Sep 142012

Dear Supporters of Toronto Public Schools

Seniority rules for hiring imposed on TDSB and public school boards

I find it most disheartening to have to tell you that today Minister Broten imposed the seniority-hiring clause that she removed from Bill 115.  The Minister has imposed by regulation what she did not pass by legislation.

Minister Broten has ignored the clearly expressed concerns of parents, Trustees, and senior educators across Ontario responsible for promoting student achievement and well being There are two options for those of us concerned about this provision:

  • We can accept the regulation as the final word (the Minister has the legal right to impose this on Boards), or
  • We can once again raise our objections to Premier McGuinty, Minister Broten, and the MPPs who represent us at Queen’s Park and hope that they will change course and indeed act to put students first.

I choose to once again to raise my voice, as a parent, as a Trustee, and as a citizen who steadfastly believes that our public schools are the foundation of our diverse, prosperous, and civil society.

Since I first alerted you to this issue a few weeks ago, I have heard nothing that has changed my opinion.  These rules are not good for our students, our schools, or our society.

In a nutshell, sections 6(3) and 7(3) of this O Reg 274_12 (attached) require Boards to:

  • Pick from the 5 most senior supply teachers who apply (with the proper credentials) to fill a long-term occasional teaching assignment (e.g. to fill-in for a teacher on maternity or extended medical leave), and to
  • Pick from the 5 most senior teachers with long-term occasional experience (and the proper credentials) to fill a permanent position opening (if there are no laid-off full-time teachers, and there are rarely any laid-off teachers in TDSB).

This will severely restrict the ability of a Principal to find the best teacher to fit the needs of the school, and as a result this will reduce the quality of the education that our public schools are able to give to the children of Ontario.

A teacher’s knowledge of the school’s students and excellence of teaching practice will take a backseat to seniority. A teacher’s personal skills and interests needed to provide a full range of co-curricular arts, sports, and intellectual activities will take a back seat to seniority (these aren’t part off the credentials considered in the regulation). A teacher’s awareness of, and affinity for, the unique blend of family cultures and backgrounds represented in the school will take a backseat to seniority. A teacher’s adaptability, innovation, enthusiasm, and empathy – all will take a back seat to seniority.

This regulation, to my mind, is quite simply not good for student achievement or well-being. And those who are interested in ensuring that newly graduated teachers have a fair shot at working with students, will find that this regulation will do just the opposite.  It will give supply teachers with a decade or more experience preference over newer graduate teachers, greatly reducing the opportunities for new graduates to get both long-term occasional and permanent teaching positions.

I hope that you will once again join me in raising objection to this misguided, ill-considered, and harmful measure. And please share this information with all who are truly interested in putting the needs of  students first.

Here once again is the contact information for Premier McGuinty, Minister Broten, and local MPPs (for other MPP contacts go to