Tired of all this teacher griping in Ontario? We covered off how good teachers have it in Ontario before. Now they’re going to stamp their feet in protest at the McGuinty/Hudak alliance and don’t want to coach or supervise extracurricular activities.
We all know teachers – they’re everywhere, most everyone either has a family member or good friend who’s a teacher. A lot of good decent people with best interests at heart. But then again, there are a lot of decent people in all walks of life, including the private sector, whose taxes support those on the public payroll.
They work hard. But you know what? We all work hard, so bravo, but that doesn’t entitle teachers to any special brownie points.
Is it wrong to have the Ontario government come in and lay the hammer down on a wage and grid freeze? Yeah, probably. It’ll probably be ruled unconstitutional when it gets to the Supreme Court, because they’ve upheld the right to collective bargaining before, and they’ll say this is an infringement on collective bargaining rights again. And when that happens the teachers will get all their banked sick time back, their 3% pay raise and whatever else they wanted extended from the previous agreement.
So where does that leave the taxpayer, the one in the private sector, who is being asked to finance the “haves” – those who have a great paying job by almost any reasonable standard, have an average of 185 working days per year vs. 235 for the rest of us stiffs (more if you are a professional on salary in some jobs), have a great benefit plan and pension plan and, have a great super-funded activist union backing them. The rest of us are increasingly becoming “have-nots”.
Here’s the quick and dirty, back-of-a-napkin solution to ending the teacher’s unions grip on the rest of us and removing the sword of Damacles they hold over every parent’s head during contract disputes;
- We spend in this province, on average, $8,000 per kid in the system. So cut a cheque to every parent for $8,000 to be redeemed for educational purposes only, but spent where they want, at the institution of the parent’s choice. Parents are allowed to supplement this amount as they see fit;
- Set up a comprehensive set of standards and testing regimens so that anyone who then wants to set up a private school must insure that a mimum basic curriculum is being taught. Licenses to run private schools will be contingent on meeting minimum criteria year to year;
- Watch as thousands and thousands of kids flee the public and Catholic school boards for alternative private schools; art schools, schools that promise to teach Mandarin and Swahili, schools that have half day hockey practice and schools that teach calculus to Grade Sixers – whatever the parents decide. Watch as thousands of young unemployed teaching school graduates finally find work in private non-union institutions.
It’s not new, the ideas are in practice already elsewhere. Simplistic. Yes, it is. Would there be problems? No doubt. But to just allow government monopolies, in this case the education monopoly, to continue unabated, is to just put our heads in the sand and ignore the basic problem – we cannot afford to continue along the same path we are following.