Monday, May 19, 2014

Politics

Let me preface by saying I rarely talk politics. I firmly believe that there are certain conversations one should avoid  - religion and politics being two of them.

Here's why. Religion is a very personal thing. I don't want anyone telling me what I should or shouldn't believe or why. (I understand the irony in that my Priest tells me what I should and shouldn't believe but for me personally my church is a ground zero for my faith and I develop my own beliefs and understanding from there)

Politics is a whole different story. I am not well versed in politics and prefer not to engage in debate over something I don't fully understand. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. People tend to be very passionate about their political beliefs and I'm a live and let live kind of girl. At the end of the day there will never be a political party who will do things right. They will all screw things in up on some fashion so pick one and hope they don't screw up something that directly affects you.

And that is where this post comes in.

We are having a provincial election in a month. And there is a distinct possibility that it will directly affect me. Because you see, if the people of Ontario vote in the Progressive Conservative I'll be out of a job.

Let's clarify. That's not "I might get downsized." or "I could lose my job in a few years." That is I WILL lose my job before September.

Tim Hudak, the leader of the PC party has this Million Jobs plan. In some twisted alternate reality he thinks that by cutting 100,000 public sector jobs he'll be able to create 1,000,000 private sector jobs. More importantly he feels that many of these public sector jobs should be in education.



Yes, that makes perfect sense. 

So his plan entails taking Early Childhood Educators, like myself out of Full Day Kindergarten and increasing class sizes to 20 children per teacher.

Let's do the math - without giving away personal financial information. I like you and all but I'm not about to share my income with you.

In my school there are two Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) classes. They have a Teacher (OCT) and a Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE). There are 30 children in each class.

Hudak's plan is to take those 30 children and divide them into 3 classes of 20, each with an OCT. He'll then have us RECEs fired. (Yep fired because within school boards we are Designated Early Childhood Educators meaning we are DESIGNATED to FDK and there is no where else for us to be used.)

But there are currently only 2 teachers teaching FDK which means in my school another OCT will need to be brought in to teach this new FDK class of 20 kids.

Here's the mind altering part.

A teacher at top pay makes more that two RECEs put together. So, in theory, this plan to save money is faulty logic. It will cost more to have more OCT's only in a class of 20 than an OCT and RECE in a class of 30.

And this genius plan of his doesn't just include RECEs. His plan also includes cutting school based support staff such as Education Assistance (the ones who assist the children with special needs) and Child/Youth workers (the ones who assist children with behavioral/emotional problems) Because you see, in Tim Hudak's opinion, teachers can take time out of teaching their class of 35 children to deal with the child who is throwing a chair because he's angry or spending 60% of the instructional day helping the autistic child in the class deal with being overstimulated by the 34 other children in the class...and the boy crying uncontrollably in the corner because of issues at home.

Sure, your child will have no trouble learning in that kind of environment.

Let's also analyze what this will mean for the 100,000 public sector workers who are now unemployed with is plan.

I am a Registered Early Childhood Educator. I've never done any other job (as an adult) Full Day Kindergarten meant the demise of many daycare positions simply because children were no longer going to kindergarten only half day and therefore didn't need daycare anymore.

I have NO other marketable skills. This is the only thing I know how to do.

I'm 40 years old. I'm too old to start a new career. Sure I can go to school to learn something new but when it's all said and done, no employer is going to invest in a 43 year old new graduate who will be retiring in 17 shorts years. They want the 25 year olds who they are going to get their money's worth from. The ones who will work for next to nothing because they don't have a mortgage and children and are not looking to pad their retirement savings because in the grand scheme of things, it's not that far off.

In one short month I will find out where the people of Ontario stand. I will see whether or not I'll be able to continue working at educating our youngest learners with the same dedication and passion that I've done so with for the past 20 years.

For my Ontario readers....when you are voting on June 12 (and I urge you all to vote) ask yourself.....

Do I want my children (or grandchildren) in an overcrowded classroom with a teacher who is frustrated and tired because the government has taken away all of their support staff?

Do I want my child to be given a chance to succeed?

If so, don't vote Conservative. Doing so will only set your child up for failure.




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