Teachers and extracurricular activities

Teachers in many of Ontario’s School Boards have heeded their union’s advice to take a “pause” from coaching or otherwise being involved in extracurricular activities, such as sports team, in protest of the Ontario government’s recent legislation imposing salary freezes, etc. And, as is always the case in any type of labour disruption in the education sector, the students are the ones who feel it the most.

So what to do?

The teachers are well within their rights to hold back these unpaid services. They are paid to deliver a provincially-mandated curriculum to the students and anything outside this is unpaid labour. So I can’t argue with their frustration over having bargaining rights taken away and their reaction. This is the only legal tool they have.

So if teachers are – at least temporarily – out of the picture, who picks up the slack?

Parents?

Maybe. But those parents who are active in the community and the likely suspects to step up and coach the Junior boys soccer team are already stretched for time. I know. I’m one of them. That is the case in my little corner of Ottawa and I suspect it the same elsewhere. There might be a bit of a community pool to draw from, but it would come nowhere near to filling the gap left by the teachers.

As well, there is the whole security issue around having parents lead these teams without some sort of oversight, as in police checks.

Trustee for zone 3, Donna Blackburn, said she has been inundated with phone calls from parents who were frustrated about the parameters of volunteering and the deadlines for getting involved.

Adams said all volunteer coaches and assistant coaches need to go through a process, including police checks.

“Our No. 1 priority is student safety,” Adams said.

The deadline for winter sports is Oct. 31, she said, and that the board will work with principals to get the information about volunteering out to parents and other interested members of the community.

So, for all practical purposes, parents and other members of the community might help, but only a bit.

A logical longterm solution might be to have the teachers play a supporting role only and hire professional coaches who could manage a few different sports. But that would cost money and neither the Boards nor the province have any dineros to spare these days… unless…. hmmm…

We DO have this wasteful and discriminatory duel education system in Ontario… I wonder if there could be adequate cost-savings realised by MERGING the public and seperate Boards? Hmmmm?

Of course we don’t know the extent of the cost savings because no government has had the balls to do an independent, unbiased analysis of our publicly funded education system. Even if the savings were only $20 or $30 million annually, that would hire a few hundred pro coaches at 60K a pop or so.

Just sayin’…

 

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