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Ontario Teachers? Bill 115? Who? What? Someone Explain This

Ontario Teachers? Bill 115? Who? What? Someone Explain This
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A spectre is haunting Ontario’s government schools – the spectre of… collective bargaining?

“The public doesn’t have a clear understanding of what the current debate is about,” says John Wright, Senior Vice-President of Ipso-Reid, “half of them think it’s about wages, the other half think it’s about bargaining.”

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario and the Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers Federation are protesting the Ontario government’s Bill 115, which outlaws strikes and purportedly strips their “right” to collective bargaining. Premier McGuinty heated things up last week when he called the planned one-day strike by elementary teachers “illegal.”

There are a lot of aspects to this issue and I could get into minute details about the whole fiasco like the extra-curricula activities, wage freezes, something about retirement funds, etc. etc. But there’s a common thread to all of this and it is this: the state should stay out of education. Granted, the state should stay out of everything and ideally it should abolish itself. But for now let’s just focus on state schools.

One of the many problems of “collective ownership” of things like schools is that when everyone owns it, nobody owns it. The current debate between teacher unions and McGuinty’s government is just another version of the tragedy of the commons.

Wikipedia defines the tragedy of the commons as, “the depletion of a shared resource by individuals, acting independently and rationally according to each one’s self-interest, despite their understanding that depleting the common resource is contrary to the group’s long-term best interests.” If the “shared resource” in question is the taxpayer, then this about sums up the teachers vs. government fight.

Unlike the market, the state uses coercion to get its funds. Prices are an objective expression of the subjective valuations made when two or more people voluntarily exchange. This indicates the costs of using the traded resources for whatever end is in mind. The act of forcing money out of an individual destroys this cost calculation and thus destroys or greatly distorts the price system. All this talk over Bill-115 simply ignores the primordial fact that without market prices, any discussion of “cost,” “value” or the “best interests of the child” are void.

By being taxed to support the “public” system, taxpayers erroneously believe that they have a property interest in how “their” schools are run and by whom. In contrast, the owners of a private school announce their decisions and then parents make their own choice as to whether to patronize the school with their money. That is to say, parents either voluntarily enter or don’t enter into contract with the school for the education of their children. Privately-owned schools experience fewer of these kind of conflicts simply because there is no illusion as to who owns the school. If teachers and administrators of a private school were fighting like this, I’m sure parents would have long since pulled their children out and put them into better schools, thus causing bankruptcy for the school that cares more about financial goodies than offering a legitimate service.

  • Jerry

    Perhaps, but their salaries are not market driven. If a true free market in medicine or teaching existed they would have to compete for patients and students and together with the users of those services an appropiate pay level would emerge. So for someone to say they are over paid is pretty far out. None of us are in a position given the cricumstances to make any such claim.

  • http://www.woperfume.com/ Fern

    There is a reason that doctors and teachers wages are frozen for couple of years………THEY MAKE TOO MUCH !!!! They have good salaries, retirement, vacation days.

    • Matt905

      According to my calculations:
      10 months (Sept – June)
      290.00 days (actual days)
      42.00 weekends (actual weekends)
      84 weekend daysjavascript: postComment(1);
      206.00 days (available working days)
      14 stat holidays (including 10 days off at christmans)
      192.00 days (working days; note PA or PD days are working days)

      $50,000.00 avg/ year
      $260.42 avg/day
      25 students (avg class size)
      $10.42 per student per day

      8 hrs / day (very low; most teachers are doing well more than this)
      $1.30 per hour per student

      So show me the flaws in my math. Because I haven't even factored in all the extra time teachers spend, planning, marking, writing report cards, money spent on class rooms……….. This doesn't even start to bring into account extra curricular time and money.As cheep as the neighbourhood babysitter no???

      So tell me how they are making too much money????????
      #educateyourself

      • http://Www.Mises.ca Redmond

        Yup, too much money. don't forget is is virtually impossible to fire a teacher.

        Which teachers are making $50K a year? certainly not the ones I know.

        Average teacher salary is 90K/year. $468/day.

        If you think you can make more money without collective bargaining, please quit your job and start up a private school. Or oppose the Government of Ontario monopoly on education – you are obviously worth much more.

        No teacher is teaching 8 hours a day.

        Marking and Planning? Welcome to the real world.

        Please quit whining.

        Educate yourself.

      • Harold

        You math is flawless . . . and says it all. Right on!!!

      • Devin

        "$1.30 per hour per student"

        What a ridiculous metric you've contrived to make your point. Please allow me to play the same silly and disingenuous game to make the opposite point.

        A teacher is responsible for 25 students. Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke is responsible for about 2.2 million worldwide employees.

        We'll assume Mr. Duke works 250 days a year.

        His salary and bonuses for fiscal 2013 totalled $20.6 million.
        $82,400.00 avg/day
        2.2 million employees under his supervision
        $0.037 per employee per day

        8 hrs/day (very low; most CEO's are doing well more than this)
        $0.0046 per hour per employee

        So teachers are being compensated over 280 TIMES more than the CEO of the world's largest company on your per/subordinate basis.

