In thisletter to the Minister of Education, ETFO President Sam Hammond points out that the latest government consultations on class size and Regulation 274 relate to matters that are properly suited for negotiations between the parties and not for public consultations. The letter ends with Hammond issuing an invitation to the Minister to join him in touring the province to directly ask elementary educators what they think about increasing class sizes and if it will have an impact on learning environments for children.
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
Fédération des enseignantes et des enseignants de l'élémentaire de l'Ontario
136 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 0B5
January 25, 2019
The Honourable Lisa ThompsonMinister of Education22nd Floor, Mowat Block900 Bay StreetToronto, ON M7A 1L2
Dear Honourable Minister:On January 23 your government introduced another consultation on education, this time on the Grants for Student Needs (GSNs) and savings opportunities, with a focus on two designated areas. The areas named are class size and Regulation 274 which addresses hiring practices in the education sector. Both subject matter that the government is seeking input from educational partners, stakeholders, employer groups and the public involve aspects of working conditions that are part of the legal contract between members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the employer.
While ETFO has no problem working with this government to refine the implementation of Regulation 274, an extremely important hiring process, I want to be clear that discussions of working conditions or matters of the collective agreement are properly suited for negotiations between the parties and not for public consultations.Minister, I have repeatedly heard time and again that you and your government want to hear from the frontline workers in the education sector, the educators. I too think it is important for you to understand the real experience in classrooms around this province to see first-hand the needs of students.Bearing in mind your openness to hear from educators directly, I formally want to invite you to join me for a tour to visit schools across Ontario and to directly ask elementary educators, in kindergarten through to Grade eight what they think about increasing class sizes and if it will have an impact on learning environments for children.An opportune time to conduct this province wide tour on class size would be before the legislature opens and the government returns on February 19, 2019. The next three weeks are also a fitting time given the deadline of this latest consultation.
Hearing directly from the education workers in this province is the best and most direct consultation that you can do to best understand what is needed in our public school system. I would be happy to work with your office and staff to accommodate your schedule for this tour to launch it quickly, please advise of acceptable dates.I look forward to your response and will contact your office in two days to follow up on this formal invitation to launch our provincial education tour.