To the Editor
I am a daughter of an Elementary teacher at ASES and I want to congratulate you on writing an editorial that will get the mouths of the community working. However I would like to point out that a few of your facts included in the article were not correct. Teachers are not engaging in field trips as part of a work to rule action however they are volunteering their time as coaches and sport event coordinators and this is still occurring even with the uncertainty of a contract. Please inform your readers that elementary teachers are doing after school sports and clubs as well as running the recycling programs computer clubs etc. during the school day.
Your comment that teachers are asking for a three per cent increase in salary is also false. Not only is that inaccurate but to my understanding salary increase is not even part of the negotiation. The main issues of concern are about what is happening inside the classroom more specifically classroom size (number of students/teacher). I feel that if you had consulted real teachers about their concerns you would be surprised to learn that in terms of government funding elementary children don’t seem to be worth as much as high school children.
I also feel you would do this community a service by researching and publishing what issues ETFO is actually fighting for because those issues affect the level of education every elementary child present and future will receive. I imagine that it would be beneficial to your research to also ask parents of any Grade 4 student their opinion as these students went from classes of 19 to 22 in primary grades to classes of approximately 25 or more and there is no cap limit other than classroom space. Of course smaller classes would make a difference to the workload of elementary teachers but more importantly it would increase the amount of time each child should get from their teacher as well as the quality of education that is delivered in those classrooms. It is not realistic to make a school day longer but now with more children per room learning in the same amount of time allotted and only one teacher how can something not be compromised?
Your comparison of volunteerism in the community is also an interesting perspective: when volunteers in our community withdraw their time because of unrealistic expectations of an organization or lack of support why are they not called out in the newspaper? If teachers volunteering their time is so un-extraordinary and simple why does it make such an impact? Why did you write an article about it?
Mr. Ingram I encourage you to volunteer for a day in an elementary class of 25 to 30 children to see what the issues really are. I imagine your readers would also find it interesting.