Friday, August 17, 2012

Language Unbefitting a Govenment

As a retired high school teacher, I follow educational developments within Ontario but only occasionally write about them, my bias making most such posts rather predictable. That being said, however, I feel compelled to add to the commentary I have previously made about the 'education premier,' Dalton McGuinty and his henchwoman, Education Minister Laurel Broten.

Perhaps desperate to appear tough in anticipation of the two byelections coming up in September, McGuinty and Broten have been ratcheting up their confrontational and demagogic language as they try to create a sense of crisis about the upcoming school year.

As reported in The Star, yesterday Minister Broten offered a preview of the legislation the Liberals are prepared to introduce should contracts not be in place before school opens. Not only do I object to the crisis atmosphere such a preview creates but also, and more especially, the demagogic language that plays to the worst prejudices the general public has about teachers:

“I don’t believe the average Ontario worker would expect to get a 5.5 per cent pay increase after taking the summer off and refusing to negotiate,” Broten said in a shot at unions representing elementary and high school teachers that walked away from bargaining with the province.

The figure dangled is misleading, since teachers have already offered a two-year wage freeze, and only refers to an average figure that less-experienced teachers would receive as they move up the grid, where the number of years in the classroom is recognized with established salary increases.

Once again, despite its occasional lofty rhetoric, the McGuinty cabal, in its willingness to be deeply divisive, has revealed its unfitness to govern.


  1. Teachers have become the favourite whipping boys of the neo-liberals as they need to focus blame for their dismantling of our education system elsewhere.

    It has not been the teachers who are eliminating phys ed and arts programming from our schools. It was not the teachers who ushered in standardized tests and zero tolerance programs and it certainly hasn't been the teachers who have starved our schools of adequate funding.

    I grew up in a household devoid of positive influences,the caring guidance and positive role modelling I received from several of my former teachers was a godsend for me. We should be celebrating teachers not demonizing and scapegoating them.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Kev. I was just watching the noon news, and Laurel Broten was trumpeting increased student test scores, etc. achieved over the last few years, as if those scores were accomplished by the McGuinty government, with no role played by the teachers.

    Just more political propaganda.