Archive for ‘External Links’

January 5, 2016

Extracurricular activities are back on at the EMSB following tentative deal

By Katharine Wilton | Published January 5, 2015 by the Montreal Gazette

Excerpt:

While union leaders are recommending that teachers ratify the agreement, Robert Green, a teacher at Westmount High School, said he cannot support the deal. Green said he is unhappy that Common Front leaders are including lump-sum payments and adjustments to salary scales when calculating the 9 per cent pay increase.

“When these are removed, the actual salary increase is 5.25 per cent over five years,” Green said. “A lump-sum payment (1.5 per cent) is not a salary increase. The numbers the Common Front is putting out is being presented in a very manipulative way.”

A 2.4 per cent increase that was negotiated as part of a government plan to reduce pay scales for civil servants should not be included in the nine per cent increase, Green contends. “These were separate negotiations,” he said. “The unions are making it seem that the government has come further than it actually has.”

Green said he is also unhappy that there are still not enough resources for students with special needs. “We are left with a status quo that has 25 per cent of teachers leaving the profession in the first five years,” he said.

Read more: http://montrealgazette.com/news/extracurricular-activities-are-back-on-at-the-emsb-following-tentative-deal

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September 23, 2015

Montreal teachers’ pressure tactics are taking a toll

Bt Katherine Wilton | Published September 22 by The Montreal Gazette

Excerpt:

Teachers are angry that Quebec wants to increase class sizes in high schools and elementary schools and is proposing to no longer consider whether a child has a learning disability when calculating class sizes. A few months before negotiations began in March on a new collective agreement with the province’s teachers, former Education Minister Yves Bolduc told reporters there was no clear link between smaller class sizes and student performance, citing a 2008 Université Laval study. The government also wants to increase the work week from 32 to 35 hours and is offering a three-per cent wage increase over five years.

To read the entire story and view the two videos of WHS teachers explaining why they are taking work action: http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/montreal-teachers-pressure-tactics-are-taking-a-toll

 

September 16, 2015

Westmount High students protest budget cuts during lunch break

CO9cx_6VAAAnXqLMONTREAL – Lunch hour is usually a time when students are free from their teachers – a time when they get to chat with their friends, grab a bite to eat and talk.

But Westmount High School students did something a little different on Tuesday.

A group of about 40 students gathered in front of the school in support of their teachers, saying work-to-rule action is not allowing teachers to properly do their jobs.

Read more and watch the video: http://globalnews.ca/news/2222192/westmount-high-students-protest-budget-cuts-during-lunch-break/

September 12, 2015

Letter: Private school subsidies create uneven playing field

By Jim Wilson | Published Sept 10, 2015 by The Montreal Gazettewilson

Re: “Public education matters to all of us” (Celine Cooper, Sept. 8)

One would think the headline would produce little argument. Yet, in her column, Celine Cooper unwittingly reveals the inaccuracy of that remark. When referring to the “abysmal high school dropout rates and levels of illiteracy” she notes that “parents who can afford private schools jump ship.”

Dropout rates must be qualified; the private schools’ exceedingly high graduation rates contrast sharply with those of the French public system. In fairness, the public English system does not mirror its French public counterparts.

At this time, the number of students attending French private schools exceeds the number going to the entire English sector. Cooper’s point that “all Quebecers deserve a quality education regardless of how much their parents make,” should be true, but that is not the case.

And why not? French private school tuition is subsidized by up to 70 per cent from the public purse. Parents, by the thousand, with just moderate incomes, see that subsidy as an encouragement to abandon failing public schools, which have been affected by the loss of some of the more academically oriented students and a disproportionate increase in those with special needs.

read more »

March 18, 2015

If Teachers Can’t Make Their Unions More Democratic and Social Justice-Minded, Public Ed Is Doomed

By Bob Peterson | Published Feb. 12, 2015 by In These Times

Excerpt:

Social justice unionism is an organizing model that calls for a radical boost in internal union democracy and increased member participation. This contrasts to a business model that is so dependent on staff providing services that it disempowers members and concentrates power in the hands of a small group of elected leaders and/or paid staff. An organizing model, while still providing services to members, focuses on building union power at the school level in alliance with parents, community groups, and other social movements.

Three components of social justice unionism are like the legs of a stool. Unions need all three to be balanced and strong:

  • We organize around bread and butter issues.
  • We organize around teaching and learning issues to reclaim our profession and our classrooms.
  • We organize for social justice in our community and in our curriculum.

Unfortunately, few public sector unions in Wisconsin adopted this model of unionism. As long as we had an agency shop and could protect our members’ compensation and benefits, most members were happy.

