On October 11, 2012 ETFO filed a court challenge against the Ontario government’s Bill 115 on grounds that the law, which strips the education sector of its right to bargain collectively, violates rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- Members of provincial parliament met with ETFO presidents and executive members at an informal breakfast gathering. The event gave local presidents an opportunity to talk to their MPP about issues in their area. ETFO is gearing up for the provincial election. A campaign to promote the value of public education and the need to elect a government that supports it will be unveiled at the Annual Meeting in August. Shown above with Jim Brownell, the Liberal MPP for Stormont- Dundas-South Glengarry are Marg Merpaw, president, Upper Canada Teacher Local and Sylvia Van Campen, vice-president, Upper Canada Occasional Teacher Local. Brownell is a former ETFO member. Karen Fisk, Hastings-Prince Edward Teacher Local president, is shown with her MPP, Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky.
- ETFO’s positions are outlined in the platform document Building Better Schools. ETFO has also produced a Building Better Schools pamphlet that members can request. It summarizes ETFO’s position on five key issues: more meaningful assessment, greater access to specialist teachers, smaller class sizes, more resources for special needs students, a greater focus on opportunity and inclusion. To get copies call or email Dennis Peter provincial office; firstname.lastname@example.org; 416-962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836. Or access these documents on our website: etfo.ca >Advocacy andAction>Provincial election 2011
- ETFO local presidents, executive members, and staff attended the ground breaking for ETFO’s new office building at the beginning of May. The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2013. Designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB), the building strives to achieve platinum LEED certification. In both design and construction it will be a leading example of energy efficiency and sustainability. (The general secretary’s column in the March 2011 issue of Voice provides more details. You can access it here: etfovoice.ca.) The inset shows President Sam Hammond turning the sod.
- The groundbreaking and the liaison breakfast with MPPs were held in conjunction with ETFO’s Representative Council meeting. President Sam Hammond outlined for local leaders and activists the federation’s priorities – the provincial election and the next round of bargaining. He urged members to get involved politically. ”We must actively engage in the political process to advance the rights of citizens and … to advance the rights of our members,” he said. This is particularly important because education today is funded totally by the province and “the actions of provincial politicians in approving the funding that flows to education directly influence the salaries and working conditions of our members.” Further, Hammond urged local activists to ensure that every MPP knows the issues: the 2 percent salary penalty, board and Ministry assessment initiatives, and large class sizes.He went on to say that a meeting with Premier Dalton McGuinty in early spring convinced him that the Premier understands the issues and understands that “it would be inherently unfair for ETFO members to be paid less than other teachers. The Premier agrees that a two-tiered system is no t acceptable and is prepared to work with us to find a solution.
Professional Learning Flourishes at ETFO
- Throughout the spring ETFO and its 24 play partners were busy preparing for the first Canadian Ultimate Block Party. The June 5 event was expected to attract more than 10,000 adults and children. The UBP showcas es play-based learning. As ETFO mem bers know, play-based learning is at the heart of the new curriculum for full-day early learning programs. The UBP not only offered children and families an opportunity to play in unique ways, it provided information on how that play contributes to children’s physical mental and emotional growth. As well it showed parents the connection to the Ontario curriculum. The website ultimateblockparty.ca is your source for more information and for pictures and highlights of the event.
- A workshop for leaders of ETFO locals that represent designated early childhood educatorsprovided 20 members with training in parliamentary procedure and how to run meetings. The training was designed to demystify Robert’s Rules of Order; offer guid ance in conducting local meetings; and help these new members participate in ETFO Annual and Representative Council meetings.
- In April more than 200 intermediate teachers from across the province participated in ETFO’s Inspiring Today...Transforming Tomorrow conference. Participants included a cross-section of ETFO members: teachers, occasional teachers, and consultants/ coordinators both as participants and as presenters. This was a first-time ETFO experience for about half of them. Motivational speaker Jack Berckemeyer from the National Middle School Association, was a conference favourite because of his ability to relate to both intermediate students and intermediate teachers, through humour. Keynote speaker Damian Cooper described new developments in intermediate assessment and evaluation and the implications for the classroom. Both speakers conducted workshop sessions that expanded upon their topics. In addition, the conference featured a full slate of workshops on topics such as student engagement and motivation, special education, body image, the inclusive classroom, SMART board technology, drama, classroom management for the occasional teacher, and health and physical education. To see photos of the event go to etfo.ca>Multimedia.
- ETFO’s Leading Educators Actively Developing (L.E.A.D.) “Having Hard Conversations conference was attended by 50 ETFO members who are consultants, coordinators, facilitators, coaches, and system-wide teacher leaders. There was an extensive waiting list for this popular event. Dr. Avis Glaze and author and educational consultant jennifer Abrams delivered the keynote addresses. Dr. Glaze emphasized the importance of the role these members provide in supporting their colleagues, while Jennifer Abrams led participants through having hard conversations. The members who attended this program support most of our other members in their professional learning. This conference provided them with an opportunity to focus on their own professional learning and connect with members in similar roles across the province.
- The Inclusive Curriculum Symposium: From Theory to Practice focused on the role that leadership plays in infusing equity issues throughout the formal and informal curriculum, and the challenges involved in taking on such leadership roles. Alice Te and Karlo Cabrera delivered sessions on the theory of inclusive practice. This was followed by practice-oriented sessions in which the 37 participants wrote lesson plans, and participated in an online forum.
Local leaders attending the February Representative Council meeting heard the results of ETFO’s progress report survey. Local presidents and members who participated in the survey reported significant problems in the rollout of the new progress report.