You are here

Teachers' Actions "harming students"

Letter to the Editor,
There has been a great deal of media attention given to the passing of Bill 115, the Putting Students First Act. I have been monitoring the struggle between the teacher federations and the government, in the wake of the passing of Bill 115, and the resulting labour unrest in the education sector.
As a Canadian I appreciate being educated (by the Teacher Federations through the media) about the very real concerns regarding the passing of that Bill and the dangerous implications it has for democracy and thus all Ontarians. The Teacher Federations have made their point very clear.
But as a parent I take issue with how the fight between the teacher federations and the government is now greatly disadvantaging and even, in some cases, harming students. I support the right to fight for collective bargaining but suggest it is time to take that fight out of the schools.
I have watched as our local School Board, as employer, and the local teacher union representatives, the employees, continue to meet and go through the motions of negotiations in an effort to proceed with good faith bargaining.
I see relationships strained, causing undue discomfort and stress to most if not all people who have an interest in public education, especially those working in our schools.
As a Parent (and a RRDSB member) I am deeply dispirited by the effect on students and families caused by all of this labour unrest.
Instead of celebrating with our children and all students, all of the programs and activities we normally enjoy through the terrific efforts and sacrifices of teachers we are left with the very bare bones of what could be called public education. I question if we are in fact, living up to the legal requirements of what that means.
I am talking about the student well being piece. School Boards and thus educators must provide what is necessary to ensure student achievement and well being. And because we recognize that student well being is intrinsic to achievement I contend that the system is currently failing to fulfill its responsibility - we are failing students.
Dexter Fichuk, Student Trustee of the RRDSB has expressed how important it is for students to have those extracurriculars especially in their Senior year when they are looking for scholarships or simply experiences to add to their resumes.
Hirad Zafari, President of the Ontario Student Trustees Association, says, “the students won’t forget, they won’t dismiss the injustice that has occurred to teachers, “The battle isn’t over”.
In fact the fight has already been taken to the legal system and will be fought, probably for some time yet, in the courts. So, it would seem there is now little more to be done on the ground except continue to keep the people of Ontario informed and get back to doing what we in education do best.
It is time for the teacher Federations do what the Government has not done with Bill 115 and that is to really and truly Put Students First by restoring the education that students and families have always appreciated. Restore the school experience that results from the passion, the efforts, the sacrifices and dedication of teachers. Let’s bring back the education that reaches the whole child, that enriches their social/ emotional experiences and promotes student well being.
Please, bring back of all the actives that have been removed so that we can once again enhance the school experience of so many students and maybe even just make it (attending school) palatable for the rest.
–Dianne McCormack,
Dawson ON