Elementary teachers set to work to rule Monday

News May 06, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local says the province’s demand for bigger primary-grade class sizes is among the reasons his members will work to rule starting Monday.

Jeff Sorensen said the Ministry of Education and Ontario Public School Board Association want to remove class-size caps for grades 1 to 3 set by the Liberals under then-premier Dalton McGuinty in 2004.

The caps require 90 per cent of a school board’s classes for those grades to have no more than 20 students. The remainder can have up to 23 kids.

“It’s almost a complete reversal,” Sorensen said of the province’s demand in contract talks with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.

“We’re looking for increased supports for students with special needs. So when you say, ‘Is it about money?’ Yes, it is. But is it as simple as saying it’s because teachers want more cash? Absolutely not.”

Sorensen also blamed other “extreme positions” for ETFO’s decision to ask for a no-board report that led to a May 10 strike deadline. The union on Tuesday warned school boards its members will take job action this Monday.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, in a statement on its website, said it expects teachers to work to rule by partially withdrawing services.

“Their strips would take away our ability, using our expertise, our education, to make choices in the classroom for the best interests of our students,” Sorensen said. “It’s an erosion of the way the government treats us as professionals.”

The contract dispute comes amid strikes by high school teachers in Peel Region, Durham Region and the Sudbury area, part of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation’s moves to turn up the heat on its own bargaining impasse with the province.

The school board statement said that schools will remain open during any job action, and before- and after-school childcare will continue.

“Once we learn what services may be affected, we will communicate this to families and students,” it stated.

Board chair Todd White said trustees have little control over what happens at the provincial bargaining table but he remains optimistic of a contract settlement.

He said although separate negotiations on local issues have been productive, they don’t deal with the big items – Education Minister Liz Sandals has said there’s no money for pay increases – that brought the provincial stalemate.

“The talks need to continue because we certainly don’t want to see a strike, but at the same time we respect the process and we know that there’s work to be done,” White said.

Sorensen said he’d always prefer a negotiated settlement, but his 2,300 members will take direction from their provincial federation.

“We truly want to be in the classroom teaching and we truly want to be putting our students first,” he said.

Elementary teachers set to work to rule Monday

Liberals doing ‘complete reversal’ on class sizes, local president says

News May 06, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local says the province’s demand for bigger primary-grade class sizes is among the reasons his members will work to rule starting Monday.

Jeff Sorensen said the Ministry of Education and Ontario Public School Board Association want to remove class-size caps for grades 1 to 3 set by the Liberals under then-premier Dalton McGuinty in 2004.

The caps require 90 per cent of a school board’s classes for those grades to have no more than 20 students. The remainder can have up to 23 kids.

“It’s almost a complete reversal,” Sorensen said of the province’s demand in contract talks with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.

“Their strips would take away our ability, using our expertise, our education, to make choices in the classroom for the best interests of our students."

“We’re looking for increased supports for students with special needs. So when you say, ‘Is it about money?’ Yes, it is. But is it as simple as saying it’s because teachers want more cash? Absolutely not.”

Sorensen also blamed other “extreme positions” for ETFO’s decision to ask for a no-board report that led to a May 10 strike deadline. The union on Tuesday warned school boards its members will take job action this Monday.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, in a statement on its website, said it expects teachers to work to rule by partially withdrawing services.

“Their strips would take away our ability, using our expertise, our education, to make choices in the classroom for the best interests of our students,” Sorensen said. “It’s an erosion of the way the government treats us as professionals.”

The contract dispute comes amid strikes by high school teachers in Peel Region, Durham Region and the Sudbury area, part of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation’s moves to turn up the heat on its own bargaining impasse with the province.

The school board statement said that schools will remain open during any job action, and before- and after-school childcare will continue.

“Once we learn what services may be affected, we will communicate this to families and students,” it stated.

Board chair Todd White said trustees have little control over what happens at the provincial bargaining table but he remains optimistic of a contract settlement.

He said although separate negotiations on local issues have been productive, they don’t deal with the big items – Education Minister Liz Sandals has said there’s no money for pay increases – that brought the provincial stalemate.

“The talks need to continue because we certainly don’t want to see a strike, but at the same time we respect the process and we know that there’s work to be done,” White said.

Sorensen said he’d always prefer a negotiated settlement, but his 2,300 members will take direction from their provincial federation.

“We truly want to be in the classroom teaching and we truly want to be putting our students first,” he said.

Elementary teachers set to work to rule Monday

Liberals doing ‘complete reversal’ on class sizes, local president says

News May 06, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local says the province’s demand for bigger primary-grade class sizes is among the reasons his members will work to rule starting Monday.

Jeff Sorensen said the Ministry of Education and Ontario Public School Board Association want to remove class-size caps for grades 1 to 3 set by the Liberals under then-premier Dalton McGuinty in 2004.

The caps require 90 per cent of a school board’s classes for those grades to have no more than 20 students. The remainder can have up to 23 kids.

“It’s almost a complete reversal,” Sorensen said of the province’s demand in contract talks with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.

“Their strips would take away our ability, using our expertise, our education, to make choices in the classroom for the best interests of our students."

“We’re looking for increased supports for students with special needs. So when you say, ‘Is it about money?’ Yes, it is. But is it as simple as saying it’s because teachers want more cash? Absolutely not.”

Sorensen also blamed other “extreme positions” for ETFO’s decision to ask for a no-board report that led to a May 10 strike deadline. The union on Tuesday warned school boards its members will take job action this Monday.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, in a statement on its website, said it expects teachers to work to rule by partially withdrawing services.

“Their strips would take away our ability, using our expertise, our education, to make choices in the classroom for the best interests of our students,” Sorensen said. “It’s an erosion of the way the government treats us as professionals.”

The contract dispute comes amid strikes by high school teachers in Peel Region, Durham Region and the Sudbury area, part of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation’s moves to turn up the heat on its own bargaining impasse with the province.

The school board statement said that schools will remain open during any job action, and before- and after-school childcare will continue.

“Once we learn what services may be affected, we will communicate this to families and students,” it stated.

Board chair Todd White said trustees have little control over what happens at the provincial bargaining table but he remains optimistic of a contract settlement.

He said although separate negotiations on local issues have been productive, they don’t deal with the big items – Education Minister Liz Sandals has said there’s no money for pay increases – that brought the provincial stalemate.

“The talks need to continue because we certainly don’t want to see a strike, but at the same time we respect the process and we know that there’s work to be done,” White said.

Sorensen said he’d always prefer a negotiated settlement, but his 2,300 members will take direction from their provincial federation.

“We truly want to be in the classroom teaching and we truly want to be putting our students first,” he said.