Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Ontario Teachers Strike Essays - Ontario, Education,

Ontario Teachers Strike Education is probably the most important resource in our society. The education System determines our future, by educating the youngest segment of our population. For this reason, it should be of great concern when there is a problem or an issue like a Teachers' strike. The Ontario teachers' strike that began on Monday October 27 involves 126,000 teachers and affects 2.1 Million students in the province. This strike is North America's largest, right ahead of the 1975 New York City strike when 60,000 teachers walked off the job . The main issue of debate is over Bill 160, which is all about who holds The Power to set education policy in the province of Ontario. Bill 160 centralizes control of the education system, putting it in the hands of the provincial government. It eliminates the authority of school boards and teachers' unions to set classroom and teaching conditions locally through collective bargaining. The bill allows the government to regulate class sizes, education property tax rates, teachers' preparation time, the amount of time teachers and students spend in school and the use of non-certified instructors. The issue is whether teachers should have a role in educational reform. The strike is illegal, because most of the te! achers have existing contracts. Ontario premier Mike Harris said that reforms are needed to stop a decline in student performance. Although the same government announced that the bill will allow the education ministry to cut 7,000 teaching jobs and up to $700 million from the $14-billion education budget. The strike is not a typical one, because it's not really a labor issue. It's not about teachers fighting a school board over a collective bargaining agreement. It's a strike protesting against the Harris government and Bill 160. While the teachers want to protest Bill 160, they also have an obligation to teach their Students. Many teachers are caught in this dilemma; do you go to the classroom, or do you go to the wall to defend education? Are teachers responsible first and foremost for their students or should they be loyal to the union? Many teachers in Ontario feel that they should be there for their students, although they're Scared To cross the picket line. Eileen Lennon, president of the Ontario Teachers Federation, has said that teachers who cross picket lines won't be sanctioned. However, they might take heat from individual co-workers when they get back on the job. The Teachers feel that they have to show solidarity with the union, or they will be alienate! d. "Parents should be on the alert that their schools may be closed in the very near future," Lennon said. "When we do it, it will be province wide." Union members met with education minister Dave Johnson over changes to Bill 160, although nothing was resolved. Johnson said he was discouraged following a one-hour meeting with representatives of the five major teachers' unions. He said he would not make changes the unions demanded. "I was presented with a list of issues to pull out of Bill 160," Johnson said. "I've been presented with an ultimatum to take these sections out of Bill 160 and further discussions, according to the Ontario Teachers' Federation, are not able to take place until those sections are taken out of the bill." Union leaders said they asked Johnson to remove some provisions that would allow the province to use non-certified teachers in classrooms and to regulate class size, teacher preparation time and the amount of time teachers spend in the classroom. Johnson says the changes are necessary to improve the quality of education. The government and the unions have each spent over 1 million dollars in advertising, trying to win over the support of the people of Ontario. The most recent polls show that the unions have a slight edge over the government as they prepared for the illegal strike. Though the longer the strike lasts, the opinion will shift to the government. "The question is: How long will people put up with the inconvenience in light of the over-arching motives? "Right now, tone and character become extremely important." Opinion on the issue is constantly changing, with a shift of two or three percentage points a day

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