We are now paying the price for defining our unions as contract bargainers and enforcers. Today, when we try to sign up members, many are aware that our collective bargaining rights have been severely limited. Often they respond, “Why should I join?” Others think we don’t even exist, as our identity has been so tightly woven to the contract.

Read more: http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17632/democratic_teachers_unions

February 15, 2015

A Revitalized Teacher Union Movement

By Bob Peterson | Published in Volume 29 No.2 – Winter 2014/2015 of rethinking schools

If we don’t transform teacher unions now, our schools, our profession, and our democracy—what’s left of it—will likely be destroyed. I know. I am from Wisconsin, the home of Scott Walker and Paul Ryan.

In 2011, in the wake of the largest workers uprising in recent U.S. history, I was elected president of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA). Unfortunately, that spring uprising, although massive and inspirational, was not strong enough to stop Gov. Walker from enacting the most draconian anti-public sector labor law in the nation.

That law, known as Act 10, received support from the Koch brothers and a cabal of national right-wing funders and organizations. It was imposed on all public sector workers except the police and firefighter unions that endorsed Walker and whose members are predominantly white and male.

Act 10 took away virtually all collective bargaining rights, including the right to arbitration. It left intact only the right to bargain base-wage increases up to the cost of living. The new law prohibited “agency shops,” in which all employees of a bargaining unit pay union dues. It also prohibited payroll deduction of dues. It imposed an unprecedented annual recertification requirement on public sector unions, requiring a 51 percent (not 50 percent plus one) vote of all eligible employees, counting anyone who does not vote as a “no.” Using those criteria, Walker would never have been elected.

Immediately following Act 10, Walker and the Republican-dominated state legislature made the largest cuts to public education of any state in the nation and gerrymandered state legislative districts to privilege conservative, white-populated areas of the state.

Having decimated labor law and defunded public education, Walker proceeded to expand statewide the private school voucher program that has wreaked havoc on Milwaukee, and enacted one of the nation’s most generous income tax deductions for private school tuition.

Under these conditions, public sector union membership has plummeted, staff has been reduced, and resources to lobby, organize, and influence elections have shrunk.

People familiar with Wisconsin’s progressive history—in 1959, for example, we were the first state to legalize collective bargaining for public sector workers—find these events startling. And they should. If it happened in Wisconsin, it could happen anywhere.

And it has. In New Orleans, following Katrina, unionized teachers were fired and the entire system charterized. Following Wisconsin’s lead, Tennessee abolished the right for teachers to bargain collectively. In Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission unilaterally canceled its expired contract with the teacher union. In city after city, privately run charter schools are dominating the education landscape.

Fortunately, teacher union activists across the country are revitalizing their unions and standing up to these relentless attacks. And this growing transformation of the teachers’ union movement may well be the most important force in our nation to defend and improve public schools and, in so doing, defend and improve our communities and what’s left of our democratic institutions.

The revitalization builds on the strengths of traditional “bread and butter” unionism. But it recognizes that our future depends on redefining unionism from a narrow trade union model, focused almost exclusively on protecting union members, to a broader vision that sees the future of unionized workers tied directly to the interests of the entire working class and the communities, particularly communities of color, in which we live and work.

This is a sea change for teacher unions (and other unions, too). But it’s not an easy one to make. It requires confronting racist attitudes and past practices that have marginalized people of color both inside and outside unions. It also means overcoming old habits and stagnant organizational structures that weigh down efforts to expand internal democracy and member engagement.

Read more: http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/29_02/29-2_peterson.shtml

February 8, 2015

602$ de moins par année pour les retraités de l’État

By Marco Fortier | Published Feb 7, 2015 by Le Devoir

Les 540 000 employés de l’État perdraient en moyenne 602 $ par année en revenus de retraite avec une des mesures proposées par le gouvernement Couillard, selon les calculs du front commun syndical.

Le président du Conseil du trésor, Martin Coiteux, compte désormais calculer les revenus de retraite des employés de l’État en fonction de leurs revenus gagnés sur huit ans plutôt que sur cinq ans, comme c’est le cas actuellement. Conséquence : au moment de sa retraite, un syndiqué qui gagne 48 000 $ par année (salaire moyen des fonctionnaires en excluant les cadres, les médecins et les policiers, notamment) toucherait 602 $ de moins annuellement qu’avec le régime actuel, indiquent des données compilées par des actuaires syndicaux.

Un employé qui gagne 40 000 $ perdrait 502 $, tandis qu’un salaire annuel de 70 000 $ entraînerait une perte de 879 $ au moment de la retraite, selon les chiffres syndicaux.

