It's not often I agree with the Premier of this province, but this time I'm onside. As most are aware, the Liberal chief has slapped our educators with a two year, "no strike/wage freeze," and the teachers are screaming, claiming he's pumped a slug into the collective bargaining process.
McGuinty's argument is, sorry about that, but times are tough, the coffers are bare, we're in hock up to our ears, so a Preem's gotta do what a Preem's gotta do!
But the question is: is Dastardly Dalton flaunting the law, stomping on the teacher's constitutional rights? They believe he is, and have taken their fight to the courts. (I can't wait to see the bill for that battle!)
The teachers, of course, fairly or unfairly, have been tagged as "greedy," their critics trumpeting, they have no cause to whine. They sound off, that in this economy, teachers are far better off than most, pointing to their handsome holiday breaks, excellent benefits and retirement packages.
The teachers, meanwhile, fearing no further loss of favour, have backed up their beef with a pointless, mean spirited tactic -- a complete withdrawal, or intermittent involvement in extracurricular activities. While this childish stunt may annoy their political foes and piss off the parents, the only ones hurt by it, are the kids!
I would suggest, that the big thinker who came up with this bit of strategy, isn't smart enough to be involved in education. How was this supposed to play out? Were distraught students expected to cry to mom and dad, who in turn, would tear the big, nasty Premier a new one, forcing him to back down?
It was a dumb move, and now the teachers are the bad guys in everyone's eyes. The Premier was right when he pointed out to the teachers (rather sad that he had to) that their beef was with him, not the students, and the place to deal with him was at the polls.
If our teachers aren't mature enough to see their hissy fit as silly and grossly unfair, maybe their next move should be holding their breath.
The kids are just back to school and already much of what they enjoy in extra-curricular activities is being whittled away. Once again they are pawns to be used in a political game. Some teachers decided not to attend the curriculum night used to introduce parents to the education line up for the year. It's a night where they hope to engage the parents and inspire the kids. What does a no-show say about that?
We often hear teachers say that there is little respect given to them in the classroom. That has to be tough and we always tried to instill in our children a respect for their teachers. We expected a certain standard of behaviour and if they didn't meet it, which happened on occasion, we knew we would hear from the school which was fine with us. We would back them up. It will be difficult to develop a rapport with the students and parents when you withdraw an important part of their school life.
What do you remember from your school days? I'd venture to say that many of the memories come not from what happened in class but from those extra-curricular activities, the life lessons learned and the great teachers who supported you in that quest.
Teachers make a very good living, as they should. Since McGuinty came to office, average salaries are up by 34 per cent, teachers are making on average $83,500, and they retire with a very handsome pension -- far better than those in the private sector. To ask them to accept a wage freeze, a ban on strikes and to give up sick day pay outs at retirement isn't outrageous. To be facing the prospect of a sanitized school experience, coming as this does on the heels of a long hot summer off, is!
The Motts can be heard weekdays from 11 until noon at themotts.ca, on Caledon Radio 102.7FM, Bolton Radio 105.5FM, Erin Radio 88.1FM, and Stouffville Radio 102.7FM. "Motts Weekend" is heard on 610 CKTB in St. Catharines and CKNX in Wingham.