Five things you need to know about teacher negotiations

It’s important that parents understand how the current labour negotiations between teachers and the government and trustees could affect their kids.

Diagnostic assessments are not the same as standardized testing

The government wants to increase the amount of diagnostic assessment that happens in Ontario classrooms, and dictate when this testing is done, even if it cuts into valuable student learning time.  These tests are sold to school boards by for-profit companies, and  have little to no value for the vast majority of Ontario students.  Learn more about the criticism of unchecked diagnostic testing.

Giving teachers preparation and planning time improves student learning

The government wants to reduce teacher’s valuable preparation and planning time, by giving boards unrestricted power to administrators to determine how that time will be used.  This kind of micromanagement undermines the autonomy that teachers currently have to utilize the time in a manner that allows their own professional growth and improves learning for their students. Changes like this have had a hugely negative impact in the US and the UK, where cuts to public education and unsustainable increases to teachers’ workloads have caused a crisis in the profession.

We hire teachers according to transparent criteria

Right now, Ontario Catholic schools have clear and fair criteria for hiring in place, ensuring that candidates are selected based on their qualifications, abilities in the classroom and seniority in the system.  But the government now wants to replace the fair-hiring policy with a completely subjective regime, handing back unfettered power to elected trustees to hire whomever they want. Without rules, teachers could be hired through nepotism and the most suitable candidates won’t always find jobs.

Early Childhood Educators are essential for full-day kindergarten

An Early Childhood Educator (ECE) is currently required to be in Full Day Kindergarten classrooms with 16 or more students, supporting the teacher.  But under the government’s proposed changes, this regulation would be altered and an ECE could be re-assigned elsewhere leaving large classes with only one adult, the teacher, periodically throughout the day.

The government shouldn’t pay off its deficit by punishing one profession

Salaries are a part of any contract negotiation, in every industry.  The Liberal government wants teachers to choose between their wages and other support resources that help maintain the quality of Ontario education.  One should not be at the expense of the other.