        Talk about income inequality.

  • http://www.thepowerlevel.com/Gold.php?N=Runescape Anastasia

    Ya' Know…… There is a reason that doctors and teachers wages are frozen for couple of years………THEY MAKE TOO MUCH !!!! They have good salaries, retirement, vacation days. Just stop the nonsense of trying to act like your picked on or bullied. If you don't like your job, get another one. I'm sure there are lots of new teachers that would relish the opportunity.
    I don't believe ANY Service job that Canadians rely on as basic day to day operations, should be allowed to strike. They are above average jobs with decent pay and benefits. That goes for Police, Fire, hospital, ambulance, school. IF you don't like the JOBS or the conditions ,……Get a another job !!!

  • Sandy

    In a land where equality to all is supposed to be of main importance.
    WHY ? Why in the world do we in Canada have a Catholic School board ??
    You probably wonder why they settled their contract with NO Uproar,……..because it would attract attention to their existence.
    Why should tax payers money be divided because of religious beliefs ?
    Why do we have AFRO-centric schools,…. What special eductaion do black people need that a brown or white person would not ??
    Haven't we realized we are living together in this country.

    Just like alot of people,….. teachers etc…. Just trying to get ALL they can get !!! Greedy….disgusting !!

    • Harold

      Re: the Catholic School Boards settling first . . . If you looked closely at ANY of the contracts they have agreed to over the past 25-30 years, they always include a "me too clause" which allows them to take advantage of any negotiated progress made by the public boards with putting their own skins at risk with strikes or walk outs. All the benefits without the risk.

  • Robert

    I am sick to death of the education system in Canada. Why do teachers feel they need to blackmail canadian kids and families for their own agenda.
    Ya' Know…… There is a reason that doctors and teachers wages are frozen for couple of years………THEY MAKE TOO MUCH !!!! They have good salaries, retirement, vacation days. Just stop the nonsense of trying to act like your picked on or bullied. If you don't like your job, get another one. I'm sure there are lots of new teachers that would relish the opportunity.
    I don't believe ANY Service job that Canadians rely on as basic day to day operations, should be allowed to strike. They are above average jobs with decent pay and benefits. That goes for Police, Fire, hospital, ambulance, school. IF you don't like the JOBS or the conditions ,……Get a another job !!!

    • Harold

      Where do you work? Are you able to Approach the Ontario Labor Relations Board with your issues? What about cite the Humans Rights Code with your issue. Can you be heard in an Ontario court room? Ontario teachers can do NONE of these thinks thanks to Bill 115. Strange ,though, Dalton COULD go to the OLRB with his concerns over the teacher's one day protest last Jan. 11.

  • http://www.goldenmoney.ca Serge

    I always wondered since when "blackmailing" people of Ontario by public servants "teachers" became a democratic right?
    and
    Why no one has explained to high school students who went on protest to support their teachers, that if things left status quo with increase in salaries, sick days, etc, those very students will not get their new iPhone, first beater car, etc. because their parents will have to pony up more in taxes to pay teachers.

    • Matt905

      you really have no idea do you;
      $3billion in education increases since 2005. 0.7% of that went to teacher/administration wages.

      #educateyourself

      • https://www.mises.ca Redmond

        Hey Matt I think you need to educate yourself on the real issue – Serge wasn't referring to total spending, but that is too high as well.

        he is referring to the average salary.

        "Which group of 70,000 Ontario civil servants is paid slightly more than $78 per hour?

        To put it in perspective, the average Canadian aerospace engineer earns about half of this, at $40 per hour; veterinarians $38; civil engineers $37; HR specialists $28; Web designers and developers $25; and journalists, I am afraid to say, just $24, less than one-third of this group."

        "A deal that will raise the average Ontario elementary school teacher's wage above $90,000 is a "reasonable" offer that teachers should accept, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday as he downplayed concerns of a potential work stoppage in some of the province's schools."

      • Harold

        Right on brother . . . the """savings""" incurred by Bill 115 doesn't even put a dent in the "McWinty Gas Plant Scandal" . . . .pathetic Dalton.

  • Ohhh Henry

    For a while the teacher's union was filling the airwaves with vague radio spots urging the public to support them because everybody's "democratic rights" were threatened by this legislation. That was the entire message, without explaining what was in the bill, which rights were threatened, or why anyone should be upset. I don't care what's in the law or what the teachers are complaining about, as far as I'm concerned it's a case of gangster fighting gangster over the division of a shrinking bag of loot. But it was a laughable way to try to get the public onside. Not much more intelligent than the time 10 or 15 years ago when some Ontario teacher thought that the best way to win a fight with the provincial government was to dress up in a gorilla suit and physically threaten the minister at a conference.

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Caleb McMillan is a writer that lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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