False allegations of misconduct are one element in a toxic brew of problems driving an extraordinary number of teachers out of the education field, say educational experts.

“Across North America, nearly half of all new teachers leave the field within five years,” said Jon G. Bradley, associate professor of education at McGill University. In Alberta, one of the few provinces to collect data, the figure is 40 per cent within five years. Figures for Quebec were not available, but believed to be similar to the North American average.

The education field is in crisis, said Bradley. “It’s almost as though we’re doing everything in our power to discourage these fully trained, committed people from making teaching a career,” he said. But if the growing incidence of false allegations is the “elephant in the room” that no one wants to talk about, it’s not the only problem. Other frustrations for teachers include low social status, relatively low salary levels, the lack of merit pay and a sense of failure, he said.

“Any other profession that had that kind of turnover would look at working conditions, would look at salaries and other things surrounding the teaching environment,” said Joel Westheimer, university research chair and professor at the University of Ottawa’s faculty of education. “Instead, in education, we bring up talk about testing teachers and linking their pay to the students’ performance. I mean, can you imagine Microsoft suffering a crisis because there were not enough programmers going into the profession and leaving after the first five years? Would (the company’s) response be to increase salaries, recruit better people, change working conditions so that they could work in different places, have free soda and free lunches? Or would it test them?”

Bradley said teachers have been left defenseless in the face of unfair pressures and accusations. “We’re all worried about bullying in schools, but what about parents bullying teachers? What about principals bullying teachers? It’s not a collaborative workplace. We live these lies (in schools), that everybody loves children and therefore we all have to be nice people.” But schools are not nice places, said Bradley. “Learning is hard work,” he said. Students are pushed and challenged and they don’t always want to be.

Parents, teachers and school administrators ideally should all be working together with a clear understanding that “when we turn our children over to a school, we do so on the understanding that they’re doing the best job they can with the resources they have,” said Bradley. Instead, teachers, especially male teachers, are left alone to confront sometimes fantastic allegations.

It is now standard practice to warn teachers to never touch students. British music teachers were told in 2010 by their union not even to reposition pupils’ hands on an instrument. When the British education secretary complained that this directive played to a “culture of fear among adults and children,” the union refused to change it, saying careers had been ruined by false allegations.

The tragedy, said Westheimer, is that at the same time as the first false allegations came out, in the 1980s, so did research showing that children learn better when they feel cared for by their teachers. A U.S. study from 1986 found that in classes where a teacher touched students when congratulating them on results or behaviour, students’ disruptive behaviour dropped by 60 per cent.
Bradley, who has been in education for nearly 45 years, worries that with no “exit interviews” for departing teachers, no one is gathering information on why the field is hemorrhaging its newest recruits.

“It’s not just one thing you can fix,” he said. “It’s a whole series. It’s an attitudinal view of the place of school and the role of teachers in our society. And I don’t think we’re prepared to engage that. That’s what scares me.”

Posted: 5 years ago by YinYang #107
Small wonder The University of Windsor is now reporting a huge shift away from teacher candidate enrolment. If you were a vibrant, talented, creative young person considering a career, would you honestly be considering teaching? Probably not.
Posted: 5 years ago by Cambrian #106
What does the OLP government do to teachers in Ontario to help them feel respected?

They tell the public/media that 43,000 OECTA teachers accepted a deal called the Memorandum of Understanding when NONE of that membership ratified it.

They take away teachers’ constitutional democratic rights to collective bargaining and impose ‘contracts’.

They repeal the legislation of Bill 115 on January 23, 2013 after the dirty deed has been done, but they do not revoke the imposed contracts. The new premier designate Kathleen Wynne vows to “restore that respectful dialogue” with some nebulous promise for August 2014. It’s quite clear to us all the she is indeed “building on the McGuinty legacy.”

They tell the public/media that ETFO and OSSTF would not take a wage freeze when we stated plainly that we would. And, they neglect to tell the public/media that teachers now actually have a wage REDUCTION of 1.5% through 3 unpaid days.

They continue to let the public/media think that teachers get paid statutory holidays as well as Christmas, March, Easter and summer breaks instead of telling them that teachers are paid only for 194 days of work. Teachers do not get 4% holiday pay that every other employee in Ontario gets. Teachers cannot collect unemployment insurance in the summer when they are unemployed.

They continue to allow the public/media to feel entitled to teachers’ personal time by not informing them that such extra-curriculars are in fact voluntary, unpaid, uncompensated work outside of teachers’ contractual duties. 

