To the Toronto Sun:
In today's Toronto Sun, there is an editorial which tells the public school elementary teachers to essentially shut up and accept the Ontario government's generous offer of now two percent for the next two years. The former offer of three percent for four years was not generous because the government and school boards were offering an extra 50 minutes per week of administration directed preparation time in which the administration could decide what teachers must do during that time. The government and boards also want teachers to be in the classroom (not just in the school) in order to supervise students 15 minutes before the start of the school day in the morning and five minutes before afternoon classes start. That's 100 minutes per week extra of supervision that public school elementary teachers would be required to perform. No thanks. I would rather work under the existing but expired contract than under the government and boards' proposal. Better yet, I would rather be treated equally with a secondary school teacher.
I don't know how negotiations are going between the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the school boards. If they don't go well, I would be willing to favour "Yes" in a strike vote. I hope it doesn't come to that. I cannot imagine the teachers striking right away. Work-to-rule might happen where teachers work strictly according to their contracts. No extra work or duties will be performed by teachers on behalf of the administration.
I cannot see the teachers going on strike before the school boards lock-out the teachers. I believe the boards do not want a work-to-rule campaign to interfere in any way with the EQAO grades-three and six standardized tests. I predict that the boards will lock-out the teachers so that the government can legislate us back to work. Barring any legal reasons, I cannot see a lock-out lasting any longer than one week. A lock-out could take place well before the EQAO tests. The government through the legislature can order the teachers back to work just in time for the EQAO tests to be administered. You see, if teachers do not prepare their students for the EQAO tests--how to do them--the students will not perform as well. Knowledge of the curriculum is not enough for students to perform well on the standardized tests.
If the public elementary school teachers end up with an unacceptable two-year contract, I will be upset. However, teachers can start negotiating in less than two years for an excellent contract so that we can teach our students well.