Strike 2!

The parents are fighting again.

The provincial government and the teachers are at it again and it’s getting ugly. Last year, teachers worked under a work-to-rule strike until the provincial government passed a law, Bill 75, that forced teachers into a contract (essentially, it was the “because I said so” argument). In this bill it became illegal for teachers to strike while under an imposed 2 year contract. Then the province brings in an expert consultant to review Nova Scotia’s education system. Paid $75,000 to fashion a report in just 6 weeks, this report magically aligns with reforms the province was hoping to implement anyway. Some of these reform measures have already proven to be less than ideal in other provinces, yet ours is going ahead with them anyway.

Like one analogy I heard, it’s like 10,000 iron workers told you that bridge they are about to build is unsound. An expert, who has built bridges elsewhere that have design flaws that were found post production, submits a report that was completed in just six weeks. This report mentions nothing about helping the iron workers build a more structurally sound bridge. This report wants to restructure the departments of the company in charge of said bridge. Would you cross that bridge?

Nova Scotia teachers voted to strike today. In Nova Scotia education history, all 122 years of it, there was never a teacher strike. There was one last year and teachers just voted for another. However, this time the stakes are higher. Should the teachers strike, they will lose pay for sure, but they could possibly be fined $1,000 per day. How dire is the situation that teachers would vote 82.5% in favor of striking?

You would think that Nova Scotia’s education department would think, “hmm, our teachers think this reform won’t work. Perhaps we should listen.” In fact, the department has already said they will carry on implementing these drastic measures, regardless. Then again, this is same government struggling with health care but refuses to listen to nurses and doctors.

How can a government become so disconnected from it’s people?

There have already been numerous posts written by others ranting and raving on this subject. I just wanted to throw my two cents in there, too. I’ll keep you updated on what happens next.

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The Order of the Phoenix

Any Harry Potter fan knows this story. The ministry denied that He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named had come back into power. Harry himself had seen otherwise and Dumbledore, the headmaster of the famous Hogwarts, believed him. What ensues is a major conflict between the school and the ministry with many forced decrees and rules imposed by said ministry.

It seems, though Voldemort hasn’t returned to Nova Scotia, there is still a battle raging between the ministry and schools. More specifically, between teachers and Karen Casey the education minister and Steven McNeil the premier.

Teachers and their Order (aka Union) have been trying to settle on a contract for 18 months now. Teachers need things in the classroom to change, yet the government is not willing to negotiate “working conditions” into the contract. The government doesn’t want to negotiate things like class size, data recording, individualized program plans (IPPs), smartphones in the classroom, standardized assessment, lack of preparation time, lack of specialists or supports for the classroom teacher.

The Order has proposed it’s set of beliefs that will change the education system to what it should be. They estimated their proposal to be $508 million. The Ministry said no. How about $41 million instead? The Ministry isn’t even willing to discuss working conditions.

The Ministry is so against this, they locked students out of school yesterday. Teachers reported to work as usual, but not one student stepped foot inside. Teachers voted to work to rule because they didn’t want to disrupt students learning. They still wanted to teach. The Ministry said too bad. If all teachers are doing is teaching, then students will not be supervised during lunch and recess and therefore won’t be safe.

That was a bold-faced lie.

The Order told the Ministry that schools were working to implement supervision to keep students safe. Teachers made it their number one priority to ensure student safety before the strike took effect. Yet the Ministry claims they didn’t know so they closed every school across the province. This forced parents to scramble to find child care and make arrangements for their kids while they were at work.

Voldemort fights dirty and does what is needed to rise to power and stay in power. He doesn’t work for the good of the future, he works for the good of himself. Denying his existence doesn’t make him go away.

Ministry, this is not a game we’re playing here. This is our future, our students, our children, who are affected most. Let the teachers teach and let them do in the best way they know how.

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