Politics
Hudak wants changes to definition of teacher

Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak.

Credits: Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency

JONATHAN JENKINS | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak wants to change the Education Act to make marking report cards and meeting with parents a mandatory part of a teacher's job description.

"Teaching is a profession. That's how teachers in the profession see their job and it should be that way in the definition in the Education Act," Hudak said.

"Let's actually have the definition of teacher reflect what teachers have always done, and will always want to do."

The change wouldn't affect the current dispute between teachers and the government that has seen extracurricular activities disappear for many public school students. But Hudak -- who drew a distinction between the "teacher union bosses" he said were intimidating their membership and the classroom teachers who want to put other issues aside and just teach -- said the change would clarify the rules and improve the quality of schools.

"I sense that teachers are anxious to get back to these activities but they're afraid the union is going to fine them and then name them and shame them," Hudak said.

"Right now (teachers) are being intimidated by the teacher union bosses, threats of fines and naming and shaming -- and they've got Liberals and the NDP siding with the teacher union bosses.

Last fall, elementary teachers in the public school system were encouraged by their union to keep comments on students' fall progress report down to one sentence. The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario said the protest was merely a suggestion to teachers, then ramped up their protests against government plans to freeze their wages and reduce their benefits.

Education Minister Laurel Broten ultimately imposed those terms on teachers through legislation, sparking a round of rotating one-day strikes from ETFO and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation.

That legislation will be repealed, effective Wednesday, Broten said.

She said the bill -- passed last September with support from Hudak's PCs -- would save $540 million a year by 2013-14.

In an e-mail, Broten said her government has no plans to change the definition of teacher in the Education Act.

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