Even if the weather isn’t exactly spring-like, the signs of spring are everywhere.
Our dogs are covered in a fine assortment of mud and twigs and, at Queens Park, the government is governing and the teachers are protesting.
Some things, even in a time of climate change, are still predictable.
The teachers stomp the spring grass at Queens Park because, gosh darn it, they love the kids.
Heck, they love them so much they will give up teaching for a day to rant against the government and protect the things that matter most to children.
The list of things children need to get a good education is a long one.
Defined benefit, fully indexed pensions with early retirement options top the list. To be clear, those would be pensions for the teachers, not the children who will be paying for them.
Preparation time is another essential children just can’t do without. Ontario high school teachers spend about 25% of the school day out of class.
They do it for the kids.
This year’s protest is all about the children’s need for really, really small class sizes.
This selfless effort to convince the government to continue to hire more teachers in the face of declining student enrollment is a remarkable change from the dark days when teacher unions traded off larger class sizes for more pay.
The Harris government ended that practice when it removed education from local tax rates. Now school boards receive funding from the province based on enrollment and average class size.
No longer able to lever increases in class size to extract higher wages and/or more perks, the teacher unions focused on achieving ever smaller class sizes (and the consequent reduced teacher workloads).
Always, of course, for the children.