"When the Liberal government wiped any mention of extracurriculars from the Education Act in 2009, they removed any legal barrier to a teacher boycott of these activities, according to the lawyer [Howard Goldblatt] for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

As a result, union memos calling on teachers to withdraw from such after-school activities are not illegal, argued Howard Goldblatt Wednesday at a hearing before the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

“Once the government removed ‘co-instructional activities’ from the Education Act — and also from the definition of a strike — there was nothing to prohibit teachers from refusing to participate in these activities,” said Goldblatt…

However Goldblatt said that while the Mike Harris government had originally inserted the term “co-instructional activities such as sports, arts and cultural programs” into the Education Act in 2000 — and included the refusal to do such activities under the definition of a strike — the Liberals removed these references in 2009, Goldblatt said, “under then education minister Kathleen Wynne, who is now the premier-designate.”

Goldblatt cited Wynne’s parliamentary secretary at the time, MPP Liz Sandals, stating the [OLP] government did not “want to reopen the whole debate on mandatory co-instructional activities as part of strikes . . . we don’t want to replay that debate.”

Goldblatt quoted Sandals as proof the [OLP] government meant to separate an extracurricular boycott from the definition of a strike 'and once it’s gone, it’s gone.'" 

Posted: 5 years ago by YinYang #104
This is priceless - the words of the OLP are coming back to bite them.

Anyway you look at it, extracurriculars represent probably billions of dollars of unpaid volunteer teacher work that has not been recognized by the public nor compensated by the the government. EC's are not part of teachers' contractual work.

Tom Walkom of The Star writes:

… “The unions are being told [by the MOE]: ‘Yes, we have a gun to your head. But if you wish, you can pull the trigger yourself.’ It seems the teaching unions prefer that the government’s prints alone be on the weapon.…

Bill 115 allows the government to ban teachers’ strikes as soon as they begin and impose contract settlements. After cabinet imposes a settlement, [teachers] will be left with essentially the same wages and working conditions they would have faced had they agreed to the government’s conditions voluntarily.

BUT, the real incentive for teachers to be [steadfast against Bill 115] has to do with their long-term interests. In this dispute, Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are trying to finesse a 2007 Supreme Court decision that bars governments from eliminating the constitutionally protected right of public sector workers to bargain collectively.

Teachers’ unions are already challenging the constitutionality of Bill 115. The Liberals hope that, by allowing collective bargaining to take place at all, they will avoid having [this] law [Bill 115] struck down. Conversely, the more the unions collaborate in sham bargaining, the weaker their legal position will be once this case reaches the courts. The government would be able to argue that by agreeing to negotiate and sign contracts under these conditions, the unions implicitly accepted the rules of the game set out in Bill 115.

Behind all of this is Ontario’s political reality. Rocked by scandals, under attack for their decision to shut down the legislature indefinitely, the Liberals are in such bad shape that their move from third to second place in the public opinion polls makes headlines. Hudak says he would freeze public-sector wages by fiat [or by an order/decree] rather than fiddle around with the niceties of bargaining. He has also taken aim at public-sector pensions.”

Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago by YinYang #99
So … it seems that the OLP government, along with Hudak’s Tories have a ‘secret’ agenda (surprise, surprise) and their ultimate goal is to erode and then eliminate the constitutional right upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2007 for ALL public sector workers to collective bargaining. And they want the biggest teacher’s union in Ontario to help them do just this.

If this government will not repeal Bill 115 itself, then teachers will continue to refuse to be tricked into the OLP agenda and will not participate in their charade of “substantively identical” local bargaining. If teachers did try to participate in collective bargaining at the local level as Minister Broten continues to encourage teachers to do up until Dec 31, then the legal consequences of such sham participation could be that the Supreme Court rules that the teachers do in fact accept the terms of Bill 115.

Teachers have no option, but to protest in a loud democratic voice to our government.

And we will … 92% of ETFO teachers say so.

The Simcoe County District School Board has asked the board chair to write a letter to the ministry asking that Bill 115 be repealed.


The Rainbow District School Board plans to write to Ontario's Ministry of Education and ask that the province's controversial Bill 115 be repealed.


Alex Johnstone, an Ancaster trustee for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), plans to bring forward a motion at an upcoming meeting urging the government to get rid of Bill 115, known as the Putting Students First Act.


Bluewater District School Board trustees have called for both the repeal of Bill 115, The Putting Students First Act, and a merger with the local Catholic school board.


The St. Clair Catholic District School Board is giving notice to the premier and education minister that it feels its powers have been usurped by the deal reached with English Catholic teachers union.

Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago by YinYang #97
How can Broten “flatly deny” that she did not interfere with the OCDSB osstf deal when the Ottawa Board Chair Jennifer MacKenzie has gone on record that the MOE did have “a hand in changing the language in a new teachers’ deal” and that “the deal changed between when it was submitted by the board and approved by the ministry”?

But let’s call a spade a spade here. If Broten really did not know what went out of her office with her rubber stamp on it, this demonstrates complete lack of responsibility and she must be held accountable. Broten should resign. If Broten did know that there were changes made and she lied about it, then this demonstrates complete lack of integrity and she should be held accountable. And she should resign.

Either way, Laurel Broten’s options are resigning.
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago by YinYang #96
Well Laurel, According to RDSB's vice chair, more than half of ON Eng Boards have already written to ask you to repeal Bill 115. Why is this news not making headlines in newpapers or on The National? Hmmm...The OPL does have a penchant for "secrets" so that probably would explain the lack of transparency here.

“Flatly denying” that you don’t know where Dena Morrison got her information just won’t cut it.

Why aren’t you listening to Ontario?
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago by otn-admin #95
The Rainbow District School Board's vice-chair Dena Morrison reported to the Sudbury Star (Nov. 29, 2012) that Bill 115 limits collective bargaining for unionized employees, undermines labour law, and complicates matters at the board level by imposing conditions on the employer [School Boards] ... “that [Boards] weren't at the table to even agree to," Morrison said. "Some (provisions) will make the operations of our schools somewhat challenging … and the resulting job action from unionized employees at the board has put a greater strain on all staff.”

“According to Morrison, more than half of Ontario's English public school boards have already written to the ministry to either repeal Bill 115 or rescind some of its regulations. Trustees with the Rainbow District School Board voted five to one in favour of sending the letter.”

Below is the script for two RADIO ADS from OSSTF Teachers and Support Staff:


-So did you hear that the Ontario Liberals are going to take away almost all our School Board’s power?

 - What? Well that’s crazy!

 -Yeah. Our schools will have to do what the government tells them to do and won’t have any flexibility to meet our community’s needs.

 -Wait! But I thought the teachers and support staff offered to take a wage freeze and work with the local school boards to avoid this.

 -Oh they did, but the government turned them down.

 -Now that’s just wrong.”


-I like to be involved in my kid’s school. That’s why I can’t understand why the Liberal government is going to stop us from making almost any local decisions. Out school board will have to do what the government tells us to do and won’t be able to adjust for what our kids need.

-The teachers and support staff offered to take a wage freeze and work with local school boards to avoid this, but the Liberals just turned them down. That’s a real mistake.”


Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago by Cambrian #87
Unfortunately for the OLP and the PC’s as well they may find themselves pitted against school boards, parents and teachers unions who may become allies as we try to repeal Bill 115 and restore the democratic rights that we should have as Canadians in our own communities.

Bill 115, which places the Minister of Education above the Supreme Court of Canada, represents a dictatorship, not a democracy.
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago by Chameleon #86
Bill 115 has a ‘secret’ agenda that has not been spun out in the media. Remember ORNGE and the musical gas plants fiascos? These are Liberal ‘secrets’ about misspent taxpayer money that the public may never learn about. Can we really believe anything that this OLP government tells us especially when it has prorogued itself for an as yet indefinite time just so that they can avoid answering the very hard questions about why we are actually so far in debt and to forestall an election?

The media has been spoon fed the propaganda has been given to them through the mouth piece of OLP Education Minister Laurel Broten and which is supported by the PC’s. The media spin has focused on the issues that are sure to upset the public such as salaries, sick days, union membership and the controversial Full Day Kindergarten. The FDK does eliminate individual household daycare costs, but when there is actually no ‘real’ money to fund it, can Ontario really afford it. So where is this money coming from?

Where have we seen anywhere in the main stream media what the implications are going to be for parents’ educational choices that have usually been locally made by School Boards, School Councils and the elected local School Board Trustees? This government’s mandate is to destroy that local framework and impose a new top heavy provincial control on education. If parents knew about this, how would that make them feel?
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago by YinYang #85
In all the controversy about Bill 115, the public has been really fixated on the teachers’ wage freeze. This has been the rallying point for the teacher bashing that has been going on in the comment postings of news articles. The point of the OSSTF radio ads is to inform parents that education workers had offered to accept the wage freeze - that we were willing to do our part. But, parents are probably not informed that the OLP has an agenda through Bill 115 to take the authority away from local school boards/parents and to rule the education system from Toronto, rather than having input from local communities.

I am a parent as well as a teacher and this makes me furious. This is NOT what democracy looks like.

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