I’m waiting…

If you were to google “I’m waiting” you will see many sayings about waiting for someone who has let you down many times.

Well, many education workers are waiting. And they are waiting for someone (the government) who has repeatedly let us down. Who has misrepresented the reasons for the challenges of these negotiations, and also who holds the responsibility for those challenges.

The federal election is over. There is space in the political arena and at this time to get something done on the labour front in Ontario.

The problem may be that schools are running, kids are being educated. Support is being provided.

That’s because educators (who have been without a contract since August 31, 2014) are continuing to show up. They are doing their job, and even those who are on work-to-rule are doing more than the basic definition of their jobs, especially when it means doing the best for students. Because (guess what) that’s what educators do. They do what is best for students.

How is working to rule the best for students? How is withdrawing extracurriculars best for students?

It is best because what educators are fighting for at the core is working conditions and – you’ve heard it before – our working conditions are students learning conditions. Money is at the core of many of these factors. Class size. Supports for students – special education students but also mainstream student supports. Are pay raises in there? Yes. They are. And there is no shame in that being part of the negotiations. That allows an educator to be ackowledged in the way that our society represents value – monetarily.

By taking a stand, educators are modeling for students that there are issues you need to take a stand on and you need to NOT BACK DOWN.

How is a labour situation where the blame is being placed on educators best for students? For that, you’ll have to ask the government. They don’t want to take responsibility for the mistakes that got us here, that created the economic situation that they say cannot afford to continue to provide adequate support for students or allow classrooms to remain at a reasonable size.

Ask Liz Sandals and Kathleen Wynne why, cause I’m still waiting to hear something plausible as a good reason to penalize students and educators for the misspending and bureaucratic issues of the government of Ontario.

No one wants the Blue Jays to keep winning more than the government of Ontario – because right now, that’s the type of news that keeps these issues off the front pages.

Although if they lose, there’s always the Canadian Taxpayers Federation to throw false fuel onto the fire.

Going to hell in a handbasket

Reorganization day has come and gone in our school board and people are feeling the pinch. The pinch of not enough dollars and not enough people to support a growing number of needs in the classroom. Enough is definitely not enough.

Apparently there is enough money for government errors and enough people in the Education Minister’s office to spread half-truths about the negotiating process – just enough of the truth to get the media listening, and just enough of the not truths to make education workers look badly.

I read a piece this week written by a teacher, who I do not know, but I know her kind (the good kind), who was deeply concerned about the effects of the reorganization day on her students. She had lost more time with support from an Educational Assistant (time that was already too short to help all the students who needed help). She was asked to do more with less – yet again.

That seems to be a theme with education these days – do more and more with less and less. Less money, less supports, less respect – more students, more needs, more derisive comments from our government.

The short-sightedness in the constant hacking of our education system is appalling (these are not cuts, they are wound creating, permanently scarring amputations) .

Educators deserve better. Students deserve better. The education system, the one that good societies are built on, deserves so much better.

Oh, and have I mentioned the large number of educators who are doing all this without a contract?