every child in B.C. has a right to education, a right respected by government through the provision of schools supported by shared taxation. In contrast, a privatized system — like the system of private schools already in place for some students — starts with barriers to entry. Parents need to be able to afford it, or the child must be deemed worthy of entry, for example to receive a school scholarship.

A concern for all supporters of public education is that the BC Liberals will introduce either a charter system, where public dollars are diverted from a public system to one composed of publicly-funded, for-profit, special-interest or religious schools. If this government wants to use the strike as a wedge issue to pull support from the public schools or as a weapon to break the teachers’ union, then we may end up with the worst possible scenario, where our public system gets dumped for a private one. The government may do this because it opposes union influence over the school system, because its supporters are either seeking to profit or to proselytize through a new system, or simply because it wants to put its own stamp on the system.

Whatever the reason, B.C. cannot afford to lose the public benefits that only a public school system provides.

Read more: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2014/09/10/Teachers-Clark-Govt-Fear/

September 6, 2014

Hey, premiers, leave them teachers alone!

By Robert Green | Published Sept 1 2014 by Ricochet

The beginning of the school year should be a time of great optimism and excitement for teachers. We’re energized by seeing our colleagues again and excited to meet the students we’ll be teaching for the year. Our thoughts should be focused on making our classrooms more welcoming, our lessons more engaging and our contributions to our school community more meaningful.

Unfortunately, for too many teachers across Canada the positive feelings that normally accompany the beginning of the school year will be overshadowed by more negative sentiments: uncertainty, frustration, anger and above all the feeling of being profoundly disrespected.

British Columbia

Nowhere is this more true than in BC. The province’s teachers have been on the picket line since the spring as part of the latest chapter in an exasperating decades-long struggle with the province’s Liberal government. The bad faith demonstrated by the government over the course of this struggle boggles the mind. While the media wants to malign BC teachers as greedy, the heart of this dispute has always been about protecting quality of education for students by reducing class size. After teachers gave up salary concessions in the nineties in order to win class-size reductions (greedy bastards!) the BC Liberals went on to unilaterally remove these provisions from their contract in 2002.

read more »

September 6, 2014

How English schools can survive

By By Anne Lagacé Dowson | Published September 5, 2014 by The Montreal Gazette

Don Macpherson doesn’t miss much. As the dean of Quebec political journalists, and a parent too, Macpherson sees the warning signs embedded in a report by the Quebec education ministry that was dropped into the silence of the summer.

The report is a devastating report card for our English-language school boards in Quebec. It demonstrates that they have failed to stay in touch with the new realities of language in Quebec. As the report mentions, a virtual cascade of parents who have the legal right to English-language schooling for their children are instead choosing schools in the French-language system.

More and more parents who could send their kids to English-language schools have decided that they do not have confidence in these schools. They are voting with their feet. They have decided that English-language schools are not equipping their kids with what it takes to thrive in the New Quebec.

Parents now realize that to be able to make a living in Quebec, and put down roots in this province, their children need to be able to speak the language of the majority — and speak it well.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/English+schools+survive/10174759/story.html

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September 1, 2014

Why BC teachers can’t sign with E80 on the table.

Published August 31, 2014 by Voices for BC Education

Imagine a client hires you for a job. The pay isn’t great but the work is steady and you like the hours.

A little while later they come back and tell you that the scope of the job has grown substantially and they understand you can’t do it alone so they let you hire a team of 10 people. With 10, you can do the job, just. It’s more challenging but you agree.

As time goes by they stop paying some of your team. You find yourself with a skeleton crew. You go to head office and tell them what is happening. They tell the client they have to pay for the 10 people they agreed to hire.

The client comes back saying they won’t and tries to rewrite the terms of your agreement. You stop working. They stop paying.

They come back to you and say… we will hire you back, just you, not your team. The condition? They will hire you if and only if you agree to sign this document that says “Should head office decide more people are needed to complete the job, either party can tear up the contract.” and the client doesn’t have to hire more people.

Would you do the job?

 E80 is asking us to agree to let the government decide if they will abide by the court rulings.  It’s giving them the right to tear up our contract if they don’t like what the courts have to say. Would you agree to that? Would you go back to work?

Teachers want to be in the classroom. They want to be teaching but they can’t if E80 is part of the deal.

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