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Education minister Stephen Lecce urges Toronto Catholic teachers to reinstate parent interviews

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Catholic elementary teachers in Toronto are engaging in an “unacceptable” job by not participating in parent interviews or completing report cards, Education Minister Stephen Lecce says.

In a rare move for a provincial education minister, Lecce threw his weight on “Working for Governance” on the Toronto Catholic District School Board, urging elementary teachers to “do the right thing”.

“It is completely unacceptable for the local teachers’ union to refuse to conduct parent-teacher interviews and provide detailed report cards, after a difficult year and a half for students and parents alike,” Lecce told The Star.

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“Enough is enough. We owe it to students to put them first, which is why I am appealing to the union to immediately restore these basic services that students and parents deserve. I strongly believe that this union should work with – not against – students and parents, and do the right thing through Allow these interviews to be conducted, and provide detailed report cards.”

Ongoing work for governance by the Catholic Elementary Teachers’ Union in Toronto, known as TECT, includes a ban on extracurricular activities, a no-participation in class-to-class transition meetings, and a refusal to interview parents and teachers – even though the board of directors has said so to kindergarten students , early childhood educators in the classroom can conduct them.

TECT President Julie Altomare-Di Nunzio said “Instead of getting involved in local bargaining, Minister Lecce should focus on providing the necessary support so students can recover from school years disrupted by the Ford government’s failure to properly address COVID-19.” Teachers continue to provide The complete curriculum for their students and continuous communication with parents.

She previously told The Star that while fall interviews are banned, teachers can reach out in an emergency.

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“At a time when students are already suffering from a learning loss related to the pandemic, we urge TCDSB to do the right thing, return to the negotiating table and engage in a collaborative dialogue that will result in a fair agreement that supports all Catholic students and teachers,” Altomare-Di Nunzio said.

The job’s action affects about 58,000 students, who are set to receive full report cards starting next week – reports with grade but no comments, except for religious studies.

Parent-teacher interviews are scheduled for November 16, 18 and 19.

Parents have been frustrated with career work, saying after 18 months of repeated personal learning, once again, they want to meet teachers to see how their children are doing.

However, negotiations between the local union and the 4,000-member board of directors have stalled over issues including teacher absenteeism, which the board wants to better manage.

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Teachers are currently required to provide a medical document after five consecutive days of leave to confirm the reason for their absence.

Altomare-Di Nunzio said the board wants to “reclaim teacher rights,” but TCDSB president Joseph Martino said he offered “roughly the same collective agreement that has been accepted and ratified by other unions on the board.”

Teachers across the county have signed county-wide collective agreements, which were settled last year and address big issues such as salary and benefits. The local unions then negotiate with the individual councils on further administrative issues.

Work for the base at TECT began last spring and primary teachers did not participate in any end-of-year celebrations for students and the board had to cancel most primary school summer catch-up programs aimed at helping children who were left behind. during the pandemic.

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