And we’re off

For the past couple of days, many members of the government have been sharing this post or a variation of it on Twitter.

Educators and unions have been quick to respond. The complete plan is available at the link in the graphic.

I doubt that there’s a person in the province, politician – teacher – parent – student, who would argue about any of this. Trying my best at media literacy, I’m a little puzzled at the different size of the fonts in the points in the graphic. For me, I was immediately drawn to “New Tutoring Supports” and yet it seems to me that the most important point should be “Getting Students Back in the Classroom”.

There are a few things that I’m curious about though …

  • “CatchUp” – watching URLs is always a good activity and I thought this was an interesting choice and certainly sends a message. What are we as a province catching up to? Everyone knows that we’ve been robbed of so many things in the past few years. Nobody has leaped ahead to the point that we should be catching up to them or I’m really missing something
  • “with sports, clubs, and field trips” – this truly was a red flag for many educators on social media. These activities require someone to take the lead like a teacher or a community member and it’s typically a volunteer activity. I’ve never seen it written into a collective agreement. I know that I was the site computer manager, Computer Programming Team coach, Offensive Football Coach, among other things. It’s not an explicit part of the teaching job and the payoff is internal (and a page in the Yearbook). That didn’t need to be said – just getting teachers and students back in school is the crucial part and good things will fall from that
  • “and improve education” – another puzzler for me as it’s the subtext to “building modern schools”. It seems to me that the two things should be switched around. While building modern schools is admirable, the past couple of years have pulled back the curtain on environmental issues that needed addressing in some of our older schools. I’m not convinced that it will improve education although a good approach will definitely improve the physical environment and make it safer
  • “new tutoring supports” – this could have stopped there – supports for everyone in every subject area as needed would be an admirable goal but to narrow it down to “gaps in learning” is puzzling and I read that as the infamous “learning gap” that we attribute to Covid

Of course, I think we all recognize that the message goes far beyond opening quality educational experiences for students in the fall and also sends a political message. That’s a little disappointing since this could have been an opportunity to take the high road. Is the goal to just stir up teachers so that they can be slapped down?

Collective agreements and contracts are negotiated and settled all the time. Where else but in education would you begin to attack before even getting started?

We’re headed into negotiations and that’s very clear in all the media noise that’s there if you care to listen. I listened a bit and have now tuned it out as I suspect it’s going to be the theme reported over and over again in August.

You know what would really have impressed me? Both sides not saying a word and locking themselves in a hotel somewhere and not coming out until an agreement was reached to a huge media presence. That would tell me that the exercise was truly about getting the job done.


OTR Links 07/27/2022

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.