QUEEN'S PARK, TORONTO, Aug. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Today the Ontario Student Trustees' Association - l'Association des élèves conseillers et conseillères de l'Ontario (OSTA-AECO) commented on the government's back-to-work legislation for Ontario teachers, the "Putting Students First Act."
Hirad Zafari, OSTA-AECO President and Toronto DSB Student Trustee, called upon "provincial leaders and teachers' unions, specifically those who have not agreed to the OECTA framework, to ensure full-service education for all students this coming year." The 2011 Ontario Student Survey results show that 97% of students across Ontario treasure the contributions of teachers outside of instructional hours.
"We need to truly put students first and ensure full access to a holistic education that includes extra-curricular activities and help from teachers outside of class time to ensure students can learn and perfect their talents," said Zafari.
Provincial leaders are calling on teachers' unions to take a two-year wage freeze as part of province-wide austerity in the face of a large deficit and growing Ontario public debt - "a fair deal, given the nine years of labour peace and the progress made in our schools" said Kevin Michael, Catholic Board Council President and Student Trustee at Dufferin-Peel Catholic DSB.
In 2000, the Ontario Student Trustees' Association provided specific recommendations to increasing length of teacher contracts to two years. This is not the first time OSTA-AECO has given constructive input for government to act on during labour negotiations.
The back-to-work legislation also includes elements around teacher hiring including seniority as a factor. "The priority across stakeholder groups and the government must be on teacher quality while maintaining school boards' autonomy," Zafari said.
OSTA-AECO has noted three key points that they want politicians across the province to hear:
- While OSTA-AECO recognizes the value of fair and objective teacher hiring practices across Ontario, the framework for hiring new teachers should remain flexible enough to ensure the best possible instruction for Ontario students.
- School boards should continue to be involved alongside teachers in setting standards for student assessment to guarantee individual and board-wide student success.
- OSTA-AECO calls upon Ontario teacher unions and provincial leaders to put students first and avoid any action that would compromise the holistic classroom experience.
SOURCE: Ontario Student Trustees' Association
For further information:
Noah Parker, OSTA-AECO Communications Officer and Halton Catholic DSB student trustee: 289 230 6624, firstname.lastname@example.org