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Education coverage frustrating

I don’t have the right words to express my frustration over the Dec. 13 edition of the Guelph Tribune. Between the article “Education disruption,” the comic and the editorial, I don’t know where to begin.
First, the public should be very concerned that the media, including the Tribune, continues to tout OECTA’s ‘deal’ with the province as an accomplishment when a quick visit to the OECTA provincial website reveals their continued state of chaos.
Reading the ‘President’s Commentary’ clearly reveals that OECTA is struggling to sign agreements in many boards. OECTA, OSSTF and ETFO are all struggling to negotiate openly and to come to fair collective agreements under the restraints of Bill 115.
Furthermore, stating that teachers have “become so obsessed with their struggle against Bill 115 that they have lost sight of its effects” or “they know very well what they are doing and don’t really care how much students suffer” is not only insulting, but untrue.
Teachers enjoy volunteering their time to extracurricular activities as much as students enjoy participating in them. We recognize that students likely miss these special activities, but it is hard to find the motivation and pleasure to volunteer one’s time when feeling attacked, demoralized and unappreciated.
Students’ school days are still filled with physical activity, the arts and many other engaging activities because teachers are still working as hard as they ever have before.
Lastly, the media and general public should be encouraged to carefully read Bill 115. It is a scary piece of legislation that gives unprecedented power to one elected official.  The bill allows the minister of education to impose contracts, limit the right to strike and extend imposed contracts for up to six years.
Of even more concern is that the bill explicitly puts the minister of education above the courts and above the Ontario Labour Relations Board.  Why would a fair and just law need multiple clauses that disallow all criticism and investigation?
Why would any Ontarian want publicly elected officials to be above the law? If one person elected by the public has the power to overrule the Ontario Labour Relations Board, then what is going to stop a private sector employer from abusing its employees?
Ontario residents should be worried about the precedent set by Bill 115. It is time to ask the Liberal government some tough questions and demand some honest answers!
Sara Kaufman

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