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Tuesday May 5th, 2015

Posted at 9:29am

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Last updated: Sunday May 10th, 1:41pm

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario says that it has advised the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and the Ontario government that its teachers will be taking province-wide strike action as of Monday, May 11th.

“ETFO members have been forced to take this action in response to demands during central bargaining from OPSBA and the Liberal government that would strip collective agreements, reduce teachers’ ability to use their professional judgement when providing instruction, and compromise students’ learning conditions,” the union said in a statement.

“What’s important to realize is that the government and OPSBA want to layer on more bureaucracy into the education system, and compromise the ability of teachers to do what’s best for our students,” said union president Sam Hammond.

The union said the decision to prepare for a strike is due in part because of requests to remove class size language from collective agreements, direct how teachers should spend their preparation time, curtail teachers’ ability to use their professional judgment in determining how to support student learning, and change the hiring practices that school boards follow.

“OPSBA wants the ability to determine how teachers teach,” added Hammond. “The person in the education system who knows your child best – your child’s teacher – would no longer be able to develop an instructional plan based on your child’s specific abilities and needs. That doesn’t make any sense when it comes to what’s best for students.”

The Greater Essex County District School Board says that they have received official notification from ETFO that on Monday, May 11th they will begin job sanctions, however the board says that  “based on unconfirmed reports, we do expect all elementary schools to be open and teachers in their classrooms on Monday.”  They have  set up a section on their website that has been dedicated to information on the continuing labour negotiations with teachers.

The section will share “verified, up to date information regarding contract negotiations with teachers and support staff that may affect students and schools.”

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