‘Business as usual’ at Hamilton schools despite work-to-rule

News May 12, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board chair Todd White says the provincial contract dispute that prompted elementary teachers to begin working to rule on Monday shouldn’t affect students and parents.

“Right now it’s business as usual,” he said following the first day of the job action. “There should be no trickle down to the day-to-day activities.”

Teachers were in a legal strike position as of Sunday after talks with the Ministry of Education and Ontario Public School Boards’ Association reached an impasse.

They are refusing to administer EQAO tests, fill in for principals or provide comments on report cards.

White said the board will look to the province for direction on what to do about the EQAO tests and will fill out report cards “to the best of our ability.”

But he said even if report cards only include grades, parents can still discuss the results with teachers.

“My understanding is the elementary teacher would still be available,” he said. “They haven’t withdrawn any type of parent communication.”

Jeff Sorensen, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local, echoed White’s assessment.

“Hopefully, children don’t feel the impact in the classroom,” he said. “The purpose is to get the ministry and OPSBA back to the table, not to interfere with education.”

Sorensen said he’s surprised Education Minister Liz Sandals has publicly disputed that the province precipitated the job action by pushing 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.

“They want to remove any language about class caps in our collective agreements,” Sorensen said.

“We’ve been at the table for eight months. For her to claim that she’s not aware of the issues or that she doesn’t understand what it is that the dispute is over is frankly a little troubling.”

The work-to-rule campaign comes amid strikes by high school teachers at Peel, Durham and Sudbury-area public boards as part of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation’s bid to break its own bargaining impasse with the province.

The OSSTF has targeted another four boards – Halton, Ottawa, Waterloo and Lakehead – for potential walkouts. White said he’s received no word about Hamilton following suit.

‘Business as usual’ at Hamilton schools despite work-to-rule

News May 12, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board chair Todd White says the provincial contract dispute that prompted elementary teachers to begin working to rule on Monday shouldn’t affect students and parents.

“Right now it’s business as usual,” he said following the first day of the job action. “There should be no trickle down to the day-to-day activities.”

Teachers were in a legal strike position as of Sunday after talks with the Ministry of Education and Ontario Public School Boards’ Association reached an impasse.

They are refusing to administer EQAO tests, fill in for principals or provide comments on report cards.

“The purpose is to get the ministry and OPSBA back to the table, not to interfere with education.”

White said the board will look to the province for direction on what to do about the EQAO tests and will fill out report cards “to the best of our ability.”

But he said even if report cards only include grades, parents can still discuss the results with teachers.

“My understanding is the elementary teacher would still be available,” he said. “They haven’t withdrawn any type of parent communication.”

Jeff Sorensen, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local, echoed White’s assessment.

“Hopefully, children don’t feel the impact in the classroom,” he said. “The purpose is to get the ministry and OPSBA back to the table, not to interfere with education.”

Sorensen said he’s surprised Education Minister Liz Sandals has publicly disputed that the province precipitated the job action by pushing 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.

“They want to remove any language about class caps in our collective agreements,” Sorensen said.

“We’ve been at the table for eight months. For her to claim that she’s not aware of the issues or that she doesn’t understand what it is that the dispute is over is frankly a little troubling.”

The work-to-rule campaign comes amid strikes by high school teachers at Peel, Durham and Sudbury-area public boards as part of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation’s bid to break its own bargaining impasse with the province.

The OSSTF has targeted another four boards – Halton, Ottawa, Waterloo and Lakehead – for potential walkouts. White said he’s received no word about Hamilton following suit.

‘Business as usual’ at Hamilton schools despite work-to-rule

News May 12, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board chair Todd White says the provincial contract dispute that prompted elementary teachers to begin working to rule on Monday shouldn’t affect students and parents.

“Right now it’s business as usual,” he said following the first day of the job action. “There should be no trickle down to the day-to-day activities.”

Teachers were in a legal strike position as of Sunday after talks with the Ministry of Education and Ontario Public School Boards’ Association reached an impasse.

They are refusing to administer EQAO tests, fill in for principals or provide comments on report cards.

“The purpose is to get the ministry and OPSBA back to the table, not to interfere with education.”

White said the board will look to the province for direction on what to do about the EQAO tests and will fill out report cards “to the best of our ability.”

But he said even if report cards only include grades, parents can still discuss the results with teachers.

“My understanding is the elementary teacher would still be available,” he said. “They haven’t withdrawn any type of parent communication.”

Jeff Sorensen, president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Elementary Teachers’ Local, echoed White’s assessment.

“Hopefully, children don’t feel the impact in the classroom,” he said. “The purpose is to get the ministry and OPSBA back to the table, not to interfere with education.”

Sorensen said he’s surprised Education Minister Liz Sandals has publicly disputed that the province precipitated the job action by pushing 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.

“They want to remove any language about class caps in our collective agreements,” Sorensen said.

“We’ve been at the table for eight months. For her to claim that she’s not aware of the issues or that she doesn’t understand what it is that the dispute is over is frankly a little troubling.”

The work-to-rule campaign comes amid strikes by high school teachers at Peel, Durham and Sudbury-area public boards as part of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation’s bid to break its own bargaining impasse with the province.

The OSSTF has targeted another four boards – Halton, Ottawa, Waterloo and Lakehead – for potential walkouts. White said he’s received no word about Hamilton following suit.