- ETFO president David Clegg told delegates to the 2008 annual meeting that the federation is determined to Close the Gap in this round of collective bargaining. Clegg noted that the government provides $711 per pupil per year less for elementary students than it does for secondary students, an unjustified discrepancy.
ETFO’s vision is to “build an education system that would be the envy of the world and would clearly establish Ontario as the leader in the intellectual economy,” Clegg stated. “Since elementary education lays the groundwork for all future success in learning and work, it should be self-evident that it makes little sense to short-change elementary education.
“There is no rational reason for the current underfunding of elementary education . . . We have to ask employers at both the local and provincial level why they believe that our students are worth less. We have to ask why they believe elementary teachers do not deserve the same working conditions as secondary teachers.”
Clegg also warned that “no long-term collective agreement will be signed that does not address those goals.”
- Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s minister of education told annual meeting delegates that ETFO and the government need to continue to discuss how best to measure the equality or lack of it between elementary and secondary schools. She reminded delegates about the positive changes, including increased funding, that her government has put in place in the last five years and noted that “there is now a strong constructive relationship” between teacher federations and the government. “We share concerns and belief in public education,” Wynne said. “Our conflicts are not intractable.” But, she added, “Peace cannot come at any cost.”
- Howard Hampton made his last appearance at an ETFO annual meeting as leader of the New Democratic Party. Hampton, who announced in June that he is stepping aside, criticized the Liberal government’s handling of education saying, “It’s time to stop talking about being a little bit better than [the Conservatives] and start talking about the needs of kids and parents.” Hampton stated that in its five years in power the government has had time to fix the funding formula and do away with standardized testing. Attention needs to be paid to students with special needs, to providing full-time teacher librarians and other specialists, and to addressing the roots of violence in schools, he said.
- ETFO Gift supports Teacher Training,