Way to go York! D16 ratified an agreement with their school board yesterday. The three local issues highlighted in the agreement are:
• increased involvement and responsibility of the union in the planning of the OSSTF professional activity day,;
• the board and district will form a committee to support school principals in staffing schools to best meet the needs of students and;
• an agreement to form a regional group of autism program teachers in support of students.
All three have an important theme: involving teachers in the decision process. What a great step for the York Region. Hopefully it is one that will be followed around the province. The fact that they were able to do this with little bargaining power under an imposed agreement says a lot for D16 and their board. Kudos, folks for being the professionals.
This is exactly what we need to see in D22 and across Ontario. It’s about time the province and the education system recognized the professionals they are working with and involve them in the decision process. While it’s a small step, it is a step. You would think it is pretty obvious that if you want to know what students need to succeed the folks with the university degrees, specialized training, daily contact and wealth of education experience would automatically be one group involved. While other provinces (eg. BC, Alberta) have recognized this for sometime, Ontario has not. Instead an, at times combative, employee-employer relationship has existed where little consultation takes place between the two. I heard speakers at Connect 2013 remark about the ‘backwards’ system we have in place here (Ontario). Time for partnership rather than partisanship. Maybe this is a start of a change and a beautiful relationship.