If you’re in a bit of a pickle because of the teachers’ walkout planned for Thursday and Friday, hustle over to this Google form and sign your little ones up for the “West Toronto Solidarity Camp”. It’s organized by parents and community volunteers “in solidarity with our striking educators”.
The camp will be on Thursday, February 6 and Friday, February 7 at the Canadian Legion at 3591 Dundas St W. They’re asking for a suggested donation of $10 a day, but nobody will be turned away.
The future of York Memorial, which was destroyed in a fire in May of last year, was debated tonight by education trustees. The board is “going to start a process to look at enrollment and utilization” Chris Tonks, the trustee, told CityTV. CityTV says there are three possibilities:
Keeping things as they are, with York Memorial independent and the nearby George Harvey continuing to operate well under capacity
Merging the two schools into George Harvey’s building
Constructing an all-new school
Yafet Tewelde, who ran to be York South–Weston’s MP, has created a petition to have the school rebuilt, among other requests.
Ainsworth Morgan, better known as Mr. Morgan, the principal of Pelmo Park school, has joined the Police Services Board. He will join six other people, including our councillor, who oversee the Toronto Police.
Weston CI’s illustrious International Baccalaureate program took a hit when the TDSB announced that it would not provide funding to students. The cutbacks were part of savings measures.
This week, however, the TDSB announced that it would offer full and partial funding on the basis of need. Students with a family income of less than $75,000 are guaranteed some funding. The amount of the grant will depend on the family’s income, and complete grants covering the $1500 annual fee are available.
Families that make less than $30,000 will have the entire fee covered. Between $30 and $50,000, the TDSB will give a $1000 grant. Those families who earn between $50,000 and $75,000 will receive $500.
Families wishing to apply should do so before January 22.
The TDSB has announced that it will be introducing a $1500 fee for each year of the two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Weston CI is one of only five schools in the board that has an IB stream.
The IB program gives exceptional students a diploma recognized by universities around the world. It is a “rigorous academic program which requires students to study English, a second language, mathematics, science, social science, the arts and theory of knowledge. As well, students enrolled in the program commit to 150 hours of activity divided among volunteer service, sports and the arts.”
The TDSB says the fees are necessary because “there are costs associated with the IB program that are required by the International Baccalaureate Organization. These costs are related to teacher training, annual dues, program coordination, and participation in IB examinations.”
Weston CI is not a otherwise high-achieving school. The Fraser Report places them in the bottom 10% of all schools.
C.R. Marchant, H.J. Alexander, St. John the Evangelist, Weston Memorial, Weston Collegiate, and Pelmo Park. Just off the top of my head, these are all the schools in our area, and very soon the teachers within them may be on strike. The reasons behind this though, may not be for the reasons you think.
Since the summer, teachers’ unions and the Ford government have been working to come to a fair contract. This comes on the back of several changes to the system including increased class sizes, mandatory e-learning, and the rolling back of the health curriculum (which I wrote about here). The most agreed upon reason why teachers are seeking to strike is that they are asking for higher wages. The mindset usually follows the lines of they already get summers off and now they want to be paid more?
For anyone who has worked with teachers, they know this is not the case. Teachers are fighting the changes that have been made to the system which they know will adversely affect their students, the very same students who are our children.
Weston is already a needy area, with a high population of newcomers, English language learners, and the like. One parent with children in the public school system volunteers with one of the schools in our area because they know that teachers have a hard enough time as it is giving students the one-on-one time they need with the current number of students in a class. Many students that they work with are in middle school but reading at a grade 2 level. Increasing class sizes means there will be more of these students who fall through the cracks, and not every school is going to have a volunteer to read with students and they sure do not have the money to hire someone. Teachers know this and are desperately fighting against that outcome.
“They are fighting for the things that they need and the things that have been taken away.” – A Weston Parent
While the concept of a strike can be intimidating, especially when it feels like our children are being used as pawns, it is important to do our research and come to our own conclusions.
Elementary teachers will be in a strike position on November 25th. For more information on the bargaining process for secondary teachers, refer to this site.