Elementary teachers could be going on strike as of next Monday. The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario has advised the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and the provincial government that teachers will be taking province-wide 'strike action'.
At this point however, strike action may not necessarily mean teachers will hit the picket lines. Strike action can also include not writing report cards and not taking part in any EQAO testing. The press release put out by the ETFO does not specify what action will be taken.
"We are not going to comment on strike action details publicly until we've had an opportunity to communicate with all our members this week," said ETFO President Sam Hammond in the release. "What's important to realize is that the government and OPSBA want to layer on more bureaucracy into the education system and compromise the ability of teachers to do what's best for our students."
The union is arguing against demands from OPSBA and the government including:
- removing class size language from collective agreements, which would give school boards latitude to increase the number of students in elementary classrooms.
- directing how teachers should spend their preparation time, which would interfere with teachers' ability to plan lessons, prepare specialized plans for students, and engage with parents.
- curtailing teachers' ability to use their professional judgment in determining how to support student learning.
- rescinding the fair and transparent hiring practices that school boards are now required to follow under Regulation 274.
"OPSBA wants the ability to determine how teachers teach," added Hammond. "The person in the education system who knows your child best – your child’s teacher – would no longer be able to develop an instructional plan based on your child’s specific abilities and needs. That doesn’t make any sense when it comes to what’s best for students."