POSTED RESPONSES TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL
"Most teachers have never lived in the real world spending their entire lives from age 5 to retirement in a classroom. They are the most pampered whining class of people in our society."
Well said, indeed.
A pointed truth.
It is time for an Ontario Premier to show enough courage to take the teachers' union on.
The courage to take a strike would re-establish the proper relationship of government and government employees.
A strike would not only be extremely helpful in this way, it would not last very long.
When the teachers realized that their next vacation in the South of France or Cancun, Mexico, was imperiled, or payments on the two fully-equipped SUVs wouldn't be met, the strike would end.
We have no better example of a huge ship without anyone at the helm than Ontario’s public schools.
McGuinty has done nothing but throw money at teachers to buy votes, giving them, last time round, a generous multi-year increase when most of society, the people who pay the wages, was being sent into an economic tailspin.
The arrogance of teacher-spokespeople is simply breathtaking. Here is a job in which the bulk of practitioners have a general BA - often with not-stellar academic performance - plus a pretty meaningless certificate from an anti-intellectual teachers' college.
The truth is that - except for specialists in science, math, and languages - most teachers could be replaced almost instantly by people without the certificates, and if we included retired experts and highly-motivated people only, we would see a startling improvement in our kids' schools.
In economics we would say that the next best opportunity for the bulk of them is as clerks and salespeople at wages a fraction of what they receive and with no gold-plated pension and no working effectively 8 months a year.
We need a sense of reality here, as society is facing great waves of turmoil and insecurity from the world economic situation.
And the harsh truth is Ontario schools on average are not terribly competitive in the world.
McGuinty's past giveaways have achieved not much beyond enriching and indulging the teachers.
All the tests by which we supposedly measure improvements are poorly conceived and in the control of teachers to tweak and adjust and mark.
They are not objective, and they are completely unsatisfactory measures of performance.
The very measure of the teachers' poor attitudes is precisely this almost insignificant sacrifice McGuinty is asking. It does barely begins to change the many things needing change, yet they whine and reject like the worst students in their classes.
"Wow, continue to be astounded by the depth of teacher hatred in the general population.
"To be fair, teachers are very well compensated for their work, not sure they are over compensated, though.
"Summers off? Well, maybe they should be in PD training or refresher courses for 4 or 5 weeks in July or August.
"Pensions? Yes, but they do contribute about 10% of their pay to their pension, or, looking at it another way, they pay half their pension contributions. Their pensions are not paid by the government, but through the pension board, which invests their money. Done a pretty good job of investing so far, it looks like.
"Teachers' unions? The Charter guarantees freedom of association. it is right under the Charter to form a federation and have that body negotiate on their behalf. It's all legal.
"So, it's a good job, if you like doing it.
"Don't know anybody in it for the money, though."
Hatred of teachers?
That is simply wrong.
Rather, it is hatred of abuse and arrogance and hypocrisy and the fact that teachers do not clearly perceive those demonstrated qualities are major parts of the problem.
To assume that it is hatred of teachers reveals the same warped perspective that generates this entire issue.
Refresher courses in what?
The courses now offered by their administration for advancing them on the pay-scale are appalling in their content. They run from childish to anti-intellectual with surprisingly little hard new information and demand for learning, and the reason for that is simple: they would be flunking hundreds of teachers regularly otherwise and still sending them back to their jobs - an impossible bind.
They pay half their pensions? That's not an accurate way to measure it, but even if it were, what a deal, double your money, guaranteed. Try getting that deal anywhere.
Teachers' unions are indeed the exercise of a right, but all rights can be abused and have limits, even freedom of speech.
The key point you ignore is that the teachers' union, rather than genuinely trying to improve education and conditions, consistently works to extract more money by the threat over all parents' heads of striking. And while they work to fleece the public, they use weasel words which fool absolutely no one but themselves. They also consistently defend the indefensible, poor and even ignorant teachers.
That last line of yours is very telling.
You either do not know anything about the people with whom you work or your head is in cloudcuckooland.
It is easy to spot teachers whose only drive is their own career and pay advancement. Loads of them.
And when your next best employment is a store clerk - true, I'm sorry, for many of them - the money counts hugely.
They, and you, only pretend it doesn't.
"Think about teachers the next time your child is in a play at school, taking part in a Christmas concert, going on a special field trip, being part of a sports team, being a member of a school band or participating in a talent night. I am not looking for accolades but the harsh words and misleading comments are hurtful. I think you should all homeschool your children since we as teachers are all so stupid and wouldn't be able to get a job in the real world."
Sorry, but that is a perfect example of the special pleading that make so many despair at teachers' lack of understanding on these issues.
If you do those things, it is only what parents expect in return for your handsome remuneration.
You don't seem aware at all that anyone who takes pride in their work anywhere does equivalent things.
It actually is a bit stunning that you don't realize that your preconceptions and special pleadings are strong evidence of the cloudcuckooland that so many teachers reside in.
The hard truth is many, many teachers never do more than they absolutely have to. I've seen them, and I've heard their smirky remarks.
They are ready to go home at 3 PM, and they do. You can see them by the score doing so.
You say you are not looking for accolades, but the drift of your comment is precisely to seek accolades, not just for yourself but all teachers.
But all teachers do not deserve accolades any more than all auto mechanics or all cooks. Many just barely function in their jobs, others are getting away with murder, and the public is well aware of those things, yet we have to read the special pleadings and the whining about the least change in work conditions.
If you had any exposure to the lower middle-management world of private industry, you'd know that overtime and evening or weekend work are completely the norm.
Expected by management, but earning no special remuneration or, often, no special praise.
And the salary and benefits of an Ontario elementary teacher, one up in the pay scale, are quite comparable to that hardworking class in private industry (In excess of $80,000 per year plus immensely rich benefits).
And people in private industry start with two weeks of vacation, maybe building up to 3 or 4 after some years.
And if they regularly took another 20 or so days off as sick days (sick days whose cost is literally double given the need for substitutes) - as many Ontario teachers do - their careers would likely come to an end.
They won't get your pension either.
Your last thought is both ridiculous and offensive.
People should teach their own kids just because they have criticisms of how things are in the schools and how teachers present themselves in public?
It's a childish and petulant statement.
And, sorry, but just plain ignorant.