Update July 11, 2012:
Christina Blizzard has a column in the Toronto Sun today on the OECTA settlement issue. However, she and others seem to misunderstand how a teacher’s salary grid works. Blizzard seems to think that when young teachers move up the grid, they are getting a raise. They are not. A raise is an across-the-board percentage increase over so many years which is given to everyone, including those who have reached the top of the grid for both education and years of service (which usually stops at around eleven years).
Rather, a teacher only moves up the grid for two reasons: (1) they have worked for one more year, which is usually a very small increase, and/or (2) their qualifications have changed.
For example, there are usually four levels on a grid. The first level is to have both an undergraduate and education degree, the second level includes an Honours Degree (fourth year with a minimum of a B average), the third level an Honours Degree and a Additional Qualification Specialist Certificate (e.g., special education or computers in the classroom). The fourth and final level usually include a Master of Education degree over and above the other degrees and certificates.
So, if someone should move from Level One or Two to Four because they finish an M.Ed., that would account for the $7000.00. Otherwise, grid movement is much slower. There is also the issue that in the first year of such a raise, the extra money simply reimburses the many thousands paid in tuition costs — for no other reason than to improve their teaching.
In other words, the OECTA freeze really is a freeze and to suggest it isn’t is not fair to all those teachers who are simply following the rules to upgrade their expertise and qualifications. I mean, it takes several years to complete a Master’s part-time. So, if school boards are going to change grid movement criteria, they should at least grandfather those who have begun the process.
Yes, I will criticize teachers and their entitlement assumptions when I think criticism is due but I will defend when the information provided in the media or blogosphere is incorrect or misleading.
As everyone who has anything to do with education in Ontario knows by now, the Catholic teacher’s union has come to an agreement with the Province. What we also know is that the other public school unions, OSSTF and ETFO, and their members, are outraged! In fact, I have been getting into some interesting Twitter debates with fellow educators, over the matter. For example, check out the hashtag #oecta and @SandysEdInfo.
Well, I must commend OECTA for making the decision to compromise in their bargaining with the Province for the sake of the younger teachers, who will now be able to move ahead on the salary grid.
However, on Twitter, the provincial OECTA are being called Judases because they have supposedly betrayed their colleagues in OSSTF and ETFO by agreeing to a two-year wage freeze. Two years and you would think the sky is falling. Since younger teachers are still going to get raises per their year’s of service, I assume it is teachers in the mid or later ranks that are upset. However, even suppose you are in your last five years before retiring, how much difference will a freeze make? I mean, teacher’s pensions are indexed, so they would catch up very quickly.
Certainly, you can expect this kind of thing. I recall when the 1997 strike ended, it was ETFO who buckled first and OECTA was as outraged then as OSSTF and ETFO are now. But, perhaps what bothers me the most is the over-reaction and grandstanding.
- Collective bargaining is dead!
- You can never get back what you lose!
- Asking for concessions is insulting!
Insulting? To whom? What absolute nonsense!
I started teaching in September 1972, exactly 40 years ago. During that four decade period, concessions were made many times. Sometimes it was to help the younger teachers. Sometimes it was to ignore them. For example, in the Board I taught with, sick leave gratuity was frozen years ago but in a way that benefitted those who would retire over the next ten years. Sometimes prep time was bargained away for a salary increase. Other times the other way around.
A year before my husband and I retired, major medical insurance in retirement was cancelled. So, today you have some teachers who have coverage and the rest of us who pay several hundred dollars a month for it. Why? So teachers still in the system could have more prep time. So, compromise and concessions are nothing new. But, to listen to the whining now, you would think that teachers’ entitlements should never be touched, even when times are tough.
Look, I am not going to be a hypocrite about this. I am retired and very appreciative of my publicly funded pension. (It is reduced because I withdrew some credits when my children were born and I left half way through my career to teach in two university settings). Yet, I am embarrassed at the depth of the entitlement attitude displayed by so many on Twitter.
For heavens sake people, get over yourselves. You are public servants and all that means. You are no more special than Ontario’s doctors who are taking some major hits. A bit of humility would go a long way towards some public respect and sympathy.
Whatever, please realize that to the general public, it is your entitled attitude that is insulting.