Hamilton teachers union vows class size fight

News Mar 18, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

The president of Hamilton’s public secondary teachers’ union says Premier Doug Ford’s government is in for a fight over its push for bigger high school class sizes as collective agreements come up for renewal this summer.

Dan Staples said the plan to increase the average secondary class size to 28 from 22 in September and require students to take at least four online e-learning courses to graduate is “creating a crisis in education.”

He said some Grade 12 classes already have more than 28 students and he expects them to now approach 40, raising health and safety concerns for science and shop courses where potentially dangerous equipment is used.

Staples said the e-learning courses requirement will also be a problem for students who don’t learn well that way.

“This is devastating, to tell you the truth,” he said, predicting big job losses despite the province’s claim teacher cuts can be handled through attrition.

“We’re going to continue to be professionals in the classroom, but I’m telling you there’s going to be a fight ahead and I’m going to be fighting for the kids of tomorrow.”

Sweeping changes announced by Education Minister Lisa Thompson on March 15 also increased average class sizes in grades 4 to 8 by about one student — to 24.5.

The use of cellphones in the classroom other than for mostly instructional purposes will be banned this September and Thompson indicated her government will seek to change hiring practices to “improve teacher mobility.”

Boards must currently interview the five most senior long-term occasional teachers who apply for a permanent position, which critics say shuts out better occasional teachers with less seniority and permanent teachers from other boards.

Other changes will phase in a new math curriculum over four years that emphasizes “basic concepts and skills” and a revised sex education that looks much like the 2015 version the Ford government scrapped shortly after taking office.

Hamilton public school board chair Alex Johnstone said she’s awaiting details on many of the changes, but is concerned about bigger class sizes given the city’s higher levels of poverty, special-needs students and children learning English as a second language.

“When we are speaking with our parents and with our stakeholders and community, we are hearing a strong desire for smaller class sizes,” she said.

Catholic board chair Pat Daly said he’s deeply concerned about the impact the big increase in secondary class sizes and e-learning course requirements will have on academic achievement.

“I just think teachers in front of students is for sure the superior way of teaching young people,” he said. “The examples teachers set, all of that’s a critical part of education and you don’t get that, obviously, online.”

Both Daly and Johnson said they welcome the changes in math, but are awaiting details, including on whether a temporary grant introduced by the Liberals to help boards improve students’ test scores will continue after the end of this school year.

“Our first hope would be that this money is becoming permanent and our second hope would be that they’re actually increasing this funding,” Johnstone said.

 

Hamilton teachers union vows class size fight

Public and Catholic boards concerned about impact on students

News Mar 18, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

The president of Hamilton’s public secondary teachers’ union says Premier Doug Ford’s government is in for a fight over its push for bigger high school class sizes as collective agreements come up for renewal this summer.

Dan Staples said the plan to increase the average secondary class size to 28 from 22 in September and require students to take at least four online e-learning courses to graduate is “creating a crisis in education.”

He said some Grade 12 classes already have more than 28 students and he expects them to now approach 40, raising health and safety concerns for science and shop courses where potentially dangerous equipment is used.

Staples said the e-learning courses requirement will also be a problem for students who don’t learn well that way.

We’re going to continue to be professionals in the classroom, but I’m telling you there’s going to be a fight ahead and I’m going to be fighting for the kids of tomorrow. — Dan Staples

“This is devastating, to tell you the truth,” he said, predicting big job losses despite the province’s claim teacher cuts can be handled through attrition.

“We’re going to continue to be professionals in the classroom, but I’m telling you there’s going to be a fight ahead and I’m going to be fighting for the kids of tomorrow.”

Sweeping changes announced by Education Minister Lisa Thompson on March 15 also increased average class sizes in grades 4 to 8 by about one student — to 24.5.

The use of cellphones in the classroom other than for mostly instructional purposes will be banned this September and Thompson indicated her government will seek to change hiring practices to “improve teacher mobility.”

