TORONTO, Aug. 12 /CNW/ - Elementary teachers are not convinced that the
provincial government has a serious commitment to closing the funding gap
between elementary and secondary students, Elementary Teachers' Federation of
Ontario (ETFO) President David Clegg said today.
Clegg was responding to Education Minister Kathleen Wynne's speech to
delegates at ETFO's annual meeting in Toronto.
"Minister Wynne told us today that it is important to her that both
elementary and secondary students have the resources they need. She also told
us that the work done in elementary schools is just as fundamental as the work
done in secondary schools. But the reality is that there continues to be a
serious gap in learning conditions for students and working conditions for
teachers that must be solved in the upcoming round of collective bargaining."
This gap, created by inadequate funding for elementary students, means
larger class sizes in grades 4 to 8, fewer learning resources for students, a
lack of specialists teachers, extremely limited access to libraries,
impoverished arts programs, and less one on one time with teachers, Clegg
said. "For our members, it means more than five weeks of assigned duties each
year compared with secondary teachers."
Clegg noted that the many pointed questions to the Minister following her
presentation was a clear indication of the frustration felt by elementary
teachers who cannot give their students the quality of learning they deserve.
"Five years is a long time to not have resolved this issue," said Clegg.
"Minister Wynne said she is confident that our federation would come back
to the provincial discussion table. We will not do this until we see a clear
commitment to closing the gap in learning and working conditions."
All collective agreements for Ontario's 73,000 elementary public teachers
expire on August 31, 2008.
The ETFO Annual Meeting continues until Thursday afternoon.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 73,000
elementary public school teachers and education workers across Ontario and is
the largest teacher federation in Canada.
For further information:
For further information: Larry Skory, (416) 948-0195 (cell);
firstname.lastname@example.org; Harold Vigoda, (Collective Bargaining Communications), (416)
948-0351); Johanna Brand, (416) 948-2554 (cell), email@example.com; Mary
Morison, (416) 948-3406 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org; August 12-14 ETFO Media
Centre, Queens Quay 1, Concourse Level, The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto,
Phone: (416) 957-7181, Fax: (416) 957-7180