- 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, Dr. Jean Augustine (centre) is shown with Alice Pitt, dean of education at York University, and ETFO President David Clegg, as she accepts ETFO’s $100,000 donation to support the Jean Augustine Chair in Education in the New Urban Environment. The purpose of the endowment is to study social justice and equity issues such as homelessness, racism, poverty, and violence, and their impact on the academic performance of urban students.
Dr. Augustine, Ontario’s Fairness Commissioner, outlined to delegates some of the challenges facing foreign-trained professionals in Canada who are unable to find work in their field. The Fairness Commission works with regulatory bodies to ensure that the credentials of internationally trained professionals are evaluated fairly and transparently.
“We all have to recognize our responsibility to build the kind of Canada that we want,” Dr. Augustine told delegates. A former teacher and elementary school principal, Dr. Augustine was an MP for 12 years, and served as the minister of state for multiculturalism and women’s issues from 2002 to 2004.
Community Activists Honoured
Heather Menezes received the Humanitarian Award for an ETFO Member. Menezes, a Toronto teacher, founded Horizions Children’s Centre to help orphans and street children in Sandema, Builsa District, Ghana.
More information about the centre is available at horizonscentre.org.
Carrie Sinkowski was recognized for her community work in sexual violence prevention, anti-poverty activism, and community development. She is a member of RISE (Rural Initiative for Social Equity), and a founder of BUMP (Busting Up Myths about Poverty) and Spotlight on Poverty. Sinkowski received the award for Women Working in Social Activism.
The Hamilton-Wentworth Council of Home and School Associations created Walk-In Closets to provide clothing, toiletries, school supplies, and food for students and families in need. They have raised funds to help high school students living on their own, and have also set up a Graduation Walk-In Closet to provide students with formal wear and accessories. Representing the council, Sandra Binns accepted ETFO’s award that recognizes InnovativeProjects on Behalf of Children Living in Poverty.
Fred and Bonnie Cappucino received ETFO’s Humanitarian Award for a non-ETFO Member. The Cappucinos helped found Child Haven International, which works in four countries to assist children and women who are in need of food, education, health care, shelter, clothing, and emotional and moral support. In addition to raising their own two children, they adopted and raised 19 children. Information about their work is available at childhaven.ca.
Celebrating Contributors to ETFO
Judy Perkes, first vice-president of the Waterloo Teacher Local, received the 2008 President’sAward. She “gets the job done,” said President David Clegg in presenting her with the award. Since 1999 Perkes has served on the Waterloo ETFO Local executive in a number of capacities; she has been first vice-president for five years. She chairs multiple local committees, is a member of the local collective bargaining committee, and has been a location manager for the ETFO Summer Academy. She chairs the teacher education liaison committee for the new faculty of education at Wilfrid Laurier University. In that position, she showed “such skill, tact and dexterity she won the accolades of OTF for her work in [a] difficult situation,” said Clegg. Perkes began teaching in 1980 and spent most of her years as a French immersion teacher.
ETFO first Vice-president sam Hammond and retired ETFO staff member Jan Moxey were named Fellows of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation for 2008.
Other award winners:
Anti-Bias Curriculum Development Award: David stocker, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local
Arts and Culture Award: Sumona Roy, Hamilton-Wentworth Teacher Local
Curriculum Development Award: Ann-Marie Anie and Grace Mathieson, Hamilton-Wentworth Teacher Local.
Multimedia Award – Women’s Program: Krista Harris, Peel Teacher Local.
New Teacher Award: Vana Pistiolis, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local.
ETfO Membership awards:
Occasional Teacher of the Year: Vassa van Tol, Peel Occasional Teacher Local.
Local Leadership Award: Terry Card, Thames Valley Occasional Teacher Local.
Newsletter Editor’s Award (multisheet): Karen Brown, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local; Newsletter Editor’s Award (single-sheet): sandra Emery, Hamilton-Wentworth Teacher Local;
Website of the Year Award: Blaine labelle, Upper Canada Teacher Local.
Health and Safety Activist Award: Nicholas Moxam and andrea Murik, Simcoe County Teacher Local.
Teachers Change Your life:
Neli Brady (left), a teacher with the Greater Essex County District School Board, created the winning design for this year’s poster for World Teachers’ Day. Brady is shown with Emily Noble, president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, which sponsored the contest. The poster is used in schools throughout the country to celebrate World Teachers’ Day, October 5.
2008 Scholarships and Bursaries*
Aboriginal Women in Education Bursary – Adelle Lewis, Elementary Teachers of Toronto; Suzanne Methot, Brenda Marie Schonnop, Renfrew County.
Bev Saskoley Anti-Racist Scholarship Award: Brian Puddicombe, Peel. Doctoral Scholarship Award: Katherine Wainman, Upper Grand. Doctoral Scholarship Award – Women’s Program: Sharon Ballantyne, Kawartha Pine Ridge.
Educational Support/Professional Support Person Bursary: loriCress, Rainy River District ESP Local.
ETFO Bursaries (for sons and daughters of ETFO members): Tracey Allen, Waterloo Region; Sarah Boisvert, Ontario North East; Laura Cherry, Laura Farnworth, Emily Lynch, Mireille McBride, Upper Grand; Andrée Coutu, Phillipe Coutu, Durham; Anna Richards, Ottawa-Carleton; Racquel Théberge, Near North.
ETFO Bursaries (Persons with a disability; visible minorities; Aboriginal persons; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender persons): James East, Ryan Gibson, Jerome Trevena, Elementary Teachers of Toronto.
ETFO Bursaries – Women’s Program (women with a disability; visible minority women; Aboriginal women; lesbian, bisexual, transgender women): Sekhon Neeru, Karen Naik, Kimphilaranh, lynn Wilkins, Elementary Teachers of Toronto.
Master’s Scholarship: Mark andrews, Corey Jackson, York Region; patrick fitzgerald, Ottawa-Carleton; Melanie Markin, Halton; Cara McCrae, Thames Valley; Jennifer-Mai peterson, Kennethscott, Elementary Teachers of Toronto.
Master’s Scholarship – Women’s Program: Rebecca Codack, Peel; patricia Douglas, Nastassiasubban, Connie Tait, Natalia Kostiw, Elementary Teachers of Toronto; amy Moulton, Thames Valley; Jennifer Watt, York Region.
Women’s Studies Scholarship: Michele Murphy, Durham; Jacquie Pinard, Ottawa-Carleton.
*Unless otherwise indicated, recipients are members of teacher locals.