Elementary school teachers with the Avon Maitland District School Board will begin strike actions Monday that includes cutting back reading, writing and math assessments and parent interviews outside of the instructional day.
The Avon Maitland Local of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which includes regular teachers and occasional teachers, will be in legal strike position on Dec. 3. and begin participating in sanctions that have already been occurring in other school boards.
As with the previous job sanctions by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, ETFO says it will do everything possible to minimize any impact on students' education.
“These sanctions are not directed at the school board, but at the provincial government,” says a statement on the Avon Maitland board’s website. “The board is confident that for most part students and parents will not notice any significant changes in the day to day operations of our elementary schools in this first set of sanctions.”
The first round of ETFO sanctions will also result in the withdrawal of certain administrative duties, including staff meetings and professional development sessions. As well, teachers will not fulfill any administrative duties or participate in meetings scheduled by the Ministry of Education or participate in any Ministry initiatives.
The ETFO says it will continue to teach and provide extra help for students, take attendance, maintain contact with parents and provide scheduled supervisory duties.
The announcement of strike action was made Friday, less than 24 hours after Ontario education minister Laurel Broten publicly announced the government would be willing to use its legislative powers to force teachers back to work and impose a labour agreement that would freeze wages if elementary teachers proceeded as planned.
“I’m very disappointed to learn that our public elementary school teachers will be moving to strike action,” Broten was quoted by the CBC. “We do not want students in the middle and we will not let their success be threatened in the classroom.”