Let's close with this amusing quote from the elementary teachers' website: "Your local collective agreement is a treasure chest full of rights, entitlements and protection against arbitrary treatment." A treasure chest indeed, and one that's quite full already.What are these teachers asking for?
If what they already have is treasure, what would you call these additions?
- a five-per-cent salary increase in each year of a two-year deal;
- higher starting pay for teachers and one year less to get to top salary;
- class-size reductions and caps in all grades;
- 10 days a year for report cards and assessment;
- a near-doubling of preparation time;
- actual teaching and supervision time to decline to 1,125 minutes a week from 1,500;
- full benefit costs to be covered by school boards; and
- principals and vice-principals to be prevented from teaching.
The salary and benefit enhancements are separate from what provincial union president David Clegg describes as the teachers' top goal. In an interview, Clegg says the teachers want the province to eliminate a $700-per-student funding gap between elementary and high schools. That would cost something in the neighbourhood of $800 million.