TORONTO - In an effort to be facilitate local bargaining procedures, avoid potential strikes and remain responsible to younger teachers, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) signed a tentative two-year deal with the province earlier this month, a deal that has angered their public school counterparts.

"This framework will now constitute each and every collective agreement within the province. They'll go through the local bargaining process to go ahead and address that," said Kevin O'Dwyer, OECTA's provincial executive. "It tries to be pretty responsible to the younger teachers."

Published in Education

The Ontario government’s so-called anti-bullying legislation, Bill-13, is a failure of lawmaking.

It mocks religious freedom and disrespects parental rights. It undermines the authority of elected trustees and school principals by giving veto power to children and teens with respect to some after-school clubs. It awards special status to certain types of bullying rather than uniformly attacking bullying in all its forms.

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TORONTO - Despite concerns expressed by Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) says it supports students’ rights to form gay-straight alliances (GSA) in Catholic schools.

In a May 29 news release, OECTA president Kevin O’Dwyer said, “Providing safe, inclusive environments and eliminating bullying wherever we can is paramount. If the students feel that a club should be called a GSA — that it makes a difference to them — then, we respect and accept that choice.”

Published in Education

Cuts, freezes and protections for education introduced in the 2012 Ontario provincial budget are not sitting well with some of the province’s partners in education.

While the province has chosen to protect small class sizes, full-day kindergarten and almost 20,000 teaching and support staff jobs in its austerity budget presented March 27, the government is also calling for the closure of under-utilized schools and potential board amalgamations to maximize resources.

Nancy Kirby, Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association president, acknowledges the importance of early childhood education, but said going “ahead with full-day kindergarten on the same timeline ... is an expensive decision.”

Published in Education

Premier Dalton McGuinty’s public call for the province’s teachers to “do their part” in helping slay Ontario’s deficit will only harm the bargaining process, says the head of the Catholic teachers’ union.  

In a recent YouTube video appearance, McGuinty asked Ontario teachers to accept a two-year wage freeze and a modified sick-leave plan in an effort to reduce the $16 billion provincial deficit in a way that preserves small class sizes and all-day kindergarten.

Published in Education

TORONTO - Full-day kindergarten may be off limits to the Drummond chainsaw, but Ontario’s Catholic schools are still bracing for a lean season.

The Drummond Commission On the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services was commissioned by Premier Dalton McGuinty and released Feb. 15. In it, TD Bank chief economist Don Drummond recommends dozens of cuts to education funding. That’s never good news for Catholic schools, said Paul Whitehead, Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association senior policy advisor for finance. Less money means less flexibility for school boards.

Published in Education

TORONTO - The union representing 45,000 Ontario Catholic teachers has no objection to gay-straight alliances operating in Catholic schools. The Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association says GSA format as developed in the United States is in conflict with Catholic teaching, and that anti-homophobia clubs in Catholic schools should be called Respecting Difference.

Both sides say there is no conflict between these two positions.

"There's really no difference between OECTA's stance and our stance on serving the needs of all of our students, including those with same-sex attraction or gender-identity issues," said OCSTA president Nancy Kirby.

Published in Education
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