Feature

Annual Meeting 2007

Election for a ne provincia executiv an the unveilin of the next step in ETFOs Closingthe Gap campaign were highlights of the 2007 Annual Meeting.

Closing  the Gap began  in February  with billboards  and  ads featuring  the work members  do.  Delegates to the Annual Meeting  saw new billboards  and print  ads that highlighted the fact that the provincial government provides $711 less funding annually for an elementary  pupil than is provided for a secondary student.

David Clegg, ETFO’s new president,  outlined what “closing  the gap” will mean for elementary  schools:  “My vision  for public  education  in Ontario  is one that has proper class  sizes throughout all of the elementary years,  not just at primary… a dedicated  librarian  and a guidance counsellor  in every elementary school [and] returns music, art, technology  and family studies  programs. But most of all it’s a school where elementary teachers  are given the time and the resources  to do the job right.”

Promises to reduce the gap “just won’t do,”  Clegg  said, noting that the foundation to academic success  is laid in the elementary years  and is the underpinning for strategies to reduce the high school dropout rate and improve student literacy  and numeracy.

In her goodbye speech,  outgoing  president  Emily  Noble challenged  delegates  to work with members and the public and “get it done.” This $711 gap “defies  explanation and devalues the work you and I do and ignores the needs of our students,”  Noble said.  The funding  gap will  also  be ETFO’s  focus during  the next round of bargaining.

Noble highlighted ETFO’s many accomplishments during the past nine years.  Since the federation was founded it has successfully  fought the teacher qualifying test and “tamed”  the teacher  performance  appraisal process.  She called ETFO’s  last campaign, Campaign 200, a “truly defining moment for our union.” That campaign resulted  in every teacher  collective  agreement  providing increased  preparation time —  to 200  minutes  a week  in 2008  —  and   limits on  teachers’  supervisory duties.

Equally successful, she noted, was the occasional teacher  campaign  There Is No Substitute…  which improved the working conditions of occasional teachers.

Noble received a warm and prolonged standing ovation from delegates  in recognition of her years of service to the organization.

 

KATHLEEN WYNNE

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