It’s Raining in Durham

It was during a long drive home yesterday that we drove through Durham Region.  It was a nice bright sunny day but that will change today as Durham secondary school teachers withdraw their services as a next step in trying to get a collective agreement.

When I got home, I decided to go online and see if there had been a resolution during the afternoon.  I didn’t know what the regional newspaper was so I elected to read the Toronto newspapers online.  The Globe and Mail didn’t have anything that provided information; The Star had the summaries from the Teachers’ Federation and the Durham DSB; the Sun had much the same.

The bottom line was that there was no resolution to report.

Sadly, though, the Sun allows anyone with a keyboard to express their opinions, mostly anonymously and it was venomous.

The Sun uses Disqus as a commenting system and I don’t normally even see it.  My privacy utility has it blocked but I had a few moments before the Canadiens’ game so I unblocked and started reading – and getting angry.

There’s just so much misinformation and ill spirit coming through in the comments.

I was informed that:

  • teachers single-handedly elected the current Liberal government;
  • the conservatives would have made teaching an essential service;
  • teachers are socialists, Marxists, communists;
  • federation leaders are thugs;
  • teachers are lazy;
  • teachers are glorified baby sitters, over-paid, and underworked;
  • Mike Harris fixed education;
  • and on and on and on and on.

I’m sure that it will continue all day today too.  At least, nobody posted this video:

The facts never seem to get in the road of a good ranting and raging.  It’s really sad that, if people feel this strongly, that they can’t use their real names and engage in serious dialogue.  I guess it’s this sort of thing that drives people to the website.  We’ve become such a society of bitchers about things.  By the way, the irony that I’m writing this post on the topic is not lost on me.

The news reporting of the situation doesn’t really do it justice.  If you read the article out of the cold, you’d think that the teachers decided last Thursday that they didn’t want to go to work on Monday because the school board wouldn’t give them a raise.

I recognize that not everyone is a fan of education.  But, instead of shooting from the hip of ignorance, how about considering the following:

  • do a great deal of digging needs to be done to determine what’s done provincially and what’s done locally;
  • use your real name (and a spell checker);
  • try to make your point and be civil about it;
  • not everyone in the province will be the self-made entrepreneur millionaire that you are;
  • do the math and research on the College of Teachers site – not every teacher has been disciplined by its governing college;
  • pensions have been negotiated in good faith and are not solely funded by the government;
  • and I guess I could go on and on and on and on …

Sadly, this has to play out and it’s raining in Durham as I write this.  How do I know this?   I did my fact checking and found the Durham Region news.  Kudos to the authors.  This is the most complete factual report that I’ve seen.  It would be a good start for everyone interested in knowing what’s really happening and why and who the players are.

I wish a quick and successful resolution to this dispute.  All parties deserve it.

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