Boards must currently interview the five most senior long-term occasional teachers who apply for a permanent position, which critics say shuts out better occasional teachers with less seniority and permanent teachers from other boards.

Other changes will phase in a new math curriculum over four years that emphasizes “basic concepts and skills” and a revised sex education that looks much like the 2015 version the Ford government scrapped shortly after taking office.

Hamilton public school board chair Alex Johnstone said she’s awaiting details on many of the changes, but is concerned about bigger class sizes given the city’s higher levels of poverty, special-needs students and children learning English as a second language.

“When we are speaking with our parents and with our stakeholders and community, we are hearing a strong desire for smaller class sizes,” she said.

Catholic board chair Pat Daly said he’s deeply concerned about the impact the big increase in secondary class sizes and e-learning course requirements will have on academic achievement.

“I just think teachers in front of students is for sure the superior way of teaching young people,” he said. “The examples teachers set, all of that’s a critical part of education and you don’t get that, obviously, online.”

Both Daly and Johnson said they welcome the changes in math, but are awaiting details, including on whether a temporary grant introduced by the Liberals to help boards improve students’ test scores will continue after the end of this school year.

“Our first hope would be that this money is becoming permanent and our second hope would be that they’re actually increasing this funding,” Johnstone said.

 

Hamilton teachers union vows class size fight

Public and Catholic boards concerned about impact on students

News Mar 18, 2019 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

The president of Hamilton’s public secondary teachers’ union says Premier Doug Ford’s government is in for a fight over its push for bigger high school class sizes as collective agreements come up for renewal this summer.

Dan Staples said the plan to increase the average secondary class size to 28 from 22 in September and require students to take at least four online e-learning courses to graduate is “creating a crisis in education.”

He said some Grade 12 classes already have more than 28 students and he expects them to now approach 40, raising health and safety concerns for science and shop courses where potentially dangerous equipment is used.

Staples said the e-learning courses requirement will also be a problem for students who don’t learn well that way.

We’re going to continue to be professionals in the classroom, but I’m telling you there’s going to be a fight ahead and I’m going to be fighting for the kids of tomorrow. — Dan Staples

“This is devastating, to tell you the truth,” he said, predicting big job losses despite the province’s claim teacher cuts can be handled through attrition.

“We’re going to continue to be professionals in the classroom, but I’m telling you there’s going to be a fight ahead and I’m going to be fighting for the kids of tomorrow.”

Sweeping changes announced by Education Minister Lisa Thompson on March 15 also increased average class sizes in grades 4 to 8 by about one student — to 24.5.

The use of cellphones in the classroom other than for mostly instructional purposes will be banned this September and Thompson indicated her government will seek to change hiring practices to “improve teacher mobility.”

Boards must currently interview the five most senior long-term occasional teachers who apply for a permanent position, which critics say shuts out better occasional teachers with less seniority and permanent teachers from other boards.

Other changes will phase in a new math curriculum over four years that emphasizes “basic concepts and skills” and a revised sex education that looks much like the 2015 version the Ford government scrapped shortly after taking office.

Hamilton public school board chair Alex Johnstone said she’s awaiting details on many of the changes, but is concerned about bigger class sizes given the city’s higher levels of poverty, special-needs students and children learning English as a second language.

“When we are speaking with our parents and with our stakeholders and community, we are hearing a strong desire for smaller class sizes,” she said.

Catholic board chair Pat Daly said he’s deeply concerned about the impact the big increase in secondary class sizes and e-learning course requirements will have on academic achievement.

“I just think teachers in front of students is for sure the superior way of teaching young people,” he said. “The examples teachers set, all of that’s a critical part of education and you don’t get that, obviously, online.”

Both Daly and Johnson said they welcome the changes in math, but are awaiting details, including on whether a temporary grant introduced by the Liberals to help boards improve students’ test scores will continue after the end of this school year.

“Our first hope would be that this money is becoming permanent and our second hope would be that they’re actually increasing this funding,” Johnstone said.