Read more: http://www.ledevoir.com/politique/quebec/431220/negociations-dans-le-secteur-public-602-de-moins-par-annee-pour-les-retraites-de-l-etat

February 7, 2015

L’échec transversal

By Michèle Ouimet | Published Feb 6, 2015 by La Presse

La réforme au secondaire est un échec. Ce n’est pas un journaliste qui le dit ni un enseignant frustré ou un syndicat militant qui tape sur le clou de la réforme, mais une équipe de chercheurs qui a déposé un rapport étoffé de 113 pages.

Le mot échec n’apparaît pas dans le rapport et le directeur de la recherche, Simon Larose, ne l’a pas prononcé quand je lui ai parlé, mais le constat est là, incontournable, gros comme un éléphant dans un magasin de porcelaine.

L’étude est sérieuse, elle n’a pas été griffonnée sur le bord d’une table. Les six chercheurs de l’Université Laval ont suivi 3724 jeunes et 3913 parents de 2007 à 2013. Ils ont étudié trois cohortes: la première a échappé au vortex de la réforme et a commencé son secondaire en 2004; les deux autres étaient composées d’enfants de la réforme qui ont commencé leur secondaire en 2006 et 2007. Les chercheurs ont comparé les cohortes à l’aide de questionnaires, de tests et d’examens. Du sérieux.

Read more: http://www.lapresse.ca/debats/chroniques/michele-ouimet/201502/06/01-4841783-lechec-transversal.php

February 5, 2015

Une étude révèle que le renouveau pédagogique a causé du tort

By DAPHNÉE DION-VIENS | Published Feb 4, 2015

excerpt: 

Faits saillants de l’évaluation de la réforme au secondaire

  • Baisse du taux de diplomation au secondaire chez les garçons, les élèves à risque et les élèves anglophones
  • Légère baisse des résultats à l’épreuve d’écriture en cinquième secondaire, particulièrement en orthographe
  • Baisse des résultats en mathématiques chez les élèves à risque et ceux venant de milieux défavorisés
  • Vision plus négative de l’école selon les élèves de la réforme et les parents interrogés

Read more: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2015/02/04/une-etude-revele-que-le-renouveau-pedagogique-a-cause-du-tort

January 19, 2015

LES ENSEIGNANTS SONT TROP GÉNÉREUX

By SYLVAIN DANCAUSE | Published Jan 18, 2015 by La Presse

Excerpt:

Qui plus est, ce bénévolat en moins aura un impact économique. Ensuite, j’imagine que j’ai le droit à deux pauses de 15 minutes par jour et à un dîner d’une heure. Excellent ! Je ne serai pas disponible pour mes élèves. Ils ont des questions, des conseils, du rattrapage, des explications, de la récupération, des pleurs, de l’anxiété, etc. Désolé ! La porte est fermée.

Faire des appels aux parents ? Je suis prêt à discuter et à partager lors de mon temps officiel de travail. Dorénavant, je ne ferai que ce pour quoi je suis payé et je le ferai du lundi au vendredi de 8 h 30 à 16 h 30. La correction et les préparations de cours les soirs et les fins de semaine ? Terminé. Je ne travaille plus lors de ces moments. Bref, une belle grève du zèle en perspective.

Read more: http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/d726381c-29f3-4f92-a96c-b8895f436586%7C_0

January 16, 2015

ENSEIGNEMENT : J’AI ENVIE DE DÉCROCHER

By KARINE HAMEL | Published Jan 15, 2015 by La Presse

Excerpt:
Je ne veux pas devenir une simple fonctionnaire qui compte ses heures et fait le minimum. Ce n’est pas pour ça que j’ai choisi cette « vocation ».

Comme je songe à aller voir ailleurs si ma place y est, le gouvernement Couillard fait l’annonce de nouvelles mesures. Je vais le prendre comme la confirmation de mes doutes. Un nouvel enseignant sur cinq quitte en début de carrière. Et je crois que je ferai partie du lot. Je lis tous ces enseignants d’expérience qui disent être de plus en plus découragés, au bout du rouleau, qui craignent pour la relève. Je les approuve.
Read more: http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/1448cf9a-fbd1-4d6e-81d9-2b1fcad52b65%7C_0.html

January 10, 2015

Teachers should not be the only ones who take teaching seriously

By Katharine Cukier | Published Jan 9, 2015 by The Montreal Gazette

Excerpt:

I have 150 wonderful students in an enriched-program high-school, but I have reading and writing levels that range from Grade 5 to CEGEP level in each of my classes of 28-30. The trick, or the art, if you will, is how to stimulate the top third, while keeping the middle engaged. The more challenged third always need one-on-one time for revising and editing, review and encouragement. And then there are the 30 individuals, mini human universes, in each class to consider, as well. In my classroom, I am a non-stop stand-up comedian, sergeant-major disciplinarian, brownie baking and naggy mom-ster. I’m also an 21st-century anachronism, so I also get really, really excited about poetry and Shakespeare and do my best to think of fresh, inspired pedagogical cartwheels to light the spark.

