From the Editor

Izida Zorde

In this issue of Voice, we tackle the question of austerity. What are the impacts of austerity on the classroom? What does it mean for educators who are dealing with the increasingly diverse needs of their students? What are its impacts on the broader labour movement and what can ETFO members do to make things better for everyone in their communities.

In her article, Wendy Goodes considers the impact of the austerity agenda on violence in the classroom. Reflecting on a history of policy changes, she argues for the importance of restructuring the funding formula. “The government has to abandon its austerity agenda and fund programs and services that fully support students and allow classroom educators to meet the needs of all their students in a safe and healthy environment,” Goodes writes.

Also in this issue, ESL/ELD instructional coordinator for Peel Zaiba Beg offers frameworks for supporting English Language Learners in the classroom. A curriculum insert focused on using a student’s first language as a resource in the classroom complements this article.

Reflecting on his own experience, Felipe Pareja writes about the importance of solidarity and the specific role educators can play. “You don’t have to look far to find causes that could benefit from the involvement and activism of teachers,” he writes. “Our abilities as clear and confident communicators, as well as our power as a union of 78,000 members, positions us to offer a great deal of support to the fights for equity and social justice in our communities.” CLC Ontario Regional Director Erin Harrison discusses how members can get involved in their communities by joining their local labour councils.

In this issue’s column, President Sam Hammond writes, “Right now, we have the opportunity to create a framework for decent work in Ontario, eliminate precarious work, and ensure that all Ontario workers can exercise their Charter right to join a union and access collective bargaining. Changes to legislation must raise the floor for all Ontario workers, improve job security for everyone, and ensure dignity in the workplace.”

Also in this issue, we have an article on choosing disability resources for the classroom, a report on ETFO’s Transgender Policy and an overview of the 2016 ETFO Annual Meeting. Happy Fall everyone!