by Paula Turner
If you were to google “I’m waiting” you will see many sayings about waiting for someone who has let you down many times.
Well, many education workers are waiting. And they are waiting for someone (the government) who has repeatedly let us down. Who has misrepresented the reasons for the challenges of these negotiations, and also who holds the responsibility for those challenges.
The federal election is over. There is space in the political arena and at this time to get something done on the labour front in Ontario.
The problem may be that schools are running, kids are being educated. Support is being provided.
That’s because educators (who have been without a contract since August 31, 2014) are continuing to show up. They are doing their job, and even those who are on work-to-rule are doing more than the basic definition of their jobs, especially when it means doing the best for students. Because (guess what) that’s what educators do. They do what is best for students.
How is working to rule the best for students? How is withdrawing extra-curriculars best for students?
It is best because what educators are fighting for at the core is working conditions and – you’ve heard it before – our working conditions are students learning conditions. Money is at the core of many of these factors. Class size. Supports for students – special education students but also mainstream student supports. Are pay raises in there? Yes. They are. And there is no shame in that being part of the negotiations. That allows an educator to be acknowledged in the way that our society represents value – monetarily.
By taking a stand, educators are modeling for students that there are issues you need to take a stand on and you need to NOT BACK DOWN.
How is a labour situation where the blame is being placed on educators best for students? For that, you’ll have to ask the government. They don’t want to take responsibility for the mistakes that got us here, that created the economic situation that they say cannot afford to continue to provide adequate support for students or allow classrooms to remain at a reasonable size.
Ask Liz Sandals and Kathleen Wynne why, cause I’m still waiting to hear something plausible as a good reason to penalize students and educators for the misspending and bureaucratic issues of the government of Ontario.
No one wants the Blue Jays to keep winning more than the government of Ontario – because right now, that’s the type of news that keeps these issues off the front pages.
Although if they lose, there’s always the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to throw false fuel onto the fire.