Principals should be able to get extracurricular help, PCs say
High school teachers' union suspending protest, but not all will resume activities
Posted: Feb 26, 2013 12:54 PM ET
Last Updated: Feb 26, 2013 1:52 PM ET
Ontario school principals should be able to recruit additional help if teachers don't want to resume extracurricular activities, the Progressive Conservatives' education critic said Tuesday.
MPP Lisa MacLeod's comments come a day after the president of the Ontario secondary student teachers union said it agreed to suspend their political protest and resume these activities — but it was up to each individual to decide.
MacLeod told reporters at Queen's Park on Tuesday that measures should be taken to ensure students' education is not compromised.
"We believe that if a teacher is not available to offer extracurricular activities, students should not suffer," said MacLeod.
"We should be giving more power to principals to allow them to go into the community to allow our kids to have their hockey team or their drama club. There shouldn't be anything wrong with that."
'Some teachers are fined, named and shamed, even intimidated into not continuing to support students in extracurricular activities. We think that's wrong.'— MPP Lisa MacLeod
She also said that the Conservatives intend to introduce a motion to protect teachers who resume extracurricular activities.
"We will prohibit the use of sanctions against teachers who want to continue to offer extracurricular activities when there is a labour strife," said MacLeod.
"Right now, we know, that some teachers are fined, named and shamed, even intimidated into not continuing to support students in extracurricular activities. We think that's wrong. And we'll make sensible changes to take that off the table."
Elementary and secondary school teachers across Ontario have stopped supervising student activities in response to a labour dispute with the province.
But on Friday, the Ontario Secondary Schools Teacher Federation (OSSTF), said union leaders have agreed "to suspend political action regarding voluntary activities" and urged its members to resume extracurriculars.
Enrolment dropping at public high schools
However, this announcement drew the ire of some teachers, who said the move came with no guarantee from the province to resume collective bargaining, a key issue in the labour dispute.
The OSSTF president Ken Coran told the CBC's Metro Morning on Tuesday that he sympathized with the teachers, but he believed there was a change in the political "atmosphere" under new Premier Kathleen Wynne.
'For any problem to be solved, there has to be discussion.'—OSSTF president Ken Coran
"The main thing is for any problem to be solved, there has to be discussion," he told host Matt Galloway. "And, with the new Liberal government after Kathleen Wynne was selected, it was a different flavour, it was a different atmosphere. And there was a willingness to collaborate and to talk."
Still, Coran said the ongoing labour strife has had a negative impact on its enrolment.
Grade 8 students appear to be choosing Catholic or private high schools in greater numbers, he said.
"This is the time of the year when Grade 8 students select, and some of the numbers coming in are showing a trend has impacted those decisions," he said.
However, he believed it was a "short-term pain".
"I think those students made those decisions impulsively, and I have full faith they will return to the system," said Coran.
Latest Thunder Bay News Headlines
- Elevator workers picket courthouse construction
- Picketing elevator maintenance workers greeted crews heading in to work at the new courthouse in Thunder Bay on Friday morning. more »
- Drones could help fight forest fires
- Unmanned planes could soon be helping fight forest fires in the northwest if a Lakehead University professor's research pans out. more »
- Stranded campers get out of park on temporary road
- Campers and staff at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park made it out of the park last night. more »
- First Nations hit hard by 'suicide contagion'
- A Sudbury clinical psychologist says young people are more likely to consider suicide if they know of someone their age who has taken their own life. more »
Top News Headlines
- Toronto mayor's brother says he never dealt drugs
- Hockey Canada votes to ban bodychecking in peewee hockey
- Neil Macdonald: How serious is Obama about curbing the drone surge?
- Ontario man lost in Australian mountains has survival skills