Teaching kids in the 21st century demands patience, humour, creativity and stamina. And humility. It also demands that governments support the role of teachers in our society and that means genuine attention to our working conditions. The contract issues of workload, salary, class size, pensions are all issues of respect for teachers, but are implicitly tied to respect for our children and their future. We need to reinvigorate the truism: education matters to the well-being of individuals and societies and therefore, teachers, the essential human capital in education, require long-term investment.

Read more: http://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/opinion-teachers-should-not-be-the-only-ones-who-take-teaching-seriously

January 6, 2015

Enseignant cherche employeur pour réorienter sa carrière

By Jean-François Mercure | Published Dec 29, 2014 by Le Devoir

Cher employeur potentiel, par la présente, je vous signifie mon désir de réorienter ma carrière.

Je suis jeune, dynamique, souriant, etc. Mon travail acharné des dernières années m’a amené à développer moult compétences, à raison de plus d’une cinquantaine d’heures par semaine (mon employeur actuel vous dirait sans doute que j’en fais 32, mais qui peut bien croire un ministre de nos jours ?). Voici un bref résumé de ces compétences.

J’ai un grand sens de l’organisation : j’arrive à mener de front une planification tant annuelle qu’hebdomadaire, en plus de maximiser chaque minute de toutes mes journées de travail. Cette planification, modulable en tout temps, se déploie dans six disciplines et fait interagir plus d’une centaine de personnes. « Logistique » est mon deuxième nom !

J’ai un bon niveau de maîtrise de notre chère langue maternelle, tant à l’oral qu’à l’écrit. Patiemment, dans une rétroaction éducative, je suis en mesure de reformuler diverses phrases comme : « Tu comptes-tu ça ? », « ch’rais bin mieux chez nous d’vant à Wii » et autres atrocités du genre. Je suis aussi apte à réviser et annoter des dizaines de copies écrites dans un français parfois plus qu’approximatif. Une vraie machine…

Read more: http://m.ledevoir.com/societe/education/427716/enseignant-cherche-employeur-pour-reorienter-sa-carriere

 

January 5, 2015

A Montreal teacher’s wish for 2015

By Robert Green | Published by the Montreal Gazette as part of the article “15 Wishes for Montreal in 2015” by Katherine Wilton

In 2015, I would like to see an end to politicians attempting to accomplish their goals at the expense of vulnerable public-school students. Last year, it was teachers and students from various religious minorities being stigmatized by the Parti-Québécois government’s proposed charter of values; this year, it’s (Quebec Premier Philippe) Couillard attempting to balance the budget by asking vulnerable students to pay for all the tax cuts the previous Liberal government had doled out to the rich. Montreal’s public schools have a high numbers of students with special needs and students from low-income families. These are inevitably the students most affected when budgets for education and other social services are cut. When Mr. Couillard was running for election, he stated that he saw education as an investment in Quebec’s future. It would be nice if in 2015 he showed this was more than empty rhetoric by doing two things: 1) reversing the cuts to public education; 2) dealing fairly with the province’s teachers in upcoming contract negotiations.

December 23, 2014

Lettre à «mon patron» Yves Bolduc: un enseignant se vide le cœur

By Pierre-Olivier Fortin | Published Dec 22, 2014 by Le Journal de Montréal

Excerpt:

«Hypocrisie»

Il ne conçoit pas qu’un ministre de l’Éducation puisse commander de telles coupes. «À combien se négocie votre hypocrisie, au fond de votre conscience muette?»

M. Bernière craint que le temps ne finisse par faire oublier ces réformes lancées coup sur coup ces dernières semaines. «Ceux qui essaieront de dénoncer votre incompétence auront trop de difficulté à suivre le rythme, tandis que les autres s’en lasseront», écrit-il.

«Méprisable marionnette»

Mais lui, promet ne pas oublier. «Vous resterez à mes yeux, […] aussi longtemps que je […] m’évertuerai à façonner tête par tête un monde meilleur, la méprisable marionnette de M. le premier ministre [Philippe] Couillard, lui-même le disciple servile d’une idéologie élitiste et mercantile.»

Read more: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2014/12/22/lettre-a-mon-patron-yves-bolduc–un-enseignant-se-vide-le-cur