Teachers may get time off to campaign

Teachers may get time off to campaign

By 
  • June 15, 2011

TORONTO - If Catholic teachers want time out of the classroom to campaign for Liberal or NDP candidates during this fall’s provincial elections, their union will pay for substitute teachers, said Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association president James Ryan.

“It’s up to the local units. They raised that as a possibility. They can do that if they decide,”  said OECTA President James Ryan.

Currently, OECTA is endorsing no Conservative candidates among the provincial politicians it labels “education friendly.”

But the political snub is actually the other way around, Ryan explained. According to Ryan, Conservative leader Tim Hudak has refused requests for a meeting.

Hudak’s failure to meet with any of Ontario’s teachers’ unions “is of great concern to us,” he said.

Ryan emphasized that it is up to the local OECTA groups to decide on the issue of allowing time off for teachers for election campaigning. But he added that teachers are already released from class for union business “on a regular basis.”

“They try to make it as non-intrusive to the classroom as possible. This activity may be one of those circumstances,” he said.

Work for election campaigning usually occurs after school, on weekends or summer time, Ryan explained. If needed, occasional teachers would fill in this fall.

Unions representing public school board teachers are also paying for substitute teachers to fill in for teachers that want time off to volunteer for Liberal and NDP campaigns.

OECTA welcomes some parts of the Tories’ education platform, Ryan said. OECTA approves of promises to support full-day kindergarten, and the rejection of charter schools and merit pay for teachers.

But Ryan added that Hudak still isn’t “completely clear” on education funding.

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